03:37 GMT05 August 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Millions prepare for "prestigious" government jobs in India every year. However, aspirants are now in the doldrums due to the pandemic-induced uncertainty over recruitment as current employees are already facing salary cuts; vacancies are shrinking and recruitment for various jobs in the government sector are on hold.

    India's 2020 budget put emphasis on job creation when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to create a $5-trillion economy. However, the pandemic has jeopardised these prospects, with recruitment for several federal and state government jobs presently on hold or postponed.

    According to data presented by the Ministry of Personnel in Parliament, there were nearly 3.1 million federal government positions as of 1 March 2018. While the sanctioned strength of federal government jobs has risen since 2014 by 150,000, the number of employees in 2018 has come down.

    The most recent decision to halt recruitment in the sector is that of the Haryana government which has come out to state that there will be no new jobs in the government sector for the next year. In India, millions of students prepare for these competitive exams and invest 3-4 years of their lives to make multiple attempts to get through.

    "Initially, I perceived the lockdown as an opportunity for preparation. It helped me overcome the uncertainty and mental stress posed by it. But the news of no government jobs in Haryana for the next one year has shattered my dreams. I have been preparing for these exams since 2019", said Rishabh Dabas, an aspirant preparing for government sector jobs in Haryana.

    Private Sector: Upward & Downward Trend

    The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), an industry association, has predicted that India would see an unprecedented risk to 100 million jobs after the COVID-19-induced lockdown. With employers themselves fighting for survival, recruitment processes for new jobs has been severely hit, especially in certain sectors which are seeing a downward trend.

    Sunil Goel, Managing Director of Global Hunt Recruitment, told Sputnik about the sectors witnessing a dip in recruitment and those seeing an increase.

    "We have seen the maximum number of job losses and layoffs in major industries such as hospitality, travel, aviation, and automobiles. These sectors are not in good shape right now so there is no hiring as sustainability itself has become a challenge", Goel said.

    While the demand for new employees in these sectors has gone down, the new necessities created by the pandemic has significantly boosted demand for professionals in e-commerce, education, and other technology-savvy sectors. Goel points out that the demand for people in these sectors has gone up by nearly 60 percent.

    Plight of Fresh Graduates

    Fresh graduates, especially those who invest a good amount of money for pursuing professional courses that guarantee placements in the end, have been worst hit due to pandemic-induced adversities.

    Gopalan Anish Acharya, CEO of Medveda Educare, an educational consultant firm, told Sputnik that students who had turned down the idea of pursuing higher education in favour of jobs have also begun regretting their decision and feel marooned.

    "For many, the prospect of employment after their education was crucial in their decision to pursue expensive courses. Now with COVID-19, no matter how pedigreed their graduation is wouldn't really matter", Acharya said.

    In the wake of COVID-19, several companies have revoked job offers and freezed hiring freshers from campuses due to bleak economic scenarios. The tragedy did not spare even the top engineering Institute Indian Institute of Technology, where several offers were revoked.

    ​Explaining the situation on why fresh graduates have been hit, Sunil Goel said, "When it comes to fresh graduates, the problem is not only hiring but also training them, which is a challenge at this time. Companies are working on online inductions and training, so once this is fixed, the situation may improve".

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