24 lakh vacancies, millions jobless

Answers to questions raised in Parliament between February and July this year lay bare the lackadaisical approach of the central and state governments towards filling job vacancies. Nearly 24 lakh posts are lying vacant with the central and state governments. This, even as millions of women and men, many of them educated, are struggling with unemployment. According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, India’s unemployment rate nearly doubled in nine months, from 3.39% in July 2017 to 6.23% in March 2018. Narendra Modi rose to power in 2014 promising to create 20 million jobs a year. Forget creating private sector jobs, why hasn’t his government, and the governments in the states, now most of them ruled by the BJP, filled up even existing vacancies in the government sector? The figures are shocking: 10 lakh teacher posts vacant in government schools, 90% of them at the primary level; 5.4 lakh vacancies in the police forces; 2.2 lakh jobs in anganwadis; 1.5 lakh jobs in health centres; the Railways has 2.4 lakh vacancies; the armed forces 62,000 and the Paramilitary 61,000; the postal department is short of 54,000 personnel; the premier All-India Institute of Medical Sciences nearly 22,000; other higher education institutions are short of 12,000 people, and the country’s courts are short of nearly 6,000 people.

Of particular concern is the fact that the bulk of the vacancies — over 10 lakh — are in primary school teaching posts. Among the problems that education experts have repeatedly drawn attention to is this very shortage of teachers in government schools. Especially in rural India, in most schools, a single teacher handles not only several subjects but also multiple classes. How important school education and the appointment of teachers are to our central and state governments can be gauged from the fact that despite the large number of unfilled teaching posts, the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) did not conduct the teacher eligibility test last year, citing “administrative reasons”.

A day after celebrating our 72nd Independence Day and the prime minister’s marathon speech on his government’s achievements, it is time to face reality: our cities and towns are inadequately policed, our courts unable to dispense timely justice, and our hospitals and health centres are not able to provide healthcare to millions because all of these are understaffed and overburdened. Not only are millions of today’s youth being deprived of jobs, millions of today’s children are in danger of being deprived of education and a better tomorrow. The central and state governments must wake up and begin filling up the vacancies immediately.

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24 lakh vacancies, millions jobless

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