Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, June 25:
At a time when the number of registered unemployed youth in Odisha has crossed the one million mark, the state government’s claim of providing employment to 40,000 youths in various departments within a period of six months appears to have been too tall a promise to fulfil, say leaders and observers.
There is also a view that the announcement may have been a ploy to divert public attention from the damning CAG report which exposed the sordid land deals of the BJD government and the major loss of face in the chariot climbing controversy.
“Given the past record of the government and the chief minister, it is impossible for them to provide 40,000 government jobs in six months. He is befooling the people by giving false promises. If the chief minister fails to keep his promise, then he should either resign or apologise to the people. If he meets his promise, I will personally go and congratulate him,” said Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Narasingh Mishra.
Going by its track record, the announcement appears more of a bravado as the Naveen Patnaik government has failed to meet its promises on employment generation in the last 14 years, said a retired bureaucrat. ” If as many as 40,000 posts were vacant, what was the state government waiting for all these years,” he asked.
During the past 14 years, a total of 42,222 persons have been recruited by different organizations and individuals. Of them, 35,849 persons have got jobs in the government sector, said official sources.
The BJP also criticised the chief minister for making tall promises and playing with the sentiments of the unemployed youths, who have been running from pillar to post in search of jobs.
The party, however, did not forget to wish the Naveen Patnaik government ‘good luck’ for what looks like an ‘impossible target’.
“Whatever the government had promised earlier did not translate into reality. Now, the government has come up with a fresh proposal. We wish him nevertheless good luck for the move,” said senior BJP leader Suresh Pujari.
Smelling that it’s a ploy of government to avoid public attaintion over the CAG report, Pujari said it is an old tactic of Naveen Patnaik to come up with new announcements and high-sounding promises every time his government is in deep trouble or mired in scams.
” Forget government jobs, the government, the steel sector, which the government claimed would generate ‘ great many jobs’, has managed to absorb less than 20,000 youth so far. While the government has signed MoUs for 49 steel plants in the state over the past decade, these industries have given employment to only 19,300 persons and most of them are class-III or class-IV employees,” said a retired professor of Economics.
The ruling BJD, in its poll manifesto in 2004, had promised to provide employment and self-employment to 29 lakh youths in 5 years’ time. It, however, failed to achieve even 1% of it.
Again during the 2009 election, the BJD had promised to provide 15 lakh jobs in different industries within 5 years, but could not provide even 15,000 jobs.
According to information provided by the state government to the Assembly, in March this year, 10,95,151 youths had registered themselves with different employment exchanges in the state.
Of them, 10,42,826 were educated unemployed.
As per official data, a sizeable number of tribal (1,73,998) and dalit (1,94,077) youths had sought employment through employment exchanges.