THEY ARE calling. From West Bengal, UP, Bihar, Karnataka, even Kerala, and of course Delhi. Almost every call carries a tone of desperation — and this refrain: “I will handle whatever work you want me to, please hire me.”
Within two days of the Delhi government launching a new job portal — jobs.delhi.gov.in — to revive the local economy from its Covid slump, it’s a virtual stampede for slots, say several employers.
By Tuesday evening, the portal had logged 1.89 lakh job-seekers for 1 lakh openings posted by 4,294 employers across 32 categories.
The platform connects job-seekers and employers, who have to register their contact details, through phone or WhatsApp.
Plugging the gaps
The portal aims to plug two key gaps in the local economy on a single platform. It helps traders and small businesses reopen by reconnecting them to the workforce, and generates employment for returning migrant workers and local residents who lost their jobs in the Covid lockdown.
And Abhishek Wadhwa, who wants workers to restart his jeans manufacturing unit in east Delhi’s Gandhi Nagar, says “the phone just does not stop buzzing”.
“I got calls and enquiries even from West Bengal. In our sector, men engaged in stitching are mostly from UP and Bihar. During the lockdown, out of about 35 workers, only seven stayed,” says Wadhwa who put up a notice for 10-15 openings at Wadhwa Garments.
“We have 50 openings for labourers. But ever since we put up a notice on the portal, we have been inundated with calls…from as far as Karnataka and Kerala. There were 10 calls from Kerala. The workers we select will be paid between Rs 12,000 and Rs 18,000 per month and put up in hutments at the site,” says Babloo Mishra, who is handling labour recruitment for Hari Construction, which is engaged in work on a flyover in south-west Delhi’s Dwarka.
Officials say that while the capital’s economy is unlocking, businesses are struggling to get back on their feet in the absence of workers. According to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who launched the portal Monday, the aim is to bridge the divide between job-seekers and job-givers.
Officials also point to a sector-wise break-up of openings, which shows that most are for data entry, construction work, food joints, drivers and garments manufacturing — many of them sectors dominated by migrant workers who left Delhi during the lockdown.
Records show that most of the vacancies so far are in the categories of “sales/marketing” (53,656), “beautician/spa/wellness” (6,219), “housekeeping/peon” (6,070), “customer support/tele caller” (6,060) and “accountant” (4,944).
Among job-seekers, most postings have been made under “back office/data entry” (70,166). There are also 30,814 registrations by applicants who want to teach, either in schools or as home tutors, and 28,816 registrations under “sales/marketing”.
“Not every working class individual will have access to the Internet. But most people have smartphones and since the portal is bilingual with a simple interface, we are expecting them to sign up,” says a senior official.
“I have received over 500 calls and texts so far for five openings with a salary of about Rs 9,000 for each,” says Pradip Kumar, who runs Pizza Kart, an outlet in west Delhi’s Raghubir Nagar, a densely populated working class neighbourhood.
“You can sense the desperation from the numbers,” says Kumar. Says Wadhwa, the jeans unit owner: “Barring 10 to 15 per cent, most are those who say they will do whatever job they get.”
Aman Shergill, who is looking to hire for his transport business in south-east Delhi’s Govindpuri, says many “don’t even check the job description”. “I am looking for drivers in and around Tughlaqabad, who will stay in the same area where they work. But I am getting calls from across Delhi and outside. Everyone says they will manage,” he says.
Tapan Kumar, who posted two openings for his “Chinese food” outlet in Ghaziabad, says he is happy with the response but has a question: “Will the government come after me if I am forced to sack these workers later?”
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