Nov 02, 2012 at 12:32pm IST

Himachal Pradesh polls: Cong, BJP promise jobs as lack of employment worries the youth

Hamirpur: Elections in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh will be held on Sunday, November 4. This time nearly 50 per cent of voters are below the age of 40. CNN-IBN found out that lack of jobs is a primary concern among the youth.

Bharti, a student, studies at the prestigious Himachal Pradesh University in Shimla. She feels students from Himachal find it hard to compete for better jobs outside the state and often settle for less back home. "Here the question is not unemployment like in UP and Bihar, it's more to do with the kind of job, what people get is low grade of employment than what they are capable of.

Those who have local jobs share the concern. Girls working at Shimla's only call centre agree that quality jobs are not easy to come by. Himachal Pradesh has one of the highest literacy rates in India and Hamirpur is Himachal's most literate district. Yet the aspirations there are only half met. The vast gap between education and employment is a growing faultline in Himachal today.

Hamirpur now has several private vocational institutions as students seek job-oriented courses. Shashi Sharma has an MSc in IT but works as an accountant, as a job in IT is hard to find in Himachal. "I can go out of Hamirpur, to other places like Chandigarh, Mumbai. But if I get a job here, I won't have to leave my home town," Shashi says. Targeting the key constituency of young Himachalis, both the Congress and the BJP have promised more jobs in their manifestos, but the question is whether they can really deliver.