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Srinagar/New Delhi: Lack of significant employment opportunities among the youth of Jammu and Kashmir is fuelling their sense of alienation and compounds their mistrust and anger against the government and New Delhi.
As per Census 2001, 71 percent of Jammu and Kashmir’s population is under the age of 31. The number of registered unemployed youth is at a staggering 602,979 — 5.3 percent, double the national average of 2.6 percent.
The Sher-e-Kashmir Welfare Employment Programme (SKWEPY) was introduced in 2009 to generate job opportunities for 500,000 youths but till now has benefitted only 150,000.
“Look at the sorry state of affairs in J&K. More than half a million educated youths are working like daily wagers,” Irfan Dar, 25 , a filmmaker in Srinagar, told IANS, adding: “There is hardly any scope for even the higly-educated people to avail any employment opportunities. Many are eventually forced to move out.”
B A Dabla, eminent sociologist at the University of Kashmir, believes that both the federal and state governments are responsible for the current socio-economic situation.
“If we look at the current economic scenario of the Valley in perspective, it is almost in a virtual state of paralysis. With no serious educational and employment opportunities to avail, the anger and mistrust is evident on the ground. The government claims to provide special schemes, scholarships and economic packages, but in reality only a handful of chosen get such benefits,” Dabla told IANS on phone from Srinagar.
Stating that big corporates are “disinterested” in investing in the state, Dabla said “whatever engagement is promised by them is done only for political purposes.”
Emphasising on the need for revamping governance in the state, former interlocutor on Kashmir Radha Kumar said there is an increased risk of Kashmiri youth losing confidence in the system. She felt that business houses will eventually start engaging more youth from the Valley and make big investments in the state.