New Approach To Employment Service’ Extension Programme: Rojgar Sahay Kendras (RSKs)
In 10th Plan, Planning Commission of India has set a target of creating 10 million jobs each year. Also, it is widely recognized that service sector is offering majority of such new job opportunities but these are mainly in the unorganized sector. In respect of such jobs, a mechanism is required to facilitate placement opportunities to the large number of unemployed mass of youths in the country. Existing set up of Employment Exchanges is neither designed for nor capable of taking upon these challenges. Innovative approach, using modern information technology and public private participation is required to carry out the expansion of employment services in some more visible and measurable manner. Government of Gujarat has already taken the lead and issued guidelines  for setting up of Rojgar Sahay Kendra (RSK) in the state.
2. Over 11 Lakh jobseekers are currently registered with these Exchanges and out of these more than 8 lakhs are educated unemployed (approx. 80%). However, exchanges secure placements to only about 75,000 jobseekers each year.
3. Out of 75,000 placements, only 20-25,000 jobseekers (approx. 25%) in educated and skilled category get quality jobs while the balance get jobs in unskilled low paid category which is almost inverse to their numbers.
1.1 Large nos. of Jobseekers: Directorate of Employment & Training (DET) provides employment services in the state through a network of employment exchanges. These exchanges are very popular amongst the unemployed youths for seeking job placements in Gujarat State. Presently, at least there is one General Exchange in each district. There are also few special exchanges for physically handicapped persons, postgraduates and the scheduled tribe candidates as well in someplaces. Annually, more than 200,000 youths seek fresh registration with these exchanges in the State.
Yet the growth of registered job seekers has stagnated in the last few years and their number has marginally gone up from 0.926 million in 1999 to 1.054 million in 2002. While the placement is annually provided to only 75,000 job seekers, why should the registered job seekers database not grow by 125,000 by each year? This is for the reasons that either the job seeker has already got some placements of their own efforts or they drop out of the live register by not renewing their registration at the end of 3 years as they; possibly, find it difficult to sustain faith in the placement service system i.e. the employment exchanges.
1.2 Changing composition of Job market: Since last decade, contractions of job opportunities in the government and semi-government organizations have led to fewer job placements being offered through Employment Exchanges. As a matter of fact 90% of the employed work force is in the private sector. Relevant statistics are given in the left box. On the other hand, substantial growth has been achieved in the secondary as well as tertiary sectors of the economy.
Also, there has been healthy growth in the job opportunities in the unorganized private sector such as small businesses, enterprises, home based units etc. Due to non-coverage under CNV Act, Exchanges have had lesser success in obtaining job vacancies from the private employers in the unorganized sector. Consequently, job seekers queues are growing and they are feeling despondent and disenchanted with the system. They need some one who can give personal attention and help them to locate suitable placement.
1.3 Placement services need improvements: Can we devise a system for efficient collection of private sector’s job vacancy data and offer placement on those vacancies to the job seekers on the live register of the exchanges in a decentralized manner? If so, how? In this context, we are suggesting to set up Rojgar Sahay Kendra (RSK) as an additional facilitator between the employers and the job seeker besides the present set up of Employment Exchanges.
2.0 RSK: THE CONCEPT
2.1 Decentralisation of placement services: Employment Exchanges are having a rich database of more than a million job seekers across the State but do not have a very effective and efficient system of collecting information on available job avenues especially in the private sector. If we can set up area-wise centers for collection of job vacancies data in the private sector and link it with the job seeker’s database available at the Exchange (s), then it would be possible to offer placement on the local job opportunities to the job seekers at a faster pace. Also these centers can help us in keeping the job seekers database updated. Further, these centers would provide personalized services and act as a direct and active link between job seekers and the employers.
2.2 Private Participation: Such centers can be set up in different areas including cities, talukas etc. by the government as well as in the private sector. However, to tap the maximum benefit of the private initiative, enterprise and capacity etc., we have preferred the same in the private sector.
2.3 Empowerment of RSK’s: These centers should be generally empowered to discharge all those functions as are presently being performed by the Employment Exchanges. Also Exchange’s job seeker’s database should be made available to these centers in an interactive manner. Further, centers should be authorized so that their credibility is established among the job seekers and the employers of the area.
2.4 Marketing & Publicity of RSK’s; These centers should be manned by well-trained persons who can perform the roles and functions of the Employment Exchanges and take up suitable publicity measures in their areas for marketing their services.
