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One year of Capt govt: On empty tank, Punjab govt plays job facilitator

Barring the Apni Gaddi Apna Rozgar scheme, for which the govt signed up with cab aggregators, other promises, including interim unemployment allowance of Rs 2,500 a month, are on paper

punjab Updated: Mar 11, 2018 09:56 IST
Navneet Sharma
Navneet Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab chief minister,Captain Amarinder Singh,Punjab's one year rule
Punjab CM handing over appointment letter to a woman at a job fair in Mohali.(HT File Photo)

When Captain Amarinder Singh started his election campaign in 2016, he wooed the youth with the slogan of “ghar ghar rozgar (one job a family)”.

The Congress followed it up by announcing a slew of job-oriented schemes, including Apni Gaddi Apna Rozgar, Harra (Green) Tractor Scheme and Yaari Enterprises, among other populist promises in its manifesto and was swept to power.

  • Apni Gaddi Apna Rozgar: 1 lakh taxis, light commercial vehicles and other vehicles per annum will be provided to jobless youth at subsidised rates without any collateral with the state government standing guarantee.Status: Government tied up with Ola and Uber and is helping youth interested in running car or bike taxis connect with them. No immediate plans to stand guarantee for loans.
  • Yaari Enterprises: Small enterprises set up by young entrepreneurs to be given 30% subsidy up to a maximum investment of Rs 5 lakh to create employment. Target: 1 lakh enterprises to be covered every year.Status: Remains on paper. With no funds for the scheme, government decides to focus on implementing the Prime Minister’s Employment Guarantee Programme.
  • Harra (Green) Tractor Scheme: 25,000 tractors along with farm implements to be given at subsidised rates to jobless youth to help them start their own venture.Status: Still to take off for want of funds.

An uphill task at the outset, the Congress government fell short of expectations on job creation. Finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, who holds the charge of employment generation, failed to allocate funds for starting job creation programmes.

Also read | One year of Capt Amarinder-led Congress govt in Punjab: The glass is half full

Barring the Apni Gaddi Apna Rozgar scheme, for which the government signed up with cab aggregators Uber and Ola, other promises, including an interim unemployment allowance of Rs 2,500 per month, are on paper. The employment generation department is working to play the role of a “facilitator” instead by organising job fairs in association with technical education and other departments to bring job seekers and employers under one roof.

At the first mega job fair at Mohali in September last year, 27,500 aspirants got jobs. The department has held more fairs. “A web portal has been started. Besides thousands of aspirants, 2,000 employers from private sector have posted 56,000 jobs. Job matching on the portal is working well. When we act as facilitator, there is job creation,” says secretary, employment generation and technical education, Bhawna Garg.

Also read | One year of Capt govt: Year of tokenism for farm sector

The department is in the process of creating a mechanism to make the job portal a common source for information.

Shiromani Akali Dal senior vice-president Daljit Singh Cheema has dismissed this strategy. “Jobs being offered at fairs have been part of the routine recruitment or campus placement by private companies and institutions since long. The government is misleading everyone. It has actually taken away jobs by shutting down two power plants and hundreds of sewa kendras,” he said.

There have been instances of job aspirants complaining of low salaries by private companies. A department official, however, said salaries are market-driven, depending on the job profile, experience and qualifications.

First Published: Mar 11, 2018 09:48 IST