On the road to recovery
Last month, the Delhi Government was involved in the back-breaking effort of turning around a dire COVID-19 situation in the national capital. Having achieved a degree of control over the situation, the Delhi Government is now undertaking the endeavour of addressing the equally problematic situation of unemployment. This week, CM Kejriwal launched a jobs portal — jobs.delhi.gov.in — as part of an effort to bridge the gap between the job seekers and employers. The portal would particularly serve to meet the needs of labour-intensive businesses that had been affected by the mass reverse migration. Speaking alongside the Minister of Employment Gopal Rai, CM Kejriwal earnestly requested the various industry bodies to full commit to using the portal. Rai also implored the people who had the know-how to use the portal to assist others who may need its services but cannot handle the registration process. The web portal, named as 'Rozgar Bazar' will allow potential applicants to apply for jobs under 32 different categories that range from labour related jobs to web designing. Potential job seekers will be asked to log in by using their mobile number. Potential employers may then communicate with the applicants using WhatsApp or the phone.
In 2017, the Delhi Government had launched a similar initiative but the urgency this time is clearly different. COVID-19 has impacted the livelihoods and daily lives of the people on a scale that has rarely been witnessed throughout human history. More so than its still-rising death toll, the pandemic has pushed entire communities into destitution and devastation. This portal is part of a larger effort by the Delhi Government to kickstart the economy in the national capital. Other measures are soon expected to follow. A related measure that was also announced alongside the portal was the order to allow street vendors and hawkers to resume their business. Still, whether such measures can impact an economy and more importantly, a society that is still reeling under the impacts of the pandemic remains to be seen. The AAP Government is basing the success of its employment initiative on the confidence it has built up by way of its aggressive campaign against COVID-19. The Delhi Government has also emphasised that services like the Delhi Metro are a key factor in restoring economic activity and have as such expressed a desire to open up the service with new safety guidelines. The final decision on the metro reopening, however, is in the hands of the Union Government.
Early signs from the 'Rozgar Bazar' have been encouraging to say the least. As per the Delhi Government, over 51,000 job seekers registered on the website in the first six hours with 1,071 employers posting 18,585 job vacancies in the same time period. Interestingly, the job categories with most vacancies were related to sales and marketing while those with the most applications were related to back-office and data entry jobs.
Regardless of whether or not the jobs portal has any meaningful impact in restoring the economy, such measures, above all, create a sense of security against the unknowing panic which had become common in the last few months. They express intent and a formulated road map by the concerned authorities in restoring normalcy. This trust and sense of security are the most important aspects of any policymaking during a crisis. CM Kejriwal understands this and has attempted to create a transparent and responsive campaign of restoration that is based on awareness and the use of suggestions and criticisms in a constructive manner.