New Delhi, July 5: Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Thursday claimed that even 'achaar' (pickle) making and selling' is a big job-creation.
He was replying to a question, at a press conference at the BJP office here, about the criticism against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement that somebody selling 'pakodas' (fried snacks) and making Rs 200 a day cannot be called jobless.
"Not just 'pakoda', but making 'achar' (pickle) and 'murabba' (jam) too is an employment. My friend's wife is doing a business worth Rs two crore by selling 'achar' and 'murabba'," the Union Minister of State for Agriculture said.
"I have a friend, an ordinary worker in my constituency. There was a time when he could not provide two meals a day to his family. But his wife is god-gifted, her hands have magic, she makes such great 'achar' and 'murabba' that a person who normally eats two rotis will end up eating five," the minister said.
"I suggested she make them locally (for sale). She got a loan from Mudra (Bank) and within two years her turnover has crossed Rs two crore. It has become a brand. There are thousands of such examples," the Jodhpur MP said.
Shekhawat claimed that job opportunities have increased, as 14 crore people have got loans from Mudra Bank for starting their own businesses. The minister also rapped media on the knuckles.
"Out of 7.5 crore toilets, media only sees the ones where a poor person has kept goods for his daughter's wedding," he said, referring to cases where toilets built with government aid were found to be lying unused.
Shekhawat's 'pickles and jams' comment drew flak from the opposition Congress. "His statement is totally unreasonable. He is a minister in a government which had promised to provide two crore jobs, and now they are asking the youth to sell 'pakodas' and 'achar'.
It amounts to making fun of unemployed youths," Leader of Opposition in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly Ajay Singh said. State BJP spokesperson Rajnish Agrawal defended the minister.
"Multinational firms are earning billions of dollars by making pickles with the formulae of our grandmothers. If government is encouraging the youth and women (to enter such businesses), what is the Congress's problem?" he said.
PM Modi, talking about employment in the country, had said that even an individual selling pakodas at a road-side stall outside the channel's studio earns Rs 200 a day and is 'employed'.