In terms of employment prospects, beneficiaries of the 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections in the general category, which was passed in Parliament last week, will face a steadily shrinking jobs pool in the central government, Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) and even banks, official figures show.
The latest data compiled by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on recruitment over the last three years through the main agencies — Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), Staff Selection Commission (SSC), Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) — show a declining trend in selection and recruitment, from 1,13,524 cumulatively in FY2015 to 1,00,933 in FY2017.
Separate data from the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises show that the number of employees in CPSEs declined from 16.91 lakh in FY2014 to 15.23 lakh in FY2017. But for a small increase in FY2017, there is a steady decline in the numbers over the last four years.
However, if the number of contractual and casual workers were to be excluded, the number of those employed by CPSEs was 11.31 lakh in FY2017 compared to 11.85 lakh in FY2016, a reduction in employee strength by 4.60 per cent. The government does not maintain a centralised database on jobs created or employees retired.
In the case of banks, RBI data show that while the total employment has increased by about 4.5 per cent, the hike was on account of the hiring of officers. Recruitment in the two other job categories — clerks and subordinate staff — has gone down nearly 8 per cent between FY2015 and FY2017.
Asked about the decline in CPSE employment numbers, an official with the Ministry of Heavy Industries said: “The manpower planning and deployment in CPSEs is aligned to the objectives and targets of their business plan, prevailing business conditions and requirements, and other factors like future operations, expansion and investment plan, etc. The other reasons for changes in manpower employment include retirement, attrition and Voluntary Retirement Scheme and Voluntary Separation Schemes in CPSEs.”
A reality check
Falling job vacancies in the government is a reality check to the 10% quota plan for economically weaker sections. New jobs are created outside the public sector for which, experts argue, the policy push should be on skilling, education.
The UPSC conducts examinations for the civil services and allied services, and the SSC for lower posts in various ministries, departments and organisations, while the RRB and RRC (Railway Recruitment Cell) carry out recruitment for the Railways.
The figures available for these agencies do not include recruitment made by state governments, banks and financial institutions, universities, CPSEs, statutory and autonomous bodies and those done directly by the ministries and departments outside the UPSC and SSC.
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