Uttar Pradesh’s ‘unemployed’ and ‘youth’ could well force a change in the dictionary meanings of the words. The unemployed include doctors and engineers and the youth are in some cases, 60 and 70-year-olds.
Even degree holders — MBA, PhD, B.Ed, M.Ed, LLB — are queuing up to enroll themselves at employment exchanges across the state to receive the Samajwadi Party’s dole of Rs 1,000, as promised in its election manifesto, to the unemployed youth.
Dr Rana Hashmi (47), who has a clinic in Aliganj, said, "My husband is no more and my clinic sometimes goes without a single patient. There is no permanent income so I have come to claim unemployment allowance."
Sheela Gupta, a feeble 68-year old, looked visibly in discomfort as she stood in the long queue. Asked why she wanted to register, a teary-eyed Sheela replied, “My daughter-in-law forced me to enroll. She says this is an opportunity for me to earn some money as I am merely a liability on her.”
Sanjay Kumar Mishra, 58, came from central Lucknow because his family wanted him to “earn” something. “I took care of my family by doing odd jobs all these years, but if I am offered the unemployment allowance now, my family would be happy,” said Mishra.
Regional employment officer RK Pundir said, “Registration is done for providing jobs and not for allowance and it is not going to come without riders.”
Many of these “unemployed” would prefer remaining so, if they get the allowance. “We are here for the allowance only, not for a job,” said Maheshwar Prasad, a 61-year-old farmer from Akaria Kala on the city’s outskirts.
Employment exchanges are clueless about how to cope with the unprecedented registrations.
“Last year, we recorded 18,163 registrations. But this year, till March 20, registrations have already jumped to 63,773 (40,580 women),” said Pundir.