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India: Misinformation in Government of Gujarat’s Employment Claims

7 December 2012

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PRESS RELEASE 7, December 2012. Vadodara

Misinformation in Government of Gujarat’s Employment Claims.

· Government of Gujarat had claimed that they provided employment to 65,000 youth in Gujarat under “ Swami Vivekanand Youth Employment Week” organised in February/March 2012. But, Government of Gujarat’s replies to the RTI application filed by Amrish Brahmbhatt and Rohit Prajapati of Jyoti Karmachari Mandal is not just a self contradictory but surprising and shocking.

Instead of “Appointment Letter” the worker were given “Employment Letter” with the government logo without any details like pay, terms and condition.

Government of Gujarat has claimed often that unemployment rate in the state is quite low. It also cites the central government labour bureau report ( http://labourbureau.nic.in/rep_1.pdf) to point out that it has the least unemployment rate in the country.

But those working in the labour sector in Gujarat since decades have found these statistics, be it by the Government of Gujarat or Government of India not to be in sync with the ground reality. And this is the reason, why Vadodara based Jyoti Karmachari Mandal, Amrish Brahmbhatt and Rohit Prajapati in collaboration with the Documentation and Study Centre for Action chose a close scrutiny of Government of Gujarat’s latest “Employment Effort”, the “ Swami Vivekanand Youth Employment Week” in February/March 2012 as an instance.
Government of Gujarat had organised “ Swami Vivekanand Youth Employment Week” (Rozgar Mela) to mark 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanand early this year. ( http://www.narendramodi.in/viewNewsletter.php?id=30937&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=prettyphoto&iframe=true&width=100%&height=100% ).)
Spread over months, according to Government of Gujarat’s figures such 489 melas (according to the RTI act reply) were organised across the state in which they claimed to provide 65,000 youths employment. Copy of the RTI application is annexed herewith as Annexure “A”.

The very fact that these “Rojgar Mela” were organised raises several doubts – first if the Government of Gujarat had succeeded in curbing unemployment rate, what was the need for organising such a ‘Mela’ that would give 65,000 jobs, the year the state goes for assembly polls? Secondly, the CM himself was present, but misinformation and manipulation of data remain – how does that talk about efficient, people oriented governance?

In April 2012, we filed a detailed RTI application to the Chief Minister office of Gujarat (CMO) and Principal Secretary, Gujarat Labour and Employment department seeking details on 18 counts.

Instead of getting collated data from the CMO or the principal secretary, Gujarat labour and employment department, which would have given a state-wide comprehensive picture, we started getting fragmented replies from each of the ‘District Employment and Training Department’ across the state.

The Employment and Training Departments in all districts were not in sync with each other, as some provided statistics replies of the district employment or data to some of the queries, while some did not, without giving any satisfactory reason.

Instead of 65,000 beneficiaries, the number of jobs provided based on information given by authorities in 23 districts, totals only to 51,587 out of that 11,172 are apprentice (30.4%). i.e. the actual figure is 40,415 and not even 51,587. But, the names of only 32,372 were provided to us.

We had sought specific information on what post, what pay and which industry and if they would be entitled to benefits under labour laws to each of them provided employment in this “Rozgar Mela”.

Again, we received no categorical reply about entitlement of benefits, saying the information would be best available with the concern employers. While some gave details about post employed, the employee details, none gave details about the pay and other legal benefits they will get.

This most crucial information is missing and is needed for it serves as the lone benchmark to quantitatively and qualitatively assess the nature of employment being provided as well as the benefit it means to the recently employed.

We collated the data received from the various ‘District Employment and Training Department’ and have tried to analyse the information provided which we share with you as follows.

