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Central Government: 22 Crore Applied, 7 Lakh got Jobs, 9 Lakh Posts Still Vacant

Subodh Varma |
Modi had promised the creation of 2 crore jobs every year during the 2014 election campaign.
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Two questions asked recently in Parliament elicited answers from the government that reveal the horrendous state of jobs and vacancies in the Central government. One of the questions (#1803 answered on July 27) asked how many people applied for jobs in the Central government and how many actually got permanent jobs. In reply, the minister of state in the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions – who is also the minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office – replied that between 2014 and 2022, a staggering 22.06 crore applications for jobs were received by the Central government out of which 7.22 lakh persons were recruited. That means about 0.3% of recruitment, or 3 out of every 1,000 applicants, were successful.

Another question (#463 answered on July 20) asked about the total number of vacancies in the Central government. The same minister replied that as of March 1, 2021, there were 40.35 lakh sanctioned posts in the Central government out of which 30.56 lakh posts were filled. That means about 9.79 lakh posts were lying vacant.

How are these two replies given in Parliament to be interpreted? The most logical interpretation is that even after recruiting 7 lakh people, the government is still keeping over 9 lakh posts vacant.

Raging Unemployment

Although recently, the Prime Minister had declared that 10 lakh vacant posts will be filled up soon, and he seemed to direct all ministries and departments to take measures to do so, these answers show the shocking levels of unemployment that exist in the country. It also shows that there are a very large number of people who may be working on paltry salaries, but they aspire for better salaries and various social security benefits that come with a government job. In other words, the over 22 crore applicants represent both the unemployed as well as the under-employed or disguised unemployed people.

As shown in the table below, derived from data given by the Minister, the number of applicants relentlessly increased till 2018-19, touching 5 crore in that year. After that, it hovered at slightly below the 2 crore mark every year.

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Strangely, the appointments show an inverse trajectory. They declined steadily from 1.3 lakh in 2014-15 down to just about 38,000 in 2018-19, after which recruitment has been up and down, ending up with just 38,000 again in 2021-22. Note that General elections were held in May-June 2019, and it is that year that has the highest number of appointments – 1.47 lakh. It seems to indicate that some of the appointment-making decisions are driven by political/electoral considerations.

Persisting Vacancies

What about the continuing vacancies in the Central government? Firstly, it needs to be noted that these are data only for ministries and departments, not for various autonomous bodies and arms of the government. And, of course, state government vacancies are separate.

The minister, in his response on existing vacancies, has supplied ministry-wise data and also according to the level of employee – categories A, B (both Gazetted and Non-Gazetted) and C (Non-Gazetted). This breakup is shown in the table below.

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As can be seen, the largest number of posts are in the non-gazetted ‘C’ category, and the vacancies in this segment too are enormous – over 8.36 lakh. Overall, nearly a quarter of government posts are lying vacant. Vacancies are much less – only 18% - in the ‘A’ category, that is among top officers.

The government, while responding to queries on jobs, invariably recounts various schemes and programmes that it runs for job creation or income augmentation, including schemes for cheap bank credit (Mudra or Vendors’ scheme), Productivity Linked Incentive schemes, etc. However, with unemployment still in the 7-8% range for the past 2-3 years and massive displacement of people from urban industrial or services centres to agriculture, the jobs crisis continues unabated. It signals a comprehensive failure of the Modi government, which had swept to power on the promise of creating 2 crore jobs every year. Clearly, the Central government has failed comprehensively on this. The data on central government vacancies and recruitment shows that even on jobs that it directly controls, it does not have the will or the vision to fill them up.

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