Agartala: With barely five months to go for the Assembly elections, unemployment is gradually turning out to be a major political issue to challenge the ruling coalition in Tripura.
The issue of unemployment on Friday stirred a heated debate in the state assembly with members of the treasury and opposition benches holding each other responsible for the rising rate of unemployment—a perpetual problem of the state.
The opposition legislators wanted to know about the state government’s efforts regarding filling up vacant posts, while the treasury bench members tried to describe how the government is working to empower the youth with financial autonomy through various schemes and end dependence on government jobs.
While discussing the private member resolution moved by CPI(M) MLA Sudhan Das, his party colleague Bhanu Lal Saha said, “As per the budget report, the total number of regular government employees in Tripura stood at a little over 1 lakh 13 thousand. In the last report tabled during the budget session, the total number of government employees now is 1,04,683.”
The number of people who went to retirement stood at over 9,000. Similar is the experience in the case of employees who are not on the regular pay scale. The figure was 44,368 which now stands at 33,399. A large number of vacant posts are created here as well. We just want to know when these posts will be filled up.”
The former Finance Minister also referred to the ruling party’s pre-poll promise of filling up 50,000 vacant posts within the first year of getting voted to power.
“The 50,000 posts were not filled up. Instead, the downsizing policy has been adopted. In our state, the industrial sector could not thrive when we were in power. In your four and half years as well, this sector did not see any big improvement. This is why dependency on government jobs is on the higher side. The total strength of our government employees engaged in different departments is also high,” Saha pointed out.
Moving the private member resolution, CPIM MLA Sudhan Das said, “The educated youth of the state have been left confused. The discrepancies in the statements of the ICA Minister, Education Minister and Chief Minister have further escalated the confusion. The TET-qualified teachers are protesting in the streets. The JRBT aspirants have been protesting for a year now for publication of the results.”
Reacting sharply to Das’s statement, Chief Whip of treasury bench Kalyani Roy accused the opposition of transforming the state into a factory of unemployment. MLA Sudhanshu Das took part in the discussion to slam the Left for its failure in promoting self-reliance.
He said, “Thousands of youths under the BJP-IPFT regime became job creators.”
Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath said, “We all should think positive. A huge number of loans under Swabalamban, PMEGP and other schemes have been disbursed and all the beneficiaries are earning a good living.” Nath also informed the house that all the TET-qualified job aspirants would be recruited soon as the government would keep its promise.
Labour Minister Bhagaban Das said a huge number of people would soon be recruited through TPSC, TRBT, TET and other competitive exams.
“Several initiatives have been taken so far. In North East, Tripura is the first state to implement a data centre policy to draw investment. New start-up schemes have been launched to facilitate investment and encourage businesses. Resultantly, the purchasing power of people has also improved compared to previous years. The unemployment rate also dropped from 6.8 per cent in 2017-18 to 3.6 per cent in 2021-22,” Das concluded.
Congress MLA Sudip Roy Barman also demanded that the results of JRBT be published as soon as possible earlier in the reference period.
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