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Growth minus jobs: Raipur youth's self-immolation a sign of deeper malaise

Yogesh Mishra | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:48 IST

Chhattisgarh has left behind many states in terms of development during the past decade. Yet, a majority of the state's youth is still deprived of the fruits of progress. The government seriously needs to find an answer to why this is so.

There are around 50 engineering colleges and seven medical colleges in Chhattisgarh. The state also boasts of several reputed national institutes of higher learning like AIIMS, IIT, Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), IIM, NIT and a National Law University. Besides, there are livelihood colleges for skill development in every district. The state government is running dozens of employment-oriented training courses.

Yet, if a differently-abled youth finds himself compelled to self-immolate at the doorstep of the Chief Minister's house, out of sheer desperation, there is certainly something missing in the government's policy towards the youth.

Where are the jobs?

The corporate sector is investing billions of rupees in this resource-rich state. Then why is it that the local youth are not getting adequate employment opportunities?

The government rolls out the red carpet for investors, promising them cheap land, power, water, as well as skilled manpower. But, the long queues of jobless youth in front of employment exchanges expose the reality.

The Raman Singh government claims to be walking hand-in-hand with the Union government for the emancipation of the state's young generation. Dozens of schemes have been implemented to encourage entrepreneurship among the youth, both at national and the state level.

Banks are providing loans at low-interest rates for the young entrepreneurs. Youth are being encouraged to come up with innovative startups. The state, as well as the Central government, have assured all possible help to such ventures, including cutting red-tapism and expediting the official formalities through a single-window clearance system. All these efforts are aimed at reversing the brain drain.

However, the truth is not that cosy. Most youngsters passing out from ITIs or other colleges have to run from pillar to post to get a bank loan. The complicated procedures and rampant corruption are enough to break the morale of many prospective young innovators, forcing them to quit the idea of self-employment altogether.

The competitive examinations conducted by the government are best left to God. We find every other examination mired in one controversy or another. This leaves aspirants uncertain about their futures.

Need to address issues

Surprisingly, the Chhattisgarh government still insists there is no shortage of jobs in the state. It even publishes advertisements for outsourcing jobs in the teaching and health sectors to the youth of the other states.

If a youngster from an urban area can think of giving up his life because of unemployment, one can very well imagine how grave the situation is in rural areas.

The continuing suicides by Chhattisgarh's farmers are no secret. The migration of the workforce from the state could have been prevented to some extent if MNREGA was implemented properly.

The establishment needs to address the issues on the ground to realise the dream of strengthening 'Young India'. It needs to see how it can provide employment to youth such as Yogesh Kumar Sahu so that they don't turn suicidal or become criminals.

The views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the organisation.

Translated by Deepak Sharma, edited by Shreyas Sharma

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First published: 22 July 2016, 11:07 IST