Unemployment – The Biggest Challenge
Just like every other person who is into politics or takes a keen interest in the social-economic state of the country, I also start my day by reading a newspaper and going through the local news. I have realized that Punjab has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. The state of the youth of Punjab, as pointed out by the esteemed newspapers, is quite appalling. While more than 60 % of Punjab’s population in the age group of 18-25 years is believed to be leaching on some kind of drug, the unemployment rate is also soaring quite high. According to an unofficial report, more than 1 crore youth in Punjab is unemployed (as of April 2016) and the numbers keep adding up every month. The official data, however, has even more startling facts to reveal. Punjab ranks 5th on the list of states ranked by unemployment with 48 out of every 1000 urban youth being without a job (national average being 34) and 26 out of every 1000 rural youth being unemployed (national average being 16). Punjab was among the first success stories of the green revolution in the early 70s but the last decade has witnessed Punjab lagging behind every state in almost every sector. It has become a classic case of a state that has deteriorated because of the failure of the party in power.
I distinctly remember that the Shiromani Akali Dal’s (SAD) manifesto for 2007-12 promised to fill 1.5 lakh vacancies and 2012-17 manifesto talked about creating another 10 lakh jobs. On the contrary, they have caused more damages as is clear by the fact that no concrete steps have been taken to retain the Punjabi youth by offering them jobs in the state only. As a result, a majority of them are forced to flock over to greener pastures in abroad legally or through illegal channels. What kind of government does nothing for the welfare of those who elected them to power? People are often seen discussing over evening snacks the real culprit behind the rising drug menace of Punjab. I say, it is the high unemployment rate that has kept the bright minds of the state unproductive and pushed them into the dark web of drug abuse.
There has been no effort whatsoever from the government to create jobs. At no stage have I felt that this government is going to do something about the lack of employment. It is the innocent youth that keeps on suffering as they are wasting the best days of their lives by either doing nothing or migrating illegally to war-torn areas like Iraq, Afghanistan Libya Syria etc. as a result of which difficulties are created for them and their families when they get caught in the crossfire as we all recently witnessed in the case of tragedies like Panama and Malta. Educated youth wants better quality of jobs that pay good, are regular and provide a chance for them to grow as an asset to the society. Youth needs to be paid with minimum salary to improve their quality of life. But this does not seem to be the agenda of the ruling party.
And since the elections are edging closer, the government is trying to lure the youth by promising them jobs that are not even there in the first place. They have no framework in place or blue print in order to even guarantee a single job to a fresh college graduate. The fact that this government has not been able to create a single software center near any of the two airports in Punjab proves that they either they plan to conjure jobs out of thin air or are lying blatantly to our faces. Without proper planning jobs cannot be created, it is as simple as that. There must be a coordination between the structure of the economy, job creation, and human resources development. Keeping the youth employed and engaged in constructive work is in the larger interest of society only. Creating jobs for the youth is a major issue on the agenda of our party along with undoing the many damages done by the SAD by keeping the youth of Punjab out of jobs.