India File

As SMEs suffer, jobs scenario worsens

KV Kurmanath M Somasekhar | Updated on January 11, 2018

Seeking a future: At a job fair in Secunderabad. G RAMAKRISHNA

Failure to generate employment could be KCR’s Achilles heel

As the TRS Government celebrates three years in power, an old video is doing the rounds in social media. It has K Chandrasekhara Rao at a pre-2014 election campaign meeting. He says in his inimitable style that once Telangana is created there will be one lakh jobs, 10,000 each for the then 10 districts. The crowd laps it up with claps and whistles.

Come 2017, the Chief Minister finds himself on the back seat. Students, led by those in Osmania University are angry that he has hardly walked the talk. On the contrary his Government is trying to scuttle demands by unemployed youths.

The Socio-Economic Survey for 2017-18 says the employment generation is on a declining pace “due to inability of the enterprises to honour contractual payments, the migratory practices of labour, and largely mismatched skills.” According to the Union Government's Ministry of corporate Affairs data about 7,627 SMEs shut shop in Telangana during 2014-16. It didn’t help that KCR inherited a power-deficit state, impacting more than 50 per cent of the foundries and steel units.

Government claim

The State Government claims it has created 23,800 jobs in the last three years compared to 11,700 in the past 15 years in the combined State, says an official. But majority of the jobs are in the police department allege the Opposition.

“The Telangana movement hinged on the hope that local people will be able to decide on their future and utilise locally available resources to create employment and economic opportunities. I feel that the State government has failed on this front in the last three years,” M Kodandaram, Convener of the Telangana Joint Action Committee (T-JAC), which spearheaded the movement for bifurcation of the State. While KCR has plugged the power deficit, he has also put in place a new Industrial Policy. The Government has also made moves to create clusters and mega projects. But, these much talked about projects, including Pharma City and Textile Park, are yet to take off.

A senior government official said the State has signed deals worth ₹71,075 crore in the last three years under the Telangana State Industrial Project Approval and Self Certification System. “When all the 3,765 agreements are honoured, about 2.40 lakh jobs will be created,” he claimed.

“The TRS manifesto had reflected the aspirations of the movement. But when it comes to implementation of key promises, it’s failed. The government is following the development model that the rulers in the combined Andhra Pradesh followed. It is city (Hyderabad) centric. What we need is something for districts,” Kodandaram argues.

The silver lining for the Government in the last three years was the IT & ITES sectors, with multinationals and Indian companies increasing their investments. This fuelled a resurgence in the realty sector.

But then, these companies generate white collar jobs. To provide jobs for the rest, the Government needs to focus on skill development and training. The National Skill Development Corporation has taken some initiatives and a few private companies like TMI, Talent Sprint are complementing Government efforts.

Published on May 22, 2017

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