The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP, gave a report card of the country today in terms of poverty, unemployment and economic disparity -- subjects the Opposition cites regularly in its attacks on the government. RSS general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale's focus was on the condition of the poor, who, he said, comprise 20 crore people. He blamed the situation on the economic policies of the last several decades. He also said several steps have been taken in the last few years to address this challenge.
Speaking at a program organised by the RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch as part of its "Swabalambi Bharat Abhiyan ( Self-supported India campaign)", Mr. Hosabale said despite many advances, there are still some areas in which the country is facing challenges.
In the address three days before Dussehra, when RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat makes his traditional address, Mr Hosabale said, "Poverty is a demon-like challenge in front of us. It is necessary for us to slay the demon of poverty. That more than 20 crore people are living under the poverty line is painful. Another figure I found -- more than 23 crore people have an income of less than ? 275 per day". "There are four crore unemployed people in the country. The labour force survey says we have an unemployment rate of 7.6%," he added.
Mr Hosabale broke down the separate elements that go into the making of poverty -- lack of jobs, proper education, poor nutrition and shortage of clean drinking water and even environmental issues. To back up his remarks, he cited data and opinions from the United Nations. "Civil strife... is also a reason for poverty... climate change is a reason for poverty. And at places the inefficiency of the government is a reason for poverty," he added.
Dattatreya Hosabale said, "Job seekers need to be encouraged to become job providers".