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You're hired! 40 Tihar inmates get job offers

News18

Updated: April 22, 2011, 12:22 PM IST
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You're hired! 40 Tihar inmates get job offers
The Indira Gandhi National Open University's degree programme for inmates helped 40 prisoners get jobs.

New Delhi: Siddharth Jaitley, 29, was convicted of kidnapping and murder three years ago and sent to the Tihar Jail here. But instead of that being the end of the road for him, his prison stint actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise as he enrolled in the Indira Gandhi National Open University's degree programme for inmates and is today among the 40 prisoners offered jobs by various companies.

"When I landed in jail, I was in trauma and depression and everything was ruined for me. But now, there is a ray of hope that when I get out, I can earn my livelihood easily," said Jailtey, who will be working as a marketing executive with Agrawal Packers and Movers after his term ends in six months.

Jaitley received his appointment letter Thursday.

IGNOU's 'Free Education for Prisoners' initiative was launched in 2010, offering various certificate, diploma, undergraduate and post-graduate programmes.

Jailtey, for example, enrolled in the master's programme in public administration at the university's study centre in the jail.

The same is the case with several other inmates who got a new lease of life through IGNOU's first-ever Tihar placement drive, which was held two months ago.

Seven companies, including Vedanta Enterprises, Good Housekeeping and ASP Sealing Products, interviewed 46 learners.

Of them, 40 were given appointment letters for jobs ranging from accountants to computer operators, store managers, marketing and pharmaceutical sales representatives, a jail official said.

"Forty-six inmates were chosen by prison authorities for the placement drive as they fulfilled three criteria - impeccable conduct inside the jail, who were to be released within a year and who were keen to rehabilitate themselves and lead a new life," said Neeraj Kumar, Director General (Prisons), Tihar Jail.

Most of the inmates have completed their education and gained multiple graduation degrees in jail.

"I was motivated inside the jail by officials, NGOs and IGNOU. I studied day and night. Now, I am about to complete my bachelor's degree in tourism studies from IGNOU and also planning to pursue LL.B," says 26-year-old Dilip, who was booked under the Narcotics Act in 2005.

The idea for such a placement session, Kumar said, stemmed from the need to help inmates in their rehabilitation after they were released.

"For the first time, we are vouching to the corporate houses about the integrity and good conduct of these people. Many of the inmates received multiple offers. We have left the decision on selecting an offer on the candidates," Kumar said.

According to Neeta Kapai, deputy director, Campus Placement Cell: "This move has been a significant milestone in encouraging and rehabilitating prisoners in order to improve their quality of life post release."

Study material and library facilities are provided to all inmates by IGNOU under the supervision of an IGNOU coordinator and support staff. Efforts are being made to provide study material in vernacular languages, said an official.

Sandeep Bhatnagar, another inmate who was offered a job by one of the companies, said: "This is not just an appointment letter. It is an assurance of a rehabilitated life in a society, which would have otherwise shunned me.

"I can now hope for a speedy acquittal by sending this letter to the court to convince them to acquit me soon. I can assure my wife and children of a decent life in Delhi," he added.

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