AT the call of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and the Tribal Youth Federation (TYF), the youth of Tripura have come on to the streets of Agartala demanding materialisation of the election promise of the ruling BJP. Their slogan ‘Where is my job?’ received tremendous response from the masses of the state, both tribals and non tribals, in the plains and the hills. In most of the sub-divisions, demonstrations are being held with banners asking ‘Where is my job?’ which has attracted public attention.
In one such demonstration held in the state capital on August 21, thousands of youth joined a long procession which would herald a much bigger struggle in the coming days if the government fails to implement the promises and continues to betray state's youth. The youth march started from ‘Chhatra-Juba Bhavan’ Melarmath, and covered all the main roads of the city. The procession received solidarity from commuters and was concluded with a brief meeting addressed by youth leaders.
The deceptive and cheap slogans that the BJP fooled the people with, prior to the 2018 assembly election appeared to have boomeranged now for the ruling party.
Among the 299 cosmetic promises laid down in the ‘Vision Document’ which was pompously published by the then finance minister Arun Jaitly, and used as election manifesto during the election campaign, there were several promises of providing jobs to the unemployed youth of the state. The document included promises like recruitment of 50,000 posts in various government departments every year, jobs in government or in private farms to every family with unemployed youth, 200 work days under MGNREGA with a daily wage of Rs 340 and finally justice to the 10,323 teachers retrenched by the court verdict, on humanitarian grounds.
The top leaders of the BJP including Sunil Deodhar, the then Tripura state in-charge of the BJP and one of the architects of the stormy BJP campaign in the state, went on to declare in several mass rallies amid high applauses that whoever wanted to join in any job only need to give a missed call to his mobile number and a job would knock their door.
The retrenched 10,323 teachers were promised to be reinstated in their respective posts if necessary by enacting an Act in the parliament and now these teachers are facing extreme police brutality for coming on the streets demanding their reinstatement or an alternative arrangement. More than 100 of them died of suicide out of despair and extreme economic hardship.
TO THE PROMISES
The BJP’s empty promises were exposed to the state youth within a short period when they saw that government recruitments have been totally stopped. The posts which got vacated with superannuation of the incumbent employees are being abolished forever. A good number of employees got retired during the last three and a half years of the coalition regime. In most of the offices, there is acute shortage of staff causing deadlock even in sustaining skeletal works. Government hospitals are running under tremendous shortage of doctors, nurses, para-medic staff etc., causing inhuman deterioration in medical and nursing services in the government hospitals.
Even though the selection process of some cadre posts was completed by the Tripura Public Service Commission (TPSC) during the Left Front regime, the newly assumed BJP government has either cancelled appointments for some posts or kept recruitments in some others in abeyance. Some of the aspirants have contested the government decision in the court. The government, instead of making fresh recruitments, is trying to run the offices with outsourcing staff. This has enraged the youth of the state.
The government is also juggling with the number of unemployed youth in the state. During the assembly election, the BJP alleged that the Left Front government had burdened the state with seven lakh unemployed. But after assuming power, the chief minister started propagating that the number of unemployed youth in the state is only 1.7 lakh. Nobody in the state knows what magic reduced unemployment by such a huge number.
Unemployment problem may not be solved only by government recruitment. Large scale industrialisation along with infrastructure development is required to solve this problem. But, the Left Front government during its rule, with its limited resources, continued to fill up the vacant posts regularly defying the direction of the central government to downsize the employees strength. It seems the present BJP government is only pursuing the central government policy of downsizing and thereby pushing the unemployment problem to the worst here.
Tripura achieved awards, consecutively for several years, for creating assets by generating the highest rate of jobs in the country during the Left Front regime, under the MGNREGA scheme. Every card holder was provided nearly 100 days of work every year. Apart from MGNREGA, the Left Front government introduced Tripura Urban Employment Project (TUEP) like that of MNREGA for the urban poor.
However, under the BJP regime, the number of man-days has been largely reduced. MGNREGA fund is being siphoned away by a section of so-called BJP volunteers depriving the workers of their actual wage. In many places, earth-works under MGNREGA are being done by JCB machines most illegally. Payment to the workers is being made at unusually late hours.
Given these developments, the youth of the state are realising, with their hard and costly experiences, that whatever tall and amazing promises the BJP made, are all to fool the people and are not made with an intention to be fulfilled.