Introduction We are now witnessing very unwelcome trends in India. Growing inequalities are causing huge tensions everywhere. The advanced technology in terms of the most sophisticated cell phones, computers, laptops and so on, is a big plus for all. However, the benefits of this have reached only a very few in terms of employment. The absolute number of people in regular jobs with salary and perks and the bonus is shrinking, day after day. To address the growing problem of unemployment in India, the All India Technical Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has formulated a fairly short-sighted scheme called the NEET scheme of training, where the employers need to just give Rs.12,000 approximately and employ fresh diploma holders or even the tenth standard pass candidates and then train them for a maximum period of three years. The poor souls are not even given PF or ESI, which are the statutory benefits. This NEEM scheme is supposed to be part of the "Skill India" pet scheme of the Prime Minister of India. This can work only when the poor employee is ready to get regular employment in another establishment where his skills can be put to immediate use. This never happens. The poor employee goes to another NEEM scheme job where he is re-trained again. He is put on another job after the initial training. Where the learning curve is less, the poor guy gets to do more or less the same job as the regular worker. He naturally has heartburn when he sees the other regular guys getting paid much more than him for doing the same job. This is a perfect example of underemployment. The person is shattered and frustrated as the threat of unemployment simply makes him road around in such contract jobs.
Be that as it may, the socio-economic implications of such a sad state of affairs with around ten crores educated unemployed, roaming the streets of the metro cities, is a very frightening scenario indeed. We are discussing the social implications of this sad state of affairs. The solutions are very complex and are beyond the scope of this article.
The "time pass" attitudes of unemployed youth This is a very dangerous and unhealthy trend. This author met with a few unemployed youths in Ranchi, a couple of years ago. They were roaming around in their motorcycles and were heading towards a cinema theatre. They were happy that they would meet with their girlfriends. When quizzed, they just said, "uncle, that is a very good time pass". When asked why they did not aspire to go for any job, one of them replied, " I do not have money to give to the minister. How can I get a job?". The entire conversation was in Hindi. They were sorry that their English was so bad and wondered aloud as to how South Indians speak very good English.
The aforesaid conversation is indicative of a trend. In all places in India, one can notice these motorcycle gangs. These men have no ambition to even earn something. For them, the job means the Government job. Ten hundred thousand rupees is the going rate for a very ordinary Government job in Tamil Nadu. There are thousands who somehow manage to give this money to the Minister or his chamcha and expect to be employed by the State Government. This attitude is very atrocious but this is a sad reality of India. In the meanwhile, for the educated unemployed, it is only a "time pass". This attitude is so negative and prevents them from taking up even the pure language oriented entry level BPO jobs that are available everywhere. Chennai is said to be the BPO capital of India, as the salaries are somewhat lower than in other metro cities. Those who only know Hindi and not a single word of English, but are graduates through the Hindi medium, do find such jobs where the knowledge of the language is enough. Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, and Malayalam jobs in the BPO industry are available. The salaries range from Rs.6500 to Rs.10,000/-. Those who are smart and learn spoken English move on to the higher paying English BPO jobs. But even these jobs are not taken up by the 'time pass" graduates, everywhere in India.
The social evil dangers In the past decade in most Tamil and Telugu movies, a gangster is shown controlling armies of unemployed educated youth who roam around, do all sorts of anti-social activities like threatening the businessmen to part with huge amounts to merely survive and then take to booze as if there is no tomorrow. The so-called "item song" is centered around booze and the environment is one where the fights between the hero and other bad men start. The very sad truth is that real life almost mirrors such dangerous attitudes. The recent Pollachi tragedy, where a big sex racket has been going on for as many as seven years, is another dangerous dimension to this sad state of affairs. Though two of the culprits were graduates, they had taken the easy route to make money. This is very dangerous for the peace in the entire State. Booze, chasing girls, drugs and what have you are part of their lives. Roaming around without any aim are supposed to be a way of life of most unemployed educated youth. Of course, not everyone is like that. There are thousands who earn money even as auto drivers, or electricians or motor mechanics or AC mechanics. A growing tribe is setting up small businesses in the city of Coimbatore and other major cities of South India. Even in the smaller towns like Thrissur in Kerala. Yet, we need to be concerned about social evils. Thinking that these problems will have a solution on their own, is just not good.
Spectra of increased violence everywhere Jilted lovers throwing acids on their former lovers is so common. Most of these are unemployed graduates. We seem to be having no answers for the armies of unemployed youth who join the political parties and indulge in all sorts of violence to make money. They are used to silence people and threaten people who refuse to part with their lands. There are so many Tamil and Telugu movies that seem to be teaching them all the dirty tricks. What will happen if these trends continue? In every town, we have organized gangs that operate with full support and blessings of the police and ruling party politicians. Every single political person makes money through Government contracts and it is this money that is used to fund all sorts of elections. Every single sociologist knows that this is going on. No one has any solution as to how to stop this. The huge economic implications in terms of generation of huge black money is somehow not taken into account in any calculation by the best of economists. For them, perhaps such corruption is a "given".
The danger to girls/women of all ages The worst of violence against women is perpetrated by educated unemployed youth. They are possibly very frustrated and to ventilate their frustration, they resort to such crimes. No one is ever safe. Even girls, as young as six or seven years old are targets of such violence. The physical violence against women is now increasing by leaps and bounds. The police are unable to monitor every single aspect of this problem, as it happens in so many pockets. The problem is also very complex and has to be addressed in a holistic manner. For example, it is wise to make moral instruction on respecting girls compulsory, right from the seventh standard in schools. This is compulsory in colleges too. Otherwise, we will land up in utter chaos.
A very uncertain future with no action plan This is even more dangerous. Years ago, the banks and the LIC employed thousands of educated youth on regular rolls as clerks and as officers. This has led to very good consequences as they made the growth of a huge service sector possible. Today, when all the jobs have become contractual, even in banks, the growth of the service sector is restricted to the growth of a huge number of establishments catering to the reduced purchasing power of the same masses, who are entering employment, but not on regular rolls. When the Government will come out of the NEEM obsession is not clear either.
Conclusion The social consequences of the educated unemployed and increase in their numbers, day after day, is a big worry for everyone. This should never happen in the first place. Let us take the social implications very seriously and suggest some solutions that can work, to the powers that be, for some action.