Randeep Sangatpura (29), a double post-graduate in Political Science and Hindi with B.Ed degree, works as a teacher in a private school.
But he has been feeling insecure about his job ever since schools started facing uncertainty over charging fee amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
Scared of losing his job anytime, Sangatpura is among about 2 lakh youths who have applied on Punjab government’s job portal under the Ghar Ghar Rozgar scheme in over two months since the state lifted curfew on May 18.
The portal, http://www.pgrkam.com, has witnessed unprecedented traffic ever since the Covid-19 outbreak. While on an average, 2 lakh job seekers apply on the portal in a year, about 2 lakh applied in last two months ever since the curfew was lifted.
Government functionaries said this rush was linked to loss of jobs due to the lockdown.
Sangatpura is not alone. Covid-19 pandemic crashed hopes of Rajwinder Singh (30) too. A resident of Nilowal village in Sunam, a qualified teacher, armed with degrees like MA (History) and B.Ed, Rajwinder was hoping to get a job in a government school after Punjab government had announced posts of 3,282 teachers. Soon after the announcement, curfew was imposed in the state and the Master Cadre Subject Test, which was set to be conducted, was deferred.
Then Rajwinder, who was working for a marketing company, lost his job during the curfew. He had to take up selling vegetables on the roadside to make a living. “I am selling vegetables as I do not know when the test would be conducted.”
He has also applied on the government portal, afresh, even after knowing well that the registration of portal had not yielded much for him in the past also.
“The number of people losing jobs has grown manifold. People are taking to all sorts of websites and portals to get themselves registered. Even on the government portal, highly qualified job seekers including those holding degrees like PhD, MA, BA, diploma holders, matriculates have applied on the portal,” said a government official.
According to data from Employment Generation Department, Punjab, as many as 164 candidates with doctorate, 18,423 with master’s degree, 39,622 with bachelor’s degree have applied on the portal from April 1 to July 22.
During this period, the maximum number — 56,215 job seekers — who have applied on the portal are senior secondary pass outs, 23,834 are matriculates, 10,939 are diploma holders after passing their Class 12 and 1,195 are PG diploma holders.
“People lost jobs in all spheres. Industries workers, helpers, salesmen, delivery boys, those engaged in hospitality industry, were all laid off as there was no business. Even the domestic helps were thrown out of jobs. While life is getting back to normal and some organisations have started hiring, the job market is still not encouraging,” the government official added.
The government too is trying its best to facilitate a number of youths in getting employment.
“In last two months, our District Bureau of Employment has helped about 25,000 to 30,000 jobless people in getting jobs. This has been done making use of Internet and phones. We are planning mega job melas from September 24 to 30 in the state. The DBEs have been asked to identify the venues. If the Covid-19 situation does not allow us to organise physical melas, we will do so virtually. We have come out with SOPs for these melas,” said Rahul Tewari, Secretary, Employment Generation, Punjab.
While the government portal is lending hope, there are others, who are not attracted. Gurtej Singh (27), a private school teacher in Lehra Gaga who MA (Hindi), B.Ed, learnt a few days ago that he was laid off.
“I was removed from the WhatsApp group of the school. This is how I learnt that I was no more needed.”
But he does not want to apply on government portal. “It does not help,” he said.
Makhan Singh, a 30-year-old from Sheron village in Sangrur, holding a postgraduate degree in History, Punjabi and Education prefers working at a brick-kiln for making a living.
“I am not going to apply on the government portal. It does not help. They put you on to companies that want security guards. It is better I mould bricks rather than working for a company that pays me Rs 300 every day. Here, I can work over time and make even Rs 500 everyday. I am young, I can work in rain and shine. It does not bother me.”
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