Rashi Aditi Ghosh /ZRG
Four flagship social welfare schemes promoted by the UPA government have registered a fall in promised employment assistance and generation levels over the years with the decline being the highest in 2012-13.
According to the latest data by labour and employment ministry, schemes like Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), Swaranjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and Swarna Jayanti Shahri Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY) reveal a picture of declining employment generation since 2010-2011.
The self employment assistance provided under SGSY witnessed a decline year on year from 21.10 lakh in 2010-11 to 5.69 lakh until January 2013, representing about 73 per cent fall. Similarly under the SJSRY (urban employment scheme) assistance through skill training fell from 1.57 lakh to 0.43 lakh until February 2013.
Two other important social welfare schemes targeted at growing employment avenues too suffered a decline during the period under review. PMEGP and MGNREGA too reported lower employment generation by 59 per cent and 36 per cent respectively during 2012-13. The fall for the employment scheme under PMEGP was accounted for until January 2013. MGNREGA data for 2012-13 is accounted for until February this year.
Attributing the fall to the inadequate infrastructure, Suryamani Roul, Senior vice president at ACCESS development services said, “There has to be some amount of ground work done before initiating employment focus flagship schemes. The state machineries that are held responsible for the implementation of these schemes lack proper infrastructure, allocation and equipments.”
The UPA government has made claims in regard to “making continuous efforts for creating additional job opportunities for educated and unemployed professionals in the private and public sectors”. From its own admission the unemployment rate in India increased from 2.5 per cent in 2009-2010 to 3.8 per cent in 2011-12. The data for 2012-13 is not officially available yet.
Talking of “stagnant approach” of job generating schemes, Shailendra Tiwari at Seva Mandir, an NGO working on rural and tribal development issues said, “Schemes like MGNREGA which provides employment in rural areas are underperforming due to its low connectivity with youth. Educated youth are ambitious and they prefer migrating to the urban areas for better opportunities rather than getting enrolled to MGNREGA.”
Indicating the increasing gap between the job satisfaction and standard of living, Roul at ACCESS further added, “Government lacks holistic approach towards employment of people in India. When the standard of living is so high, how can people survive with the monotonous low waged employment provided within these welfare schemes?”