Shillong grads face grim job scenario

COVID-19 Education

Unsure whether to seek employment or study further

Students should register at employment exchange to increase their chances for employment” says R. Rapthap, IAS officer

With unemployment rising in the time of Covid, new graduates are searching for jobs.

Deepkala Ghale, a student of mass media at St Anthony’s College, Shillong, informed The Observer: “The pandemic has provided me with ample time to do online courses and build my portfolio. But there are no internships, fewer options for further studies, and unavailability of quality jobs. Especially in the private sector, I saw people face a lot of problems. I prefer a government job because it has more job security.” 

Thousands of Meghalaya’s young boys and girls have returned to the state from different parts of the country and outside India where they were working. However, a few are permanently unemployed. Some people from Meghalaya have been temporarily laid off by their employers. 

D. Kharbithai, an MSc student at Pondicherry University, said: “With the uncertainty around, the assurance of payment every month is comforting. Having a job also lets me pursue other interests, like further studies. It has been challenging to apply for jobs with an online exam because I did not meet the deadline for job interviews.”

Students in Meghalaya are worried about their future. They are not sure whether they should look for a job or obtain a degree. After paying high fees, students expect to get employed to pay off their student loans and not become a burden on their families.

Cacillia G. Thangkhiew, an HR recruiter at the Meghalaya Basin Development Authority, Shillong, said: “There is a restriction on recruiting graduate students…. Job Security is not a problem, but performance is a priority as business is limited because of the pandemic. From my understanding, we are hiring (rather) than laying off employees.” 

Most colleges have found initiating the placement process challenging. Even though the placement rate is not 100%, they are shouldering the responsibility of arranging job interviews for their students.

In view of the pooreconomic conditions, many firms are not hiring as their capital growth is zero.

R. Rapthap, IAS, Additional Secretary of the Labour Department of Meghalaya, said unemployment is a complex issue. The department works on different levels to monitor the employment scenario in the state. Students should register at employment exchanges to increase chances of their getting hired. The government cannot provide all youth jobs.

When local youths lack specific skill sets, outsiders fill in the gap, he said. Graduates only seek white-collar jobs and do not venture out to be self-employed. The government provides specific schemes, and different banks offer individual loans to business startups. The government can only create jobs depending on the performance of the economy, Rapthap added.

B. Hajong, MCS, Director of Employment and Craftsmen Training, Meghalaya, said: “The future generation should be ready to adapt to the very fast-changing demands of industries. The government has brought out flagship programs like Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana. There is ample opportunity for placement after skill training.”

The Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushalya Yojana is a skilling and placement initiative of the Ministry of Rural Development which is meant to address unemployment. 

Many Meghalaya government departments have schemes and programmes aimed at skilling youths. The scope of creating jobs in the government sector is not an easy task. “The directorate has had 2,574 registrations. These applicants will receive short-term skills. Private industries and employers are also encouraged to hire local youth,” he added. 

According to the Periodic Labour Force Survey report (July 2017-June 2018) published by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation in May 2019, Meghalaya’s unemployment rate is 1.6%.


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