As many as 7,000 people — mostly college graduates — applied for 13 waiter jobs at the secretariat canteen in Maharashtra recently, giving credence to reports of rising unemployment in the state. The job advertisement only required candidates to be educated up to Class 4.

Nationalist Congress Party leader Nawab Malik termed it as a symptom of the Maharashtra government’s failure to generate adequate employment opportunities for its youth. “There are no new industries coming up in Maharashtra, and even construction projects are stalled. There are simply no new projects. There is a full-blown crisis and the people are suffering,” he said.

The BJP government in the state denied the allegation. “We cannot stop anyone from applying anywhere. We have added many jobs and the numbers are healthy,” insisted Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar.

Nevertheless, employment statistics do not support the state government’s contention. According to available data, the number of unemployed people in the state rose from 33.56 lakh in 2016 to 42.2 lakh this year while the number of people getting gainful employment dipped by 17,000 in the same period.

A national recruitment drive recently held by the Indian Railways for menial positions brought multitudes of job applicants to New Delhi from places across India, with nearly 19 million applying for 63,000 vacancies.

However, Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Prakash Javadekar recently rejected claims that such instances point at rising unemployment in the country. While Mr Goyal attributed the high count of applicants to the “lure of employment security in a government job”, Mr Javadekar said that people “who choose not to work” cannot be considered unemployed.

The opposition regularly targets Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his alleged failure to fulfill his pre-election promise of generating two crore jobs a year.


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