September 26, 2021

Delhi: Youth March in the Capital demanding Jobs

Anusha Paul

HUNDREDS of youth in the capital city marched to the CM Arvind Kejriwal’s residence on Sunday, September 12, under the banner of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), Delhi state committee. Following a protest demonstration against the increasing unemployment, unaffordable education and deteriorating public healthcare system, a memorandum of demands was submitted to the offices of the chief minister and lieutenant governor.

Among the primary demands is the immediate starting of recruitment to fill the vacant government posts in Delhi, which is a state with the seventh-highest unemployment in the country. Most of the burden of this unemployment falls on the youth. In the age group 20-24, one in two young workers are unemployed, according to data compiled by CMIE for the period from January to April 2021. A quarter of workers in the age group 25-29 have no jobs. The inequality faced by women in all aspects of their socio-economic life is also reflected in unemployment, which in the case of Delhi's women is more than double the average, at 36.48 per cent. As in the case of men, it is the young women who are suffering the most from this crisis.

The unemployment rate in Delhi is a shocking 67.78 per cent among women in the age group 20-24, 25.30 per cent among the age group 25-29 and 48.8 per cent among the age group 30-34. In these grave circumstances, about 50 per cent of all the sanctioned Delhi government posts remain vacant. Nine lakh central government posts, most of which are located in Delhi, also remain vacant. Filling up all the vacant posts in the central government and in different state governments will in itself provide employment to 60 lakh workers in the country. “Government will have to fill these posts, not by hiring through contractors as it has been doing, but by direct recruitment of employees by the government,” secretary of DYFI Delhi state committee, Aman Saini insisted. “Has Kejriwal forgotten his election promise of regularising the employment of those workers hired on contract?” He also stressed the need to introduce, along the lines of MGNREGA, the Bhagat Singh Urban Employment Guarantee Act (BSUEGA) to ensure the right to employment is fulfilled in urban areas.

Should the government fail to provide jobs, every unemployed youth should be entitled to an unemployment allowance of at Rs 5,000 per month. "Despite the increase in mohalla clinics and other such facilities, the number of government hospitals, maternity homes and sub-centres in Delhi has seen a significant reduction under your tenure," states the memorandum to demands handed to the CM. "Beds-availability has seen a continuous reduction for three consecutive years before the pandemic, as a consequence of which Delhi has witnessed deaths at every corner, during the second-wave. It should therefore now be a top priority of the Delhi government to set up new government-owned district hospitals and intensify the universal vaccination program,” it adds.

Amidst the increasing costs and declining incomes, the hiked fee for CBSE board exams is extorting thousands of rupees from parents who are struggling to make ends meet. School drop-outs in Delhi are at a record high. Under these circumstances, the scrapping of examination fees and provision of free schooling from KG to PG is absolutely essential to ensure that the right to education is realised.

Sanjay Singh, president of DYFI Delhi state committee reminded the AAP government that the “MCD elections are around the corner,” warning that “if the government fails to meet our demands, we will mobilise in our localities to defeat both AAP and BJP in this election.” Returning to the demonstration after submission of the memorandum of demands, Anusha Paul, treasurer of the committee, said that both the offices of the CM and the LG have received the memorandum with a signature. “We were assured that our demands will be considered seriously and that the CM and the LG will meet us in the coming days. However, if the demands are not met, let the government not make the mistake of assuming our campaign is over. DYFI will intensify this campaign into a mass movement if the government drags its feet.”