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23K vying for 5 peon posts ignites debate in Rajasthan

Unemployment is widespread in Rajasthan, which voted for the BJP over its job promises in 2013.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Sep 10, 2018, 03.03 PM IST
Rajasthan government claims to have provided 16 lakh jobs in the private sector through skill training.
Ram Kishan Meena, 29, sells vegetables near Dausa bus stand, 80 km from Jaipur. He is a postgraduate in history, but that didn’t get him a job in three years. He was among 13,000 candidates, including 129 engineers, 23 lawyers, a chartered accountant and 393 postgraduates in arts, who slugged it out for 18 posts of peons in Rajasthan assembly secretariat in 2017. Earlier in 2015 also, he had lined up along with 23,000 other aspirants who appeared to qualify for five posts of peons in Raj Bhawan.

“Neither my degree nor the government could get me a job. Now I’m a self-employed, selling vegetables without support. But even the government is taking credit for that, claiming it has created the right environment for self-employment,” Meena said, handing over a kg of potatoes to his customer.

Unemployment is widespread in Rajasthan, which voted for the BJP over its job promises in 2013. The party had promised 15 lakh jobs in 2013, when the BJP won a record 163 seats in the a 200-seat assembly.

Five days ago, while campaigning for the next elections, chief minister Vasundhara Raje claimed to have provided 16 lakh jobs through skill training in private sector.

She claimed to have created 3.25 lakh government jobs, of which 1.35 lakh are under process. She said her government had created 20 lakh self-employment opportunities through Mudra Yojana, from which Meena seems to have benefitted.

But a recent Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report has raised doubts about the claims. The report, tabled this month in the state assembly, disputes the placement figures provided by the Rajasthan Skill and Livelihoods Development Corporation (RSLDC) for imparting skill training between 2014 and 2017.

The report says that there has been claims of placing 42,758 youths out of 1,27,817 who were imparted training. But on physical verification, the genuine placement emerged to be only 9, 904.

“There is an urgent need to tackle unemployment in the state through skill development in aholistic manner and ensure effective implementation of the training,” the report said. Rajasthan minister for skill development and employment Jaswant Singh Yadav said his department, which runs RSLDC, has placed more than 16 lakh youths in private sector after training.

“The RSLDC board is perhaps the only body in the country governed by eight IAS officers. There can’t be any discrepancy. We have encouraged youth to take up private sector jobs. For that we have roped in private companies to adopt ITIs and make our students industry-ready,” he said.

Yadav said his department has also played a major role in army recruitments. “We spend 30-35 lakh each in organising army recruitment rallies in the state where Rajasthan youth gets employment in armed forces.”

The Opposition Congress isn’t convinced about the ‘job creation’ claims. “Raje has deceived the youth; she played with their emotions. Where are the promised jobs? Why doesn't she give bifurcation of jobs the state government has created?” asked former CM Ashok Gehlot.

According to think tank Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), unemployment rate in Rajasthan is 9.8%, against national average of 6.4%.

Congress is using the unemployment issue to cash in on the resentment among the youth ahead of the elections.

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