Government employment portal NCS fails to connect job seekers with opportunities
The website got just about 1.22 lakh job applications in eight months from April to November 2022 for more than 24.05 lakh job postings. The low number of applications has been a pattern since 2015
The Centre's National Career Service employment platform is a bureaucratic redundancy which is hardly attracting job seekers. The website got just about 1.22 lakh job applications in eight months from April to November 2022 for more than 24.05 lakh job postings.
The low number of applications is a pattern that has been seen ever since the beginning of the portal in 2015. In 2015-16, the portal got only 3,139 job applications for over 1.54 lakh job listings. This includes job postings from both the government sector and private companies. In 2016-17, the job applications dipped to 2,786, while the job listings grew to 12.97 lakh. This was revealed in a response sought under the Right to Information Act dated December 1, 2022.
Labelled India’s largest employment platform, the NCS portal was launched in July 2015 to replace the National Employment Service comprising a network of 978 employment exchanges. It has data of live registration as well as those migrated from various sources. As of December 2022, 18 states reportedly integrated their employment portals with the NCS.
However, according to the RTI response received by activist Kanhaiya Kumar, in 2017-18, there were 7,813 applications, while job listings dropped to 9.44 lakh. In the next year job applications rose to 44,435, while the jobs listed increased to 17.02 lakh. In 2019-20, 1.13 lakh job applications against 30.48 lakh jobs listed. In 2020-21, it became 2.21 lakh applications and 12.77 lakh jobs advertised. In the financial year, 2021-22, there were only 2.33 lakh applications for more than 13.47 lakh jobs posted.
The monthly report on the job portal states that “as on November 30, 2022, the active vacancies count as of the mentioned date is around 2,45,000”. However, it does not give the number of job applications on the website. The latest February 2023 report shows that there are 4,69,540 active vacancies listed on the website.
Commenting on the state of affairs, labour economist Santosh Mehrotra pointed out that it was obvious that there is a lack of knowledge about the website. “The government as usual is unable to reach out to people and the job seekers hadn’t heard about it. At least the numbers have inched up from 2015.”
It was billed to be the government’s next-generation online employment exchange. The labour ministry had readied it with an investment of Rs 100 crore amidst widespread publicity. The expectation was that private players including naukri.com and monster.com would join it and 2 crore job seekers already registered with employment exchanges across India would join it.
The government has spent ₹413.4 crore from 2015 onwards on the portal. In 2021-22, the government expenditure on the website was ₹24.30 cr and in the previous year it was ₹43.80 cr.
Where does NCS stand?
The one line answer to that would be at the bottom of the pile.
The employment website apna.co, which began in the latter half of 2019, gets more applications than NCS. According to spokespersons from apna.co, the job portal got 60 lakh applications in 2020 for 1.8 lakh jobs posted. That makes it almost 60 times the applicants to the jobs posted. In 2022, the portal got 10.3 crore applications when 21.7 lakh jobs were posted. Apna.com lists mostly blue-collar jobs segment.
Employment portals TeamLease and freshersworld, run by the former, got 2.83 lakh job postings for both the websites and more than 7 lakh applicants for these jobs for the year 2022-2023.
This stands in contrast to the NCS portal where the jobs posted are close to 40 times the number of applicants.
This has been reiterated by Amit Das, a 27-year-old, who has been looking for better career opportunities for 18 months. He works in an electronics firm in Noida and has posted his profile on both Apna.com and Naukri.com. “I haven’t heard of National Career Service and I didn’t know that the government had a hiring portal. If any of my friends or co-workers had heard of it, I would have known too,” said Das matter-of-factly.
What is the state of unemployment in the country?
According to a recent report from the think tank Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), unemployment in the country rose to 7.45 per cent in February from 7.14 per cent in January. The urban unemployment rate declined to 7.93 per cent in February from 8.55 per cent in the previous month, while the rural unemployment rate rose to 7.23 per cent from 6.48 per cent, revealed the data.
India's unemployment rate rose to 8.30 per cent in December 2022, the highest in 16 months, from 8 per cent in November. The data showed that the urban unemployment rate rose to 10.09 per cent in December from 8.96 per cent in the previous month, while the rural unemployment rate slipped to 7.44 per cent from 7.55 per cent.
In December, the unemployment rate rose to 37.4 per cent in Haryana, followed by 28.5 per cent in Rajasthan and 20.8 per cent in Delhi, CMIE data showed.
Mehrotra underlined that he didn’t know of any government measures to tackle unemployment. Both NSSO and CMIE data show that jobs are not growing at the rate at which it should be growing. “The government first needs to have policy to increase jobs. Just having a website won’t help either. The government shouldn’t do anymore sudden changes such as a badly-planned GST or demonetisation to destroy jobs at least,” added Mehrotra.
Union government response
National Herald sent questions to NCS and the labour ministry querying about the fewer applications than vacancies and the reasons behind it, steps taken to address the mismatch between the vacancies and applications and measures taken to advertise the portal.
There was no response and this article will be updated if and when the government responds.