Lack of paid formal jobs for rural women educated up to secondary school level has lead to an increase in unemployment rates.
Women in Sagar village, who have studied till the secondary school level and have skills suitable for non-agricultural, non-labour work are unemployed as there are very few paid, formal jobs available in Shahapur city.
Shabira Begum, a resident of Sagar Village, complains about the non-availability of jobs in Sagar. “I want to work, but the only work that we get is labour work, and I don’t know how to do that. I sent my daughter to school, hoping that education will help her get a job, but she is also unemployed. She can’t even work in the fields because she spent her childhood studying and not working.”
General Secretary of the Sagar Gram Panchayat, Kalappa said that the Panchayat offers jobs as per Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). “Everyone will get 100 days of paid work. Those who come to the Panchayat get the jobs. If they are educated, they can go to Shahapur city and find work there.”
MGNREGA only provides employment opportunities which deal with labour work and agriculture, during the crop sowing and harvest season, which lasts for only four months. The very few formal jobs that are available in Shahapur city are given to only those who have degrees.
A paper published by Indian Human Development Survey titled “Do Public Works Programs Increase Women’s Economic Empowerment? Evidence from Rural India” states that two-thirds of the rural women who are not currently employed would be willing to work and their family members would not object to this decision if suitable work were available. It highlights the fact that MGNREGA provides only labour work opportunities which are not ideal for women who want formal jobs.
Dr. S.R. Keshava, an economics professor at Bangalore University, said that skill development centres need to be set up in every taluk. “The village panchayats should train the rural women with the assistance of the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) in various crafts like tailoring, making of candles, matchsticks, incense sticks, papads, pickles etc.”
The PMKVY training centres in Yadgir district are only stationed in Yadgir taluk. There aren’t any centres in Shahapur taluk.
Mr. Kalappa said, “As of now we don’t have any plan of starting a skill centre because we don’t have the funds required for it. If we get funds, we will do something about it.”
Dr. Keshava said, “The Government needs to add vocational courses in high school and train students in the skills of their choice. Women should unite and form self-help groups to train themselves and also assist them financially.”