In search of better opportunities

Monday Musing

[ Junroi Mamai ]

Aonong (name changed), a 30-year-old woman from a remote village in Arunachal, presently working at a mall in New Delhi, has not been home for the last six months. She left home, leaving her husband along with her three children and parents here, in search of better opportunities.
Because she never went to school and was unskilled, she initially worked as a maid with a family in Chennai. After spending a few months there, she decided to move to the national capital, and since then is working there. She rarely visits home now.
Like her, there is young Wanon, who recently came home from Bangalore after he fell ill and could not work his shifts as a truck driver in a factory.
“My employer told me to quit after I fell ill. Though he said he would call me when there is some vacancy, I am planning to go back and work elsewhere. I can’t stay here, that’s for sure,” said Wanon.
He is a school dropout, and had left his village at the behest of his friends who were already working in Bangalore in a water bottling factory. It has been only a year and Wanon has already changed several jobs. After working at the bottling factory, he joined a bicycle manufacturing factory, then started working as a truck driver in another factory.
Wanon’s monthly pay ranges between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 per month. He stays in a small rented accommodation which he shares with three or four of his friends. Despite the hard work under tough working conditions, his salary is too little for him to save any money to send home to his parents in Arunachal. For him, it is a matter of day-to-day survival there.
With no education or skills which will improve their chances of employability, the youths of our state, especially rural boys and girls, are left with no option but to find employment outside the state. There are many rural uneducated youths like Aonong and Wanon who are working outside the state. Engaged as maids, security guards or factory workers in various metros, all of them have left their homes because they had no option.
It is distressing to note that with every passing year, the number of such young rural unskilled boys and girls migrating to the metros in search of jobs is steadily increasing. No one knows the conditions under which they work; many of them get exploited, but such incidents rarely get reported. The problem of rural migration is imminent, despite the government’s rhetoric on improving the rural economy.
The main factor is the absence of sources of income generation other than farming, which pushes young rural boys and girls to leave their families and ancestral land. They have no option other than farming, which has gradually become more and more difficult with the increase in population. Farmlands have reduced, prompting people to look for other sources of income. Though our state government’s push to improve the rural economy through horticulture development is commendable, the fruits of development have failed to reach the people at the grassroots as there is a massive lack of transparency in implementation of various government schemes and programmes.