Who is unemployed?
Payment of unemployment allowance of Rs. 3000 to the Degree holders and Rs. 1500 to the Diploma holders is part of the promises made in manifesto presented by the Congress on the eve of Karnataka Assembly elections. Even after assuming the power consequent to victory attained, the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar have affirmed and made it clear that they accept their pledge in principle. Accordingly an order to this effect has also been issued. If the Congress had stated before election that the guarantees are accepted in principle, it would have provided opportunity to the voters also to say that they would also accept in principle to vote for the party without actually voting. It must be accepted that the unemployed graduates or diploma holders need a little financial support to meet the travelling expenses to attend to interview, cost of application fee etc. In this regard, payment of unemployment allowance cannot be taken unkindly. It must be construed that the offer of unemployment is the tacit admission by the government of its inability to create employment opportunities. When the government is unable to provide employment, the payment of unemployment allowance is some solace. What is astonishing is that the unemployment allowance is not being paid in the Congress-ruled states of Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh whereas in Karnataka the Congress rode to power on the strength of these sops. The question is who is unemployed? It goes without saying that any one after the completion of degree or diploma not earning or not being able to earn anything is unemployed. There are graduates and diploma holders working in private firms or private companies for paltry sums. Their jobs will always be in peril since they are liable to be terminated from service at the drop of a hat if anything of little consequence happens. There can be other reason also that those working in private firms and companies may be forced to quit the job on their own unable to withstand the persecution or harassment from the management. Those without job security are also to be treated as ‘unemployed’. There is also the possibility of people running good business with hefty income to hoodwink the government to claim and get the unemployment allowance. It is foolishness to think that an unemployed person would like to be unemployed forever just for the sake of Rs. 3000 or Rs. 1500. With the passage of time, the money value of unemployment allowance amount also erodes. The Rs. 3000 and Rs. 1500 do not fetch the same amount of goods and services after 2 or 3 years, let alone after 5 or 10 years. The firm or company will be in the name of a certain person. His son or daughter will also be contributing for the improvement of business who does not need employment. But when money comes to the unemployed from the government, the son or daughter of a big businessman is also an unemployed in the eyes of government. Therefore those who are not in need of unemployment allowance will also claim the amount. People in fact do not need a government that offers freebies. All the vacancies in government have to be filled and posts have to be created in time to meet the growing requirements for service from the government departments. Those working in private firms and companies need job security. Payment of Wages Act and Minimum Wages Act are in support of the underemployed. But the provisions of the Acts are not being applied everywhere. A government that guarantees jobs in private firms or companies is needed because everyone cannot get the government job. The hands of private management have to be tied so that it does not throw out an employee for silly reasons. Freedom to sack an employee who is involved in embezzlement of cash or deliberately tampering the documents for personal gains should not be curtailed. Full employment dispenses with the need for political parties to offer free sops. So far, no government has provided employment to all the needy. But the unemployment problem is the convenient tool for the opposition parties to attack the government. What is the cooling period between the date of obtaining degree/diploma and such degree or diploma holder is supposed to be in employment for the purpose of payment of unemployment allowance? A degree/diploma holder cannot be declared as an unemployed soon after the result comes. Therefore the cooling period for not paying allowance must be announced. There is also the need for the Karnataka government to clarify whether the graduates include post graduates also for the purpose of payment of allowance. The politicians are very well known for finding escapist route. If a graduate can be paid, natural justice demands that a post-graduate cannot be denied. But a government faced with added financial burden is likely to say that post-graduates are not included. If it is done so, it would be gross injustice. A higher amount for post-graduates cannot be asked. At least graduates must include post-graduates also if they are unemployed.
Meanwhile, any government, especially government at the centre, must bestow its attention for job creation, must fill up the existing vacancies apart from creating new posts to meet the growing needs of service from citizens, must ensure job security for those working in private firms if they are registered under the Indian Companies Act 1956. Job security in private sectors solves over half of the unemployment problem.