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Empty promise

Although the Delhi government has accepted the Centre’s diktat that there should be 10% quota for EWS among the upper castes, no vacancies have been advertised since February

The Centre has finally released the job data it had put in a vault before the Lok Sabha elections. Now with victory in their corner and a reaffirmation of power, the numbers were allowed to reveal the job loss that the country is facing. Unemployment is at a 45-year high, according to the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) job survey for 2017-18.

Job creation is not something which has been tangible. What action the Centre did take about four months back and has now been cleared by the Delhi government is the 10% quota in government jobs to Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) belonging to the upper caste.

The circular by the Delhi Services department mentions that all jobs made available from February 1 for the Delhi governments departments and other bodies would come under this ambit. However, Patriot was told that no vacancies have been advertised since February 1, thus no one could have benefited in this four-month period.

Earlier, when this decision by the Narendra Modi led government was made, many decried it as another sop to boost the NDA’s re-election chances. Now, with the Delhi government having passed the same, a sub-regional employment officer with the Directorate of Employment believes it could be another way to garner votes.

Interestingly, he was of the view that without a circular to pinpoint the exact number of vacancies, it remains a policy much like the one currently being talked about — to make buses and Metro free for women — a gimmick just for winning the elections.

The present term of the Delhi government ends next year and on the job front they have not been able to do much except organise job fairs which have seen a good footfall in the Capital city, which is called the ‘mega job fair’, this year had seen an attendance of 26,000 job seekers.

But the fact that during the last four months no jobs have been made available by the government, is something to sit up and look at. According to the Economic Survey of Delhi 2017-18, the number of unemployed went up by 6% in the year 2016. The survey had further found that more than 26% of the unemployed who had registered themselves at the employment exchange had graduation as their minimum educational qualification.

Furthermore, the most recent Economic Survey tabled in February shows that one-third of the total population in Delhi was taking care of the remaining two-thirds of the population. The 2018-19 Economic Survey found that employment in the organised sector in Delhi during the last decade showed a downward trend at 0.2% per annum.

It also showed that employment in the public sector “especially the central government, quasi-government and local bodies showed a declining trend”. It is estimated that the number of workers during 2016 was at 57.75 lakh. Unemployed persons constitute 3.06% of the labour force.

The other major reflection should be about the quality of the unemployed. The survey had found that 29% of unemployed persons registered in an employment exchange in Delhi had the educational qualification of graduation and above in the year 2017. More than 71% of unemployed persons registered in employment exchanges in Delhi were in the matriculate category or in the category of higher secondary level education.

These numbers should be a reminder to the governments of the capital and various states that a way has to be found to accommodate the high number of educated unemployed. The first few states to implement this provision were Gujarat, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. Gujarat being the first.

Since then others have joined in, like Maharashtra, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Interestingly, the latter two have crossed the 50% threshold for reservation allowed under the Constitution at 70% and 68%, respectively.

But this reservation is not just for jobs but also in education. In the most recent move, the Gujarat government has announced its decision to implement the 10% quota in medical and engineering colleges among the non-reserved categories of students soon.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said that the government would proportionately increase the number of seats in medical and engineering colleges in the state to ensure that the quota benefits to Scheduled Castes and Tribes as well as Other Backward Classes (OBCs) remain.