Data accessed by TOI from six Union ministries — defence, HRD, health, home, finance, and law — shows that vacancies in critical sectors surpass the 6-10% range experts attribute to reasons like retirement and promotion. So, why has India not been able to cash in on its demographic dividend to strengthen core services? Experts blame a host of factors: here is a sector-by-sector analysis:
Data from the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) shows that more than 10 lakh teachers are required in elementary and secondary schools across the country, with around 6,000 vacancies in premier institutes like the IITs, NITs and IIMs together.
Another 6,000 posts are vacant in central universities. In engineering colleges, 29% of the 4.2 lakh sanctioned posts for faculty in undergraduate courses remain vacant. IIIT-B founder-director Prof S Sadagopan said most of the vacancies, especially in schools, were reported from establishments located away from urban centres, which often proves a deterrent for aspiring professors on account of inadequate facilities. "Just paying good salaries doesn't suffice, the teachers need to be able to live in these places too," he added.
Going by MCI figures, the doctor-patient ratio stands at a dismal 1:1,560 vis-a-vis allopathic practitioners. If we take into account the around 7 lakh AYUSH practitioners, the ratio comes to 1:707, but even this is far from ideal.Experts say rural areas account for most of these vacancies, adding that the lack of infrastructure deters practitioners from setting up base there. "We need to have more colleges in rural areas," said Dr Ajith Benedict Ryan, medical director, Hosmat Hospital, Bengaluru.
Police and law enforcement
It's not exactly news that India's police force has been functioning under a crippling burden of vacancies, with almost 24% of the sanctioned posts vacant as of January. Even more alarming are the 22% vacancies in India's premier investigation agency, the CBI. The ED, meanwhile, is functioning at just 36% of its sanctioned strength. Former Union home secretary G K Pillai told TOI: "Top officials need to clamour for timely recruitment... if there needs to be effective policing and crime solving. But unfortunately, governments don't seem to be interested and officials are only worried about their careers."
While the 41% vacancies in technical and 44% in non-technical staff at ordnance factories are affecting production schedules and R&D, the three wings of the armed forces are together short of 55,000 personnel. Defence analyst Commodore G J Singh (Retd) said the opportunities offered by other sectors was one reason for this shortage, but added: "We must also look at how well we treat our soldiers and veterans. When they don't get treated well, it doesn't inspire others to join."