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The fear of joblessness is affecting our youth, close to ten million getting added to ‘eligible for employment,’ every year. They are fresh undergraduates, graduates and post-graduates and scores of engineers. It is appalling to see thousands flock to jobs as sweepers or peons, but I ascribe no disparagement to any job. Just that the jobs are a gross mismatch to the education acquired.

Bulk of employment in rural India is in the agricultural sector, which is distressed and it is not uncommon to see children of farmers quitting their family activities to get to the nearest towns and get into some gainful employment, a security guard, driver or taking to hawking.

The proliferation of hawkers on every kerb, spelling over to roads and streets in every town, city is an alarming evidence of the failure of successive government in creating jobs, in tune with the jobless millions being added every year. Syndicates, like in West Bengal are emerging everywhere, offering protection services against payments, supplying construction materials etc., and failure to comply them inviting consequences of you can guess what.

Mamata, the CM of West Bengal, at the backdrop of gruesome killing of migrant Bengali labourers in North Indian states, coaxed them to return. She admitted that she cannot offer them jobs, but they can set up tea shops. The PM on the other hand famously quoted of ‘Pakoda shops,’ which to him was a job created as well.

There is a difference between Pakoda stalls, tea shops and regular jobs, the former ones are purely driven by any individual’s glowing entrepreneurial fire or their dire need to draw  their own survival strategy, in the absence of jobs. No government can take credit for the roadside hawkers selling pakoras and tea. Jobs, particularly the government ones, give above all  security, regular pay rises all for little or no work. Therefore it is little surprise that even fourth class vacancies lure highly educated ones to jostle for the openings.

Labour intensive industries are progressively becoming technology dependent and hiring lesser hands than ever. The advent of Artificial intelligence is bound to impact employment numbers. In the absence of any population control, the unemployed youth, often touted as the strength of the nation, could be the bane of unrest and revolt.

It is meaningless to confine ourselves to parochial boundaries of either BJP or Congress, as the past, the present and the future governments all have the same predicament with relation to tackling of the joblessness in the country. Until then many a bogus schemes would be floated to dish out subsidies in one form or other to the youth, be it in the form of MNREGA, skill development funds or club doles. The results will be merely cooked up ones to indulge in self-praise and nothing else.

Sampath Kumar

Intrépide voix

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