At Prayagraj coaching hub, years spent in wait for job, in hope of god or govt – The Indian Express

“I have a question for Modiji and Yogiji who claim to have given jobs to crores. Just give us the break-up of those jobs. They will stand exposed,” says Mayank Rai, a native of Ghazipur, a B.Tech from Kanpur, who gave up a private job after three years to try to crack the Uttar Pradesh PCS (Provincial Civil Services) exams and join the Provincial Police Service.
Rai has been here, in Prayagraj’s coaching hub, now for five years, and made it to the PCS Mains thrice, without getting through. “I only applied for the police service,” says Rai, 29, still optimistic, with 11 years to go for the upper age limit of 40.
For decades now, Prayagraj and its satellite localities of Naini, Jhunsi and Phaphamau have hosted students like Rai – from backward districts of eastern UP to Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand — with aspirations of a government job. Approximately 5 lakh students stay here, many of them enrolled at the nearly 2,000-odd centres, preparing for everything from the elite IAS, IPS to PCS to lower-rank government jobs like police constable. This coaching hub comes at prices far lower than places like Delhi and Lucknow.
The BJP’s “Sankalp Patra” for UP polls claims that since 2017, 5 lakh youths have got government jobs in the state and 3 lakh contractual jobs, “without any discrimination”. It also promises to fill all vacancies in the state government at the earliest.
One week to go for voting in Prayagraj, in the fifth phase on February 27, those numbers ring hollow. An echo of this was heard more than 200 km away in Gonda on Saturday, where angry youths demanding Army recruitment obstructed a rally of Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with slogans.
Recently, Prayagraj was one of the places where protests erupted over a change in railway recruitment exams, leading to them being postponed for now.
The BJP has fielded Harshvardhan Bajpai, a sitting MLA from a prominent political family. His main opponent is Samajwadi Party youth wing leader Sandeep Yadav. The Yogi Adityanath government, that changed the name of the city from Allahabad to Prayagraj, takes credit for a lot of infrastructural work before Kumbh 2018 here.
Avnish Pandey, from Deoria, arrived in Prayagraj back in 1998 with hopes of joining the IAS. He reached the interview stage in the Civil Services exam twice and in the PCS four times. Now 40, he teaches at coaching institutes. He says he kept trying for the above two services, and did not look for others. “But there are many examinations for which you apply and only god knows when the final results come.”
Pandey would have been the first in his family with a government job. The same dream brought Suryakant Yadav, from Pratapgarh, here 21 years ago. He has since then got degrees in MSc (Maths), MA (Ancient History), LLB and BEd, and cleared TET (Teacher Eligibility Test), CTET (Central Teacher Eligibility Test) and a UGC NET in History. But only now does Yadav, 39, have a job. “I have appeared in around a hundred examinations and am finally going to join as a Junior Assistant in the next few months.”
At the Amarnath Jha Hostel, which has produced several top bureaucrats, PhD scholar Amarjeet Yadav says he is tired of exams being put off again and again over “leaks”. “I am a staunch supporter of the SP,” he says. “But paper leaks have happened both under the SP and BJP, and they just pass the buck to each other.”
The last such leak was of the TET paper in November 2021. The exam was held again last month.
Students say it takes up to four years at times before final results are declared.
Pushpendra Pratap Singh, 36, got the job of a primary teacher after spending over 15 years here, and still resides in Chhota Baghada, an area where most students live in cheap rented accommodation. He says the government appears to have turned exams into a means of revenue generation. “The UPSC charges Rs 100 as fees for the Civil Services exam Aptitude Test and Rs 200 for the Mains. For PCS the fee is Rs 125, for B.Ed entrance exam, they charge Rs 1,500, and for TET Rs 1,200,” Singh lists.
Around 5 lakh students appeared for the B.Ed examination held in August 2021 in UP, over 18 lakh for the TET last month, while nearly 10 lakh applied for the Aptitude Test for the Civil Services and nearly 7 lakh for PCS in 2021.
A response in the Lok Sabha on December 20, 2021, put teacher vacancies at nearly 1.26 lakh in Junior Basic Schools (1st to 5th class) and Senior Basic Schools (6th to 8th class) run by the UP Basic Education Board.

Data also show how the officialdom stirs itself awake ahead of elections. For instance, the UP Police Recruitment and Promotion Board (UPPRPB), which recruits mainly sub-inspectors and constables. It posted details on February 11 of vacancies advertised and recruitments made since 2017 – for 9,534 posts advertised in 2020, online tests were held in November-December last year; 1,329 posts were advertised in 2020 and online tests held in December last year; and vacancies for 2,430 posts were notified only on January 6 this year, a few days to go for elections being announced. The website adds that recruitment for 1,700-odd posts is in the process and for 26,382 posts “tenders have been invited”.
The delay is at many levels. Tarun Singh, 29, completed his BA-LLB in 2017 and is preparing for PCS-J (judicial service), which was last advertised in 2018 and for which last selections were made in 2020. “Vacancies are not being advertised. Whichever government comes should take this up on priority,” Singh says. Meanwhile, he has appeared for the PCS-J exam of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi and Haryana.
Power Minister Shrikant Sharma, who was earlier spokesperson for the UP government, says, “We inherited several problems, but we have made all systems of recruitment transparent. If there is still any problem, we will solve it as well, finish recruitment in time.”
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