After promising to create 2 lakh employments a year in 2016, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has promised 20 lakh employments per year if voted to power again. But the policies pursued by the government during its decade long tenure have hardly mustered any faith in the announcement.
The ban on creation of new posts, increasing outsourcing, scams in the government exams and increase in retirement age of the government employees tell a different story altogether of the performance and the promises of the AIADMK government.
The lack of support for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in the state is also having an adverse impact on the employment creation. The foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow to the state has also declined in the year 2019-20, the impact of which could be felt in the near future. The tall claims of the government on creating employment in the private sector hardly reflects on the ground.
The promise of the government lacks credibility as it constituted a committee in 2018 to identify non essential posts, apparently to reduce the number of employees in various departments to reduce revenue expenditure.
The unemployment rate in the state hit an all time high of 49.8% points during April 2020 and only reduced after the lockdown norms were relaxed, cites the report of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). Employment in the private sector lacks social welfare measures, minimum wage guarantee and job security, which makes it an unreliable sector for the job seekers.
VACANCIES EXIST ACROSS DEPARTMENTS
One major demand in the protests held by government employees and teachers is the filling up of existing vacancies across different state departments. The organisations claim the existence of more than 7.5 lakh vacancies across departments including revenue, judiciary and education and public sector organisations.
The official data on existing vacancies and unemployment has not been made public by the government in recent years,supposedly to save itself from embarrassment.
M Anbarasu, president of Tamil Nadu Government Employees Association (TNGEA), said, "The government has let the vacancies remain leaving the government offices short of staff. The outsourcing of work has dealt a blow to the job aspirants seeking permanent jobs. People are bereaved of services and the youth are denied jobs due to this policy.”
The increase in the retirement age by two years from 58 for the government employees has dealt a severe blow to the job seekers, leaving about 60,000 of them in the lurch during the last two years alone.
Moreover, the increase in outsourcing of jobs in health, Anganwadi and mid-day meals is increasing the anxiety of the youth looking for permanent jobs with social welfare measures.
The malpractices in the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) exams have further demoralised the educated youth dedicating their precious time to prepare for the exams. The state government is accused of not initiating strict actions against the culprits to bring an end to such practices.
With all these allegations and lack of productive steps to create employment in the last one decade, the 20 lakh jobs promise of the AIADMK has very few takers.
ORDER BANS RECRUITMENT
Around 85 lakhs of job seekers registered in the employment exchanges suffered multiple setbacks in the last five years. Apart from the committee set up to identify non-essential posts in the departments, the government increased the retirement age of the employees by two years to 60 citing the pandemic.
The TNGEA and other employees associations, along with youth and student organisations, condemned the moves citing the existing unemployment rate and demanded the state government to chart out plans to increase employment in the government sector to ensure social inclusion.
In May 2020, the government issued an order to ban the creation of all new posts. “The ban on creating posts and the promise to create 20 lakh new jobs are totally in contradiction with each other,” said N Rejeesh Kumar, president of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI).
“The recruitment in many departments, particularly in the health department, are carried out based on old census data of population. As per the present population, there must be 14,000 health inspectors across the state, but the number of vacancies are only 8,000. How will this cater to the population and what will happen to those qualified persons waiting for their jobs?” asked Rejeesh.
The AIADMK government itself has carved out six new districts in the last couple of years, which requires infrastructural facilities and employees. The ban on creating new posts has hampered the appointment of staff in the newly created districts and tehsils.
LACK OF SUPPORT TO MSMEs
The unemployment rate has fallen sharply after the lockdown measures were relaxed, as per the CMIE report. On the contrary, the labour participation rate (LPR) has been on a decline since 2016, says another CMIE report.
The unemployment rate in the state stands at 4.8% in february, 2021, decreased from a higher percent of unemployment rate of 6.1% in 2016-17.
After the implementation of demonetisation and goods and sales tax (GST), the unplanned lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic hit the MSMEs hard. All the progress made prior to the lockdown was undone, having a severe impact on employment as well.
The government claims credit with its industrial policy and the proposal to set up 5 new industrial parks, but the disillusioned youth are yet to find jobs.
The lack of support form the government to support the MSMEs have had an impact in shooting up the unemployment in the state. The state government admitted in the assembly that around 50,000 MSMEs were shut down in 2016-17 resulting in loss of five lakh jobs.