India calling….

In what is rapidly turning into a series of perspectives on youth unemployment and opportunities for young people, @EstrellaAcharya offers the view of a woman entering the world of employment in India.

“Congratulations! You’ve passed with distinction.”  So,what now?

“Come join our MNC : get paid in Euros/Dollars plus benefits”

In my last year of university, we’d seen this ad posted all over the campus. The MNC in question was IBM and they’d said that candidates from any stream were welcome to interview as they would provide any training needed. Naturally we (my friends and I) were very excited. This seemed to be a golden opportunity for us freshers, especially so because otherwise we would have been lost in the maze of what is called ‘the real world’ a.k.a unemployment, as the fresh crop of graduates and postgraduates was inversely proportional to the number of jobs. Every single company wants ‘experience’ but  I’m still searching  for the shop in the market that sells it, maybe it is a course offered by some elite institute. Surely it can’t be as simple as this.


So back to this so called ‘Golden Opportunity’.

Firstly, we found that this was not IBM per se, but another firm that had a tie-up with IBM, essentially a BPO. Yes, outsourcing one of the evils of the modern economy. Ever thought what the people who actually do this job are paid? You’d think: yeah,at least you get jobs! But herein lies the catch-

40 hours per week, 8 casual leaves(paid holiday) per year, plus you get a contract. Just wowed by it, aren’t you? You haven’t heard the salary yet, it’s about 12000-15000 per month. Wait, you don’t see the catch yet, do you? The salary is in INR, that is the rupee. When calculated in dollars it’d be about 202-252 USD and in Euros about 154-192;not seeing it yet?

This is the gross amount and the job would be at night, while that wouldn’t be a big problem, there is the much coveted contract(?) which gives you no experience at all, in the job you desire. It’s not bad. Indeed not! But is it good? Keep in mind that you’d have to move to a different city, an expensive one. The rent would take about two-fifths of your salary if you’re lucky, more if you are not and we’re talking about bedsits or studio apartments.

I was about to take this job, but I decided not to at the final moment. I’ve a supportive family, who are the typical bourgeois, not well to do, not nearly that but not scraping at the bottom. I enrolled in a renowned language institute in another city and learnt French for three years.


So now I’m an inexperienced overqualified know-it-all! Woe is me …

Oh, right! I do have a job, I teach. Why the lengthy article(otherwise called harping) on unemployment then, you may ask. And you’d be right in doing so. Because while I do love teaching, it has its ups and downs. The most notable is that we’re vastly underpaid….with the rate of inflation, all I will be able to afford in a couple of years would be peanuts, literally.

I have to provide tutorials to earn some extra cash which keeps me supplied with my drug of choice, books! Therefore, I’m looking again into other, greener pastures, but there may not be one.

Still, I’m mostly content.

Onto other more serious matter. Surveys suggest that most profitable companies, both national and international, prefer using temporary workers or machines, rather than skilled workers, for long term jobs.

Indeed, large enterprises keep increasing the part of interim workers, free of social benefits, as opposed to fully entitled employees.

As a result: 93% of Indian workers do so in an “informal” way, that is to say, without health insurance, retirement pensions or other basic benefits. There is also the problem of skill mismatch, as much as two-thirds of young workers receive below average wages and are engaged in work for which they are either over-qualified or under-qualified. Training institutes in various states offer Rs 4000-6000(51-77Eur/67-101USD) to university graduates as faculty. Some months before, when SBI – the nation’s biggest bank — set out to recruit 1,500 employees, some 1.7 million applications arrived (yeah,we’re the 2nd most populous nation).

Most of the youth either work part-time, or as temps. So they are  jobless quite often.

Government jobs have a sense of permanence to them, but there is a biiig(that big) drawback there too. India, where most of the population are Hindu, has a major problem. Casteism(division of people into castes in Hinduism) which was more prevalent in the past led to the system of reservation today. Yes, you read correctly. Reservation in jobs, education etc. according to castes, so while I (being in General caste) have to pay Rs 350/2000 for a form to apply for a college or a job(like SBI), people in lower or scheduled castes/tribes have to pay about Rs 50/500 for the same thing. This is not only specific to these areas, but applies in many aspects of our economy. Our reservation system which should be based on SEZ (special economic zone/poor)or merit is instead based on caste, which as much of an evil, only now it is the other way around. Whereas once the higher castes were powerful, it is now the sometimes the undeserved who gain all the benefits, instead of people who really need it(who could be from any class/caste).

This is not only laughable,it is laughably sad. I’m just hoping that my vote counts and people open their eyes to the problem of unemployment and the reasons why.

Here’s hoping for a better brighter future!Cheers!

You can read more from @EstrellaAcharya on her blog:
Further reading:

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