Unemployment – biggest challenge to Indian Democracy: Straight from a Bureaucrat Series

Vidyanand Garg IAS
Vidyanand Garg IAS

When the  Secretariat Administration Department (SAD) of Government of U.P.  advertised in August ,2015 for the 368 posts of  peons , they got a shock.They were flooded with over 23 lac applications.The shock got  intense when it was revealed that  255  among the  applicants were Ph.D. ,25,000 were postgraduates,1.5 lacs were graduates,7.5 lacs were intermediate pass and 11.21 lakhs were High school pass.The rest 54,000 only were class 5 pass.This was  the first advertisement  for  peons’ jobs in the  state secretariat in ten years.

This is not the  only instance of glaring unemployment in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Recently , against 1400 posts of Lekhpals in the state , 27 lakh persons appeared  for the written test.This  is another evidence to prove that the unemployment among the educated youth in Uttar Pradesh  is very acute.

The post of a peon in  the U.P. government  carries a pay scale of Rs. 5200 to Rs. 20200 ,with a grade pay of Rs.1800. The Dearness allowance for Government Employees  is 119% with effect from 01/07/2015. This makes the  gross salary of a peon  to be Rs. 5260  per month.The essential qualifications for the job ,as advertised were:
(1)The  candidate  should have passed class 5.

(2) Should know how to read and write in Hindi.

(3)Should be between 18-40 years of age.

(4) Must know how to ride a bicycle.

Incidentally , under the Right to Education Act ,2009 , every student  who enters  class one will automatically  pass till class  eight. So, marks secured in school examination in class five have no relevance.The state government had  incidentally asked the candidates to submit applications on-line.

While it remains to be seen what  way  the  U.P. government finds to recruit “on merit”  368 peons out of 23 lacs applicants, the situation has raised many questions.:

1.Why is there  such a large scale unemployment in U.P. ?What changes are needed in our policies  of creating employment? Why candidates with Ph.D.  and postgraduate degrees have applied for unskilled jobs , the minimum qualifications for which is class 5 pass?

2.Is our education providing skilled labour force? What changes are needed in out education system? Do we have similar level of unemployment in  labour market of skilled jobs? Is our system generating adequate number of jobs requiring skills?

3.What is the ideal system of recruitment  for unskilled posts of peons?

4 .Who is best suited for the post of a peon , a class 5 pass or a Ph.D?

5.Was it right to ask for online applications from class 5 pass persons?(  The best way to recruit peons is to re-advertise , and to stipulate clearly that only people with class 5  education will be considered , and any person having qualifications higher than class 5 will not be considered).

While one may try to explain  this development  away by  saying that the government jobs  hold  special attraction for youth because of  better pay  and better job security in the government at  junior  levels than the private sector , this cannot explain the  unprecedented  rush  for these jobs.It certainly indicates chronic unemployment  in UP . Successive governments, both at the centre and in the state , have not paid any attention to the  problems being faced by the youth , especially in lower middle classes.

The grinding” factories” of universities, colleges and institutes of technology  keep on churning out thousands of Ph.D’s , postgraduates , engineers and other graduates , without  imparting the  skills needed for employment or employability. Skill Development Missions at state level have tried to impart training in skills to the youth , but  it has not been able to  meet  the challenge of unemployment. The private sector requiring persons with skills , is not  getting  such persons  ,because the products of most of universities are un-employable.

The problem of ever increasing unemployment is a great challenge to the state government of U.P.

The 66th round of the National Sample Survey Organisation report projected  that by the end of the 12th Five year Plan(2012-17), the number of unemployed youth in the age group 15-35   in U.P. will be about 1.32 crores.

“This youth needs good skills, training, meaningful   and decent job opportunities, before they become the cause of social unrest and crime. This requires a public policy and its implementation which has a thrust on finding a solution to problem of unemployment. Mere rhetoric, road shows, posters, hoardings and promises cannot meet this gigantic challenge”.

Author: Shri Vidyanand Garg, a Retd IAS officer with 30+ years of experience is presently with CMS Schools (Policy & Operations). He has been working as a civil servant in India since 1980 and has worked in senior administrative positions in the state of UP, India in the fields of housing, infrastructure, forests, information technology, and industrial development.  He has held portfolios like Chairman, UP Forest Corporation , Infrastructure and Industrial Development Commissioner, Chairman- UP Finance Corporation, Principal Secy- IT, Housing Commissioner-UP to name a few.

IndianBureaucracy.com hopes and prays that people who matter take this seriously before it collates into a serious issue . Departments of Skill Development and alternate employment should be put on an overdrive and most of all , pls stop giving licences to education institutions which are producing students in “thouk ke rate se” .