Employment is the crucial issue in the upcoming Assembly elections on December 7 in Telangana. There is an obvious disillusionment among the youth and students in the newly formed state when it comes to employment opportunities, a trend which has increasingly become glaring across the country.
Perhaps to woo the voters, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has now promised a monthly allowance of Rs. 3,016 for graduate unemployed persons in the state. Similar promises have also been made by the Congress-led Prajakutami alliance and CPI(M)-led Bahujan Left Front.
However, the TRS’s promise has to be seen in line with the indicators pointed out below that throw light on the TRS government’s poor performance in employment generation.
Reality of TRS’s Employment Promises
The Telangana separate statehood movement had witnessed a massive participation of lakhs of youth and students who demanded bifurcation mainly hoping for an increase in employment opportunities in a separate state. Before coming to power, TRS leaders had claimed that between 2009 and 2014, more than 1,000 students and job-seekers had committed suicides in support of the Telangana movement. In their election manifesto, the party had promised to provide one lakh jobs per year.
Also Read: The Gloomy Picture of Telangana’s Finances
But the statistics from the state’s own public service commission reveals the contrary. In the last four years, the TRS government had approved the filling up of only 38,017 vacancies in various state government departments through the Telangana State Public Service Commission (TSPSC). Of this, as of today, only 15,118 jobs have been filled. On the other side, there have always been a disproportionate number of applications every time a new job notification is released.
For instance, in June this year, the TSPSC had released a notification to fill 700 posts of village revenue officers and village revenue assistants. Nearly five lakh persons applied for the posts, of which thousands were PhD holders, MBA, MA, B.Tech and M.Tech graduates. The recruitment of police department’s home guards and constables also saw a similar situation.
As per the latest CMIE estimates, the unemployment rate among youth between age group 20 to 29 years stood at 25.03% in Telangana. These estimates are based on a household survey conducted between May and August this year. The survey found that the unemployment rate among graduates in the state stood at 5.58%.
“TRS may have to face being voted out by angry unemployed youth as the state had witnessed a series of protests from job-seekers in the last four years. There is also massive disappointment among the youth as the job notifications issued by the government are mired in controversies and court litigation,” said Naveen Erram, student activist and PhD scholar from the Political Science Department in Hyderabad Central University.
“Of the nearly 30 persons who graduated in the last four to six years from our village Lokya Tanda in Nalgonda district, only two managed to get jobs in the government sectors and three others are working in private entities. The TRS government has failed in keeping its promise of employment generation,” 22-year-old Ramavath Sharath Chandra Naik, who is going to cast his vote for the first time in the upcoming elections, told Newsclick. He recently finished his B.Sc in Geology from Hyderabad.
Considering a declining trend in the number of workers registered with MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), the employment situation has worsened in rural Telangana as well. While the total number of individuals working under MGNREGA had increased from 43.5 lakh in 2014-15 to 45.7 lakh in 2015-16, the number of workers declined to 44.28 lakh in 2016-17 and further declined to 43.41 lakh in 2017-18.
Also Read: How Telangana Fared in Health Under TRS Rule?
In September this year, days before the TRS government dissolved the Assembly, students in Osmania University organised a massive protest ‘Vidhyarthi-Nirudyoga Aavedana Sabha’, criticising Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s regime. In the protest, the Left and Ambedkarite students’ organisations of the university had unanimously pledged to vote against the TRS. It should be noted that the university was at the epicenter of the Telangana state formation movement.
“We supported K Chandrashekar Rao as he had promised to release 1.07 lakh jobs. However, the government miserably failed to fulfill the promises of providing employment and quality education,” Manvatha Roy, chairman of Nirudyoga Vidyarthi (Unemployed Students) Joint Action Committee was quoted as saying.
Also Read: Deplorable Situation of Agriculture in Telangana: TRS’s Role