Job Crunch: 3,700 PhD Holders Among 93,000 Applicants for Low-Level Police Job

The post of a messenger in UP's police department received thousands of applications from 'overqualified' candidates. The post requires the skill to ride a bicycle and a minimum qualification of passing Class V.

New Delhi: In what seems to be a reflection of lack of job opportunities, more than 50,000 graduates, 28,000 post-graduates and 3,700 PhD holders have applied for 62 posts of messengers. The post of messenger is low in the hierarchy of the UP police department, requiring a minimum qualification of passing Class V. The full-time government post has a starting pay of Rs 20,000.

According to a Times of India report, out of 93,000 applicants, only 7,400 have studied between Class V and Class XII. “The job is like that of a postman’s and the person has to deliver police telecom department’s messages from one office to the other,” said a member of the police department personnel, adding that 62 posts have fallen vacant after 12 years.

Traditionally, the only requirement for the job was self-declaration by the applicant to be able to ride a bicycle. Due to an overwhelming number of  applicants being ‘overqualified’, a new plan is being chalked out to select employees. There is now a proposal for a written test to measure applicants’ basic reasoning faculty. The test would be outsourced to a private agency.

One department source told Times of India that several overqualified applicants had cited lack of job opportunities as the reason behind their application. Another official welcomed this move, saying that the overqualified applicants – if employed – would be used to conduct other work also. “Technical applicants will get faster promotion and be an asset to the department,” the officer said.

Several such reports of ‘overqualified’ applicants have made the news this year, cutting across states. In Tamil Nadu, 992 PhD holders and 23,000 MPhil holders were among the almost 20 lakh applicants to a village-level clerk job test that was held in February. The Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission had said that 9,5000 clerk posts were vacant, and applicants included 2.5 lakh post graduates and eight lakh graduates. The minimum requirement for this post was passing Class X.

In April, 70 vacant peon posts also received a large number of overqualified applicants in Jadavpur in West Bengal. Out of more than 11,000 applicants, several held PhD, MSc, MTech, BTech and BSc degrees. The minimum requirement for this post that pays Rs 15,000 per month was passing Class VIII. While once again the lack of job opportunities was mentioned by applicants as one of the reasons behind their application, some also stated that not being trained properly in their chosen fields, they had to fall back on low-level jobs for financial security.

A recruitment drive by the Haryana police for constable posts in May saw several graduates holding MBA, law, MTech and other high-skill degrees being recruited. After recruitment, the constables were being trained in police administration, radio telecom, traffic management, maintenance of law and order, security, Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, human behaviour, community policing and computer learning.

As the Indian Railways remain the single largest employer in the country, it’s not a surprise that when the department announced 1 lakh vacancies, more than 2 crore people had applied for them. “A lot of applicants are overqualified and even PhD holders are applying for the technician’s job,” a railway official reportedly said.