The focus on job creation has intensified in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections after the central government announced 10 per cent reservation for the economically weaker sections of upper caste.
At a time when others states are yet to come on board, Sikkim government has taken a giant leap with the launch of 'One Family, One Job' scheme which aims to provide a government job to every family in the state. Following this, Sikkim has become the first state in the country to carry out such an exclusive programme for the people who would now be entitled to state government employee benefits.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled Gujarat's Vijay Rupani government and Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government have decided to roll out the Union government's new reservation scheme in government jobs soon. But, they are no match to the jobs programme in Sikkim.
Why Sikkim, not other states
The Sikkim government's scheme to offer job to every family, irrespective of their caste, was announced by the Sikkim's ruling party, the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), on its election manifesto last year during the winter session of the State Assembly.
The most common and evident argument in favour of Sikkim is its population size as compared with northern states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. If the scheme were to be rolled out in these highly populated states, it would put a huge fiscal burden on them.
For example, if Uttar Pradesh, which has a population of nearly 19.98 crore (as per census 2011), opt for the scheme, it will have to divert a huge chunk of its budgetary allocation towards employees' salary disbursement, leaving little room for other schemes. After landslide victory in state assembly elections, Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government was expected to create new employment opportunities for the youth where out of every 1,000 people, 74 were unemployed. Adityanath's government launched schemes, such as Mukhyamantri Yuva Swarojgar Yojana and Suryamitra Yojana (employment via UPNEDA), but a lot remains desirable.
Same is in the case of neighbouring state Bihar which has a population of nearly 10.41 crore where 60 out of every 1,000 people are unemployed. State has its own schemes, like Kushal Yuva Programme (KYP) and Aarakshit Rozgar, Mahiloan ko Adhikar, which have hardly made ground.
Meanwhile, Sikkim, the second smallest state in India, has a population size of 6.10 lakh with on an average 5 persons living in a family. This means, if the Sikkim government succeeds in keeping its promise, 1,22,000 families will be entitled to the employee benefits, which will cost the exchequer Rs 250 crore annually. The total cost of employment will not be very challenging to meet. As of now, Sikkim has nearly 1 lakh regularised employees on its pay rolls.
(With inputs from Mudit Kapoor)