On the day the BJP government launched its new youth policy and made a flurry of announcements for young people, the Madhya Pradesh Youth Congress cited National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) figures to say that during the past 17 years of BJP rule, 10,298 students and 6,999 unemployed persons died by suicide in the state.
In a press conference on Thursday, President of MP Youth Congress, Dr Vikrant Bhuria cited yearly figures of suicidal deaths from 2004 to 2021, leaving out 2019, when Congress was in government.
Meanwhile, the Bhopal unit of the Youth Congress protested against the new youth policy of the state government by symbolically seeking alms. District President Narendra Yadav warned of intense agitation if the state government did not take steps to provide relief to the youth.
“In Madhya Pradesh, BJP and unemployment spread wings together. There has been so much dejection among students due to unemployment that they died by suicide, having failed to see any scope of bright future. It’s a matter of grief and distress that during the past 17 years of BJP rule, 17,326 students and unemployed persons died by suicide,” Bhuria said.
Citing the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) report of 2020-21, Bhuria said that the higher education gross enrollment ratio (GER) of Madhya Pradesh is at 27.1 per cent, which meant that of the 95 lakh youth between 18-23 years of age in the state, about 70 lakh were deprived of higher education. More unfortunate was that the GER of tribal students in the state was just 15.7 pc.
The MP GER is lower than the national average of 27.3 pc and far lower than GERs of states like Delhi (47.6) Kerala (43.2), Himachal Pradesh (38.7), Andhra Pradesh (37.2), Maharashtra (34.9) and Tamil Nadu (34.7).
He said while a total of 25,98,561 students enrolled in higher education institutions, the enrollment of tribal students was just 2,94,399, which is just 10 per cent of the overall figure, whereas, the total tribal population in the state was 21 per cent.
Bhuria said that the gender parity index in the state had slipped to 0.98 from 1.0 the previous year, meaning that the percentage of girls in higher education had dropped.
Madhya Pradesh has just 29 colleges per lakh population compared to 40 in Tamil Nadu, 49 in Andhra Pradesh, 50 in Kerala, 53 in Telangana and 62 in Karnataka.
Citing various sources including replies given in state assembly, Bhuria also claimed that during the past 10 years, the Professional Examination Board (PEB), which was the vehicle for the biggest and most ghastly admission and recruitment scam in the world under the BJP government, collected Rs 1,046 crore from students and employment seekers, earning a profit of Rs 455 crore. The state government accepted in the assembly that in the past seven years, Rs 424.36 crore was taken as fees from 1.24 crore applicants of different competitive exams.
“Recently, leaks of question papers of class 10 and 12 board examinations made news.” He further said that the government accepted in assembly that 37,80,679 educated and 1,12,470 uneducated youth were waiting for employment opportunities by registering in employment offices.
Quoting Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) report of September-December 2022, Bhuria said the labour participation rate of Madhya Pradesh was 38.18 pc, with 2.51 crore labour force. However, it is unfortunate that 34.76 pc youth in the 20-24 age group, 36.95 pc in 15-19 age group and 15 pc in the 25-29 years age group were not getting employment. The situation of women was worse, with 82.41 pc women in the 20-24 age bracket, 100 pc in 15-19 age group, and 12.76 pc in the 25-29 age bracket did not get work.
The condition of the highly educated youth in the employment sector could be gauged by the fact that during the recent Patwari recruitment test meant for graduate candidates saw 12 lakh applications for 6,000 posts, of which more than four lakh candidates were engineering graduates, MBA and Ph.D (doctorate) degree holders. Earlier too, engineers, post-graduates and other highly qualified candidates had applied for class IV posts in Madhya Pradesh which required educational qualification of just clearing class 8.
Bhuria said that in the 15-month Congress government, the then CM Kamal Nath had decided to introduce e-classes in all schools and colleges along with language labs. For employment generation, higher education courses were to be linked with skill development and skill training was being mulled in coordination with local industries. He said that the Congress government will be back in power and fulfil the aspirations of the youth.