The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has charged the SAD-BJP government of going back on its commitment of providing monthly allowance to each and every qualified and educated unemployed youth of the state.
The party made this charge on the bases of a poster in the possession of PPCC vice-president and Majha zone in-charge OP Soni, MLA from Amritsar Central segment.
The poster with the pictures of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal and cabinet minister Chunni Lal Bhagat of the BJP is yet to be officially released by the government.
It is about a new scheme of government -- 'Maharaja Ranjit Singh Kita Mukhi Hunar scheme' -- which is yet to be made public. The poster has been issued on behalf of KJS Cheema, director, Employment Generation and Training Department.
Referring to the contents of the new scheme, Soni said, "It's clear betrayal with the youth of the state as under this scheme all the qualified and educated youth will not be entitled for the monthly unemployment allowance."
He pointed out that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), in its manifesto, had promised to provide monthly allowance to all the educated and qualified youth who do not get jobs. However, this scheme will limit the numbers that, too, if the government agrees to give such an allowance, which is unlikely as the state coffers are empty, he added.
Details of scheme
According to the scheme, a monthly unemployment allowance of `1,000 will be given to the youth, who, while pursuing higher studies, enroll for vocational or technical courses in institutions recognised by the government. The extent or level of higher studies has not been defined.
For availing the allowance, the youth must also undergo practical training in a recognised or reputed institute or centre. The training schedule can be of three months, six months or a year.
The annual income of the family of a youth applying for the unemployment allowance should not be above `1.5 lakh. Those in 17-30 year age group can get the allowance. Those seeking the allowance must enroll themselves with respective district-level Employment Generation and Training Bureaus and all educational proof certificates and other documents must be submitted there.
Commenting on the rules, Soni said, "The unemployed youth will not get the allowance directly. To the contrary, it will be paid to the institute in which he or she has enrolled for technical or vocational training."
Questioning the scheme, the Congress leader said the payment of the allowance will come to a halt after the youth has completed his technical training. "What happens if he still does not find employment?" he said.
As per Soni's claims the poster was printed sometime back -- when the Congress threatened to take the government to court for failing to provide the promised unemployment allowance. However, it was not made public for reasons best known to the government, he added.
The PPCC vice-president claimed that on the bases of information gathered from official sources, the government was planning to shelve this scheme. He pointed out that a huge amount of money was wasted on printing these posters, which were to be pasted across the state.
Soni laid his hands on the poster after PPCC president Partap Singh Bajwa asked all party MLAs and constituency in-charges to collect data of the unemployed youth in each constituency, so that they could be registered in employment exchanges. The Congress move was to ask the registered youth to approach the high court for the unemployment allowance that the Akalis had promised in their manifesto.