The optimists may revel while leafing through the pages of volumes of data portraying the nation’s economic health year after year. The pessimists, who enjoy hurling harsh criticism on administration of the day, even describe officially disclosed data relating to the various sectors of the country’s economy. The moderates believe that reality lies some where between the two extreme views of the hopefuls and those who don’t see light at the end of the tunnel as it were, even as successive governments have no option other than carrying on and somehow keep the show going, taking care to exhort the nation’s workforce not to slow down the pace of moving every citizen from poverty to prosperity, not neglecting the last man among the masses, as the President of the Nation who completed his term last week appropriately emphasised.
In order to get even an approximate picture of the country’s job market at specific points of time, one has to rely on the data and information periodically disclosed by government agencies as well as their review and analysis by knowledgeable observers of the goings on in the land. While it is a fascinating exercise, even call it a pastime of some bureaucrats in top posts of the government to indulge in making short-term and long-term projections of resources needed and targets to be reached, the common man cannot be made to wait for that achche din (good days) to happen beyond tomorrow, if not today itself.
The pie charts, bar diagrams and lines of graphs, often multicoloured, to capture the wild jungle of data and describe the past, present and (foreseeable) future of the nation’s state of its economy have their utility and purpose for both administration and academia. The figures, either standing for reality or manufactured to prove a point, particularly in respect of a large economy such as India’s reportedly heading to reach two trillion dollars worth over the next two or three years, prompts one to invoke the expression, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics,” attributed to the firebrand British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) and popularised by the famed American humorist Mark Twain, saying, “Figures often beguile me, particularly when arranging them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force.”
The views of the two celebrities featured above may not exactly bail out the top brass in any government battling with the task of good governance. The promise of providing 100 million jobs to salvage the mass of the land’s unemployed youth and the challenge of creating 10 million jobs a year against the fact that only one million jobs were created in the organised sector says it all about the rough and rocky road of the nation’s journey from poverty to plenty.