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Mujhe Sarkari Naukri Hi Chahiye!

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By: Christopher Turillo

“Nineteen-thousand graduates, postgraduates, MBAs and B.Techs apply for 114 sweeper jobs offered by Amroha Nagar Palika in Uttar Pradesh” – Times of India, January 21, 2016.

This story caught the attention of many people inside and outside of Uttar Pradesh last year. For someone working in tier II and III cities in UP, this news didn’t come as a surprise to me. However, we do often hear the shock in people’s voices when they come from major cities to interact with our students here. Once somebody said, “I knew government jobs were popular here, but I didn’t realise just how much people are obsessed with them!”

To better understand this scenario, why it is troubling, and what we can do about it, let us look at the ‘mujhe sarkari naukri hi chahiye (I only want a government job)’ phenomenon.

According to many people, government jobs mean security, stability and status.

Jo value sarkari naukri ki hoti hai, woh private job ki nahi. Jab aap government job karte hai, toh log aapko maante hai, aapki respect karte hai. (The prestige that a government job has is much higher than that of a private sector job. When you work as a government employee, people listen to you, they respect you),” says Neelam, an alumna from “Medha, an employability education and career development organisation based in Lucknow.

“Sarkar ghar deti hai, pension deti hai, puri family ka muft ilaaj bhi, kitni bachat hoti hai! (The government gives you a home, pension, free family healthcare – you save a lot!),” says retired government official, Mr Ansari, who wants his daughter to pursue a career in the public sector.

Akanksha, who is also an alumna from “Medha” points out, “Private mein sirf MBA ya phir achchi angrezi waale chahiye! (The private sector seeks only MBAs or English speakers!).” 

Government jobs, with their standard selection process and basic undergraduate requirement, are open to all, especially those from low-income backgrounds who cannot afford advanced degrees. A government job is also said to be easier than a private one and seems to have other perks and advantages as one progresses in it. For most government employees, compensation is seniority-based, and terminations are rare.

This gives many the impression that public servants have it easy. Raj is one of the many people who feel this way. He says, “Job aisi honi chahiye ki traas na ho, aasaani se, izzat se dher sara paisa mile (A job shouldn’t bring stress; it should bring me a lot of money, easily and respectably).”

However, the harsh reality remains that these perceptions are not going away anytime soon and neither is the reality that very few aspirants secure the coveted government job. In 2012, of the 481.7 million workers in India, only 6% (29 million) were in the organised sector. Of this, two-thirds (17.5 million) were in the public sector.

According to me, one of the key drivers of this phenomenon is a lack of quality private sector jobs. There are several initiatives and policy recommendations to grow and improve the private sector.

For many young people, career guidance typically comes from two sources: teachers and family. Through employability education programmes, they can have a broader understanding of other employment opportunities. This can help increase access and exposure to private sector jobs

Another thing that can be done, is to create flexible work opportunities. This could allow students to pursue a government job while simultaneously gaining experience and skills in the private sector. Opportunities for half-day shifts, peak season hours, and long-term on-the-job apprenticeships need to be understood as that can allow students to study for a government job while building valuable experience in the private sector.

If you work with young people, encourage them to explore all potential career paths, not just the ones they’re familiar with or are told to pursue. If you are an employer, think about what you can do to make your company a better place to work. All of this can help young people understand that there is more to employment than just a government job.

About the author: Chris is the co-founder of Medha, an employability education and career development organisation based in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Under Chris’ leadership, Medha has trained and placed over 3,000 students across 35 educational institutions, worked with 200 leading employers, and built a public-private partnership with the government of Uttar Pradesh.Prior to starting Medha, Chris was director of business development at SKS Microfinance in Hyderabad. Before SKS, Chris was director of business development at Business Development Institute, an early-stage strategic consulting firm in New York City. Chris holds a joint MBA/MA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

This article was first published here.

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  1. Hari Prasad

    Wish India had a wide open window of opportunities.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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