'Unemployment scenario under control'
National Crime Records Bureau statistics for 2012 show that out of 1,35,445 suicide victims, 1,731 ended their lives due to unemployment. Tamil Nadu reported the highest number of suicides (16,927), with 211 deaths due to unemployment.
“In Tamil Nadu, where the economy is booming, if a person has the will and wish to work, there is no way he can be unemployed,” claimed G Prakash, Director, Department of Employment and Training, Guindy, which functions under the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
In fact, the high growth has led to a supply deficit in labour and supervisory levels, the IAS officer said. Besides, several schemes offering free skill training are also run by the department in various districts. When asked about the unemployment scenario in the State, he quipped – “Under control.” While the national figures hover around 11-12 per cent, it is about nine per cent here. About one crore persons are registered with the 32 employment exchanges and five special employment exchanges across the State. While the huge data base indicates the continuing demand for jobs in the government, a majority of the registrants are already working in the private sector.
And following a directive from Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, allowing students who have completed Std 10 and Plus Two to register at the employment exchanges, the figures further expanded.
Another major factor is the online registration facility. “Large queues at the employment exchanges are now history,” the director said. “Job seekers can register online and once they get registered at our portal, they can continuously upgrade their qualifications.”
While catering primarily to the government departments “strictly on a seniority basis,” the department has extended its services to the private sector too. “Suppose a leading motor company wants 1,000 B Sc graduates, we supply a list,” the IAS official said.
But the corporate poser is: Are these graduates job-ready? As an effective response, the government has stepped up allocation for State Skill Development Mission from `75 crore to `100 crore. What is more, DoET has also embarked on skill training programmes for employed persons and students of government arts and science colleges and polytechnics.
For the physically challenged, a special employment exchange near the Guindy campus acts as the nodal agency. For the SCs, there are separate offices in Coimbatore, Cuddalore, Tiruchy, Villupuram and Tirunelveli. “We offer career guidance and counselling,” the director said. “There is a separate centre for STs in Ooty, which has a large concentration of tribal population.” Unemployment assistance is granted on the basis of a certificate issued by the revenue department. “The government has sanctioned about `60 crore for the purpose,” Prakash said. “It is ranges from `150-300 a month, but the objective is to help them meet the application cost.” To the jobseeker, the IAS officer has a strong message: In a State as developed as Tamil Nadu, opportunities are everywhere. A job-seeker must develop at least one special skill.