It is my type of work or no work
Who wants low paying, back breaking jobs in cities where we cannot live and end up losing money?
In the first part of the article, I explained that many young people are not looking for jobs. Here, I want to tell you why we are not interested in the jobs available and are willingly unemployed.
Why many of us are not in jobs?
Let me start by saying that I am not looking for ‘any type’ of work. I am looking for only ‘my type’ of work. I am ‘willingly unemployed’. Let me explain why do I stay willingly unemployed.
I am looking for smart work. A good example is MGNREGA or the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. The work is very less. I have to work for 2 hours. The wages may be low, but I save most of it and it gives me the flexibility to do what I want. Now you know why the Modi government increased the MGNREGA allocation to Rs 60,000 crore in the 2019-20 Budget from Rs 48,000 crore two years ago.
Ninety nine percent of the new jobs are created in the private sector or controlled by private contractors/people. I am not qualified or skilled for high-paying private sector jobs. My graduate friends understand that their skills are not adequate after attending multiple interviews. Non-graduates like me know that good employers in the private sector do not employ school dropouts and hence I don’t expect jobs from them. Contractors and small entrepreneurs squeeze us with low salaries, no benefits and very tough working conditions. They are not ‘my type’ of jobs.
Stuck over Salary:
Why does a welder certified by the Skill Ministry after six months of training get minimum wages while a delivery boy in Swiggy gets twice that amount? Why does a fresh postman in India Post (government job) get thrice the minimum wages when a fresh diploma holder is paid less than minimum wages? Who is accountable to ensure that skilled workmen get a fair salary? What is the Skill Ministry or National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) doing about making sure that we get fair salaries? The NSDC was quick to publish National Occupational Standards for over 2,500 jobs to tell us what we must learn and do, but it has not recommended what salaries employers should pay? So the next time when you want to know why youth are willingly unemployed, please study why the minimum wages are so low in this country? I met a few skilled workmen from Germany and do you know that many of them get paid much more than white collared workers in that country. Many of them have fancy cars and live in big houses? Why is this the other way around in India?
Jobs are not where I am: So, I have to migrate to bigger cities. Bigger the city, bigger are the costs. Let me tell you about the cost of living in large cities. When we migrate, our first problem is getting a place to stay at a rent that we can afford within our low salaries. Cheaper rentals are so far away that we need to travel for 1 to 2 hours, either way, to work. On top of that, we are asked to pay rental deposits when we have not even got our first salary. If you add the cost of rent, travel and food, you will find that the cost is much more than the salary we get. We are forced to borrow from our father or friends to meet the gap. So why are we working if we cannot save a rupee? This is the question my father asks whenever I ask for his help. What should I tell him?
Migration also means dislocation: Studies of our children are affected. We have no identity and are treated with suspicion by the local people. Police suspect us and local politicians don’t like us. So, the quality of life in the migration city is unbearable. The only people who migrate now are those who become very desperate because of drought or where MGNREGA is not implemented.
Costs of Migration:
Travel cost and costs of education are much higher. Healthcare costs increase. So, I go out of pocket soon and realise that it is better to be at home. My friends and my parents have heard negative stories from those who went to big cities and came back impoverished or in disgrace. Some face police issues or had to abscond after borrowing from local goons in the city and came back in disgrace. Most come back after losing money. So, migration for jobs is a loss-making proposition for most of us.
No Support System:
I want to know why the government, which wants us to get skilled and look for jobs, does not set up Skill hostels where we can stay in the first six months at low costs and learn the trade. This will help us save especially when our salaries are low.
Better off staying at home: On the other hand, earning and saving opportunities are improving at home. We get an unemployment stipend from some State governments. My farmer father gets his pension. And also gets farmer direct transfer payments. When we want to work, there is MGNREGA. We get subsidised groceries and our cost of living at home is far lower than in cities. So, we are better off staying at home and look for the ‘right type’ of jobs.
Right type of job:
Government jobs or PSU jobs are the best for me. Government pays the best. There are job security and medical benefits. I get leave and other benefits. I don’t have to work very hard. So the right job for me is ‘government job’ or ‘local job where I need not work too hard’. There is no shame in waiting for the right job. A lot of my friends are also waiting, and my parents don’t mind. Why should you?
Now you know why we are not angry with the government. We understand that there are very few government jobs and the competition is very hectic. So, if the government gives us more money at home, gives our parents more direct transfer, hopefully, waive our Mudra loans, we will vote for it. Who wants low paying, back-breaking jobs in cities where we cannot live and end up losing money? Concluded
Author: T Muralidharan
Name of publication: Telangana Today
Date published on: 07 February 2019
published in: Hyderabad