Nov 15, 2018
Thousands of youths in Madhya Pradesh have been waiting over three years to join the government jobs they were selected for.
“Whenever I go to social gatherings, people make fun of me. My relatives and friends often mock me, saying ‘what happened about your job, it seems you were lying to us about being selected for the post of assistant account auditor’. A social stigma has developed regarding my jobless status.”
This is what 31-year-old Surendra Senani, a tribal youth from Sendhwa Tehsil in Barwani district of Madhya Pradesh, has been struggling with. He was selected on merit for the post of assistant account auditor at Rajya Shiksha Kendra (RSK) department of the Madhya Pradesh state government three years ago but the job has still not come into his hands. Senani is one of over 2,000 others selected for assistant account auditor posts who have been waiting to be called for the job.
In February 2015, the Madhya Pradesh government issued a notification for 2,519 vacancies of assistant accounts auditor in seven state departments. About 55,000 candidates appeared for the examination for the vacancies, paying an examination fee of ₹750 per candidate. The exam was conducted in April 2015 and the results were declared in July 2015. Then 2,519 candidates were selected, of which 2,208 were selected for posts in Rajya Shiksha Kendra department. Within three months, 310 candidates were given joining letters by the other six departments but RSK didn’t call any of the remaining candidates until they approached the Jabalpur High Court. The court gave an order in 2016 stating that the concerned department of the state government should start counselling for the remaining 2,208 candidates within a period of 90 days.
Despite the court order, the government only invited 1,190 candidates for counselling, stating they had a limited budget for only 595 posts, and then only filled 300 seats.
Senani says, “I often feel neglected. People who used to talk to me nicely when I was selected for the job have become rude to me. Joblessness has become a curse for me. I am mentally stressed all the time. I am a tribal youth living in a small place with very few job options in life. We have to struggle for everything. I completed my education and cleared the exam of assistant account auditor in one go, but then the government said they didn’t have enough budget to employ us. People approach my family with marriage proposals for me but when they come to know that I am jobless, they turn me down. I have become a laughing stock among my friends.”
Twenty-seven-year-old Anjesh Pal of Silwani in Raisen district (who presently lives in Bhopal) was also selected for the assistant accounts auditor post. Talking to Newslaundry, he says, “We have knocked on the door of each and every minister including the chief minister and education minister but no one cared about us. We visited the commissioner of RSK but every time they give us some excuse, saying it’s not in their hands and soon we all will be employed.”
Pal says RSK receives a yearly budget of ₹3.75 crore for the 2,208 selected candidates who are supposed to get a salary of ₹17,000—except they’ve not been hired yet. “It’s not difficult to understand where all this money is going.”
Many of these youths carried out protest marches across Bhopal and have been lathi-charged in response. A woman from Bhopal was even arrested by the police and put in lock-up for a day. Speaking to Newslaundry on condition of anonymity, she says, “Selected candidates from various parts of the state used to come to Bhopal to take part in a protest march. We always conducted a peaceful protest march. We went to the education minister Vijay Shah with our request to employ us as we were selected on merit but when we went to him, he told us, ‘Do whatever you want to do but your request cannot be entertained’.”
She says after approaching ministers and bureaucrats in April 2018, they carried out a protest where they climbed the water tank located at Jail Road near the police headquarters. “After that, we were told by the concerned department that they will start our counselling within a week. We waited for a month but nothing happened. Then we again approached the office of Vijay Shah but he didn’t reply.”
On July 5, a protest was carried out at Nilam Park. The woman says, “We threatened to immolate ourselves if the government does not accept our rightful demand for the jobs. We carried petrol to threaten to set ourselves on fire, but the police got violent and lathi-charged us. I, along with a dozen others, was arrested and kept in lock-up for a day.”
Pradip Napit, a 33-year-old resident of Burhar in Shahdol, says the government’s refusal to give him his job has turned his life upside down. “I was selected and was supposed to get married but when the family members of my wife-to-be came to know that I was not getting a joining call, they turned down the marriage. My father was suffering from cancer and I was with him in Mumbai, but I would still come to Bhopal to take part in protests because that is our right. We are not demanding jobs through recommendation or through any other illegal means. We earned it by working hard and passing the exam. Such corrupt ministers and bureaucrats who play with the lives of people should be shot dead.”
Newslaundry contacted RK Singh, joint commissioner of RSK, to ask why the selected candidates have not been given jobs. He says, “According to government policies, no one will now get a job with the state through Samvida Bharti (contract entry). The government implemented this policy from last year, therefore, this matter has been closed.”
