A common joke goes like this: After clinching a job in NASA, an Indian boy calls his mother to break the good news. The mother, instead of congratulating her boy, reprimands him, “All this is ok. But had you tried a little harder, you could have gotten yourself that clerk job in government”.
This is the real scenario of India. Around 984 graduates and five MPhil degree-holders have applied for the ‘hamal’ (porter) post in Maharashtra. The tragic irony is that the minimum educational qualification for the Class D post is Fourth Standard pass.
The Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) has received 2,424 applications for the five ‘hamal’ posts available. And almost 50% of the applicants are graduates or higher degree holders.
This has been the mindset of India for long now. Due to lack of enough resources and avenues, the ultimate goal of every Indian seems to be a secured job in the government. The MPSC incident is not an isolated case. This is the scenario in almost every state of India. Barring the metropolitan cities, random jobs are hard to find. And a sarkari job, no matter what the rank is, seems like the ultimate secured spot in the world.
Last November, leading national dailies The Hindustan Times and The Times of India had reported that porters in the Food Corporation of India (FCI) were earning a up to Rs 4 lakh a month, carrying home double the pay of its managing director. According to the reports, each loader, a permanent employee of the FCI, earned an average salary of Rs 79,500, equivalent to that of Senior Category-1 officers (deputy general managers).
Such stories inspire Indian literate job-seekers. The perks are so amazing that it can compensate for the rank. When money sings, who cares about carrying sacks of grains on their backs?
But this reflects a sorry state of India. Although the ruling government is all gung-ho about the Start-up India initiative to give that little push to wannabe entrepreneurs, it seems lot needs to be done to tackle unemployment in India. Blame it on lack of resources, business experience or just plain unwillingness, majority of the Indian youth will prefer a sarkari job than setting up a business.
As per UNESCO, India’s overall literacy rate is 72.1%. But the demand-supply gap between job and education is staggering. Ten million Indians with graduate, post-graduate and technical degrees were looking for work, meaning that 15% of all Indians with the highest levels of education were seeking job as of 2011. Kerala had India’s highest graduate unemployment rate at over 30%. The data emerges from new Census 2011 numbers analysed by The Hindu.
Instead of gloating on high literacy rates, we need to shift our focus towards employment. That will be the real progress of India.