The Modi government should give up its privatisation spree in the public sector “which is going to strip public assets and add to joblessness”, the CPI(M) has warned.

At a time when the global economy was heading for a recession and exports from India were bound to fall further, focus on public investment and creating demand and jobs in the economy was the only way forward, said an editorial in the CPI(M) journal “People’s Democracy”.

“The deteriorating employment situation is becoming alarming. Around 3.5 lakh jobs have been lost in the automobile sector, with the prospect of more loss of jobs. In the consumer goods segment, the biggest biscuit manufacturer, Parle, has announced that 10,000 jobs may have to be axed,” the Communist Party of India-Marxist said.

“The corporates are utilising the recession to cut jobs and protect their profits.

“The steady stream of job losses in various sectors comes in the background of the National Sample Survey data, which showed that the unemployment rate of 6.1 per cent for the year 2017-18 was a 45-year high. The steady rise in unemployment is one of the main reasons for the recession which has set in,” the editorial said.

The CPI-M journal said the Modi government did not have a clue as to how to tackle the situation.

“Despite all its blandishments, private investment is not forthcoming. In fact, the 2018 report of the task force for drafting the new income tax law has estimated that corporate investments fell by an astounding 60 per cent in 2016-17.”

It said the steps announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman including of rolling back additional surcharge on income tax of foreign institutional investors and removal of angel tax on start-ups would not help revive economic growth or tackle the problem of lack of demand and the unemployment.

“The only way the economy can be revived is by boosting public spending. The government has to step up public investment in infrastructure, agriculture and education and health sectors. This would generate jobs and incomes.”