Chandrapur: Shrikant Sao is the leader of the unemployed youths of Chandrapur district in Vidarbha, Maharashtra. According to him, there are 1,35,000 youths who have enrolled with the employment exchange cell of the state government in his district. “No one is getting jobs. Neither government, nor private. We have a four-time Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP. Now, he is also a minister of state. But he has failed in bringing even a single industry [to the constituency] till now. How will the youth get jobs if there is no opportunity?” asks Sao.
For him and many like him, ‘jobs’ will be a crucial factor in the upcoming elections. And this is not true of the Chandrapur district alone.
“We keep protesting against the state government’s policy for the teachers’ recruitment. Some of our colleagues had staged a hunger strike which I also was a part of. But the recruitment process is yet to begin. The education minister has given almost 19 assurances. But not a single one has been followed yet,” said Prajakta Godse, a D. Ed. graduate from Pune.
Maharashtra government had announced ‘Mega Bharati’ (mega recruitment) for 72,000 posts in various departments. But a number of issues, including the court cases over reservation – have hampered the entire process. This is ultimately hurting the youth, causing a disillusionment with the government.
“We see depressed young boys in Pune. They come here from Marathwada and other regions to prepare for competitive exams. They neither get private jobs nor government jobs. The depression and negativity among these youths are really worrying,” said Kuldeep Ambedkar, who had organised unemployment youth march in Pune in 2018.
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In Jai Bhim Nagar of Nanded, Newsclick had met three young Dalit boys. Suraj Kambale, who was an Arts graduate, was working as a truck driver. Ashok Tulase has a D. Ed. as well as an MA, but no job. Same is the story of Vinod Naravade, who has cleared his MA. “We are qualified. We have worked hard to learn, to pay our fees. But if we are not getting jobs even after passing with first class or distinction, then what should we do?” questioned Kambale.
“We will vote keeping our job situation in mind,” he added.
When asked about Narendra Modi’s promise of two crore jobs per year, many of the youths laughed it off. “Only you few people in the media are talking about it. We have realised that none of this is true. Even he (Modi) is not talking about jobs now,” said Sao. He added, however, that people haven’t forgotten the promise, but they have stopped taking it seriously.
Maharashtra is an industrial state. The failure of Modi government’s policies like Make in India or Make in Maharashtra by the Fadnavis-led BJP government is apparent in the state. “If a girl with an engineering degree is sitting at home, jobless or doing a job of lab assistant or likewise, then what is the use of her education? Won’t she slip into depression?” asks Sandhya Sonavane, another girl, who had led the unemployed youth morcha (march) in Pune last year.
“The army has done its work. It is capable enough to answer all the mischievous attempts by Pakistani army. We do support it. But frankly, that doesn’t mean that it will have any influence on our choice of candidates in the election. We have our issues.” said Sao. Whether the other unemployed youth can make this distinction will be seen only after the results of the Lok Sabha elections are declared.
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