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Thursday, November 20, 2003

The Problem with 2200 seats

Vivek wrote about the problem of 650,000 people applying for 2200 jobs and the Shiv Sena going on a rampage. When will the idiots who make policy wake up to the population is growing out of control?

Every damn problem that India faces is exacerbated by the population problem. In a world where jobs are severly limited and the number of applicants nearly limitless, could one expect anything else than what the Shiv Sena is demanding? Let's do the numbers. For every vacancy in the gangman job, 295 aspire. Assume that the top 10 percent of those are wonderfully qualified to do the job. So 30 people compete for a job that every one of them would do very well. Only one is going to get it. Assume that 15 of those qualified to do the job but did not get it were Marathi. Assume that only one of them gets pissed off (7% get pissed off, assume.). Assume that this one pissed off person is not a rocket scientist, and therefore is not going to consider the finer points of the argument that the jobs are Central Govt jobs and one cannot discriminate etc. Now apply that to the total population of job applicants and you have a very large number of very pissed off people.

OK, 0.65 million applicants. Assume half of them Marathi. Assume only one percent of those get pissed off. So you have 3250 very angry people. Now consider that only 100 ransacked the railway office. I would say that it shows incredible restraint on the part of the affected.

My basic argument is that there is a problem, and it ain't 100 people ransacking an office or that they are Shiv Sena goons. The basic problem is that our population numbers are out of whack when considered in relation to the job numbers. One can come up with very clever tricks to dole out 1 job to 300 who want it, but at the end of the day it would not amount to a hill of beans.

We could auction these 2200 jobs till the cows come home, but it will be totally futile. We need to address the causes of the problem. It is time to seriously consider the auctioning of permits to have a child. Each person above the age of 18 (say) would get a permit free. They can hold it or they can sell it in the open market. If Laloo Singh wants to have 10 kids, let him buy the extra nine permits. For added effect, add a whopping high tax on the sale of permits. Take the proceeds of that tax and use it for education of poor children.

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