3.0 PRESENT EXCHANGE SYSTEM’s PREPAREDNESS FOR RSKs:
3.1 Use of Information Technology: Gujarat has one of the finest IT infrastructures in the country. All the Exchanges have been computerized and interconnected and their databases have been put up in the public domain by the government. Directorate of Employment & Training has set up a web-based dynamic portal capable of performing many of the Exchange functions with suitable safeguards. Thus, virtual Exchanges are already available on the net throughout the State and in fact, the world.
3.2 Talimrojgar Portal: The www.talimrojgar.gujarat.gov.in, (also www.talimrojgar.org) is the web-based platform for virtual employment exchange. It is operational since January 2002. It provides the full database of jobseekers in terms of age, qualification, location, sex, caste, experience etc. Also it allows fresh registration by a job seeker besides renewal and updation of data by existing jobseeker through password. It also has query-based modules and provides information on vacancy notified by the employers on different exchanges. Career and Vocational Guidance module, Rojgar Samachar etc. are the added features for the job seekers. Over last 11 months of its operation, over 75,000 visitors (end January 2003) have logged on the portal.
3.3 RSKs to complement Por tal Services: Though, presently any one can access the job seekers database from the abovementioned URL, yet not many jobseekers or the employers possibly have known or used it. This may be so due to lack of publicity of the URL or low level of Internet penetration in the State or even the lack of capacity to use it. RSKs can help the users in obtaining maximum benefits of the services available on this URL.
4.0 RSK:THE IMPLEMENTATION PROCEDURE
4.1 Inviting of applications & selection criterions: Each RSK would be selected by inviting applications form suitable candidates from any particular area (s) or the whole state by way of a specific or gener al advertisement (s) in the newspaper (s) having wide circulation in the area. From amongst the applications so received, preference would be given to those candidates who have minimum educational qualification, aptitude and possess infrastructure such as 100 sq. ft. area shop/ cabin/ room, computer, printer, scanner, Internet, seating arrangements etc. DET is aiming to provide one center for every 2,000 job seekers presently registered with each Exchange and at least one per taluka. Centers allotment would be made in the manner so as to cover maximum talukas and cities of the State.
4.2 Capacity Building: Respective Exchange officers would suitably train each RSK in their jurisdictions so that it can perform its assigned functions in an effective manner.
4.3 Authorisation: RSK would be allowed access to the database of the jobseekers with specific search facilities in its district as well as authorization to register, renew, update jobseeker’s data base in the prescribed manner in lieu of ” Fees Rs. 1000/- ” ( For three years ) to be paid to the DET. They would be assigned suitable passwords for the same. However, this would not abridge or infringe upon the rights and the authority of the Exchanges or the directorate or the government to maintain, update or use such database in any manner, as it deems fit.
4.4 RSKs to undertake self-marketing & promotion: Each RSK shall undertake all necessary measures for publicizing its services amongst the job seekers and the employers in its area at its own cost. It will have to establish one to one contact with all the jobseekers and employers in its area of operation.
4.5 User charges for RSK services: Each RSK can charge for all the user services provided by it to the jobseekers and the employers. There would a ceiling on such charges to be recovered from the jobseekers; however, no such ceiling on charges from the employers has been proposed.
4.6 Maintenance of Records by RSKs: Each RSK would maintain the records of services provided and the charges recovered from the job seekers and issue proper receipts for the charges. Similarly, it would also maintain the records of the job vacancies data collected by it in its area and also record the job seeker’s name to which the placement was provided. It would also submit necessary returns to the District Exchange at regular intervals.
4.7 Quality services: Since the RSK would be charging for the services rendered to the job seekers and the employers, therefore, it would maintain the highest standards thereof at all times. It would bind itself to this effect by executing suitable agreement with the Directorate of Employment. Also, the Exchange officer or any other authorized officer of the Directorate will carry out inspections at regular intervals and if the RSK is not found working properly; its agreement would be liable for cancellation by the Directorate.
4.8 Other activities: RSKs, while providing the placements on the local job opportunities, can also help and motivate the job seekers to take up self-employment ventures. There are many such schemes undertaken by various government departments but the extension mechanism of such schemes lacks the punch, more or less, in the same manner, as is the case of employment exchanges. By way of their very decentralized nature and proximity to the ground level scenario, RSKs can undertake this task as well. Since RSKs would be continuously collecting the skill requirements of the job market and supplying the manpower, which matches up to the demand, they can provide useful data to the planners and managers of education and skill development services like training centers, schools and other educational institutions.
