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Hangout places more than placement offers in Assam

02 Aug,2022 09:12 PM, by: Pooja Dasgupta
3 minute read Total views: 702
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In a series of recent launches, Guwahati welcomed quite a few international food & beverages brand outlets, much to the delight of town locals. The likes of which include Starbucks, Burger King and Taco Bell. And if we’re to go by a recent announcement made by a prominent media platform in town, Guwahati will be seeing more than 50 restaurant launches. In a similar context, the lifestyle scene is increasingly becoming more upbeat among the city youths with the emergence of several pubs and bars with weekend gigs and DJ sessions more prevalent than before. 

Additionally, several national as well as international brand expansion plans in the retail space includes having a presence in Guwahati - the gateway to Northeast India. This has enabled city dwellers to benefit from the retail presence of an impressive number of reputed brands in the city. Not to forget that service platforms like Swiggy, Zomato, Uber, Ola, Amazon, Flipkart, to name a few continue to elevate the accessibility quotient among the local consumers. 

The above scenario is not only limited to Guwahati, but in several other towns in Assam. One might even say that we are almost at par with thriving metros such as Bangalore and Delhi, when it comes to lifestyle shifts owing to rising hangout spaces as well as growing footprints of popular brands and services in the region. 

But is our city growing in terms of employability and income generation? Let me rephrase - Does Guwahati and other major towns in Assam offer tons of job opportunities with exciting career opportunities to the educated and employable youths from in and around the region? This answer at the moment is sadly, no. 

According to a media report, Assam currently has over 24 lacs educated people who are unemployed. True, many youths have ventured into the entrepreneurial sector in Assam, and many of them have been performing well in terms of self-sustainability and even employment generation. However, employment scope in the private job market in Assam is still on the gloomier side; with less vacancies, and even lesser income potential. 

Placement Opportunities at educational institutions in Assam

Unlike prominent national level institutions, regional colleges and universities in Assam aren’t big on disclosing their placement rates, except a few. Among the ones that focus on stepping up placement opportunities for its students, Assam Down town University seems to publish their placement updates more actively than the rest. ADTU’s average placement rate currently stands at 74% as per their placement officer. The institute also hosts an annual Northeast Job Fair - the 8th edition was held on 25th June 2022. The event as per media statements and the institute’s own communication line claims to be among the largest job fairs of Northeast India with approx 4000 potential job-seekers connecting to over 40 reputed national and multinational companies.

However, the same statement that glorifies it as one of the largest job fairs in Northeast India also raises another important question. Can job fairs with participation strength below 10000 really be considered to be among the largest in the region, especially when more than 24 lacs educated people (from Assam alone) are currently unemployed? If that’s really the case, then are we doing enough to curb the unemployment rate?

Please note that the intent here is not to criticise a single institute’s effort in connecting job-seekers to the job market through their annual job fairs. As a matter of fact, initiatives such as this are much needed in the region and more of such job fairs and mass placement drives in both private and govt. job market is the need of the hour to boost employability among the youths of the region.

Solving Unemployment in the region

To further solve the unemployment equation, it is imperative that additional skill-building centres and job oriented educational institutions are set up in every corner of the state, while ensuring the quality of training and infrastructure maintained at par with global standards. It is not to say that Assam does not have a sufficient number of institutes catering to the skill development needs of the youth. 

As a matter of fact, a lot of emphasis is being given to skill development among youths, SHG training, startup incubation and bilateral trade agreements with foreign nations. These are all indications towards strengthening the revenue generation ecosystem in the region. However, the quality and competitiveness of existing institutes need serious improvement, and we need more robust policies in place to drive accelerated employment generation. At the same time, startup incubation programs and bilateral trade agreements should not only focus on potential funding from key stakeholders, but also take necessary steps to incentivise profitability to the extent of augmenting self-sustaining revenue generation streams that promotes long-term business growth and opens up promising career opportunities for the youths. 

It’s still early to say if the current initiatives are going to bear fruits in the long-run, especially when a lot of economic and policy shifts at national and international markets are being taken up to combat global inflation and avoid any possibility of economic meltdown. Having said that, small steps such as ensuring focused skill-building among youths, and robust placement guidance in educational institutes can play a crucial role in bringing down the rising unemployment rate in the years to come. Until then, our society needs a mindset shift from obsessing over new hangout spaces to contributing to newer career avenues in Assam.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Critical Script or its editor.

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