Joblessness weighs on minds of young voters - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Joblessness weighs on minds of young voters

Joblessness weighs on minds of young voters

Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14

If the ‘Ghar Ghar Rozgaar’ swayed new-age voters towards the Congress in the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls, the inability of the Congress government to provide jobs could see them moving away from the party in the Lok Sabha elections.

In the run-up to the Assembly polls, the Congress had launched a fierce campaign, promising gainful employment to each household, registering 13.24 lakh young voters, who were given an enrolment card. Two years down the line, the government is finding the promise hard to keep.

The Congress government claims to have given employment to 5.75 lakh in two years of its rule, lending help to 63.4 per cent (3.65 lakh) to be self-employed under various schemes. Government data claims 40,000 youth have been given jobs in the government and 1.70 lakh in the private sector.

Rahul Tewari, Commissioner, Department of Employment Generation and Training, claims two lakh people have joined the job market each year. "The government has set up Bureau of Employment and Enterprise in each district where on an average 75 people come for career counseling every day. The state government has been holding job fairs, giving jobs to thousands," he claims.

The bad news is that those who have got jobs comprise only a small percentage. Disappointed, many youngsters are leaving for greener pastures abroad. Some are taking to crime or drugs, or both.

While the state government insists (quoting the 2011 Census and a study by Industries Department) that the number of unemployed in the state stands at 14 lakh while another 12 lakh are marginally employed (employed for less than three months in a year), a study by economist RS Ghuman, Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), reveals that 22.22 lakh in Punjab are unemployed.

With 47.17 lakh voters in Punjab below the age of 40, almost 23.23 per cent of the total 2.13 crore voters in the state, political parties can ill-afford to ignore them. No wonder the Congress, SAD and AAP are targeting the youth with innovative campaigns — selfies, motorcycle and car rallies. As campaigning picks up, unemployment as well as under-employment is bound to emerge as one of the key issues.

Not by job fairs alone

Bathinda: Unable to get ‘respectable’ jobs in their home state, Punjabi youths are moving out. They refuse to take jobs that do not match their qualification. 

Says Komal, a BCA passout: “I have been offered jobs in call centres at Chandigarh and Noida, that too at a salary of just Rs 10,000. I chose not to go for it.” She says the government must provide adequate employment avenues for skilled professionals. 

Taranjit, MSc (IT), has attended several job fairs but to no avail. She has now started taking tuitions at home to boost her family income. Manoj Kumar, BCom, has appeared for several interviews at job fairs but is yet to land up with a job. He says nothing works without “right contacts” or reference. 

Incidentally, the Bathinda police recently nabbed three college students for their alleged involvement in incidents of snatching in Rampura, Rama Mandi and Gidderbaha. — Sukhmeet Bhasin

Awaiting ‘achhe din’

In spite of being registered with government agencies, I am unable to get my dream job. Most of my friends have shifted abroad for better opportunities. I love my country and want to serve it and want to be employed as soon as possible. —Mukesh Sharma, electrical engg

‘No hope of employment’

I have been looking for a job since three years. I have applied under the “Freedom Fighters” quota but this quota has been reduced to 1per cent. While political parties make nationalism a major issue, we, descendents of freedom fighters, are being ignored. —Jatinderpal Pal, civil engg

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