The way forward

Dear Editor,
An abbreviation that has recently been doing the rounds is the “LFPR”(Labour force participation rate), a burning topic amongst opposition parties and the media until just a few days ago. It refers to the section of working population, usually in the age band 16-64 years, who are either employed or actively looking for work. Why has it been in the news? Well according to National sample survey office’s (NSSO) leaked job survey report, LFPR stood at 49.8 percent in 2017-18, meaning thereby that for the first time, almost half of India’s working age population is not contributing to any economic activity. It also means that while all the talk in the last decade has centred around “demographic dividend”, not much may have been actually done to consolidate on the same by way of creation of jobs.
The situation is also not very encouraging as far as our own state is concerned. Majority of the educated youth today are unemployed, many of them from weak financial backgrounds as a result of not being born to parents who were a part of employment revolution of the 80’s and 90’s in the state. But it hasn’t been easier for their children either. While we all know the other side of story as far as wealth of engineers and civil servants recruited during the 80’s and 90’s are concerned, many of their children haven’t been spared either by this curse of falling LFPR, other than of course the comfortable and often lavish lives they continue to live, thanks to their parents.
But again majority of the youth are not very lucky to born to such parents. Many of them have been born to teachers, struggling contractors and businessmen, and still more to farmers. I believe the state owes a lot to the unemployed youth.
The sorry state of affairs is a culmination of political apathy, frequent unionisms, and bureaucratic red tape. I am sorry to bring in the judiciary here, but it too has been a contributor to this state of affairs. The state civil services is the premier job that any educated youth aspires for, but it’s sad to note that the last recruitment took over 5 years ago. The process for the current one began in 2017, and considering the pace at which the sub-judiced case is being handled, does anyone even see a closure very soon? I am afraid not. This is probably where the judiciary has contributed to the current state of affairs, a final judgment never at sight, but a future hearing date always.
Well there is one more party that is to be blamed here, “We the citizens of the state”, which of course includes the educated unemployed. What is it that we have done other than curse and blame the government at regular intervals, while at the same time bearing with the same. All the candidates who qualified for state civil services mains today know this case may remain unsettled for a long time, considering the assembly elections are coming up too. Why can’t we, all 1330, just start a signature campaign urging the government to scrap the present exam, so that a fresh notification could be issued soon, after all the present exam smacks of injustice is so many fronts. But then human beings have inherently been lazy, and giving advises and recommendations, especially in platforms like these, is what we do best. Which of course includes myself. Too “active” to advise, blame, curse, and brood over the state of affairs, but too lazy to “act”.
States like Himachal have consecutive state civil exams year after year, even if the seats are as low as 7. Maybe then in all laziness we can at least pray for a rebirth in the states with a good record for conducting examinations.
As aspiring civil servants we are often taught not to be very critical of the government, because in case we get into it someday, we would be the government. But there is little that we can do, than smile at the sad state of affairs that has unfolded before us. How many times are we going to plead to the government and the commission and ofcourse, the judiciary. Considering it is an election year, political leaders would definitely be occupied elsewhere. But what about independent institutions like the commission and the judiciary, or maybe they are not very independent after all.
My dear friends, for all the rants that we hurled at each other at this very platform back in November and December, what did we achieve, other than ofcourse the commission having the last laugh. At the end of the day, it’s the state that is losing out.
Still, all hope is not lost. I would also like to thank this esteemed daily for giving us a platform to pour out our grief, sorrows and views, time and again, and at the same time requesting fellow readers to contribute more humorous, positive, and interesting content. For life is more beautiful than we realise it to be, and there are so many things we ought to be grateful for.
Khandu Thongdok,