This policy was implemented in 2017, but the candidates were selected two years before that in 2015. When asked about this, Singh says, “They were not given orders of joining and there was some problem related to shortage of vacancies.”
Newslaundry repeatedly tried to contact Vijay Shah, the education minister, but he didn’t respond.
This is not the only case of denial of jobs by the Madhya Pradesh government. In a similar instance, around 6,603 youths were selected and even called for the training as Sarvekshan Sahayak (assistant surveyors) by the Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Madhya Pradesh. This was in 2015, and they’ve still been denied their jobs. The selected candidates had joined the July 5 protest in Nilam Park.
It is significant to note that the Directorate of Economics and Statistics conducted the exam for vacancies in December 2014 across all 51 districts (now 52) of Madhya Pradesh. About 2.5 lakh candidates appeared, paying the examination fee of ₹670 per candidate. They were selected for the posts at a daily wage of ₹291 per day. It’s been three years since then and they remain without jobs.
Twenty-five-year-old Nitesh Chavada of Bhopal, who is currently preparing for the Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission exams, says, “In April 2015, the results were announced and I was called for training on March 11, 2016. After a day’s training, I was given the charge of ‘pravaliya panchayat’. Our job was to keep the record of funds given to the panchayat, birth and death rates, animals and other things in the panchayat.”
Chavada worked for 10 days, after which he was called to the administration office at Phanda Block in Bhopal. He was asked to fill a form with the details of record that he had surveyed over those 10 days. “When I submitted the form, they told me that I don’t have to come till they call me again. It’s been three years and I haven’t received any call from them.”
Chawada says the other people who were selected across the 51 districts have been treated in the same way. He says, “Some were asked to leave after 15 days and some were told to not come after a month.”
Chawada and other candidates approached the chief minister who told them he would look into the matter. But nothing has happened. He says, “We met many politicians across Bhopal but everything was in vain. Later we came to know that the survey works have been given to some private companies.” They then approached the Jabalpur High Court in 2017 which asked the state of Madhya Pradesh, the principal secretary, and the commissioner of the economics and statistics department to decide about their representation within four weeks of the court order dated November 3, 2017. Yet again, nothing happened.
Abhishek Vyas, 24 , a resident of Pipariya tehsil in Hoshangabad, has a similar story. He was called for training on February 19, 2017, after which he was never called again. “We met finance minister Jayant Malaiya and Gaurishankar Shejwar under whom the directorate of economics and statistics was, but they help helped us. We even handed our representations to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan during his Jan Ashirwad yatra in at least 30 districts. He is aware of this issue but no action has been taken.”
Vyas says a person without a job faces a lot of humiliation in society. “People make fun of them, make jokes about them, sometimes our own people don’t treat us with dignity. We passed the exam in a rightful manner, got selected, but are still being denied a job.”
Elections in Madhya Pradesh will take place on November 28. A few days before the model code of conduct came into effect, Vyas and Chamada said they received an email and a text message saying the government will transfer money into their account for the number of days they have worked. Chawada says, “Now the elections have come so they are doing this. I received a mail from the district planning officer saying they’ll transfer ₹291 per day for the 10 days I worked. For the last three years they weren’t bothered about my existence and now they’re sending money. It’s ridiculous. Many candidates have told them they don’t want this money.”
Vyas says he received a message from the treasury department saying ₹291 was credited into his account as he worked for one day. “These people are shameless. They can stoop to any level for votes.”
Newslaundry tried to contact Jayant Malaiya and Gaurishankar Shejwar, both ministers in the state government, but they were unavailable for comment.
It’s important to note that in 2015, the report on accidental deaths and suicides prepared by the National Crime Records Bureau said that 579 youths committed suicide in Madhya Pradesh due to unemployment. 471 were men and 108 were women. The report says 173 of these deaths were in Bhopal alone, and Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of suicides due to unemployment in the country.
Akshay Hunka, a Bhopal-based social activist, says, “The government is playing with the lives of youth. Unemployed youth have to face a lot of problems in our society and have to go through a lot of humiliation.” He also says the examination fees in Madhya Pradesh are the highest in the country. “The government is using public money to achieve their objective of publicity by doing Narmada Yatra and other such programmes. In order to refill the government treasury, these people then charge youngsters heavy examination fees which makes the government earn in crores.”
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