In the last 20 years, Gurgaon and Faridabad have developed rapidly, thanks to its close proximity to Delhi which has seen a spillover effect for massive construction in housing, commercial and retail sectors. This resulted in the IT, BPO and services industry making both these cities their primary base in North India.
The last two decades has seen a lot of private sector investment in all the categories mentioned including school and higher education. All these together have resulted in the two cities developing into modern integrated townships. That's the brighter side of the story.
Migration for work
The flip side is that there has been a lot of migration of labour from states like, U.P, Bihar and Rajasthan and they have cornered a large chunk of job opportunities in the two cities. In the initial phase of development, we had mainly construction labour from U.P and Bihar that made these two cities their home and worked in the emerging construction boom. This segment lived mainly in shanties and was willing to work at low wages, which most of the locals were unwilling to undertake.
As the residential areas began to get populated by migrant white collar workers in the above mentioned industries, there was a need for domestic workers. This demand resulted in a lot of Bangladeshi immigrants, along with some migrants from Bengal, who shifted here and took up domestic work, especially the women folk. The men began to ply cycle rickshaws and doubled up with distributing newspapers and cleaning personal cars of people living here.
Migrant success story
In the last two decades, the next generation of these workers has grown up and some have had the opportunity to study and finish high school and further. A lot of these new generation migrants have begun to take up lower level jobs as computer operators, clerks, receptionists, maintenance that includes electrical, civil and plumbing jobs. In addition, one can also see them as security guards, courier delivery boys, pizza delivery boys and sales assistants in upmarket retail shops in the malls that have come up.
Within one generation, comprising of the mother, father and grown up children, have together reached a level where they can approach a bank and get a loan to buy a low cost flat in or around the two cities. Many other have taken a loan and bought a taxi or auto rickshaw and are now operating them quite profitably.
In the domestic help category, there are several maids who have migrated here from Jharkhand, in the last ten years. Some of the maids in Gurgaon are earning as high as Rs 30,000 per month, with free boarding and lodging being provided by their employers. This new segment is capitalizing on the opportunity based on demand that few are willing to fulfill or are not being able to match the profile that a potential employer seeks.
Imagine a husband who works as a driver and earns Rs 20,000 per month and his wife who works as a maid, earns Rs 30,000 per month, the total income is Rs 50,000 or Rs 6,00,000 annually. This would qualify them as a middle income family! Their children would have the best opportunity to go to a good school and have an equal opportunity to further their career, to the best of one's ability. This is a fact with several migrant families in Gurgaon and Faridabad.
While the above is certainly a success story and a good example of what opportunity India offers for those willing to work hard, the other side of the fact is that a lot of jobs that have been created, have been taken over at the cost of local youth. There are many unemployed young men and women from all parts of Haryana who come to these two cities looking and hoping to get jobs, only to discover that most of the opportunities have already been taken up by the first or second generation of migrants.
The problem has been that the current generation of migrants have risen through very low wages and put in long hours of work, saved money over the years and now the second generation is capitalizing further on the opportunity. On the other hand, the local people ought to be getting the first opportunity for employment in their own state, but are not getting a chance.
Poor government initiative
This is where the Hooda administration has failed. There have been very few job opportunities created in the state-owned manufacturing sector, and the only areas where the locals could be provided jobs were in various government departments and teaching jobs. But here again, the Hooda government did the right thing, the wrong way. They tried to favour their own select friends, relatives and party workers and made money along the way, only to get exposed.
This not only brought out the scam but also denied opportunity to thousands of genuinely qualified youth. The result has been that there is a general resentment both towards the migrants, who are perceived as job stealers and viewed with suspicion, and the state government, which is viewed as corrupt and not having done much for the local people.
Government failure in providing support
There is a lot of effort that the existing government could have done to help the local youth get jobs in the state. In the decade gone by, what was needed of the state government was that they provide the right facilities to train the local youth on vocations that were as per their interest and ability. Once the training was over, the state should have taken up mentoring each youth and guiding him into a job or self-employment opportunity.
For example, if there was a youth skilled to operate a CNC machine, the state should have mentored him into getting a job or ensured that he got the necessary funding from banks to set up his own small workshop. The government should have gone one step further and ensured that it hooked up the workshop with an industrial unit in the state, so that the youth could have a fair opportunity to find his feet in the new venture and grow further from there. There was a need for complete hand holding from the state.
The problem is that this government neither understands the needs of the youth nor has any program that holds his hand till he stands on his own feet. Today, the youth feel completely helpless with no advice, guidance or support coming from the government on how or where to earn a living.
Another problem has been that the Hooda government has laid too much emphasis on developing Gurgaon and Faridabad, at the cost of rest of the state. Since the private sector was mainly doing all the development works in terms of construction in the two cities, the state government should have invested for money, time and attention on the rest of the state, so that enough job opportunities could have been created at the district level itself.
Youth are disenchanted
The disenchantment that the youth from other parts of Haryana feel is perfectly valid, while the government has failed to read their sense of frustration. It is now time for the youth to stand up and reclaim what is their right and bring in a government that understands their need and can create job opportunities for them, in the state.
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has shown the way by taking path breaking initiatives with Japan and China that will see a combined investment of $55 billion in India, in the next five years. Is there an opportunity for the youth in Haryana?
Bottom line is, it requires a Nayi Soch. The present government has become stale in thought and inaction. It's time for change. It's time for the youth to claim a Naya Haryana.