Today, one Bihari Migrant laborer died in an accident at a construction site near to my house. He had come to Punjab just about a fortnight ago in search of employment. These laborers are picked up by construction contractors and put on the job on daily wages amount to about Rs 250 per day (4 USD ). Most of these guys have no insurance and thus risk their life for earning meagre wages, with which they support their families back home. I wonder if there would be any compensation to their next of kin for the fatal accident. Twenty years ago train loads of migrants from U.P and Bihar states of India came to Punjab and Haryana to work in the agricultural sector but that source has dried up now and majority of the migrant labor head towards cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chandigarh etc in search of employment in the construction sector. At least 80% of the population of these states go to other states to look for employment. They live in miserable conditions but carry on as back home there are no avenues for employment. It is a pity that these states are ruled by politicians who are enjoying good life and are least bothered about doing any development in their own states to generate employment opportunities. I feel sad over such incidents and trends but just cannot help and can only prey to the Lord to shower his mercy on these guys also.
As far as (once well to do) states like Punjab and Haryana are concerned, the decreasing land holding, lack of employment opportunities and quest for good life has forced the youth to migrate to other countries. So the situation remains the same, whether it is migration from one state to another within the country or migration to other countries; the purpose behind is to seek greener pastures even at the cost of putting themselves at risk. Agents assisting in any kind of migration whether within the country or outside are making a quick buck out of this sordid affair.
I also wish to discuss about the quick fix academic institutes which have sprung up and mushroomed in entire length and breadth of India. These promise guaranteed admission and employment and even boast of tie ups with foreign academic institutes. There are many such Engineering, Medical and Dental college in Chandigarh area. Many of these charge capitation fee from students for admission. There are no genuine entrance tests for admission and any type of students (low caliber and division) are also welcome for a hefty fee. Needless to say that the students passing out from these institutes have poor educational standards and therefore cannot get any employment with the industry. Such institutes are opened by rich businessmen without having any academic qualifications and thus ruin the lives of students who would have invested a huge amount of money by taking various loans. Thus these students after getting frustrated look for admission into foreign universities (most of which offer only short-term courses) and again spend hefty amount; the purpose being to find employment and settle abroad. I know the case of one of my soldier (Naik … Singh from Bihar) who after disposing off his property got his son admitted in an Engineering College at Jaipur and his son after completion of his studies has not been employed at all and can not even earn Rs 5000 (90 USD ) a month. What a pity! This person is trying hard now to get his son admitted in short courses abroad.
India need to seriously look into the Education Sector including skill developments issues, a theme which is very dear to India’s Prime Minister, but this can only happen if the States ( India being Federal in structure) take these issues seriously and move forward towards the agenda of Development rather than getting bogged down with other peripheral issues, most of which are the creation of vested interests. May God bless India!