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HP assembly elections 2022: Parties get skilled in wooing young & jobless | Himachal-Pradesh Election News No ratings yet.

Unemployment has always been a poll issue in the hill state of Himachal, but the Covid-19 pandemic has added a new dimension to it in the latest assembly elections. With thousands of people employed outside the state returning home during the lockdowns, political parties are promising them employment — a task that is easier said than done.
There are around 14 lakh unemployed persons in the state and no political party can afford to ignore such a huge vote share. The incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and opposition Congress are already out to woo unemployed youth with the promise of jobs and assistance in starting ventures. Data available with the labour and employment department of the state shows 8. 77 lakh persons registered for jobs, but the actual figure is estimated to be much more as many educated youth have not registered. Falling economy, failure to generate resources and limitation of industrial activity to certain areas of the state have added to the problem, besided that people in Himachal mostly prefer government jobs, which itself are limited in numbers.

Over the years, rising unemployment has become a serious problem, while disguised unemployment in agriculture and large volume of low-quality employment are also causes of concern. Unemployment among educated youth is serious, considering that the state is one of the highly literate ones. The growth of employment has not kept pace with the state’s domestic product (SDP), and the result is underutilisation of the labour force.
According to data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the unemployment rate of Himachal was 7. 3% in August this year, which was higher than the national average of 6. 8%. Providing employment to educated youth maynot be a priority for any party on coming to power, but now, all of a sudden, they have shifted their focus on wooing the unemployed youth, who could be a game-changer for any party to return to power.
To grab the support of unemployed youth, Congress has already launched “Yuva Rozgar Sangharsh Yatra”. To counter this, the BJP government is promising lakhs of jobs in the coming days. AAP, on its part, is promising jobs, beRs 3,000 monthly allowance until they get employed. Congress has also promised 5 lakh jobs. Going a step ahead, AAP has promised six lakh government jobs in five years.
While chief minister Jai Ram Thakur claims that the state has around 10 lakh unemployed youth, opposition Congress claims that the figure is 14 lakh. Kangra and Hamirpur districts have the highest number of registered unemployed persons. “Very few jobs are being created in the government sector. The situation of the private sector too is not that good, especially after the outbreak ofCovid-19 pandemic,” said Neeraj, a postgraduate from Himachal Pradesh University, who has been struggling to find employment for years. Maneesh Kumar, another unemployed youth from Solan, said majority of government recruitment was being done on outsource basis, which was nothing but sheer exploitation of educated youth. “In the coming elections, prevailing unemployment is surely going to be a major issue,” he said.
To tap resentment among unemployed youth, the Congress launched “Yuva Rozgar Sangharsh Yatra”, under which every parliamentary constituency of the state is being covered. The party has also given guarantee of providing 5 lakh jobs to youth on coming to power and provide a Rs 680-crore start-up fund to help them start their businesses. To counter this, now the BJP government is every day coming out with new job promises. The BJP government claims that it has created lakhs of direct and indirect job opportunities for the youth. It is being claimed that the Bulk Drug Pharma Park coming up in Haroli assembly constituency of Una districtalone would provide direct employment to about 15,000-20,000 persons, while the Medical Devices Park coming up at Nalagarh in Solan district will provide gainful employment to 10,000 people. Around one lakh direct and indirect additional jobs are being promised under Rs 1,300-crore Himachal Pradesh Subtropical Horticulture, Irrigation & Value Addition (HPSHIVA) project.
Thakur said thousands of jobs were provided in the state in the government sector alone. He said that over 10,000 posts were filled in Jal Shakti Vibhag and 5,000 workers were being appointed in PWD (public works department) alone. He said an assistance of Rs 1 crore was being provided to youthto start their self-employment ventures.
Thakur recently said that Congress party's “Virbhadra model” was responsible for the creation of 10 lakh unemployed youth in the state.
Leader of opposition Mukesh Agnihotri said that BJP government failed to provide jobs to educated youth and cheated them. He said Congress, on coming to power, will probe the fake recruitments done by the BJP government.
Skill development allowance
To upgrade the skill level of unemployed youths, the state government started Skill Development Allowance (SDA) Scheme 2013, known as Kaushal Bikas Bhatta Yojna with effect from May 2013. Under this scheme there is a provision of Skill Development Allowance @ Rs 1,000 (Rs 1,500 for 50% or permanent differently abled) per month to unemployed Himachali eligible youths during skill training, subject to maximum period of 24 months. From the date of commencement of the scheme in May, 2013 to March 31 this year, skill development allowance amounting to Rs 349.87 crore has been disbursed amongst 3,54,507 beneficiaries. During the financial year 2021-22 skill development allowance amounting to Rs 26.28 crores has been disbursed amongst 48,628 youths.
Unemployment allowance
Under the Unemployment Allowance Scheme-2017, there is a provision for unemployment allowance of Rs 1000 and in case of 50% or permanent disability Rs 1500 per month for a maximum period of 24 for eligible Himachali youths to enable them to sustain themselves for a certain period. From the commencement of the scheme from March 31 this year, unemployment allowance amounting to Rs 177 crore has been disbursed amongst 1,21,237 beneficiaries.
Out of work
According to the Economic Survey Report (2021-22) tabled in the state assembly during the budget session in March this year, total employment in the state as on March 31, 2020 in the public sector was 2,75,526 and in the private sector was 1,83,293. The establishments in public sector and private sector are 4,407 and 1,814, respectively.
Tried & tested tourism
Himachal Pradesh is a major tourism destination, and it contributes considerably towards the growth, development, and economy of the state. The contribution of the tourism sector to the State Gross Domestic Product (GSDP) is about 7%, which is quite significant. Himachal Pradesh is a fast-growing tourist destination that draws visitors from across the globe. However, the economy of the state was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-21. After emerging from the pandemic, the state was able to attract about 52 lakh tourists last year. During the lockdown, the tourism industry was severely affected, and thousands were left jobless.
Business unusual
The sudden closure of business during Covid-19 pandemic contributed to a massive economic shock around the world. Himachal Pradesh also witnessed multiple effects on its economy, including reduced investment, reduction in consumption and reduced demand for non-essentials, leading to labour supply shock and disruption in supply chain. The real estate and construction activities faced a disruption during the second wave as a large number of migrant workers left the urban areas, affecting both the manufacturing and construction sectors.

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