Former finance minister P Chidambaram on Sunday took potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his comment that selling pakodas outside an office was also a job, and said that by that standard even "begging" would be called a job.
Asserting that job and self-employment were two different matter, he sought to know from the government how many formal jobs were created in the economy in its tenure.
"In the debate on jobs, it is important to keep the distinction between job and self-employment. A job is certain, regular and reasonably secure. We want to know how many such jobs have been created," he said in a tweet.
His remarks ahead of the Union Budget assume significance as the government is on the back foot on a definite data on formal jobs and is trying hard to defend itself through jobs created by flagship programmes like Mudra Yojana, Stand Up India and through rail, road and highway construction which engages labourers only partly.
In his budget on February 1, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is expected to bring out a compilation of data on jobs to puncture Opposition's criticism on that front.
"Even selling pakodas is a 'job' said PM. By that logic, even begging is a job. Let's count poor or disabled persons who are forced to beg for a living as employed people," Chidambaram said in another tweet.
"Earlier it was claimed that a Mudra loan of Rs 43,000 (average loan size) created at least one job. Show me one person who can create a new job out of Rs 43,000 investment," the former finance minister said.
Real job creation will be reflected by robust increase in private investment, private consumption, exports and credit demand. Not happening yet, he said.
Reacting to Chidambaram, BJP spokesperson Sambi Patra said, "self-reliance by virtue of hard work, skill and loan by government is not a job for those, who for all these years, mastered the art of self-reliance by virtue of corruption."