Engineers and graduates apply for gov’t sanitation worker jobs!
A total of 7,000 engineers, graduates and diploma-holders have applied for 549 posts of sanitary workers in the city corporation in Coimbatore, the Hindustan Times reported.
Official sources confirmed that the Corporation had called for applications for the post of 549 grade – 1 sanitary worker posts and 7,000 applicants appeared for the three day interview, verification and selection process that began on Wednesday.
The verification of candidates revealed that nearly 70 percent of the candidates had completed the SSLC, the minimum qualification, and most of them were engineers, post-graduates and diploma-holders, etc.
In Bihar, earlier this month, more than 5 lakh candidates applied for Group – D jobs in the Bihar Vidhan Sabha – posts for watchmen, gardeners, peons and cleaners. Most of the applicants were engineers, MBAs, postgraduates and graduate degree holders.
In Chennai, in February, 4,000 highly qualified people applied for the post of 14 sanitary workers at the Assembly Secretariat.
2018 saw, 54,230 graduates, 28,050 postgraduates and 3,740 PhD holders applied for 62 posts of messenger peons at the telecom wing of the UP Police in August.
In March, 82 lakh, mostly highly qualified candidates, applied for 62,907 posts for the Group – D category in the Railways.
This list can go on.
So, why exactly are so many qualified candidates applying for government jobs?
1.Payment structures – Most of the candidates who have applied for these posts confess that it is the payment that attracts them to the job. The candidates who applied for the sanitary worker posts told the Hindustan Times that their private jobs earned them Rs. 6,000 – 7,000 while the government job offered starting Rs. 15,700 to Rs. 20,000.
2.Perks for employees: Government jobs come with a lot of perks for employees like provisions for children’s education, housing quarters, reliable retirement policies, pension schemes, medical benefits, etc. Pension schemes, housing and children’s education are particularly attractive to candidates who, if work in private companies, always fear getting laid off due to ups and downs in business.
While these two are the major reasons why people opt for government jobs, another major reason that pushes them towards these secure, but lower posts is the rising unemployment.
In Parliament, the Government confirmed that the unemployment rate in rural areas had almost doubled from 2.9% in 2013 – 14 to 5.3% in 2017 – 18.
Replying to a question by Congress MP Kumar Ketkar in the Rajya Sabha, minister of state for labour and employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar said that the unemployment rate in urban areas had increased from 4.9% to 7.7% in the same period. The unemployment rate for urban males had risen from 3% in 2015 – 16 to 6.9% in 2017-18.
The numbers were based on the results of the annual Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO).
The unemployment rate was found to be the highest among people aged 15 – 29 years of age at 22.5 percent in the January to March 2019 quarter. The NSO report also shows that Kerala (the most literate state) and Jammu and Kashmir have the highest rate of joblessness, While Gujarat and Karnataka have the least.
Experts from private agencies have opined that India’s GDP has hit a multi-quarter low due to shrinking industrial output, slower growth in services and a slowing external trade and slackening investments by corporate companies. Data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) showed that the unemployment rate between January and April rose to 6.87 percent from 5.5 percent in the same period last year. Data from the PLFS concludes that at least every fifth Indian is out of a job.
Another observation shows that labour force participation rate (LFPR) dipped in the first quarter of the year, which indicates that the weak economy is compelling people to quit looking for jobs. The LFPR for all ages in urban India for the third quarter rose to 36.3% as against 36% in the first quarter. In case of just the urban youth, the LFPR dipped quarter on quarter from 38.2 percent to 37.7 percent – indicating that the most employable segment was stepping away from the labour force.
Among the unemployed youth, women outnumbered men, with 23 lakh women remaining unemployed, which is 29 percent at the national level. The female LFPR remains between 16 – 17 percent which means only every sixth woman is seeking a job.
An analysis by The India Forum said that it was important to analyse labour market indicators which provided a conceptual understanding of the conditions of employment.
It said that the decline in LFPR was expected as younger individuals spent more time in getting educated. However, what was worrying that the LFPR in the non-student age group too was high, which could indicate them giving up after failed job searches and withdraw from the market altogether.
Data also showed that 75% of people were engaged in self-employment and casual wage employment. What casual wage employment implies is that when the number of members working in a household increases or the number seeking casual wage employment increases, each worker simply works for less time than before and a large section of the workforce is underemployed and engaged in low productivity work. Second, the earnings from these activities are on average quite low pointing to the fact that most workers are trapped in low paying activities.
With average earnings from self-employment also being low at Rs. 9,750 per month, it is difficult for them to sustain their own business, let alone provide employment to others. Though the report indicates that regular wage workers / salaried workers do have better pay, some of them are not entitled to social security benefits and face vulnerable terms of employment.
The number of people jumping for lower post government jobs even after being over qualified just goes to show that India is not creating the kind of employment opportunities that they are looking for. It is also important that the government look to provide foundational, multifarious skills to the youth, so that they can be utilized in a wide variety of jobs and later be used to up-skill themselves.
Today, India faces a two pronged challenge – one, to create ‘productive’ jobs for the more qualified candidates that meet their aspirations and two, bring back into the fold, the disillusioned jobseekers who have withdrawn from the labour market. Will it overcome the same?