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Keep the change; I’ll work for free!
A daily wage promise is not enough to excite the rural youth...
While many around the world are lamenting the loss of jobs and employment opportunities, many in India don’t mind letting go of opportunities at hand! Now who are we talking about here? The rural youth! In case of rural India, where still a plethora of opportunities are available in the Centre-run employment generation schemes, migrant workers who have started returning to their native villages (for lack of opportunities in urban land) are still not willing to engage themselves in any such government scheme? According to the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), just about 133 individuals of every 1,000 in rural India aged 15 years or more is willing to earn a living from employment generation programmes such as Employment Guarantee Scheme, Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana, National Food for Work Programme and National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). What’s worse, by the time it comes to actually turning up for work, this number further shrinks to a pathetic 54 in every 1,000!
Various projects under these schemes include watershed development, drought proofing, sanitation and road constructions et al. The fact that 86.7% of rural dwellers choose not to be a part of these temporary jobs puts a question mark on the very efficacy of the state sponsored employment generation rural projects. Incidentally States with huge uneducated and low per capita income population observed higher participation in public works, the highest being in Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Jharkhand. In contrast, Kerala, Punjab and Karnataka, with better record of education and higher per capita income saw lower participations. Truly, the policymakers have to realise that promising a temporary pittance in the name of a ‘daily wage’ no more excites an educated rural youth to work in those public projects. Reason enough for the Centre to create real, permanent job opportunities
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