The insignia of being unemployed is a curse and it is jittery to wear you off, both intellectually as well socially. Even in such educated labour driven economic world, the unemployment seems to be conspicuous and relevant, especially given with increasing number of educated graduates present in Jammu and Kashmir and the worst case scenario being the unemployment of professional graduates.
Of late, dental surgery graduates have been loafing with wild thoughts of fear and stress, being broke and penurious over their poor future job prospects. The would be doctors employment woes have not been addressed since 2008 when government last officially advertised posts for inducement of dental surgeons in Health Department. Since then thousands of dental surgeons are hopeless and jobless. This gloomy crisis was not the case few years back though.
The yearly or alternatively posts of dental surgeons in health sector absorbed almost all the pass outs till 2008 and there was a perfect match of supply and demand curve. But a long halt since 2008 have changed the whole outlook of this profession.
It not only opened flood gates of unemployed surgeons but casted dark shadow over the future of dental colleges of Jammu and Kashmir which are producing dental graduates in huge numbers than previously owing to intake capacity from 20 in 2008 to 50 dental graduates thereafter. Thus leaving all to fend for themselves and struggle like rest of their peers.
What has changed over the years?
Mushroom growth of dental colleges across India has aggravatedthis condition. There was one private dental college in 1966 but now we have a total of 310, with 292 privately owned, with high intake capacity of almost 25000 new dental students annually.
One such lines, we have three dental colleges in Jammu and Kashmir with pass outs of almost 200-250 annually, with cumulative addition of 500 plus graduates being rolled out every year from private dental colleges of India. All in the making of “The Great Unemployment Crisis”.
If we look at dental jobs, these are highly skilled, highly educated and professionally trained from top government owned faculty and colleges of State universities. And with governments inability to utilise this capital human resources in health sector would not only add disgrace and distraught to these degree holders but promote what we call as brain drain.
The reason for this unemployment clearly follows a mismatch between supply and demand in health sector. According to World Health Organization (WHO), the ideal dentist-population ratio is 1:7500.
In 2004, dentist-population ratio in India was 1:30,000. According to World Health Statistics in 2014, the ratio was 1:10,000. In Jammu and Kashmir, the doctor patient ratio has fallen to 1:1000 against the prescribed 1:500 and inadvertently dentist:patientratio has further worsened.
The ratio is sensitive to both factors of population growth and lack of dental manpower in health sector. Also very less number of dental posts are available. For record only 5 per cent of graduated dental surgeons are working in government sector.
The inflexibility and insensitivity by government towards the dental profession would only exaggerate this educated unemployment, promote brain drain and devitalize the skilled human capital.
In a bid to rectify the gross mismatch in dental profession the Dental Council of India (DCI) has written to Government of India seeking moratorium on future opening of new colleges.This move needs to be appreciated with more appropriate decisions to stop the professional armageddon. Few steps like mentioned below can be taken:
If the present situation continues there will be over one lakh dental surgeons oversupply by 2020 and over 10000 in Jammu and Kashmir alone. This is not the best reward to the penniless and destitute dental graduates after hard work of five years in dental school.