A military recruitment plan in India that sparked last month’s violent protests is turning the spotlight on an unemployment crisis plaguing the $3.2 trillion economy, along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign pledges on jobs.
Behind the unrest is a new policy to enlist young men as soldiers on four-year contracts without pension, replacing the current 15-year service that entails full retirement benefits. Modi's government says the program will boost employment by supplying a trained, disciplined workforce to local industry. Critics say that it would be similar to hiring for the gig economy and won’t lead to high-quality jobs. The program has already started luring a record number of applicants, but it has also provoked a furious backlash from some quarters.