The youth of today are a troubled lot and their main angst relates to their future which is invariably linked to their chances of landing a job which can provide them some sense of security. Here in Meghalaya, this literally translates to the public sector or a ‘government job’. With the high unemployment rate in the state, any vacancy in any government department results in thousands of candidates applying for it, which has sadly empowered some unscrupulous people who have a big say in who gets what job.
Nepotism and back door entry has become the order of the day and is also having an impact on society where people have to go to great lengths to ‘please’ these people with power in the hope of gaining favour and landing their desired job, a promotion or even a transfer to a post better suited to them. This rings especially true for candidates who are of the fairer sex as there are countless accounts of how people in power have allegedly tried to take advantage of these womenfolk who approach them for help in securing employment. The sad part of the situation as it is now, is the fact that even God-fearing people have to resort to seeking ‘patronage’ so as to be on a level playing field with other candidates who apply for the same post.
Another aspect of this conundrum that needs serious thought is the impact that this practice will have on the future of the state. With nepotism being so widespread now, many deserving candidates who are able to do justice to the post they are holding are sidelined while people who are least equipped for the task at hand are given preference. This leads to a number of problems and ultimately translates to a gross dilution of the quality of work. To get an inkling of how deep-rooted this problem has become in Meghalaya, one can take the example of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) whose employees are now crying hoarse over their dues which have been left pending for over three years now. In the midst of agitations being resorted to by the employees under the banner of the Non Gazetted Employees Association (NGEA), the then executive committee of the Council had offered to clear one month’s salary for which there were no takers. Interestingly, what followed was a directive for the employees who were opposed to this payment to submit their names to the Secretary of the executive committee following which they would have to undergo a test to gauge whether they are fit enough to hold their current post. This in itself shows that the qualification of a number of the employees is in question which leads one to ask as to how they were selected in the first place.
The underlying fact of all this is that there is a deep malaise in Meghalaya which is a ticking time bomb where the state could one day be faced with a dearth of skilled, talented and capable workforce as the youth here are slowly being forced to look for greener pastures outside the state. What becomes of our beloved maxim of ‘kamai la ka hok’ or ‘to earn righteousness’ in such a situation?