Madhya Pradesh: Shivraj's 'Jobs for local' move unlikely to make dent in unemployment

The decision to give government jobs only to those youths domiciled in MP will barely make any difference, since the state has nearly three million people without jobs.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s announcement on Tuesday, which has made Madhya Pradesh the first state to reserve all government jobs for state domiciles, may seem to be great boost for the huge army of unemployed people in the state but ground reality is different.

Though the chief minister has set aside the entire cake for ‘state’s children’, the fact is that the cake is very small. In fact, it is almost non-existent.  

As per the Economic Survey for the fiscal year 2019-20, the state's population rose by 20 per cent over the past 10 years. But the number of government jobs, instead of rising, actually shrunk by 2.5 per cent in the same period.

In 2019, the then CM Kamal Nath had told state assembly that the number of educated unemployed in the state in October 2018 was 20.7 lakh, while the corresponding figure in October 2019 stood at 27.79 lakh. During that period, jobs were provided to just 34,000 unemployed in the government.

According to state government statistics, there are a total of 5,65,840 posts in the state government out of which 4,72,307 are filled, while 93,533 posts were vacant as on March 31, 2019.

It is thus clear that even if all the 93,000-odd posts are filled, it would truncate the list of unemployed youth by a little more than three per cent. In December 2018, chief minister Kamal Nath had announced reserving 70 per cent jobs in the private sector for local youths, which had triggered protests by the BJP and the JD(U) in Bihar and the Samajwadi Party in UP. In July 2019, Nath had announced making necessary amendments in the state's industrial policy for reserving 70 per cent jobs for local youths in private sector/industries.

MP Congress media vice president Bhupendra Gupta said that the decision would not stand legal scrutiny. In March 2018, the Jabalpur High Court, while hearing a writ petition had ruled that the state government cannot deny jobs to anyone on the grounds of caste, religion, sex or domicile, which meant that residents of any other state cannot be denied government jobs in MP. Such discrimination, the court said, would be violative of Fundamental Rights enumerated in Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution.

Subsequently, based on the opinion of the law department, the state government had also withdrawn Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed in the matter before the Supreme Court. “It's shameful that the just for furthering narrow political interests, the chief minister is misleading the people of the state,” Gupta said.

State government jobs as on March 31, 2019

Total number of employees: 5,65,840

Total number of regular employees: 4,72,307

Class one- 7,701

Class two- 28,006

Class three- 3,73,400

Class four- 63,560

Work charge employees: 22,679

Contingency fund employees: 76,305

Posts vacant: 93,533

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Free Press Journal