People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 08

February 21, 2010




Youth Demand: GO 170 Must Go!


S P Rajendran


M K Stalin, the deputy chief minister of Tamilnadu, so wrote in his blog; "A jobless youngster is an unwanted person in his family and is given the title �useless bugger.� If his family itself discourages him, then what will the youngster do? �Unemployed youngsters on the roadside and the dangerous thoughts in their mind,� as quoted by Arignar Anna..."

It is therefore ironic that the DMK government, which his father M Karunanidhi is heading, has thrown out lakhs of youngsters to the roadside by denying them employment opportunities. Instead of giving job opportunities to the youngsters who are waiting for a livelihood for a long while, the government of Tamilnadu recently issued an order to fill the vacant posts in some of the government departments with retired employees. This is what the Government Order (GO) No 170 says.

In Tamilnadu, nearly 2,80,000 posts are lying kept vacant in various departments of the state government. Even in the district employment exchanges and the office of the Tamilnadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC), nearly 50 percent of places are lying vacant. Taken together, the employment exchanges in the state have a total of 1115 positions, but the official statistics in March 2009 said 442 of them were vacant at that time. In this department alone, 46 employees retired in December 2009; 56 persons will retire in the year 2010 and 44 in 2011. So a total 588 vacant places will be there at the end of 2011. They account for nearly 60 percent of the sanctioned positions.

The same is the situation in various departments, e g education, medical, rural development, highways, revenue, judicial, local bodies, social welfare, agriculture, public health etc, of the government of Tamilnadu.

It is in this background that the DMK government has issued its GO No 170 in December 2009, last year, about filling the vacant posts with retired government employees, for a consolidated payment.

Moreover, the government has appointed 280 teachers for the special schools for Kallar community children; 90 per cent of them are above 55 years of age.

On the other hand, the total number of unemployed youth registered in employment exchanges across the state has increased from 55,11,542 in 2008 to about 62 lakhs in 2009. Among the youth registered in the exchanges, nearly 50 per cent are waiting for a job for the past ten years. The Tamilnadu Public Service Commission too has been inactive for the past ten years.

The minimum available assistance in the form of unemployment relief has reached all the unemployed youth.

The chief minister and the deputy chief minister always proudly talk about their efforts to develop industries in Tamilnadu through memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with various foreign companies, who would set up industries in and around the capital city of Chennai. But they are not ready to tell the facts about the extent of employment generation by these foreign companies. Nor have they inform the assembly about these dealings.

In this situation, the Tamilnadu state committee of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) has decided to organise a statewide agitation demanding withdrawal of the anti-youth GO No 170. Responding to its call, thousands of youth including several hundreds of young women organised black flag demonstrations against the said GO at the headquarters of 29 districts on February 3. The DMK government sought to intimidate the agitators and arrested all of them. In the evening, the police took on remand nearly 600 youth including the state leaders of the DYFI and SFI, and did not spare young women either. DYFI state president S G Ramesh Babu led the movement at Virudhunagar and state secretary S Kannan led it at Dindigul.

On February 4, condemning the arrest and demanding immediate release of the youth and student leaders, the state committee of the Students Federation of India (SFI) organised a students strike all over the state. More than 50,000 of students joined the protest in solidarity with the DYFI�s movement against the GO No 170.

On February 5, again, DYFI cadres organised demonstrations in all the districts, demanding immediate release of the youth who are detained in various jails. At Chennai, CPI(M) MLA Mahendran and leaders and cadres of the CITU, AIDWA, DYFI and SFI participated in these demonstrations. At Dindigul, the CPI(M)�s assembly leader K Balabarathi and others addressed the protestors.

CPI(M) state secretary N Varadharajan has also condemned the state government for the detention and demanded the withdrawal of the said anti-youth government order.

After three days of continuous protest, the government released the detained young men and women.