No sarkari naukri, no brides: Tribe of jobless bachelors swells in Haryana : The Tribune India

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Heart of Haryana

No sarkari naukri, no brides: Tribe of jobless bachelors swells in Haryana

No sarkari naukri, no brides: Tribe of jobless bachelors swells in Haryana

A group of unemployed youths interact with each other at Kheri Sadh village in Rohtak.

Sunit Dhawan

Thanks to the skewed gender ratio in Haryana, coupled with the highest unemployment figures in the country, getting married has become a tough challenge for Haryanvi youth.

With regular government jobs becoming scarce and Army service losing its sheen after the introduction of the Agnipath scheme, the number of jobless — and hence unmarried — is on the rise in villages across the state.

The gravity of the matter can be gauged by the promise made by former BJP state president OP Dhankhar, of bringing brides home from Bihar .

The fact that the said “offer” was made by Dhankhar back in 2014 also indicates that the concern is not new for the state, which currently has a gender ratio of 912 girls per 1,000 boys.

Sociologists point out that with agriculture becoming a loss-making proposition and the size of farmland holdings getting fragmented, local youths consider the sarkari naukri a panacea to overcome all major challenges in their lives.

“Haryanvi youths believe that getting a government job will not only ensure a handsome regular income, but also brighten their matrimonial prospects and get them respect in society,” observes Dr Neerja Ahlawat, a Haryana-based sociologist.

Dr Ahlawat, who specialises in gender studies at the department of sociology at Maharshi Dayanand University in Rohtak, says that till a decade ago, the size of land holdings of the prospective groom’s family used to be a major consideration for the bride’s side. But now, she added, brides prefer a decent — preferably government — job, good education and a house in an urban area.

“Residents of Haryana have clear-cut preferences. They want a private school for their children and a sarkari dulha (groom in government service) for their daughters,” quips Pawan Singh, a resident of Kheri Sadh village in Rohtak district.

However, government jobs are increasingly scarce. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) data shows that at 37.4 per cent, Haryana has the highest unemployment rate in the country.

The state government has been disputing the unemployment data from CMIE, never mind the recent data of the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, which also indicates an upward trend in unemployment rate in the state.

The PLFS data reveals that unemployment rate in the age-group of 15-29 was 9.5 per cent in January-March 2024, up from 8.3 per cent in the previous quarter (October-December 2023).

“The BJP regime has been appointing its near and dear ones from other states on higher posts in the general category. In the latest instance, the state government is not revealing the names, addresses of the candidates selected in the HCS exam,” remarks Randeep Singh Surjewala, Congress’ Rajya Sabha member from Haryana.

Meanwhile, as per a recent report of the International Labour Organisation, more than 54.7 per cent educated youths from Haryana left their home state seeking jobs elsewhere.

Sources in the immigration sector say the trend of Haryanvi youths leaving the country in search of greener pastures has also picked up due to their disillusionment with the police and Army and scarce job vacancies being released by the Haryana government in the recent past.

“On an average, nearly 80-120 youths go abroad from each district in the Rohtak belt per month for better job opportunities. The number is almost double in the districts located on GT Road,” states Rahul Hooda, an immigration consultant.

He says he advises people who want to go abroad only to choose legal means instead of opting for the ‘donkey route’ or other unfair practices. The ‘donkey’ (‘dunki’ in Hindi) is slang for people illegally migrating abroad no matter what the hardships they have to encounter en route.

“No major recruitment drive has been launched by the Haryana government in the last five years. Instead of making regular appointments, the state authorities prefer to recruit youths through the Haryana Kaushal Rozgar Nigam (HKRN) on contract basis, with no transparency in the process. The policy of absorbing 75 per cent of the state youths in private jobs has also failed,” notes Shweta Dhull, an employment activist.

The introduction of the Agnipath scheme for short-term extendable recruitment to the Armed forces has become a major concern in Haryana.

After the introduction of the scheme, a large number of youths say Army jobs have lost their charm — they had previously been the most sought-after sources of employment.

“The number of students preparing for Army jobs has reduced drastically following the implementation of the Agnipath scheme,” says Vikas, who runs a defence academy.

“If the parents of a girl are told that the prospective groom is serving the Armed Forces, they bluntly ask whether he is a regular soldier or an Agniveer,” states Ranbir Singh, a resident of Charkhi Dadri.

With the preference for male children still intact and more than 1.8 lakh government jobs lying vacant despite the ever-increasing number of job-seekers in Haryana, it seems as if the ongoing hot summer just became hotter.

#Agnipath #Agniveers #Unemployment

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