For all the constant complaining and whining we do over public sector’s working culture, the employees lackadaisical attitude, it comes as quite a revelation to know that, irrespective of all this, PSU jobs are the most preferred for majority Indians.
Forget the scarcity of jobs, what do we see from these numbers - 23 lakh applicants for 368 peon’s jobs in UP, 25 lakh aspirants for 6000 Group D jobs in Bengal, 25 million applications for 90,000 jobs in the Railways, 2 lakh for 1137 vacancies for the post of police constables in Maharashtra?
What comes forth is the sheer draw of a Govt job. Yes, in metros maybe, people queue for private sector jobs but step out a bit out of the metros and the power of the Govt job remains unshakeable. Given the wide and new career choices which have opened up today, one would have expected this power of the PSU job to come down. But on the contrary it seems to have become only stronger.
In Bihar, Jharkhand and UP, it is quite a common sight to see huge number of young men happily unemployed but have a full-time job of studying for some Govt job. This could take 2 or 3 years or even 4, yet they all remain locked in this world of competitive exams, cramming up things which are of no use in real life but crucial when it comes to cracking the exam code.
So isn’t that a good thing where majority of the population is service-minded and actually out looking for a Govt job? Well, it has got nothing to do with service, at least for 90% of the aspirants. Apart from job security and stead pay, the real draw of a Govt job for most is often the power which comes along. Be it an administrator or even a peon, the swag in the walk indicates the power they wield on account of their designation. In the social circles, a Govt job is viewed with more respect and a private sector job, unless it is in the field of IT, is viewed with disdain; almost as though working in a private sector is a sign of failure.
With so much preparation going in for securing a Govt job, one would think that the Govt attracts the best talent there is in India. But form what we have experienced and seen so far, this is really not so. The moment these ‘crammers’ get a job, all the hard work stops; it is like as though all their sweat and toil for life was for just getting the job and once they get that, it’s time for them to relax and enjoy the fruits for life. So clearly, the lure for the Govt job has little to do with the work content but all about the power that comes with it.
One can say that the people still wanting to work with PSUs is a good thing, indicating the vibrancy of the Govt. Sadly, this popularity has nothing to do with vibrancy; it is in fact a reflection how despite so many things changing, this social and economic status of a Govt job remains static. The lure for the job is purely for powe,r not for service. In many ways, we can say that the growing preference for a PSU job is a vote for a past relic and less about where India wants to head in the future.