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Why Unpaid Internships Are Still Not A Thing Of Past?

To land to your dream job, you need to have skills. To get skills, you need experience and to gain experience you need to know what’s happening in the industry. What’s better to get skills other than an internship? Yes! it all starts from here.

The pedagogy in India surely need to transform but there is no point in wholesome blaming of the system. In every group of students who run for an a paid internship, there’s one privileged kid that seeks for the internship even without a pay. The harsh truth is, around 47% of the unpaid internships are only opted by kids coming from a wealthy background. The remaining 53% are not able to choose the internship they need despite having the required skills.

India has more than 2.2 million internship applications in 2019 which was about double the 1.27 million applications in 2018.

Delhi has 35% of the overall internship opp. followed by Mumbai i.e 20% and Bengaluru 15%.

According to a survey by Internshala, one of the fastest growing internship platforms, only management and media itself have most internship opp. nearly 47% and 15%.

The world is growing tech savvy and internships are not considered to be old wives’ tale. It has become a trend to be an intern in a renowned organization. Most of them even demand interns with same working hours as employees and about half the wage or sometime unpaid.

With the poor doctor-to-patient ratio in the country, medical interns often function as cheap labor for medical colleges, sometimes forced to work continuously for over 24 hours. the stipends paid across states are also skewed,not only are the working hours exhaustive, Assam and West Bengal offer stipends in the range of Rs. 20,000 to 21,000 per month while in Uttarakhand, it comes down to just Rs. 8,000.

The Print raised voice for unpaid internships by conducting responses to precarious workers on cultural and creative industries. They tracked the number of unpaid interns in the past and present. They found how miserable the situation is for the unprivileged kids who cannot afford to buy the unpaid internships.

Why Unpaid Internships Are Still Not A Thing Of Past?

Students across the world held protests, government lobbying and online campaigns to remove the cultural conditions that condone them and force them to work without wages. The unpaid interns from the world, writers and journalists have joined hands to limelight the deleterious effects unpaid internships and also to shame the employers doing the same.

Laya Maheshwari who also wrote for NYTimes and Guardian wrote ‘Shame on you for promoting an unpaid internship with mere “potential” to convert after’.

The problem still persists as organizations in India still seek for interns who can do all-time job for the mere benefit of the employers. Why it is so impossible to pay for what you get? I will tell you why!

Benefits of unpaid internships are quite commendable as the interns sometimes get extra credits or pocket money, experience or you can say ornamenting their CVs, and sometimes a better opportunity as some organizations consider their interns for future jobs.

But lesser see the wider picture and get through the fact that interns who have been spoon fed from the very beginning reserve these benefits. However, looking at the drawbacks of the unpaid internships is much more important because this is something our country needs to work on.

Drawbacks of unpaid internships

  1. Financial issues

Nobody could deny the fact that all interns need money as cannot survive merely on bread and butter. Apart from food, there are other requirements counting rent and bills to be the least. The measure of payment interns get in our country is not even enough to pay their hostel rent, let’s not talk about extra-cash in the case.

2. Illegal employment

There are organizations in the country that provide unbeneficial internships and it is truly harassing the interns. The interns only seek internship to have a platform where they can learn, not a pandora of mental stress and harassment. The endless working schedule is the story of every other intern in the country or even in the world.

3. The additional unpaid expenses

If you have been an intern, you will surely get this. There are times when you do your office work at your home or when you spend much for something you will not get in return. Taking an example, media houses ask their interns to bring their own camera or the organizations also ask interns in engineering to have their own equipment. No matter how much you need the internship, think before you can undo things.

Countries like UK still holds the power of constructing the predicament of unpaid internships with several laws. According to the law, interns who are classed as workers must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage or the National Living Wage. A worker might be someone who has a contract or is subject to sanctions if they do not turn up for work. Genuine volunteers on the other hand are not entitled to the minimum wage.

Our country, the system and the interns themselves need to think about this. The interns should not settle for less. This is the only thing that could change the ever-changed unpaid internship roots.

Also read: IIT Kharagpur Studies Impact Of Chinese App Ban On The Indian Market

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