Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday claimed that the government jobs will be reserved for the people from the state and soon, provisions will be made for it.
“The Madhya Pradesh government has taken an important decision to take necessary legal steps so that the government jobs in Madhya Pradesh are only given to the state's youth. MP's resources are only for the children of the state," he said in a video statement.
While the constitutionality of this announcement remains to be scrutinised, it has once again brought up the discussion on the state of employment in Madhya Pradesh. The previous Congress government had also made a similar announcement – of providing 70% reservation to locals in private jobs – in its 15-month rule.
However, the state’s coffers are empty and the Covid-19 lockdowns have already slowed down the economy. Salaries of thousands of government employees including doctors and police officials are unpaid for months and more importantly, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government has taken a loan of Rs 1,000 crore in the last four months. Against this backdrop, how does the state government plan to launch a recruitment drive for nearly one lakh vacant seats?
The state has a total debt of Rs 2.10 lakh crore so far, while the total budget of the state in the fiscal year 2020-2021 is Rs 2,05,397 crore, which is less than the total debt.
Only 986 jobs in last five years, reveal data
As far as the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government’s performance on employment is concerned, between 2004 and 2017, only 2,46,612 jobs were generated in the state. Of these, 19, 226 were government jobs, while the rest of the 2,27,386 jobs came from the private sector, according to the State Employment Exchange data.
The data further reveal that from 2015 to 2019, only 986 people had been recruited by the government. The least recruitment took place in 2018 [54 jobs] and the highest [360 jobs] in 2019.
Nevertheless, the number of unemployed educated people has been growing at a fast pace. At present, on the State Employment Exchange website, more than 33 lakh educated unemployed people have registered themselves. The number was 27 lakh in October 2019 and 15.6 lakh in 2015.
Replying to a query from Congress MLA Ram Niwas Rawat, during the 2018 Budget Session, the BJP government had said, “On an average, 17,615 jobs were generated every year in public, private and cooperative sectors in the last 14 years (from 2003 to 2017), according to the figures.”
The data suggest that the number of persons who got jobs has been increasing gradually only in the last three years. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, jobs were given to 1,15,740 people in the state. So, almost half the jobs offered in the past 14 years were generated in the last three years. In the remaining 11 years, only 1,30,872 employment avenues were offered by the BJP government.
Also read: Why Prashant Bhushan’s Conviction is a Symptom of a Political Judiciary
Officials in Madhya Pradesh, requesting anonymity, said that in the past 10 years, the state's population has grown by 10%, but the government jobs have shrunk by 2.5%. Of over 5.6 lakh government jobs, some 93,500 positions are vacant.
Senior journalist and political commentator Rakesh Dixit told NewsClick, "The BJP government's performance, huge debt and weak economic condition suggest that the state government isn't in the position to fill 1 lakh approved vacant posts. More so, there are more than 1 lakh guest faculty teachers and professors who have been demanding a permanent job for almost half a decade."
He further said, "When the government is failing to pay the salaries of thousands of government employees, how can it plan to hire new people? This statement looks more of a political statement ahead of the bypolls."
Months before the 2018 Assembly election, The BJP government had drawn flak from the Congress as well as unemployed youths for raising the retirement age of employees to 62 from 60 years. Almost 20,000 employees/officials, who were going to retire, were affected.
Congress welcomes the move
Congress has welcomed the move saying that in its 15-month rule, then Chief Minister Kamal Nath had announced 70% reservation for locals in the private jobs, which paved the way for 34,000 people who got jobs in the first 11 months of the government. The party leaders referred to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy’s (CMIE) latest report. Kamal Nath, who lost his government in March after 22 Congress MLAs switched over to the BJP with Jyotiradiya Scindia, reminded the people that he had tried to bring a law to reserve 70% jobs in the state industrial units for people from the state.
“How many youth did you give jobs to in your 15-year rule before our government?” Nath questioned in a slew of tweets, adding, “At least now you have woken up on the job crisis after 15 years and have imitated our decision to reserve jobs for people of the state. It should not remain just an announcement on paper."
Violation of Article 15 and 16, says expert
The experts and news reports have linked CM Chouhan’s statement with the upcoming crucial by-elections on 27 seats due in September.
Senior journalist Rasheed Kidwai claimed that his announcement is nothing but a political stunt because according to the Article 15 and 16 of the Indian constitution, the state can’t discriminate against anyone in government jobs on the basis of caste, religion, gender and domicile. Hence, it is bound to be challenged legally.
"The MP High Court, in March 2018, while hearing a writ petition, had ordered that the state government can’t violate Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India by discriminating or denying job to anyone on the grounds of caste, religion, sex or domicile. It means residents of any other state cannot be denied government jobs in MP,” Kidwai said.
Taking a jibe at CM Chouhan’s statement, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, "Jobs in J&K and Ladakh for everyone but jobs in MP exclusively for people from MP. No surprise there!"
Also watch: Self-reliant India: 50 Lakh Lose Jobs in One Month