Remember Aamir Khan’s character DJ from Rang De Basanti? The man who continued to hang out with people much younger than him, in spite of having graduated years before? In Himachal Pradesh’s Solan, that could be Ritesh Thakur. But Ritesh isn't doing it so willingly.
Twenty-three-year-old Ritesh graduated from college two years ago. But he is still without a job. He is frequently spotted mingling with boys who are three-four years his junior, outside the same tea-shop he hung out at while he was in college.
An Additional Degree, but Still Waiting for a Job
Ritesh was very happy at the beginning of his graduation as he was promised a job. He completed his B-Tech in civil engineering from Solan, but soon found himself in the disadvantaged majority.
Ritesh decided to study further to increase his employability. He completed a vocational course in design soon after, but that too didn't change his status of being jobless. He continues to be found outside the same tea shop every other day.
He doesn't want to leave Solan, but he may have no other alternative. Ritesh, however, won't be alone in his departure from home in pursuit of a job.
A 2013 UNESCO report states that from 1993-94 to 2007-08, the percentage of households in Himachal where one person left home to relocate elsewhere, shot up from six percent to 20 percent. Himachal tops this list, followed by Haryana, Bihar and Jharkhand.
Solan: An Education Hub, But What About Jobs?
Solan, the city that gets its name from Shoolini Devi, has 60 percent of Himachal Pradesh's universities. People across different states in north India flock to various institutes of Solan to study.
There are colleges for law, medicine, dentistry, technology, computer science, MBA and other courses. However, after completing their course they find themselves having to wait impatiently for jobs or settle for much lesser.
Discouraging Packages at the End of Course
Those who are currently studying in universities of Solan are well aware that even if they do end up landing a job, the packages will be far from satisfactory.
Eighteen-year-old Pallavi Singh, who is doing her B-Tech, says students only get low-paying jobs from Solan. "Jobs have a monthly salary of Rs 12,000. Did we come so far for a job of Rs 12,000 only?" she asks.
Vikas Attri, 22, who is currently pursuing his MBA, says there are very few companies which come for placement. So to make money, one has to leave the state.
We know we won’t get the packages that we want, for that we will have to go to other states where we get better salary and growth. Like Chandigarh, Noida, Gurgaon,Bangalore and Delhi.
The youth of Himachal comprises around 30 percent of the states' 70 lakh-odd population.
Their disenchantment with the current job situation, and their desire to land something stable, will determine where their vote will sway in the upcoming Himachal Pradesh 2017 Assembly elections.
Video Editor: Vivek Gupta, Purnendu Pritam
Video Producer: Suhasini Krishnan
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