New Delhi: India lost 1.1 crore jobs, including 90 lakh in the rural sector, in 2018 alone, claimed a "chargesheet" released on Wednesday by a group of civil society organisations on the NDA government's five-year tenure.
According to the document, released about a week before the general election starts, demonetisation in November 2016 has resulted in 35 lakh jobs being lost.
It claimed at least 75 people, including children, died of hunger across 10 states since 2015. The cause of death, it stated, was "prolonged hunger." Also, nearly 42 of these people died because they were denied rations as their Aadhaar linkage did not function or they were not enrolled in the scheme, the chargesheet alleged. It, however, did not cite the source of its data.
Announcing People's Agenda or 'Jan Sarokar 2019' at a press conference here, representatives of various campaigns demanded accountability from political parties, emphasising the "days when political parties made empty promises is over".
They also presented a set of "must-do actions" for progressive and secular parties.
Various civil society groups will come together to raise their concern on April 6 at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi, it was announced at the press conference. The political parties joining the Jan Sarokar programme on April 6 include Congress, CPI(M), CPI, DMK, RJD, TMC, AAP, TDP, NCP, JDS, CPI(ML), LJD and Swaraj India.
Their demands include enactment of the Women's Reservation Bill for 33 per cent quota in Parliament and state assemblies, implementation of Forest Rights Act in letter and spirit, universalisation of PDS and increase of public health expenditure. The "chargesheet" also alleged that the NDA government has cut expenditure for Mid-Day Meals, which fell from Rs 10,523 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 9,949 crore in 2018-19, the document alleged.
The pendency of RTI requests jumped from 8.5 lakhs (2014-15) to 14.5 lakhs (in 2017-18), it claimed.
At the presser, Shankar Singh, a social activist with Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, alleged the "real issues" such as non-payment of NREGA wages have been "submerged" by religious polarisation, politicisation of the armed forces, and warmongering.
"Political parties must commit to the People's Agenda," he demanded.
Syeda Hameed, representing the Samruddha Bharat Foundation, said, "Women, Dalits, Muslims have been targeted by powers who believe in ruling by division and dissension." Rahul Roy, of the 2017 campaign Not in My Name, said the 2019 general election is a critical moment. "It is the biggest challenge our democracy has ever faced from the regressive forces of hate. I hope reason and truth win."