Clinging to the bag that contains copies of his M Com degree, 25-year-old Zohaib Aman anxiously waits in queue at the Raj Bhawan. But the interview he has come for, all the way from Kota this Friday afternoon, is for the job of a peon.
“My family insisted that I apply for a government job, so I came here,” says Zohaib, unaware that more than 23,000 others have applied for the five vacancies.
Next to him waits Kushal, also from Kota, whose brother Mrinal, 25, has gone inside for the interview.
Every day, for the past few days, people between the ages of 18 and 35 years have been lining up outside the Governor’s House-cum-Secretariat in Jaipur, hoping to be lucky enough to get one of the spots.
“About 23,600 people have applied for five positions. We have formed four panels that are conducting the interviews in three shifts every day. The interviews, which began on October 26, are expected to go on for another month-and-a-half,” says Dr Lokesh Chandra Sharma, Public Relations Officer to the Rajasthan Governor. Each batch interviews approximately 150 candidates a day, so that 600 candidates are interviewed daily. Excluding holidays, this would mean that the interviews take about 40 days to complete.
This is “injustice”, says Shiv, 32, who has come from Bundi district. “Why call so many people when you have to hire so few? We have to bear the travel expense and not all of us can afford it,” he says.
Like Prem Prakash of Alwar, Class 10 pass, who has to forego the Rs 300 he would otherwise earn as a daily labourer. Or Mayank Pal Kataria, 27, who has diabetes and is Class 12 pass. “I earn Rs 183 a day when I work as an MGNREGA labourer. What can we do about it? We can only hope,” says Mayank, a resident of Sadulshahar tehsil in Ganganagar district.
Then there is Rakesh Gujjar, 21, who wanted to be an engineer, but the untimely death of his father meant that he and his elder brother had to drop out. “I now till our fields along with my elder brother, who is 24 years old,” says Gujjar, from Ramgarh in Jaipur.
Having worked as a tea-seller and emptying and loading sacks at a shop, Vishnu Kant, 24, decided to apply for the job after spotting the ad in a newspaper at a neighbour’s house. “My father barely earns any money now. He is old and I have two younger sisters. Ultimately, I have to support my family. I earn about Rs 3,000-4,000 a month,” he says.
The job these young men are applying for would mean a monthly income of Rs 6,060 for a two-year probation period. If their performance is found satisfactory, they would be enrolled as Class IV employees with a pay grade of Rs 5,200 – 20,200, along with perks. As per the advertisement, the minimum qualification is Class V and persons aged 18 to 35 are eligible.
The average applicant is from a poor background; there are no females in the queue.
Officials said that some applicants from adjoining states were also arriving for the interview.
Rajasthan’s Labour and Employment Minister (Independent Charge), Surender Pal Singh, suggests the ‘Skill India’ initiative launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July could help improve the employment scenario. “The traditional education system has been unable to instill skills, which has led to large-scale unemployment. Hence our Chief Minister and Prime Minister are encouraging the youth to ‘skill’ themselves,” he tells The Indian Express.
“What happens is that a person may have a degree, but a certain factory may have a vacancy for a technical position, so a person with a diploma in that field would be more suited that the one with a (non-technical) degree. Therefore, we have signed a memorandum of understanding with top firms for diploma courses even as short as three months at our Industrial Training Institutes. If a youth is unable to pursue higher education, he may go for a diploma after Class VI or VIII to skill himself—the 14 months of a diploma may weigh more than 14 years of traditional education,” the minister said.