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Hit by meltdown, Bangalore youths to vote for secure jobs

By Maitreyee Boruah,IANS,

Bangalore, : As hundreds of young people graduating in engineering and management in India’s IT hub feel the heat of the global financial meltdown, they are united on one issue – vote in the Lok Sabha polls and vote for those with the best economic recovery plan.

With fewer job offers and lower compensation this year at the summer campus placements, talk among young Bangaloreans centres on the five-phase polls beginning April 16.

Only by electing right candidates can the future become secure. That is the view that dominates the discussion over coffee at a popular hangout.

Gitika Rathod, 21, (name changed on request) a final year student of electronics engineering at Rashtriya Vidyalaya Engineering College here, has failed to secure a job in campus recruitment.

But Gitika, who during Karnataka’s assembly elections in May 2008 did not bother to vote, is determined this time not only to vote but for the right candidate.

“The Lok Sabha elections are crucial for us. Economy is in doldrums. People are losing jobs and there is no vacancy. Under such circumstances, I am going to make a conscious decision,” Gitika told IANS.

Her friend Siddharth Govindraj, 23, (name changed on request) a student in the prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B), said he would vote only for a party that had the potential to revive India’s economy.

“Not only are the fresh graduates facing tough times to secure jobs but many job holders, especially in IT and financial sectors, have lost their jobs,” rued Siddharth.

“This time I am sure to vote and will vote only for that candidate and party which have a set of policies to address the current gloomy economic situation,” he said.

The campus recruitment season at IIM-B gave a clear picture of the intensity of the slowdown.

It took around 10 days for 260 outgoing students to get jobs.

In contrast, last year, the entire batch of 256 students was lapped up on the first day with more than 50 percent getting highly lucrative offers.

“We experienced new challenges in this year’s campus recruitment. With global financial, consultant and investment banks reeling under the impact of the US meltdown and worldwide recession, the choice of placement and compensation has been limited due to lower intake and tighter budgets,” said IIM-B director Pankaj Chandra.

The fresh graduates in India’s Silicon Valley are not the only ones worried. Hundreds of people, especially in the once booming IT and financial sectors, have got pink slips. And hundreds of others fear they may be shown the exit door any time.

UNITES-Professionals (Union for Information Technology-Enabled Services-Professionals), a union of employees in the IT-Enabled Services, predicts that 50,000 techies in India will get pink slips in the coming months.

Bangalore could be the worst affected in terms of job loss as 40 percent of Indian IT and BPO professionals work in the city.

Two million people were employed in the Indian IT and BPO industry in 2007-08, according to the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom). The BPO sector employs more than 700,000 people.

“I recently lost my job. In spite of all my attempts I have failed to get a new job. I am very confused. Thus in this election I am going to be very choosy who to vote for,” said Hari Danish, a 25-year-old computer engineer who was working at a known software company here.

An estimated 100 million first time voters will be eligible to vote in the general elections. India has a voting population of over 700 million, 30 percent of it in the 18-30 age group.