The information sought and the replies provided are as follows:

The details of appointment letter copy – instead of “Appointment Letter” we received a sample copy of “Employment Letter” with the Government logo but signed by the employing industry. Sample copy of “Employment Letter” is attached herewith as Annexure “B”. The letter mentions only the name and address of the employee, the post and name of the unit, with no details of tenure of employment or pay details. According to the labour law stipulations, such an “Employment Letter” has no legal standing. The worker should have been provided with not “Employment Letter” but “Appointment Letter” as per labour laws.
Total amount spent in organising the ‘Mela’ to provide employment – According to the Department of Employment and Training, Rs 1,87,70,000/- were budgeted for organising the ‘Mela’ across the state. The amount spent does not justify the number of jobs provided in the ‘Mela’, more so as the department is stipulated to ensure employment.
Total amount spent on the participation of chief minister, ministers and MLAs in this programme – No expense details given by District Employment and Training Department stating that they had not spent on their participation.
In the state capital Gandhinagar, as well as Mehsana, the home district of Chief Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, while jobs were given, the district authorities failed to clarify what kind of jobs, pay, benefits neither any details of those provided the jobs. Of the 26 districts, eight like Valsad, Patan, Palanpur, Junagadh, Kutch, Himmatnagar failed to provide the information.
In Ahmedabad, 4,370 were recruited but all as apprentice. The Apprentice Act, 1961( http://mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/ApprenticeAct1961.pdf ), under which the employer of certain factories have to recruit certain number of apprentice in their factories and they are not employees of the factories and that’s why they are provided with no legal benefits but only stipend of Rs.1,490 for 1st year, 1,700 for 2nd year, 1,970 for 3rd year. Refer Annexure “C”. The act in its section 18 clearly states “Apprentices are trainee and not workers. […] (b) The provisions of any law with respect to labour shall not apply or in relation to such apprentice.” The stipend which they get is less than minimum wage.
The quality of Job: 13,624 (37.07%) of job are not even actual employment as 11,172 (30.4%) are apprentice and 2,452 (6.67%) are trainees. They do not get salary/wages but stipend without any guaranty that they will be appointed after the training or apprenticeship period. 4,437 (12.7%) are helpers, 7,074 (19.25%) are workers, 4,933 (13.42) are skilled workers. (Kindly refer the table attached with the press release.) It is important to not that most of these jobs are temporary in nature. The classification was not provided to us but to quantify from the hundreds of categories we had done our own broad quick classification. We would like to improve this classification shortly in final analysis of our study.
Numbers of youth employed on ad-hoc basis, temporary, contractual and permanent basis – All replied that they did not have details on neither the nature of employment nor the wages they earned.
How many government employees were involved/worked and for what duration to implement/organise these programme – No specific information given stating that they worked under the orders received from the higher authorities.
Details of communication between various government departments and industries for this ‘Mela’ – The copy of the minutes of high level meeting attended by officers of Employment and Training Department dated January 2, 2012 was provided. The department found 41,000 vacancies in the 184 GIDC in the survey for this ‘Mela’. Also, they decided to link up the filling up of 15,000 apprentice posts under the February–March 2012 with this ‘Mela’. Copy of minutes is attached herewith as Annexure “D”. These points to two glaring mismatches – first the 41,000 vacancies surveyed do not in any way match with the unemployment figures of the state government, but unwittingly are an honest indicator of the ground reality. Secondly, apprenticeship is in no way under any labour law or definition considered as employment. So, in effect, they cannot be considered amongst the ranks of the employed.

As a sample case, we analysed the data provided by the Vadodara District Employment and Training Department, which revealed shocking details.

In Vadodara, total 6,775 jobs were provided, of which 3,241 were appointed as apprentice (47.8%). As mentioned above, apprentice is not considered as job at all under labour laws. Also, names of those appointed as apprentice were not given.
Most shocking is the list of beneficiaries.
Many instances of same name being repeated not only once, or twice but several time, which raises doubts about actual number of beneficiaries. There appear to be no more than 2,700 names in the list of 3,534 beneficiaries who got appointed to posts other than apprentice. We found 752 (21.27 %) beneficiaries, whose names were repeated once, twice and even thrice in one case.
We contacted 74 beneficiaries amongst the ones whose contact details were listed. We could talk only to 27 persons, as in most cases the phone numbers did not exist or the ones who received said they did not know the beneficiary at all.

