Wednesday, December 8, 2021
View PointOpinion: Moving beyond government jobs

Opinion: Moving beyond government jobs

Published: 20th Oct 2021 12:57 am

By Prof N Laxman Rao

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While campaigning for power, political parties make jobs a key issue. But when they come to power, the very same parties do not notify jobs in the States where they are in power. Jobs are many but the governments prefer recruiting through outsourcing, where middlemen/agencies make a lot of money, denying the rightful salaries to employees. Some governments recruit on a contract basis depriving the employees of all privileges and facilities. It is necessary to examine whether such employees feel responsible and deliver the expected results.

There are many private jobs but the unemployed want only government jobs due to several privileges. Professor Ramakistayya, former Vice-Chancellor of Osmania University, had stated that the government employees get pension and there is little accountability. There is a general feeling that one can get power and money in government jobs.

Major Issues
There are major issues related to government jobs. When jobs are advertised, recruitment rarely takes place as some candidates go to court, stalling the recruitment process. Janardhan Reddy, Chairman, Telangana State Public Service Commission, says the commission is working with NALSAR University of Law to overcome court litigations and make every advertisement foolproof.

In a recent interview, Dr Sravan Dasoju, Congress spokesperson, had said no government can give jobs to every unemployed, but the existing vacancies must be advertised. The State governments follow age-old laws. The big question is what are the bureaucrats and legislators doing to amend these laws as per the changing needs?

Vicious Circle
Further, are government employees excessively rewarded for political gains? The budgets of governments are precarious, as they are already debt trapped. Is it due to the welfare schemes? Many welfare schemes are implemented irrationally. While the rich enjoy white cards and all other welfare schemes, governments are unable to weed them out.

Unfortunately, during every election season, newer welfare schemes are promised. This malaise is much more in the south Indian States, especially Tamil Nadu. Unless these welfare schemes are rationalised, the financial standing of States will hit rock bottom. We need to keep in mind that many are leaving their jobs in western countries like the US as they earn more through welfare schemes than employment.

High salaries, welfare measures, and corruption are taking a toll on developmental activities, which also result in late payment of salaries. Are there any possible alternatives to this vicious circle? Can governments think of recruiting a trainee/apprentice for a fixed number of years and then based on their performance, the candidate may be selected as a regular employee. Earlier, assistant lecturers were promoted to lecturer as and when vacancies arose.

Education & Skill Development
Another related issue is that a majority of educational institutions, including IITs, have a large number of teaching vacancies. The Ministry of Education and the UGC have asked for time-bound recruitment, but it has yielded no positive results. How is quality education/research possible without competent teachers? Unfortunately, both education and health are ignored by the governments.

During the last two weeks, I sent about 100 advertisements to a few colleges for the benefit of students. As a consultant to Commonwealth of Learning, I was helping the unemployed and final year students get free admission into Google certification programmes. Two newspapers, Telangana Today and Andhra Jyothi, carried supportive news on the Google programmes. The same facility of free admission to Google certification was open in April 2021 but neither now nor earlier, the institutions have mentored/publicised the opportunity to students.

Both the State and Central governments have skill development agencies. Are they really striving to make the skill development programmes attractive and realistic? If they were, many rural and illiterate could have received proper training and got a livelihood.

In the recent Cabinet reshuffle, the Prime Minister gave ministries to technocrats/subject experts to improve productivity. But it is observed that the government appoints heads of institutions/agencies as a rehabilitation activity instead of nominating experts and knowledgeable persons. Naturally, the agencies/departments show dismal performance and also encourage corruption/favouritism.

Innovative Businesses
Many IIT graduates and even top bureaucrats after resigning from lucrative jobs, took up innovative businesses, which enabled them to provide a livelihood to many and their earnings have improved. In recent days, an IIT graduate started a tea stall, expanded activities and introduced varieties of tea. Another IIT graduate, collecting plastic waste, gave employment to about 50 rural people who made good money. A mechanic designed an e-bike from an old bike.

This country has great traditions, knowledge, skills and human resources. Many youth have successfully found and are managing startups.

Getting government jobs may be good, but they cannot be seen as the ultimate goal of our youth. Many are using their knowledge and skills not only to earn for themselves but to facilitate earning for others as well.

Youth power is vital to this country. The governments need to think seriously about implementing job-oriented schemes, advertise and fill positions as per a public schedule and find ways and means to overcome litigations.

Every government scheme is not just to spend budgets but should also devise accountability for expected results. Every appointment should be based on knowledge and experience. If the governments work in a mission mode with the welfare of citizens as the topmost priority, they can execute developmental plans, facilitate jobs, and also help in starting a self-supporting profession. At the same time, the governments should put in place a system that holds everyone accountable. Then it will not matter if the jobs are in the government or private sector.

(The author is retired Professor of Osmania University)

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