Youthful Adventures

Amit Chanda

A recent Finance department memorandum,issued by Chief Secretary LK Gupta, seeking to impose a set of restrictions on fresh government recruitments has sparked fresh rounds of ferment, with DYFI, youth-wing of opposition CPI(M), immediately latching on to the report to highlight the 'anti-youth' policy of the BJP-IPFT government.The memo said that Tripura already has the highest ratio of government employment in the country in proportion to its population. Fresh recruitments should, therefore, be done to fill the posts rendered vacant post-retirements every year. As per the memo, in Tripura, the expenditure on salaries (including establishment expenses), pensions and debt repayments constitutes about 80% of expenditure, leaving very little for development activities.True that Tripura has highest government employment in the country in proportion to its Population. However, there is whole lot of employees recruited prior to the formation of BJP-IPFT government, whose only credential is that they had been faithful cadres of the erstwhile ruling dispensation. This also conspicuously explains why many of the government departments are 'overstaffed' and, by extension, why scenes of government employees, at the peak of duty-hours, playing carrom or cards, gossiping, etc were all but too common. 

A step towards right-sizing of employees in each department is, therefore, both necessary and a welcome step. However, a so-called ban/restriction on fresh recruitment may not be the right way of doing it, instead identifying and suspending, pending enquiry, those who are clinging on to their posts unscrupulously would do the job more swiftly.Also, restrictions on fresh recruitment does not augur well for the burgeoning number of deserving – in the truest sense of the word – youths, inasmuch as merit had frequently been overlooked, to put it mildly, in the past. Also lack of viable alternative to government jobs – mainly because of near absence of large-scale private enterprises – is an issue of grave concern. True that erstwhile Left-Front government has created an army of unemployed educated youth, however the Biplab Deb led government would do well to remember the pre-poll promises made to the youths of the state before taking a large policy drive which may have wider repercussion in days to come; more so because nothing concrete has yet been delivered on this front and the big battle 2019 is just round the corner. In an 'aspirational India' you cannot simply say 'NO' to someone's aspiration, it would certainly be a blunder to say so to youths. Youths, it must be remembered, have always been the harbinger of change.


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