The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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No bones about jobs for youths

Barasat, Nov. 13: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today asked the educated unemployed to get into business and get out of their “middle-class” habit of “waiting endlessly” for scarce jobs.

Inaugurating the animal resources week celebrations in the North 24-Parganas district headquarters, Bhattacharjee admitted his government’s inability to provide young men and women with jobs in a shrinking market. He said chances of making a living from agriculture were slim, too, with land becoming scarce.

Under the circumstances, the only option left to the vast army of unemployed was to get into business, he said.

“Thousands of educated people wait for years to get a salaried job. They sometimes wait for years just to be a primary school teacher, but they still won’t consider self-employment. It’s a typical Bengali middle-class sentiment that needs to be changed,” the chief minister said. He added that the growing number of job-seekers should know that “the situation had vastly changed in recent years and jobs are no longer as secure as they were”.

Bhattacharjee said the government, desperately cutting its expenses to stay afloat, was not in a position to provide employment. “There is no alternative for the young but to opt for self-employment. We can at best provide them with limited subsidies and administrative assistance. We can also help them get bank loans,” he said.

The chief minister said the growing unemployment was a “matter of grave concern” for the Left Front government. Despite being strapped for funds, he said his government was “trying its best” to provide as many jobs as possible.

“But let me make it clear that employment does not mean salaried jobs only,” he said.

Bhattacharjee asked the unemployed to look at animal husbandry, which, he said, had great potential for self-employment. “Some people think trading in pork or milk or fish is below their dignity. But I don’t see why they think that. We should appreciate the dignity of labour,” he said.

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