Growing disenchantment among young voters over lack of employment opportunities in Himachal Pradesh would make it an uphill task for both the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2017 Assembly polls.
Around 29.5 per cent voters in the state are in the age group of below 29 years while overall 46 per cent voters are below 39 years age group as compared to 40 per cent in the 2012 assembly polls.
As many as 40,567 youths out of more than 2 lakh new voters will exercise their franchise for the first time in the ensuing assembly elections.
Also, 49.5 lakh voters consist of 29.5 per cent youths in this hilly state, including 2.05 lakh voters in 18 to 19 years age category and 12.03 lakh youths in 20 to 29 years age category.
This section of voters is most affected and aggrieved in the state are over 9 lakh youths are looking for employment opportunities. These reasons force the youth of the state to migrate to earn livelihood.
Adding to their woes, the local youth, most of times, don’t get promised share of employment in industries set-up in the state, despite repeated assurance by the successive governments.
And despite the government launching several schemes to enhance the employability of the youth in the state, the number of employed has increased each year.
The government claims the employees ratio to its population of the state is highest in the country at 3.94 per cent, whereas in the neighbouring states of Punjab, it was 1.56 per cent, in Uttrakhand 1.54 per cent, in Haryana 1.29 per cent, in Jammu and Kashmir 1.30 per cent and at all India level it was 1.40 per cent.
The present government claims of providing employment to over 1 lakh youth in both government and private sectors, has failed to curb disenchantment among them.
“There is the need for generating more employment opportunities for youth to prevent them from migrating to other states,” Vikas Bharti, an unemployed youth said, adding there should no extension to employees after retirement.
“We had launched various schemes for the welfare of unemployed youth, including unemployment allowance, honing their skills under Skill Development and involving them in tourism projects,” IN Mehta, state Congress spokesperson told The Statesman.
He said Congress would continue to work for their welfare in future too, and it is the reason they would vote for them in the ensuing elections.
“Solving the issue of unemployment would be our top priority and we would unveil the roadmap for enhancing job opportunities at village level as well in the government sector,” Ganesh Dutt, state BJP vice president told The Statesman.
It will be interesting to watch how political parties try to woo youths as they have power to impact poll prospects of any candidate or party in this state.