- All the 27 persons we contacted affirmed that they had received the “Employment Letter” and not the “Appointment Letter” from the “Rojgar Mela”.
- Of the 15 amongst the 27 affirmed that they had not participated in the “Rojgar Mela” but were employed on their personal efforts/references or company’s direct employment. Only 12 affirmed that they had the job from the “Rojgar Mela”. This raises doubts about the veracity of the government claims of reaching out to the employment and one fears that the list of beneficiaries could have inflated figures.
- Out of these 27, 17 were hired on temporary and 10 on permanent basis. From those who were permanent, only 1 had got job from “Rojgar Mela” and the rest were actually in job before the “Rojgar Mela”.
- Seven from the 27, left the job in 3 days to 8 months due to poor quality of job they attained in the “Rozgar Mela”, harsh working conditions and meagre salary. Five of those who left job continue to be unemployed.
- They work for 8-12 hours in a day. Most of them do not get any other benefits like Provident Fund or leave except weekly leave.
- Of the 27, some affirmed that they were not unemployed earlier, but had changed jobs from one unit to the other. They had no idea how they figured in the list of beneficiaries of the “Rojgar Mela" and expressed surprise.

The glaring facts from data provided by the Dahod District authorities

Of the total 478 jobs provided as per the list given by the Employment and Training Department, 441 (92.25%) were trainee and 37 (7.74%) were sales executive.
The tribal trainees were promised Rs. 3,000 stipend and the non-tribals Rs 1,500 during the period of training.
We could talk to 32 of the 72 from the list of beneficiaries. While 31 got the employment letter, only 26 got the jobs from the “Rozgar Mela”. But 22 of them left the jobs within 2 days to 11 months due to unsatisfactory wages/working conditions, and felt insecure as it was just a traineeship that they had received. Of these 10 continue to be unemployed.
Incidentally most of the 22 who left the work were not given the work near their hometown but faraway.
There are many who did receive the employment letter but never went for the jobs as it was not what they had expected.
There are some who are in job but remain unsatisfied due to working conditions/wages and working environment.
There are some who left the job and preferred to remain unemployed but not continue with job assured in this “Rojgar Mela”.

The glaring facts from data provided by the Anand District authorities

A list of 2,464 candidates was provided jobs by the Employment and Training Department.
The list of Anand District shows that 621(25.21%) graduate/post graduate/MA-B.Ed /PGDCA were given job as School Coordinator.
They were promised the salary of Rs 4,500-5,000/- p.m. but they received only Rs. 3,100-3,500/-. This is less than minimum wage. With some of them 11 years contract was signed but they were relieved in 10-11 months. They do not get salary for vacation period. Their job description is not clear. Many a time they look after computer lab.
We could talk with five of them and all appeared unsatisfied with the work role/environment and jobs. All of them felt cheated by the work as they felt it was not in tandem with their educational qualifications and skills.
They said they had not taken up other jobs as they thought a government job would prove to be a more secure option, but instead the reverse happened.
The other major category of job provided in Anand were 259 (10.5%) were provided job of security guard.

The glaring facts from data provided by the Vyara-Tapi District authorities

The list of 569 beneficiaries from that 323 (56.75%) women was employed as helper in the ‘Gruhudhyog’ like ‘Papad Making’. It is doubtful that whether these are new employment or just list of those who are in employment is added as if they got employment thorough “Rojgar Mela”.

Our detail investigation and analysis is going on and more such glaring realities might comes out from our final analysis of data which we have received from the Government.

Amrish Bhrambhatt Ghanshyam Kashikar Kantibhai Mistry Sudhir Biniwale
Jyoti Karmachari Mandal
Rohit Prajapati Dr. Trupti Shah Ayesha Khan
Documentation and Study Centre For Action.

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