Employed: For How Long?


The bleak scenario of unemployment in Manipur has remained stagnant. For the state, it has become a routine affair to publish the latest statistics from the unemployment registered in the employment exchange. Fiscal deficit in the state has not only remained unchecked but increased instead. In simple terms, fiscal deficit is spending more money than one has. What is unsurprisingly peculiar of the government of Manipur is its nonchalant failure to produce utilisation certificates. One does not need hard econometrics to calculate the amount of money that the government gets every year in its begging bowl. No matter how many times you fail to produce utilisation certificates, New Delhi never fail to shower its benevolence with all kinds of funds. Should we take it as a positive sign that the ruling Congress party abruptly wakes up to ‘financial discipline’ and ‘state center relationship’ after the party’s debacle in the 16th Lok Sabha Election? Or is it just a nervous rambling of the Congress party after the National Democratic Alliance have formed its government in the center? The reason could be the both. But with the present economy of the government both at the state and the national level, fiscal deficit seemingly will remained unchanged. The unemployment problem is clearly the problem of employability. This problem became more pronounced after the economic liberalisation policies that India followed in 1991, as economist who are against liberalisation have argued. The impact on employment after liberalisation is one of the most debated subjects among the economist, and it is also an area of research being taken up wide scale. We shall engage with the liberalisation debate at some other point of time though. As far as employment is concern, the government’s explanation is the need for practicing austerity measures owing to the fiscal deficit in the economy. The ban on recruitment in government sector is one evident example. So far Manipur government’s job recruitment is largely concentrated on taking more and more number of policemen in the name of fighting insurgency in the state. Another area of recruitment is the Manipur Public Service, which intake level is meager though the government has announced that there will be regular recruitment in this sector to fill up the required post. Moreover this sector cannot afford mass recruitment because of the limited nature of job requirement. For instance, you cannot recruit not more than a dozen or two civil servants at a time. Other than these two areas, there has been no recruitment at all in the government sector. The centrally sponsored schemes give a small respite. Nevertheless, most of the schemes’ recruitments are solely on contractual basis. Take any name, whether it is the Sarava Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan in education or the recruitment in National Rural Health mission in health sector, those employed through these schemes are all contractual labourers. These employees, though they are employed in a sense, walk with uncertainties looming large in their minds. Contract labourers are not entitled to any sort of social securities, moreover there are ambiguities as far as the legal binding of their jobs are concern. One clear example would be the recent protest demonstration taken out at the gate of the state SSA office. Those protestors were employed in the SSA scheme. They have alleged that the state SSA mission has wrongfully relieved them from their jobs. On the other hand, the authorities have justified the move, saying that their time of contract had already expired in the March this year. It is apparent that those protestors are well aware of the time of expiry of their contract. The scenario is not much different with those who are employed through NRHM. It is learned that some of the employees have already been duped by some imposters, who took away a large sum of money with the promise of regularising their contract. Stories like this one will unfold more in the days ahead.


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