DC EDIT | Fill rail, govt vacancies to keep promises to people

As per the Union government spokesperson, one million people are likely to get appointment orders in the next one-and-a-half years

If politics is the art of the possible, then Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one of the most skilful artistes of our times. He can create an atmosphere to make people want to hear or see something done before he says or does it, leaving his critics disarmed and opponents stumped.

The latest is his directive to fill the vacancies in government and public sector undertakings on a mission mode in the next 18 months. As per the Union government spokesperson, one million people are likely to get appointment orders in the next one-and-a-half years. All ministries and departments have been instructed to fill up the posts; confabulations have already started to meet the target and the deadline.

The very thought of such a mass recruitment could spread cheer around a society and an economy that has very little to look up to these days. The Reserve Bank of India is negotiating one of the toughest times now, working with hard permutations and combinations dictated by high inflation, rising prices, joblessness, a war and the gloomy global outlook.

The pandemic Covid-19 that wreaked havoc with the economy has not gone anywhere. And it is not just the pandemic that spread gloom: there is widespread apprehension that the very idea of India is being questioned now, and the Prime Minister’s own party and its friends are in the dock for it. State governments led by the BJP seem to be using every opportunity to sow dissension, and even use illegal and unconstitutional tools to keep people in permanent fear. There cannot be a more opportune time for the good news on lakhs of new government jobs to land.

Now that the Prime Minister has made the promise, one needs to look for actions that follow. The government in fact need not break its head to identify areas where there are huge vacancies. It had told Parliament in 2020 that there were about 8.72 lakh posts vacant in various Union government departments. The Indian Railways, the biggest recruiter in the country, has nearly 2.3 lakh posts vacant. This huge backlog of vacancies was not an accident, for there was an undeclared moratorium on new appointments by a government which had adopted as its mantra “minimum government and maximum governance”. Filling them alone will more than meet the target the Prime Minister has set for it.

It may be remembered that the National Democratic Alliance government led by the BJP came to power in 2014 on the promise of creating two crore jobs a year. But it was a no-show: by the end of the first term of the government, India’s unemployment level had touched historic levels, per the report of the National Statistical Organisation. The government may have to face uncomfortable questions if the record is repeated this time around.

Creating gainful employment is a sure recipe to solving several issues our country faces; plus it will be an assured disincentive for the enemies of the nation and their nefarious designs to divide it on the basis of religion, caste, language and region. What’s more, the social dividends of the announcement, if materialised, will far outweigh its economic impact.

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