The Andhra Pradesh YCP government under Chief Minister Shri Jagan Mohan Reddy has increased the retirement age from 60 to 62 years. 8 years back this was revised from 58 to 60 years by then Congress government under Chief Minister Shri Kiran Kumar Reddy. This news came as a celebration to many yet-to-be retired employees. At the same time, for the many unemployed youth in Andhra Pradesh, this remains bitter news.
According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy ( CIME), the unemployment rate in Andhra Pradesh stood at 5.6 % as of December 2021. More than 25% of graduates and undergraduates in Andhra Pradesh remain Jobless to date. The impact of COVID on the private sector, increase in recession levels, the overall collapse of the economy, most of Andhra Pradesh being an agrarian economy and lack of employment opportunities has further worsened the situation of the youth of Andhra Pradesh. This latest news of AP state government decision comes as shocking news as many qualified graduates are eagerly waiting to join the government services. There is a dire situation of creating Jobs for these unemployed youth. Added to this, there are no new Job notifications released by the government. Even if they do so the available positions are inversely proportional to educational qualifications and the number of applicants applying for the posts.
Is the extension of retirement age considered a political stunt as the next general elections are fast approaching in Andhra Pradesh? Is the CM trying to lure the vote bank of government employees? It is a universally accepted fact that government employees’ votes are a significant deciding factor to win the elections. It was a major factor for the loss of the TDP government in the 2018 general elections. Jeopardizing the careers of youth at the cost of winning elections is nothing but pure anarchy by the government.
From the employee's point of view, this retirement age came as a boon. The average mindset of a yet-to-be retired employee is to save money for their children marriage’s, planning for a house, and a peaceful post-retirement life. The vast experience they bring to the table is unquestionable. But are they ready to extend for another 2 years is the question? The demanding working hours, travel, and balancing home chores are leaving many people under significant stress. Many are eagerly waiting for their retirement and to take rest.
Shakuntala Devi(identity changed) works as a teacher in a government school in Andhra Pradesh. She is 59 years old. She takes the responsibility of shaping the lives of many young minds as a teacher. However, she is suffering from acute knee pains and asthma. This new extension of retirement age might earn her some extra retirement benefits but it will take a serious toll on her health. If she is unable to deliver her best, the students will be at loss. Due to COVID, many classes are conducted online and the quality teaching standards are deteriorating day by day. How can she take this huge responsibility as a teacher when her physical ability is not supporting her? Why can’t the same responsibility be given to a fresh graduate willing to deliver the same service as a government employee?
This decision of the government has serious ramifications on the Andhra Pradesh young population and the state at large. Many graduates are remaining Jobless and this trend continues for a foreseeable time. Youth remaining idle at their prime age is a significant loss to the state and nation at large. There are many students committing suicide because of a lack of employment opportunities. There are facing the brunt of societal and parental pressure for remaining Jobless. There are fat chances that these youth turn into anti-social elements in society. If this trend continues the majority of the people do not show interest in enrolling for graduate and post-graduate degrees. Educated youth will not have a desire the apply for public service examinations. This will lead to brain drain and youth migrating abroad for better employment and livelihood opportunities.
Are there any protests from the government employees to increase the retirement age to 62? Absolutely NOT. There were a series of protests by the employee unions to revise the pay scales but not to increase the retirement age. Considering the serious damage caused to the youth, the AP government should rethink its decision to revise the retirement age in the best interest of unemployed youth.
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