Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday announced that her government would appoint 1.25 lakh employees in various positions of the government and state-aided institutes within a few months.
“The state government will recruit 1.25 lakh people in the next 2-1 months. We have focused on developing several infrastructure projects, including a deep sea port in Tajpur, coal mine in Deocha-Pachami and an industrial hub in Purulia.... We have now laid stress on government recruitment,” said the chief minister at Nabanna.
According to her, the state will recruit 11,000 teachers into primary schools and 14,500 into upper primary schools. Moreover, 2,200 lecturers will be appointed in colleges and universities and 20,000 in various posts in police.
Mamata's announcements also include 12,000 appointments in Group D posts and 3,000 in Group C posts of the government, in addition to the appointment of 3,000 excise constables across the state.
Senior government officials said the announcements held significance ahead of panchayat polls and the 2024 Lok Sabha elections for two reasons.
First, the Trinamul Congress is facing questions over alleged irregularities in the recruitment of teachers into state-aided schools in the state. With the announcement of new appointments, the government wanted to send a message to lakhs of unemployed youths in Bengal, sources said.
Second, the creation of jobs remains an Achilles Heel for the ruling party in Bengal. If the chief minister cannot give jobs to youths ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, Trinamul may face questions.
A senior government official explained that the chief minister had promised to create 1.5 crore jobs at the government, semi-government and non-government levels and through self-employment ahead of the 2021 Assembly polls.
“Although some work was done to generate self-employment opportunities through the Bhabishyat Credit Card Scheme (WBBCCS), hardly anything was done to create jobs. As no new investments came to the state over the past two years, the chief minister had to depend on the government and the government-aided institutes for the creation of some jobs,” said a bureaucrat.
The WBBCCS is a credit-based scheme by the state to support unemployed youths to set up their own micro and small enterprises.
According to the government official, the announcement of new appointments would definitely give an edge to the ruling party ahead of the panchayat and Lok Sabha polls. However, he added, the government would have to complete the recruitment process in a fair and proper manner.
“Given the complaints of irregularities in the recruitment of teachers, all eyes will be on the government’s appointment process. If complaints crop up over these appointments, the effort by the ruling establishment may go in vain,” said another senior official.
Another section of the officials said the government had to keep its promise of recruiting people given by the chief minister.
“In 2015, the chief minister had announced plans to recruit 60,000 Group C and 60,000 Group D employees. But in reality, only 6,000 Group D employees could be appointed through the Group D Recruitment Board set up by the government. More people could not be recruited as the departments don’t need people in these positions with the introduction of the E-Office system,” said a senior official.
Now, questions are being raised about whether the government will require 15,000 employees in the Group C and Group D positions.
“If the appointments are not made according to the announcement, unemployed youths will continue to raise questions,” said a source.