4.9 Supplementary Role: Last but not the least, RSKs are only meant for supplementing the role of Employment Exchanges in the State, which have constraints like organization set up, distance etc. in its functioning. RSKs are, in no way or any manner, to replace the Employment Exchanges and it’s functioning. All those services, which are presently provided by the Employment Exchanges, would continue to be provided to all the job seekers and the employers irrespective of the RSKs in their jurisdiction. Further, all vacancy notifications in the government and semi-government sector shall always be processed and submitted by the Employment Exchanges alone. However, RSKs would be free to obtain vacancies notification from the private employers and make submission against such vacancies subject to maintenance of necessary records and other conditions laid down in the agreement. In this regard, different RSKs can compete with others without any restrictions, though care would be taken that RSKs do not crowd in any particular area.
5.1 Faster Placements: Placement services are one of the most important social services rendered by the government. Innovative use of Information Technology has opened new methods of service delivery. We are confident, that present rate of placement would at least double in an year.
5.2 Improvement in consumer satisfaction level: Private sector participation has been very successful in the delivery of commercial services like railway reservation etc. Partial privatization of placement services would certainly improve its delivery as well as the satisfaction level of the consumers i.e. jobseekers and the employers.
5.3 Future prospects of RSK: Ours is a vast country, which is both modern as well as traditional. It is both, Bharat and India. We will have to bring them closer and reduce the gaps. Modern technologies, if applied innovatively, have the potential to achieve this objective. Government should lead the way, at least in the manner of delivery of its services. RSKs concept of public private participation in the delivery of government services should be further extended across the board for all other government services too; as well as for the collection, updation and maintenance of databases. RSKs have a promising future as one stop shop for all such government services.
ILLUSTRATIVE SERVICES TO BE OFFERRED BY RSKs
(A) FOR JOBSEEKERS:
ü Personalized Services at your doorsteps.
ü Faster placement opportunities in private sector without foregoing your chance for government/ semi-government jobs.
ü No more queues at the Exchanges for fresh registration; renewal, updation of existing Job Seekers etc.
ü Easy access to the information on vacancies notified at the Exchange (s), Rojgar Samachar (weekly newspaper), Career & Vocational Guidance, Self Employment opportunities etc.
ü Easy access to information regarding Skill Upgradation through Craftsman Training Scheme (CTS) and Apprentice Training Scheme (ATS).
ü Easy communication link with the Exchange & Directorate through “FEED BACK” module.
(B) FOR EMPLOYERS:
ü Personalized Services at your doorsteps.
ü Get assistance in identifying suitable manpower for your needs quickly.
ü Submit EMI returns through RSKs.
ü Locate apprentices without any headaches.
ü Easy communication link with the Exchange & Directorate through “FEED BACK” module.
(A) APPLICATION: (should be separate for each location)
1. Applicant’s Details (Including all individual as well as institutional applicants):
· Name, Photograph ( Of individuals or the heads of the institutional applicants)
· Phone no.
· Educational Qualification (only required in case of individual applicant and should be minimum graduate with knowledge of computers, certificates to be attached)
2. Details of person(s) who would actually man the Center (Applicable to institutional and non-individual applicants only):
· Name, Photograph
· Educational qualification (minimum graduate with knowledge of computers, certificates to be attached)
· Relationship with the applicant
2. Details of proposed RSK:
· Name of the building/ property’s owner/ occupant (proofs required)
· Location and address of the Center
· Floor area of the Center (in sq. ft.)
· Infrastructure facilities:
v No. of computer(s)
v Scanner(s) & Printer(s)
v Phone nos.
v Fax and Internet Facility
v Seating Arrangements (nos. of chairs etc.)
v Any other parallel activity at the center
3. Details of the Security Deposit compulsory along with the Application Rs.1000/- ( For three years)
(B) SCREENING COMMITTEE
· One for Each District
· Regional Deputy Director of Employment as Chairman, District Employment Officer, District’s Nodal ITI Principal, District Education Officer as members
This Committee would interview the applicant and comment upon his/ her aptitude to manage RSK and forward their recommendation to the Directorate of Employment & Training, Gujarat State.
(C ) SELF- PUBLICITY/ PROMOTION BY RSK:
(D) SCHEDULE OF CHARGES
For Job Seekers:
· Rs. 25 for submission of quarterly EMI return, apprentice returns etc.
(E) MAINTENANCE OF RECORDS
Each RSK shall maintain following registers:
For Job Seekers:
· Should contain the names, registration numbers, details of fees charged and receipt no. of fees etc.
· Also, RSK shall submit monthly returns to the District Employment
Exchange based on above registers.
[#] Presently working as Director Employment & Training of Gujarat State.
 Labour & Employment Department’s Government Resolution No. ZUZv!!Z__Zv!5)$vZsZf dtd 7.2.03