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Rediff.com  » News » MP Polls: Of Jobs And Broken Promises

MP Polls: Of Jobs And Broken Promises

By Nitin Kumar
November 17, 2023 08:31 IST
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Of the 3,893,149 registered applicants on the MP Rojgar portal, only 21 individuals have been successfully placed in government and semi-government positions since April 2020.

IMAGE: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, fourth from right, being welcomed during a door-to-door campaign in Bhopal, November 14, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo
 

At the Dhanela cut in Morena district of Madhya Pradesh, located approximately 1,109 kilometres to the south along the country's longest route, National Highway 44 from Srinagar to Kanyakumari, a sudden influx of politicians with grand promises of progress and employment is something that 23-year-old fast-food seller Raj Kumar witnesses every day.

While Kumar listens to every politician who approaches him, he hardly places much stock in their promises.

"Nothing they say is true. I've been deceived by them once, but I won't let it happen again," a disillusioned Kumar says while gingerly dunking the French fries into sizzling hot mustard oil.

Back in 2019, Kumar was assured of a job with an income of around Rs 30,000 upon the successful completion of a government-sponsored training programme in Gwalior.

However, upon completing the training, he found himself empty-handed, with the promises of recompense unfulfilled.

Kumar is not the only one who has not found a job despite enrolling in a government scheme or a training programme.

According to data presented by MP's Minister of Sports and Youth Welfare Yashodhara Raje Scindia during a session in the state assembly in March 2023, a glaring disparity becomes evident.

Of the 3,893,149 registered applicants on the MP Rojgar portal, only 21 individuals have been successfully placed in government and semi-government positions since April 2020.

The situation in the private sector is no better, with only 251,577 applicants receiving offer letters from private organisations, highlighting the formidable challenge of securing employment opportunities in the state.

The majority of young individuals Business Standard spoke to expressed that the primary issue influencing their vote on November 17, election day, will be the state administration's inability to provide employment opportunities.

An eleventh-hour bid for support

Recognising the dissatisfaction among the state's youth, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced the creation of 100,000 government jobs for the current year and also unveiled the Mukhyamantri Seekho Kamao Yojana, a programme providing skill development training for young individuals and offering a monthly stipend of Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000, with the amount varying based on their qualifications.

While the scheme's objective is to prepare the state's youth for the industry's requirements, many young people believe that it is a misuse of state resources and will primarily benefit companies that receive funds from the government for training the applicants.

"The government already spends crores of rupees on running employment offices, yet they are not very effective in assisting students in finding jobs. The Seekho Kamao Yojana might also lead to widespread corruption in the guise of training the youth," says Sanju, a 25 year old in the Panna district of MP.

The MP government is running 53 employment offices across the state to help students find employment.

While 21 individuals did secure government jobs over three years, each job cost the state government crores of rupees.

According to information provided during a state assembly session in March, the state government allocated Rs 1,674 crore (Rs 16.74 billion) for these employment offices in 2021-2022.

Kumar, who decided not to enrol in the scheme this time, suggests the government should prioritise fair recruitment and make it mandatory for training partners to employ trainees.

"Only a few hundred jobs are advertised each year. People apply and take exams, but the results are never announced, often due to paper leaks or legal disputes. The government should fill all the vacant government positions rather than giving aid and forcing the eligible unemployed youths to sell pakoras," says Sanjeev Singh, one of the 1.2 million candidates who have applied for the 6,755 positions announced in the MP Patwari Recruitment 2023.

While the unemployment rate in MP for the July-June 2022-2023 period is lower at 1.6 per cent, as compared to the national average of 3.2 per cent, according to the latest annual Periodic Labour Force Survey report, the quality of employment is subpar.

In MP, a mere 14.8 per cent of the population holds regular or wage employment, which falls significantly below the national average of 20.9 per cent.

The majority of individuals in the state are involved in self-employment, which encompasses unpaid household work or operating small businesses, accounting for 63.8 per cent, as compared to the national average of 57.3 per cent.

While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party aims to gain the favour of the youth through these schemes, the Opposition Congress is focusing on highlighting the issue of paper leaks and the increasing instances of student suicides in the state.

MP Congress President Kamal Nath, while highlighting that the state has more than 10 million unemployed youths, said in a rally that it is the wrong policies of the BJP government that are the reason behind the miseries of youth in the state, and alleged people get benefits from welfare schemes only after paying a '50 per cent commission'.

The MP Youth Congress also alleges that during the past 18 years of BJP rule, 10,298 students and 6,999 unemployed persons died by suicide in the state.

Congress has also promised to waive fees for job recruitment exams.

As election fervour engulfs the 'Heart of India', the state's youth express their resolve -- employment is the message that will sway their votes.

"We will cast our votes for the party that offers genuine job prospects, not mere election-season gimmicks," they assert.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com

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