- 58.9% say unemployment is India’s biggest challenge
- Eastern and Northeast Indian states most concerned about unemployment
- Western states show a higher concern for national security
Every election has a set of issues that dominate it and the general elections of 2019 are no exception. Neta App has sensed the pulse across 23 states, and the national capital in order to bring to you the most accurate information on what’s playing on the voters’ mind.
Let’s take a detailed look at what we found-
National security takes a backseat but remains the second biggest concern
A previous Neta app poll had found that a whopping 87.1% of Indians favoured the Surgical Strike 2.0 and thought that it “extremely necessary.”
Even though the post-Balakot tide has now receded, as an issue, national security has retained its momentum pushing agrarian distress to the third spot. On average, 20.6% of Indians say that national security is the biggest challenge facing the nation today.
Among the states sampled, respondents from Uttarakhand (23.9%) have shown the highest concern for national security followed by those from Rajasthan, and Karnataka at 27.3% each.
Despite protests and a noteworthy degree of mobilization from sporadic protests by agri-communities, only 11% of respondents now believe that agrarian distress is the primary challenge. A higher percentage of respondents from drought-affected states, including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra believe that agrarian distress is a major issue ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The women’s security paradox
In the aftermath of the gruesome Nirbhaya incident that occurred in 2012, women’s security had emerged as a big challenge ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The BJP had pitched a high-sentiment campaign around the issue pushing Congress on a back-foot- both in Delhi and across the nation.
Five years on, women’s security is a concern for just 9% of the respondents which, in the light of data, is quite paradoxical. According to an analysis by IndiaSpend, crimes against women have been on an upward trend while the conviction rate had hit a decadal low in 2016.
Among the sampled states, respondents from Tamil Nadu have shown the highest concern for women’s security with 16.7% of them rating it as the top issue. It may be noted that the Pollachi sexual assault and extortion case had taken the state and the country by a shock in March which corresponds to our survey period.
And the biggest problem facing India is….
Unemployment. Undoubtedly. Going by our data and the wide difference in the perceived importance of issues, unemployment is India’s biggest challenge. On average, a whopping 58.9% of respondents across have rated unemployment as the top issue.
Going by regions, unemployment is the biggest concern for respondents from the Eastern and Northeast Indian states where the average for the issue crosses the 70% mark. Tripura is where an overwhelming majority of respondents chose unemployment as their biggest concern.
Our findings are consistent with those of the Center for Monitoring of Indian Economy (CMIE) in which Tripura’s rate of unemployment for the corresponding period of the survey stood at a staggering 88% as against the national average of 7.4%.
Despite the varying degree of perceived importance from region to region, lack of jobs as an issue leads all the others by a wide margin. Surprisingly, it’s in the Southern Indian states where the perceived difference in the importance of of issues between unemployment (49.3%) and national security (22%) is the lowest with 27 percentage points (yet quite high!).
But what does the Hindi heartland say?
It’s the Hindi heartland that shapes our Lok Sabha and accounts for close to half of it. As it turns out, the region is largely divided between unemployment and national security as its biggest concerns.
So, unemployment is India’s biggest concern, however, the lack of channelized mobilization on the issue, and the rise in the nationalistic sentiment post Balakot might restrict its political impact. Don’t agree with us? What’s on your mind? Let us know your views in the comments below!