Controversially, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has brought a bill to set aside a quota of government jobs for poorer members of India's upper castes. This move has come weeks after the Bharatiya Janata Party's defeat in the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan and months before a challenging General Election.
The Opposition is questioning the timing and the intent of the government. With the government having failed in employment-generation and India seeing years of jobless growth, jobs have become a national priority and an election issue.
Has the government done enough to fill existing government vacancies? One of the world's largest employers is the Indian Railways and even they have failed on the job front. A Right to Information query the Indian Railways reveals a dismal picture with the Railways too.
When asked for a breakdown of number of people retiring and the number of job opportunities generated over the last decade, the data was disturbing. The results show that that from 2008 to 2018, not even in a single year, did more people get jobs than the number of employees who retired. As a result the number of vacancies went up to around 3 lakh.
Total No of Railway Employees during 2016-17 was 13,08,323. Eight years ago, in 2008-9, total No of Railway Employees was 13,86,011, which translates into the number of employees coming down by 77,688 in 8 years. According to the Railways, as on 01.09.2018, 2,66,790 (Provisional) of Group C and erstwhile Group D posts are vacant over zonal Rlys. And this doesn't include Group A and Group B services.
Last year with general elections around the corner, the government went into an overdrive. Late last year, the Railways had started the recruitment process for 1.2 lakh vacant posts of Group C, D, which will be concluded this year. But still it is less than half of the vacant posts in the Railways.