scorecardWhy are thousands of youngsters up in arms against the Agnipath scheme?
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Why are thousands of youngsters up in arms against the Agnipath scheme?

Why are thousands of youngsters up in arms against the Agnipath scheme?
IndiaIndia2 min read
Representative image    IANS
  • Only 10.3% of higher secondary students, which is the minimum qualification for army cadet jobs, are employed.
  • For undergraduates, who do not have the means, wherewithal and the ability to educate themselves further, a high paying job is all but a pipe dream.
  • That’s why most of the youth in a country which has one of the youngest populations – is busy looking for jobs that can uplift them out of poverty and a lifetime of manual labour.
To understand why hundreds of army aspirants are taking to violence against Agnipath scheme, let’s get an idea of how grave the unemployment problem is in India.

Picture this, around 8.5 million students graduate every year. For Grade XII passouts, that’s higher secondary, which is the minimum qualification for army cadets jobs – the number would be much higher. Among such job aspirants, the rate of unemployment is 10.3% – and that’s only for people looking for jobs.

Since not everyone gets placed the very first year of job seeking, the cumulative number of the unemployed adds on. As of December 2021, the number stood at 53 million people — and, they’re all graduates.

That’s why at least half a million youngsters apply every time an army recruitment drive is announced.

For undergraduates, who do not have the means, wherewithal and the ability to educate themselves further, a high paying job is all but a pipe dream — the only other option being manual labour.

Also, labour is a popular choice amongst most of them. According to the CMIE report, around 55 million graduates in India work as labourers. It gets worse. Nine million of them do not even get these jobs.

That’s why most of the youth in a country which has one of the youngest populations – is busy looking for jobs that can uplift them out of poverty and a lifetime of manual labour. The manna is government jobs.

To explain how much hunger there is for government jobs, let’s look at how many rush to be employed by India’s largest employer – the Railways.

In March this year, the Railways started a recruitment drive to fill over 35,000 non technical jobs like clerks, train assistants, guards, time keepers and more such. A report says that around 700,000 students were expected to sit for the second stage of the exams

This is how popular steady stable jobs are for the underprivileged youth of the nation. Army jobs pay ₹21,000 for an entry level job – which when compared to an average of around ₹300 per day — which is also seasonal and possibly requires regular migration — represents the blaring gap between job seekers’ aspirations and jobs available.

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