Maharashtra polls: Economic issues largely ignored in campaign

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on October 16, 2019 Published on October 16, 2019

Representative image   -  Reuters

Opposition parties are referring to job losses to target the BJP, while the ruling party is ignoring the fact and pretending that all is well, and entrepreneur said.

More than three million MSMEs — the backbone of the Maharashtra’s economy — are hardly getting any attention in the State election manifestos and campaigns, even as the economic slowdown has hit thousands of workers and industrialists hard.

Prashant Girbane, Director General of   Mahratta chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA) said that political parties should have industries and manufacturing as one of the topmost agendas in their plank. 

“ Maharashtra government wants to achieve its target of making the State a first $1-trillion economy in the country by 2025. But this would be possible only if the growth rate climbs above 15  per cent which is about 9-10 per cent over last few years. No major economy in the world has been able to grow without substantial growth in manufacturing sector” said Girbane.

He added that considering the agricultural distress due to various reasons, the government has to boost manufacturing which will lead to creation of jobs in the market and jobs created will also fetch votes for them.

He added that the reforms and concessions announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were vital and will show positive impact by March end or at most by the first quarter of the next financial year.

Distress due to auto slowdown

“We have seen election manifestos, but have no hope from politicians. Not much is being done to address the slump, which has been here since the last 10-11 months. Working hours of the labour have been reduced, and the situation has neither improved nor deteriorated after Union Finance Minister’s recent reforms and concessions,” said Sandeep Belsare, President of Pimpri Chinchwad Small Scale Industries Association.

About 7-8 lakh workers dependent on the auto sector in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad area are fighting slowdown. About 12,000 small and medium industries are OEM-dependent (original equipment manufacturers), and are now facing a major job crisis, with orders dropping by 25-30 per cent.

In the drought-hit Marathwada region, over 70 per cent of over 5,000 small scale industries, which are dependent on the automobile sector, stand paralysed.

Industry experts here said that people from rural areas who come to Aurangabad city looking for jobs are migrating to Pune and Mumbai.

Monsoon impact

Monsoon has not helped to improve the water situation in Latur and Beed districts and with industrial sector facing a slump, more and more people are moving out of these districts. In Kolhapur region, foundry industries that provide components to major auto companies are facing a severe crisis, while Nashik division, over 600 auto ancillaries are cutting down working hours and workforce.

“Industry slump is not being seriously debated and discussed in the election campaign. Opposition parties are referring to job losses to target the BJP, while the ruling party is ignoring the fact and pretending that all is well,” said entrepreneur Prashant Pawar from Sangli, who added that the recent floods in western Maharashtra has added to the woes of farmers and industries.

Sugar mills in the State have delayed the crushing season due to the lack of sugarcane, and short crushing season is certain aggravate the situation in the region, say experts.

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Published on October 16, 2019
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