ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Where Will the 10% Be Employed?

Where Will the 10% Be Employed?

A 10% quota for the upper-caste poor will not necessarily translate into employment opportunities.


The central government’s employment-protection manoeuvres, especially its recent 10% quota politics, bear a striking resemblance to a walking device described in a 19th-century Bengali limerick. The device, strapped to its wearer’s shoulders, dangles “carrots” in front of them. It can make its wearer cover miles in minutes in pursuit of the bait that will always be at a constant distance from them no matter how fast they run towards it. Take for instance, the government’s latest stunt of reserving 10% of jobs and seats at academic institutions for the “economically” weak upper castes. Given the political ado about it, none can deny its effectiveness as an electoral strategy, but neither can one dismiss its spuriousness in providing employment opportunities. Just like the perpetual motion device in the limerick, which makes hunger satiation unattainable, the recent quota arrangements, too, are equally pointless for any worthwhile recruitment.

Where are the opportunities after all? A recent report by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) reveals that the situation in the Indian job market is bleak: first, unemployment is on the rise with the rate shooting up to 7.4% in December 2018, the highest ever seen in the past 15 months; second, the retrenched workforce, estimated to be 11 million between December 2017 and 2018, is included in this force of the unemployed; and third, the incidence of joblessness is the highest among the (economically) vulnerable sectors and sections (for example, around 82% of the jobs lost are in the rural sector, already facing the agrarian crisis, and almost 80% of the joblessness is borne by women, which ironically form the focus of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) new “vulnerability” politics.

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Updated On : 29th Jan, 2019


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