23-year-old Dhansingh Arul, a first class Electrical Engineering graduate has applied for the job of a sweeper at the Tamil Nadu assembly. The engineering graduate, daily wage labourer in Tuticorin, has been without a job for four months now. He told NDTV “I am not getting any job. Though I’m an Engineer I can be a Sweeper also when there is no job. That’s why I applied”.
Dhanasingh is not alone. Among the around 4,000 youngsters who have applied for the 14 jobs of sweeper and sanitary workers, around a hundred are highly qualified young men and women candidates with MBA, MCA, B Tech, M Com, B Com, BBA and M Phil from across Tamil Nadu.
At his shared space with a few other students on the city outskirts, Dhansingh is seen desperately applying for jobs on his government given laptop. He doesn’t have money for internet. His friends help him with portable hotspot. He doesn’t have a smart phone. Even his old basic phone has no balance to make calls.
Coming close to elections, the state government calls this “unfortunate” but it wants youngsters to turn entrepreneurs and get self-employed taking advantage of government’s single window clearance scheme. The state’s Minister for Fisheries and Personnel D Jayakumar told NDTV, “Though it is our duty to provide jobs we can’t provide sixty lakh jobs in five years. They should also try private sector. Youngsters want only government jobs as they feel it’s a secure job”.
In Tamil Nadu government alone there are four lakh vacancies. The 2.5 lakh crore committed investments too did not take off after late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s global investors meet crashing hopes of generation of three lakh jobs in the state. The demonetisation and GST many say came as a double whammy and took job losses and shutdown of industries to a new high.
Experts say only 20 per cent of graduates are employable and they blame it on the state churning out unskilled and unemployable graduates from its hundreds of engineering colleges, particularly those in Tier II and Tier III cities. Joshua Madan, CEO of Covenant Group, says, “Unemployment is basically due to lack of quality education in our state. The curriculum mostly are not industry designed which results in lack of technical and communication skills. On the other hand availability of jobs decreased last year but slowly things are picking up from 2019.”