‘Pink-slipped’, they think jobs, not votes

April 11th, 2009 - 1:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party By Maitreyee Boruah
Bangalore, April 11 (IANS) For hundreds of voters who have lost their jobs to the global meltdown - be it IT professionals or garment workers - the election tempo across India has little meaning.

They are more concerned about landing a job at the earliest than to listen to the promises and slanging matches of political parties.

“I know exercising the voting right is very important for all citizens. But I am disappointed and in no mood to vote,” said IT professional Rajesh P., who was given the pink slip by a top notch MNC four months ago.

At the other end is Jaya Shekhar, a widow with two children who was shown the door five months ago by the garment company she was working for.

Naveen lost his job in the marketing division of a reputed financial company three months ago. “Non-performance” was stated as the reason for packing him off. The 28-year-old, who gave only his first name, is desperate for a job. He has not told his parents that he is jobless.

There are hundreds like Rajesh, Jaya and Naveen in the city for whom the priority right now is to find a job and not the elections. Voting in Karnataka will take place April 23 when 17 constituencies, including four in Bangalore, go to the polls and April 30, when voting will take place in the remaining 11 constituencies.

“Not a single party, be it the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state, the Congress or the Janata Dal-Secular, has said anything about rehabilitating thousands of people who lost their jobs due to recession,” Rajesh told IANS.

“I was a part of the IT industry for around six years. Now I am jobless. Even after a frantic search all these months, I am yet to get an offer. Why are the parties shying away from talking about the issue and measures to provide relief to those who have lost jobs?” he asked.

Jaya, 45, was earning Rs.3,500 a month with which she managed her house and sent her two children to school. Now the children sit at home as she cannot pay the school fees.

“My husband is dead and I was the sole breadwinner of my home till recently. I have stopped sending my children to school. Politicians come to ask for votes from poor people like us, but they have no solution to my problem. Will they give me back my job?” posed Jaya.

She is among the hundreds of garment workers who have been laid off after recession took hold of the United States, impacting several economies across the world and in turn India’s garment exports.

Officials in Karnataka’s labour department say there are nearly 1,000 units in Bangalore, employing upwards of 100,000 women.

There is no estimate, like in the high wage IT sector, of the number of people who have lost jobs. All that officials say on condition of anonymity is that the figure is in hundreds.

Several thousand employed in small scale manufacturing units in the Peenya industrial estate on the outskirts of Bangalore have also been sent home.

Unites-Professionals, India, (Union for Information Technology-Enabled Services -Professionals), a union of employees in IT Enabled Services, had expressed fears at the beginning of the year that around 50,000 techies in India may get pink slips in the first half of the year itself.

“Giving pink slips to employees has become the order of the day in Bangalore. But all are in denial mode, be it political parties or industry bodies. It is better that we accept the problem soon to solve it quickly,” asserted Karthik Shekhar, general secretary of UNITES-Professionals, told IANS.

Hundreds of those who have lost jobs, particularly in the IT, financial services and marketing sectors, are posting their contact details on local web portals seeking help in finding employment.

“I am more concerned about getting a job as soon as possible, instead of thinking about whom and which political party to vote for,” said Naveen.

The jobless Rajeshs and Jayas of Bangalore can only nod in agreement.

Bangalore is one of the worst affected in terms of jobs as it is home to 40 percent of Indian IT and BPO professionals. A total of two million people were employed in the Indian IT and BPO industry in 2007-08 as per the data of the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom).

(Maitreyee Boruah can be contacted at m.boruah@ians.in)

-Indo-Asian News Service


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