While second-rung leaders in the Congress and BJP are struggling to secure their political futures, youths across Himachal Pradesh are discussing which of the two parties can help them get jobs.
What is worrying the youth is that though the BJP government’s education policy did a lot to enhance education standards in the state, there was no policy to ensure jobs for educated youths.
Today, the number of educated unemployed youths in Himachal is high. According to official data, there are 59,130 unemployed youths with master’s degrees, 1.16 lakh with graduation degrees and 5.58 lakh unemployed matriculates.
While the BJP government has opened more than a dozen private universities to make the state an education hub, students have been complaining about commercialisation and privatisation of education at the cost of government institutions.
Shimla MLA Suresh Bharadwaj spelt out how the BJP government’s education policy has helped the youth. “The state government opened a number of universities in the state. Youths get the opportunity to pursue vocational studies in the state instead of having to move out of Himachal as was the case earlier. And to keep a check on private institutions, the state government has constituted an education regulatory commission.”
Youths, however, complained that the state had been granting permission to use the its resources for setting up industrial units but failed to protect the rights of the youth. Questions are being raised over successive governments’ failure to ensure implementation of the mandatory 70% employment for state youths in industrial units.
“Successive governments’ claims on employment are false. More than 60% employees in the private sector are outsiders. The neo-liberal policies of the governments are anti-employment and have minimal possibilities of job creation,” said Vikram Singh, state secretary of the CPM’s SFI.