Indian voters want jobs and lower prices, survey shows

Saturday, Apr 13, 2024

NEW DELHI: Unemployment and inflation are the main concerns of Indian voters but Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strong leadership, his party’s Hindu nationalist agenda and India’s rising global stature will likely help his re-election bid, a survey shows.

The findings illustrate that benefits of India’s world beating growth are not evenly spread for its 1.4 billion people as the creation of jobs, despite Modi’s domestic manufacturing push over the last 10 years, is still a challenge.

India starts voting in a seven-phase general election on April 19 that Modi is expected to win easily. Votes will be counted on June 4.Unemployment was the primary concern of 27 percent of the 10,000 voters surveyed by Lokniti-CSDS across 19 of India’s 28 states, with rising prices coming second at 23 percent, the Hindu newspaper said. India is the world’s fastest growing major economy and its fifth-largest. But nearly two thirds, or 62 percent of those surveyed, said finding jobs had become more difficult in the last five years - Modi’s second term as prime minister.

The unemployment rate rose to 5.4% in 2022/23, from 4.9 percent in 2013/14 just before Modi swept to power, and nearly 16 percent of urban youth in the 15-29 years age group remained unemployed in 2022/23 due to poor skills and a lack of quality jobs, official data shows.

Although 22 percent said “the most liked action” of Modi’s government was the construction of a grand Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ram on a site that was contested by minority Muslims, only 8 percent said it was their primary concern.