[ Taba Ajum ]
ITANAGAR, Jun 11: Along with issues like corruption, poor healthcare facilities, bad roads and deteriorating law and order, unemployment is going to be one of the biggest challenges for the newly-formed Pema Khandu-led BJP government in the state.
Thousands of students graduate every year from various colleges and universities across the country, adding to the growing list of unemployed youths.
According to the labour department’s data, 67,934 youths were registered as unemployed in 2018. Of them 37,373 are females and 30,561 are males. The department is yet to get the updated data, due to which this daily is unable to publish the figure for 2019.
“These figures are not accurate. From some of the districts we did not even receive data. Also, not all the unemployed youths are registered with the department,” said an official of the labour department.
Further, there is a huge chunk of school dropouts who are unemployed but are not registered with the department.
Unemployment has become such a big issue that even highly qualified youths are applying for government jobs of drivers, clerks, etc.
During the civil service examination conducted by the APPSC in 2017 – which is currently caught up in a legal wrangle – around 24,000 youths applied for 106 seats. For the recent junior engineer examination conducted by the APPSC, more than 5000 candidates applied for the 69 seats.
The burgeoning unemployed population is becoming a massive social issue, too.
“Chances of them picking up the wrong paths due to frustration are very high. This is an issue which nobody takes seriously in Arunachal. But in reality we are sitting on a time bomb. If the youths who are unemployed and restless are not given proper direction, we are inviting trouble. The recent violent anti-PRC agitation is an example of how youths can take out their frustration,” said a political watcher.
With government jobs limited and getting fewer, the situation is precarious for the unemployed youths, and many are deeply worried for their future.
“First of all, government jobs are advertised very rarely, and that, too, mostly runs into controversies, just like the civil service examination conducted by the APPSC in 2017. Also, most of the time the seats are few and the applicants run into thousands. Only a few get jobs and the rest are struggling. Private jobs are also very rare. The situation is very bad for us,” said an unemployed youth.
It would be virtually impossible for the government to create jobs to absorb all the unemployed youths in government services. On the other hand, private investors are still reluctant to invest in the state, owing to poor road infrastructure and, in certain cases, due to law and order concerns.
Adding to the problem, the various government schemes that have been started for generating self-employment avenues by departments like tourism, horticulture, agriculture, etc, have not been effective enough to address the issue.