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Agrarian crisis, unemployment to blame | Survey focuses on Malwa

Sustained agrarian crisis and poor quality of employment is pushing youngsters from villages of Punjab to look for greener pastures abroad. A recent study has revealed that around 70 per cent of study visa aspirants are from the farming community.

The first-of-its-kind study on socio-economic profile of such students by Prof Kamaljeet Singh and Dr Rakshinder Kaur of Regional Centre, Punjabi University, Patiala, revealed that agrarian crisis and widespread unemployment in Punjab were forcing the youngsters to take the “study route” to settle abroad.

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Source: Tribune India

The study, which covered 540 students enrolled in various IELTS centres in Malwa, reveals that 79 per cent of the students are from rural background and 70 per cent are from farming families. A majority of these families fall in either marginal or small category. At least 56 per cent own less than 5 acres of land, while 24 per cent own less than 10 acres.

Prof Kamaljeet Singh, the main author of the study, said “While families with limited resources send their wards abroad due to the crisis in the agriculture sector and scarce employment opportunities in Punjab, big farmers intend to further their economic position and maintain social status by sending their wards abroad for education.”

Earlier, wards of government employees used to dominate this category. Now if farmers’ wards make 70 per cent of the chunk, wards of government employees make just 16.5 per cent, businessmen 8 per cent and those working in the private sector 6.5 per cent.

A large number of student visa aspirants belong to families with limited resources. To fund their education, their families either sell some land or other property or borrow money. The study finds that only 36 per cent families of the aspirants had adequate resources, while 17 per cent students confessed that their families would sell property to arrange funds, 37 per cent would depend on loan and 10 per cent on relatives settled abroad.

Another interesting fact the study brought to the fore is that female study visa aspirants outnumber the male students in IELTS centres. Around 58 per cent of the students enrolled in these centres are female, against 42 per cent male.

Not many Dalits

The caste profile of the students revealed that over 90 per cent of the student visa aspirants are from the general category. Just 2 per cent were the Scheduled Castes and 8 per cent were from Backward Classes.

“Such a pattern of distribution may be attributed to the requirement of a large sum of money for going abroad, which many students belonging to scheduled castes cannot afford. Secondly, the provisions of reservation in admissions and jobs may be the fact.”

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Courtesy: Tribune India
Study by: Prof Kamaljeet Singh and Dr Rakshinder Kaur of Regional Centre, Punjabi University, Patiala