Lucknow: Rishi Mishra, 27, has a diploma in automobile technology from the Barabanki Indian Training Institute (ITI) but he works as a daily wager in the UPSIDC-II industrial area in Chinhut, Lucknow.
Mishra says he got his diploma in 2016 but could not find himself a suitable job and ended up as a daily wager with a hope that someday he would get a call from any company as per his qualifications.
“I was the topper of my ITI and was a merit holder in X, XII and even scored a good percentage in BSc but I work as labour now as there are no jobs. There is not a single automobile company in Lucknow, Barabanki, Gonda and Gorakhpur where I had not applied,” says the lean-looking Rishi, while sipping tea from a glass tumbler on the outskirts of Lucknow.
Rishi’s life experience, his struggle for a decent job flies in the face of Union Labour Minister (Independent) Santosh Gangwar’s recent insensitive statement that there is no dearth of jobs and that ‘North Indians lack qualifications’.
Responding to Gangwar’s statement, Rishi says, “Yes, North Indians lack talent and that is one specific talent -- of fooling people and buttering up bosses.”
Listing out achievements of people from the state, he says: “On a serious note, Uttar Pradesh has given the country most of the IAS, PCS, IPS and even five prime ministers. Yet our ministers are saying that there is a lack of talent, which means the government is trying to put the blame on youths.”
Vikas Singh, 25, another unemployed youth, who has an MBA degree, said he could not land any job after getting a Master’s degree in marketing.
“There was a campus placement in my college last year but out of hundreds only two or three candidates got jobs. The rest have either taken up some small business, like running a shop or driving Ola cabs, while many of them are still running pillar to post to find a job. It’s not easy, as there is a lot of competition everywhere. Even for a small job there is a cut-throat competition and for one job, there are lakhs of aspirants,” Singh says.
Citing an example of joblessness, Singh says, “A few days ago, I came to know of a job through a close family friend. On reaching the office for an interview, I saw a long queue of people. My turn came in the evening. I, however, was rejected as some other guy agreed to do the job at a lower salary.”
Rahul Kanojiya, 25, who is a post-graduate in commerce, says he is eyeing an accountant’s job but is yet to taste success. In the meantime, he works part time in a restaurant.
“Getting job has become like asking for the moon. I know I am a fit candidate for an accounts job at a good place with a handsome salary, but I could not land a good job. The government is also not filling up vacancies and the private sector has cut-throat competition, so the chances are very thin,” he adds.
Commenting on unemployment and the aspirations of the youth, veteran journalist and political commentator J P Tyagi says joblessness has indeed increased in the country and with every passing day, the situation is becoming grave.
“It is a matter of shame for the society and for the nation that people with doctorate degrees are applying for the post of peon. The government should act immediately in creating jobs and get this problem sorted, otherwise we are heading towards a dark future,” he adds.
It may be recalled that in August 2018, over 93,000 candidates, including thousands of PhDs, post-graduates and graduates, had applied for a peon’s job in the Uttar Pradesh Police Department. In this situation, how can Union minister Gangwar believe that there is a dearth of ‘talent’ and not ‘jobs’ in North India?
The mass-scale applications for 62 positions of peon, included job applications from 3,700 Ph.D holders, 28,000 post-graduates and 50,000 graduates. Interestingly, the qualification required for this post was just standard V pass.
This was probably the second case highlighting the condition of growing joblessness in India under the Narendra Modi-led central government after Rajasthan, where 12,453 candidates applied for 18 posts of class IV jobs, including engineers, doctorates, chartered accountants and MBAs.
Despite these examples, the government view that there is a ‘dearth of talent’ in North India, as articulated by Gangwar, has attracted a lot of criticism in Uttar Pradesh. Samjwadi Party leader and former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav termed the statement ‘insensitive and cruel’ towards the youths of the country.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday last took to Twitter to criticise the minister: “It has been more than five years for your government. There is no job creation. Whatever jobs were there, they have been snatched due to the economic slowdown brought by the government. You want to escape by insulting North Indians."
It may be mentioned that data from the Ministry of Statistics released on May 31, showed that country's unemployment rate rose to 6.1% in the 2017-18, a 45-year high, even though the Union government says that the present data cannot be compared with previous National Sample Survey Data.