Friday, January 16, 2015

Status: Unemployed

“Kay chaina, ek din regular huncha hola ni,” is what an elderly relative once said on learning that I work with a local newspaper. And that pretty much sums up what employment has come to mean in our state. The prized and ever elusive “regular” “government” job is employment and everything else is...err...coca cola, campa cola, coco cola? You choose.
The struggle to get a regular job is something every soul here understands, and sympathy, coupled with never-say-die encouragements, flow freely. A friend once related an incident about this time she had gone to renew her unemployment card at the concerned office.
An unemployment card is a document that declares that you are unemployed [as per the Sikkimese definition of the word]. And get this, one is required to renew it every six months before applying for any government job which practically means that every six months you get to remind yourself and others that you are still “unemployed”! And that’s not all - the jobless you has to also pay for the renewal!
Anyhow, so this friend goes to renew her unemployment card and the man at the office looks at her card which has barely any space left for renewal stamp marks, looks at her and says, “Haar mannu hundaina hai baini, keep it up”.  So goes another wondrous tale of everlasting hope.

1 comment:

  1. Hey nice write up Tshering. Although I cant claim to know u very well, but the little that I know about you is enough to convince me that u could hv easily made it into the exclusive and 'elusive' clique of regular govt employees, only had u chosen to. I know to people who are outside this ring, we appear no better than clowns. Ever corrupt and ever unctuous, the size of our ambition never commensurate with the size of our pond, we are the perennial object of vilification for the media. A suitable inspiration, if I must say, to sharpen or even train their wits. However, in the recent years, the discourse on this inherent preference for government jobs in Sikkim has increasingly taken the shape of elitist lampooning of lesser privileged sections of society, who are aspiring to climb up the social ladder through a preferred and less riskier route of govt. jobs. I can say this without an iota of doubt that in sikkim, those who don't work with the government are either too ill qualified for any job or are far too well off to want to work. Incidentally, both the categories of people derive pleasure deriding the govt employees: For the former category, we are the scornful punching bag, for the latter, a harmless madcap.
    Most criticisms levelled at the system in place are uninformed and unwarranted. For instance, the utility of employment card referred to in the above article. This card enables the state government to have a data base of qualified unemployed youth in the state. Each card contains, among other things, the qualification of the candidates. Whenever, private companies in sikkim have job openings, the candidates who match the required qualification are contacted and the interview dates are intimated to them. The card requires to be renewed to update the existing data base. This means, if someone has obtained a job,then he/she needn't not renew the card. A nominal sum of Rs. 50 is required in the form of bank Receipt. This too if the gap between two renewals exceeds six months.


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