Post-Covid, Himachal’s placement initiative meets limited success
With tourism sector hit, state government finds few takers for jobs in industrial belt due to location and higher salary expectations
Since the Covid-19 outbreak in March, an estimated 2.4 lakh Himachalis working in domestic and international companies have been rendered jobless and have returned to their native state.
With a majority of companies retaining experienced staff, the axe fell mostly on employees below 30 years in white-collar jobs such as professional desk, managerial or administrative work.
Since June 1, the government’s Himachal Pradesh Kaushal Vikas Nigam (HPKVN) has been trying to provide jobs to skilled and semi-skilled natives through its portal, skillregister.hp.gov.in, but has met with limited success.
HOW THE JOB PORTAL WORKS
Skilled and semi-skilled unemployed citizens returning from other states register themselves on the portal, where companies and industries can also register their requirements, after which the HPKVN tries to provide job opportunities to applicants in the nearest company or industry according to their ability and eligibility.
Despite government campaigns, so far only 16,406 people have registered themselves for employment on the portal.
AS TOURISM TAKES HIT, HPKVN TAPS INDUSTRIES
Tourism, the biggest job provider industry in the state, has been adversely impacted by the pandemic and faces a loss of more than ₹20,000 crore, limiting opportunities in the sector.
The HPKVN approached industries in Una, Sansarpur, Kala Amb, Paonta Sahib and Baddi and Barotiwala and identified 1,802 job opportunities in companies such as Havells, Voltas, Tafe, Indoco Remedies and MT Autocraft.
It mapped the jobs available with the eligibility, qualification and aspiration of applicants. “Based on this mapping, the HPKVN identified 1,685 eligible candidates for jobs in these industries,” says its managing director, Rohan Chand Thakur.
Those who had lost their jobs were contacted, counselled and motivated to take up the opportunities available. Consequently, 405 candidates expressed interest to join. Of them, 282 appeared for interview and 102 were shortlisted in the past three months.
“Those who could not make it are being further counselled and motivated by our team so that suitable jobs can be offered to them,” says Thakur.
The major reasons for aspirants unwilling to join despite being qualified are the location of the work and higher salary expectations, he says, adding that the HPKVN is working on providing multiple offers to each candidate so that they have options to choose from.
HIGH LITERACY BUT JOB CREATION BELOW PAR
Himachal Pradesh, which has the fourth best literacy rate of 86.6% behind only Kerala, Delhi and Uttarakhand, is the third state with the highest unemployment rate, according to thinktank Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).
Tripura topped the unemployment chart at 28.6% in December 2019, followed by Haryana at 27.6% and Himachal 20.2%. The national average was 7.7%.
An estimated 60,000 youngsters of Himachal Pradesh join the queue for jobs every year. On the contrary, job creation has remained below par.
According to government data from January 2018 to July 2019, 1.46 lakh jobs were generated; 6,637 in the government sector and 1.4 lakh in the private sector.