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Mad rush for jobless dole in UP

Last updated on: March 23, 2012 16:01 IST

Mad rush for jobless dole in UP

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Virendra Singh Rawat in Lucknow

The new Akhilesh Yadav government's promise of a dole for the jobless in Uttar Pradesh is causing a commotion of sorts across employment exchanges in the state.

There is a scramble among the 'unemployed' to register themselves at these exchanges. This process is gaining crazy momentum after the Samajwadi Party came to power, having promised this benefit in its election manifesto.

Official say a pertinent government order is soon likely to come out. It would guarantee a monthly allowance of Rs 1,000 to the state's 900,000 unemployed above 35 years of age. Official estimates say the scheme would cost the exchequer Rs 1,000 crore (Rs 10 billion) annually.

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Photographs: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters

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However, going by the flurry of applications at the state's various exchanges, the government would not only need to fix the eligibility criteria under the scheme, but also rework its budgetary estimates.

People, mostly women and even the elderly, had been making long queues at these exchanges for the past two months, forcing them to work overtime.

Sample this: The total registrations in the regional employment exchange in Lucknow during January-December 2011 stood at 18,163, while the total registrations this month alone have so far been 56,000.

Interestingly, women formed almost two-third of the applicants, regional employment officer P K Pundir told Business Standard.

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Photographs: Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images

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As for the Lucknow exchange, the road leading to it has been barricaded, and police personnel are manning the registration counters. Similar scenes define other exchanges in the state, with some of them registering as many as 4,500 people on a single day.

Police and security personnel are having a tough time in disciplining the crowd. The state has 55 unemployment exchanges and 18 registration offices.

Compounding the issue, exchanges in distant districts are facing a shortage of registration forms.

According to some TV channels, touts were selling forms in some places, although the entire registration process is free. Authorities vehemently deny this charge.

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Photographs: Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images
Tags: , Lucknow

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Experts are not amused. Lucknow University's Mohd Muzammil says the government should clarify the eligibility criteria for the unemployment scheme.

"One way is to limit eligibility to those unemployed people who had registered at the exchanges three or five years ago," according to the economics professor.

Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had, in his media interaction soon after taking oath on March 15, said that a sea of people wanting to register themselves at the exchanges had proved the high unemployment rate in the state.

The matter, he lamented, was put under carpet by the previous BSP regime led by Mayawati.For now, the labour department is busy finalising the terms and conditions of the scheme. The authorities plan to lay down eligibility parameters, a senior bureaucrat said.


Photographs: Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images

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