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BJP draws bouquets & brickbats for 50% quota for Rajasthan women in Grade-3 teacher jobs

Unemployed men are protesting against the move saying after the implementation of 50 per cent reservation for women, there would hardly be any scope left for men to get employed as Grade-III teachers.
Last Updated : 21 June 2024, 13:08 IST

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Jaipur: While the Bhajan lal Sharma-led BJP government is earning bouquets for its proposal of approving 50% reservation for women in recruitment of Grade III teachers, there is unrest amongst unemployed youths who say the move is not only unjustified but impractical as joblessness amongst men and their population compared to women is much higher in Rajasthan.

The BJP government has approved the proposal to amend the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj Act to increase the reservation limit for women from the prevalent 30 per cent to 50 per cent in Grade-III teacher recruitment. This, BJP claims, is as per its party manifesto promise made during the Assembly elections in Nov-Dec 2023.  

At present there are 25,000 vacant posts of Grade-III teachers. Grade III teachers in Rajasthan teach basic elements of Maths, English, Science to eight-year-old students. Candidates must be graduates or post graduates from a recognised university with 55 per cent marks. The candidates have to clear an entrance recruitment exam conducted by the Board of Secondary Education, Rajasthan.

Although the exam is supposed to be held annually, no exam date has been given for the 2024 recruitment yet. Grade III teachers get a salary of around Rs 48000-Rs 51000 adding various allowances and after a probation period of two years.

Meanwhile, unemployed men are protesting against the move saying after the implementation of 50 per cent reservation for women, there would hardly be any scope left for men to get employed as Grade-III teachers.  

Speaking to DH, Manoj Meena, president of Rajasthan Yuva Shakti Ekikrit Mahasangh, (RYSAM), said that proposal is "totally flawed" and goes "against" the law of gender equality.

"With 50% reservation for women, coupled with 12.5% SC-ST reservation, 4% disabled reservation, 6-7% widow and divorcee women quota, 10% women who would compete with men in General category, at least 83.5% seats go under quota. So only 16.5% seats remain for men. As it is the reservation was already 30%, now this increase by 20% would create stress amongst the youth. The population of men is also higher than women in the state and so it would be within the context of population amongst unemployed men and women." he said.

"We had voted BJP with the hope that new job avenues would open up for us. But in the name of women empowerment, they are doing injustice towards us. We were beaten up and not even allowed to submit a memorandum to the Collector. We are not going to sit down quietly and have plans to demonstrate again,” he added. 

As per the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the projected population of Rajasthan as on July 1, 2024 would be 8.22 crore. The male population would be 4.21 crore while female population would be 4.01 crore. Rajasthan has 2.12 million more males than females. In 2024, the sex ratio will be 105.364 males per 100 females.   

Rajasthan is one of the states with the highest unemployment rates. It faces a significant unemployment rate of 23.1 per cent. according to Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2022-23. According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), Rajasthan had the second highest unemployment rate at 28.5 per cent after Haryana (37.4 per cent), in January, 2023.   

Unemployment and paper leaks had become major poll issues during the Assembly elections in 2023, which BJP won with a comfortable margin of 115 seats out of the total 200 in the Assembly. 

Rajasthan’s youth have been severely hit by the paper leaks in the government exams, especially teachers recruitment exams. It has witnessed over 25 paper leaks in the last decade, irrespective of the government in power. However, the issue gained notoriety during Ashok Gehlot regime, with Rajasthan Public Service Commission, Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education and Rajasthan Staff Selection Board all coming under the scanner. 

While many teachers associations have welcomed the move, there are some sceptics as well. Lad Kumari Jain, former Rajasthan Women Commission chief, and retired professor told DH, “While I welcome the decision, it should be permanent and not just a political announcement. There are indeed thousands of vacancies for teachers which are not filled up annually. So if the government is giving 50% reservation to women amongst Grade III, that is primary level, it is a huge requirement. But the rules are not clear yet. Whether it would be at schools run under the panchayati level or primary levels, we have to wait and watch.”

Some others say it is a purely political announcement as BJP is reeling from the loss of 11 seats out of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan. There has been assessment that women, who have been a major vote bank for the party, probably moved away due to inflation and unemployment.

Narayan Bareth, a political analyst, said, "This announcement is purely political. BJP must have analysed the reasons for its defeat and has realised some drastic measures need to be taken to woo back the women voters. And this is one of them. But there is political dishonesty here too. Why did they not implement the 33% reservation during ticket distribution in Lok Sabha polls. Why did they just think of winnability and caste factors then? Why have they sidelined former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and also Uma Bharti in Madhya Pradesh. Although they are saying they are fulfilling a poll promise, it must not be so, otherwise they would have made a gala show of it. Moreover we all know the adage, charity begins at home, which they are definitely not following."

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Published 21 June 2024, 13:08 IST

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