New Delhi reaches out to youth in ‘Naya J&K’ without involving power brokers

Srinagar, Aug 5 : Addressing unemployment in Jammu and Kashmir remained a big concern for 70 years. In the absence of a private sector, the people used to do anything to get a prestigious government job as it was considered as a guarantee for a secure future.

But to get a government job in the erstwhile J&K state was not that easy for a common man as it was a privilege reserved for influential people. The recruitment processes were not that transparent. The candidates who carried one or other recommendation were preferred over the meritorious aspirants. backdoor appointments till 2019 were a norm in the Himalayan region.

In October 2018, the then J&K Governor, Satya Pal Malik, blew a lid over a big job scam in J&K Bank. He revealed that 528 selected candidates were replaced with political appointees during the regime led by Peoples Democratic Party.

In an interview to a national news channel, Malik had stated that about 40 young applicants had approached him saying they had cleared all examinations and figured in the selection list of the J&K Bank but were replaced by relatives and workers of the politicians.

“When I took up the matter with the JK Bank Chairman, he informed not only 40 but all the 582 candidates recruited by the bank were replaced with the political appointees recommended by leaders from different constituencies,” Malik had said.

He had stated that many people filed RTIs to get their papers and check the score but the Bank refused saying they don’t come under the purview of Right to Information Act.

The Khadi Village Industries Board (KVIB) recruitment scam during Mehbooba Mufti’s tenure had left the former J&K chief minister embarrassed as her cousin Aroot Madni was appointed as Executive Officer in KVIB allegedly through a backdoor. The KVIB selection list was cancelled in 2019.

Last month when reporters asked J&K Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, about the employment scenario in J&K, he stated that “there was a wrong perception that there were no jobs in the Union Territory”.

“Let me tell you that the J&K government has given the highest number of civilian jobs in its history last year. Jobs are there but they are not in the market for sale,” he had said.

Recently, J&K Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, cancelled the recruitment of Sub-Inspectors in J&K Police after some aspirants alleged that the process was not carried out in a fair manner. The complaint of the candidates was acted upon promptly and an enquiry committee was set up. The panel pointed out discrepancies in the selection process. Without wasting any time, LG Sinha, cancelled the list, and made it clear that no one will be selected through a backdoor.

29,806 provided Govt jobs

During the ongoing Parliament session Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai informed the House that from August 2019 up to June 2022, 29,806 aspirants were recruited by the J&K Government and nearly 5.2 lakh jobs were created through self-employment schemes.

Even today, the prestigious government jobs in J&K are the most preferred career choice. Whenever vacancies are announced thousands of aspirants fill up the application forms. But after the abrogation of Article 370, a big change has occurred in the Himalayan region, the jobs are provided on the basis of merit and not on recommendations. Anyone who meets the criteria and qualifies the written exam, interview achieves the feat of being employed by the government.

Self-employment schemes

The youth in J&K have realised that the government cannot employ everyone and they have to strive for their sustenance. During the past three years, the government has introduced numerous self-employment schemes to help the youngsters to set up their ventures.

The “Mumkin” (livelihood generation) scheme has helped unemployed youth to procure small commercial vehicles, on a subsidised basis, to establish a sustainable livelihood line in the transport sector. As a special incentive under this scheme, the government contributed Rs 0.80 lakh or 10 per cent of the On-Road Price of Vehicle (whichever is minimum) per beneficiary and an equivalent amount is contributed by the vehicle manufacturers. Discretion to choose the type of vehicle is left to the youth under scheme guidelines.

The “Spurring Entrepreneurship Initiative” scheme is based on the theme Youth Enterprise with Innovation (YouWiN)/ Champion for Innovation program for encouraging young entrepreneurs’ especially young women towards innovations in various enterprises. The broad aim of the scheme is to provide financial assistance to the youth for establishing their business units.

The “Tejaswani” (Radiant) scheme is aimed to promote entrepreneurship among young women. It envisages giving financial assistance up to Rs 5 lakh to young women for setting up gainful self-employment ventures, suited to their skills, training, aptitude and local conditions. The financial assistance is given to women between the age of 18 to 35 years having qualifications of 10th standard or above.

Another programme “Sahyta” has been rolled out to provide a special financial assistance program for youth in distress. Financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh can be provided under the scheme to youth in distress for setting up gainful self-employment units. For purposes of this programme, the term youth in distress would mean any person between the age of 18 to 40 years who has lost any next of kin/family member in insurgency-related action, cross border shelling or mine blast incident in Jammu and Kashmir and shall include any such person who or his/her family member has suffered permanent incapacitation in such incidents.

The “Young Innovators Programme” is aimed at exploring new ideas leading to the creation of a new product, process or service. It is not just the invention of a new idea that is important. It is actually “bringing it to market”, putting into practice and exploiting it in a manner that leads to new products, services or systems that add value or improve quality.

This programme aims to enhance young people’s learning and development through a range of non-formal learning activities with a focus on pioneers’ experimentation and innovation in education, entrepreneurship, art, research and cross-sectoral partnerships.

Under sector specific scheme for dental professionals a customised financial support is being provided to dentists for setting up dental clinics. An amount of 8 lakh is provided as financial assistance under this scheme for setting up their venture.

Another scheme “Rise Together” envisions promoting community-based entrepreneurship optimally to generate jobs, and income and promote the spirit of social service among new-age young entrepreneurs in the Himalayan region. Under the scheme, the eligible youth groups are provided with financial assistance to the extent of Rs 20 lakh comprising of upfront subsidy component minimum of Rs 2.5 lakh or 10 per cent of the project cost and a loan provided by the Bank, 70 per cent of the project cost to the extent of Rs 17.50 lakh.

To fill in the gap between demand and supply of skilled workforce and to create a strong environment for professionals and technical skill development in Jammu and Kashmir the government has roped in prominent organisations like ICICI Foundation, Tata Technologies Ltd, Primal Foundation, Wipro etc., for working on upgrading skills of youth in the sectors having high employability potential like banking & financial services, digital marketing, media management etc.

Azadi propaganda punctured

After August 5, 2019-when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K’s special status and bifurcated the erstwhile princely state into two Union Territories- things changed rapidly for the youngsters. They were provided with the opportunities to shape up their careers and strive for a better life. Massive awareness campaign about the government schemes aimed at shaping up the careers of the youth led to many youngsters coming forward to grab the opportunities provided to them. Utilizing the energies of youth for positive things punctured the “Azadi” propaganda.

The youngsters in ‘Naya J&K’ — the foundation of which was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah three years ago — rejected the ideas of separatism and sedition. They shun the labels of being stone-pelters and violence mongers, and boarded the wagon of peace, prosperity and development leaving Pakistan and the terrorists sponsored by it exasperated.

New Delhi reached out to J&K youth without involving any power-brokers and in three years it has achieved phenomenal success in its mission to empower a common man in J&K. He is being provided with government jobs as well as the avenues to start his own venture. The void that existed for seven decades between a common Kashmiri and New Delhi has been filled in “Naya J&K”.(IANS)

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