Sitting outside a coaching institute here, several groups of 18 to 25-year-old job aspirants are busy discussing notes from the previous class. The discussion turns into a political debate at the mention of Lok Sabha elections and unemployment — a dominant theme of the electoral discourse. There are around 14,000 registered unemployed people in Bikaner alone, according to data provided by the National Career Service (NCS).
However, many young job seekers feel Prime Minister Narendra Modi should return to power and employment generation should not be the only measure of the BJP government’s performance. Sukhdev Singh (18) shrugs at the mention of lack of jobs in India and goes on to explain vociferously why the country needs Modi. “So what if there are no jobs? How much can a single man do? And Modi ji has still done a lot for the country.
It’s not like there are no jobs, those who study hard do find jobs,” Singh, who is preparing for the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) exams, told PTI. According to the NCS, about 6 lakh people in Rajasthan were jobless till March 2019, with only 27,920 job vacancies. Singh, who will vote the first time on May 6 from Kolayat near Bikaner, said, “Today, the country is globally recognised and the last five years have seen more development than 70 years under the Congress.” Amit Chaudhary (19) echoed Singh’s sentiments.
“Who says there are no or not enough jobs? There are enough jobs right now and more are coming. As far as I know, nobody can stop Modi ji from coming back to power. Plus, who is going to face him?” Chaudhary asked. Sanwarlal Bhargav feels getting jobs is harder due to increased competition. “Those who are preparing for SSC also appear for Rajasthan LDC (lower divisional clerk) exams, this shoots up the cut-off for the latter. Earlier, they wouldn’t sit for Rajasthan-specific jobs, but now everyone wants to keep something on the side, in case the main plan doesn’t work,” the 23-year-old SSC-aspirant from Gopeshwar Basti said. Bhargav believes the Modi government should get another chance as “it takes time to do something good”. On the other hand, 20-year-old Banwarilal Jyani has little faith in the Modi government.
“I don’t feel there has been any great development under the Modi government. Look at the GDP rate, it has barely changed since 2014,” he said. Jyani, who is also preparing for SSC exams, has six siblings and four of them are looking for jobs. He also expressed displeasure over the Centre’s decision to grant 10 per cent reservation in education and central as well as state government jobs to the economically poor in the general category. “I don’t understand why the general category is getting reservation.
You tell me how a person who earns about 65,000 a month is poor?” Jyani asked. Those with an annual income less than Rs 8 lakh, having agricultural land less than five acres, owning a flat smaller than 1,000 sq. ft, among other criteria, are eligible for the quota. Bikaner has remained a BJP stronghold for the last 15 years. The saffron party has renominated sitting MP and Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal this year. He has retained the seat since 2009 and is pitted against Congress candidate and his cousin Madan Gopal Meghwal.