Time to walk the talk
While political uncertainty and violence have been a huge stumbling block in state’s progress and development, corruption has been another major challenge, which has been adding to the conflict by creating and sustaining unjust structures besides perpetuating widespread injustices. Notwithstanding the successive governments’ claims about fighting corruption, it remains an unfortunate reality that almost all the government agencies and institutions here are plagued with the menace of corruption. Laws like the ones providing for confiscating the ill-gotten property of the corrupt officials too have achieved almost no success, primarily because there is a marked lack of will at the political helm in translating claims of anti-corruption into the reality on ground.
Another serious problem that has been posing a biggest threat to the state is that of the unemployment. The number of educated unemployed youth is increasing with every passing year, but the avenues of profitable and constructive engagement for them remain as sparse as ever. Although all political parties here have a tradition of promising proverbial moon and starts to the people during elections, but when it comes to delivering on the election-time promises there is not much in any party’s history one can feel satisfied about. Political gimmickry has always been a favourite pastime here and today also things are no better. Indeed this is why the state’s youth are no longer amused or enthused by what the political leaders promise without fail. Perhaps they have already had enough of this political jugglery and have over the years evolved with sufficient maturity to read through such designs of the political leaders and groups.
During the 2002 elections, then again in 2008, and then once more during 2014, the unemployed youth were promised jobs, but despite those towering promises, nothing much has changed for them. They continue to remain as sullen as ever simply because they are not given the jobs they were promised. Needless to say that the previous government during its six year rule hardly showed any interest in prioritizing their economic well-being – that thousands of posts lying vacant in various government departments were either not forwarded to the recruiting agencies or the latter simply sat on them substantiates the point. The incumbent government has referred these jobs to the recruiting agencies and promised fast-track recruitment, but even if one goes on to discount the allegations of nepotism that the government has attracted, these jobs too are too little to take care of the huge unemployment here. Given the Valley’s poor industrial base, it is the government which remains the only major employing agency, which, unfortunately in no circumstances, can accommodate the heavy rush of the unemployed. So it will have to think creatively so as to devise ways and means for the constructive engagement of the unemployed people because if the same is not done the unemployment alone will emerge as a great threat not only to the physical and psychological health of the society but for the security of the state as well.
Chief Minister and her colleagues have been talking a great deal about skill development here so as to increase the employability of the youth here. Now it remains to be seen as to how the unemployed chunk of the population is equipped with the required skills, and then how they are accommodated in te job market, because the government is under an obligation to help youth find jobs with respect and dignity. Government will also have to ensure that the unnecessary hassles and hurdles created by bureaucracy and banks in way of self-employment schemes are done away with. The private sector here also could absorb a decent chunk of people. But for this the private businesses need to be sensitized properly. Right now not to talk of the small fry which deliberately choose to keep their businesses in unorganized manner vis-à-vis hiring of human resource, even the major players in Valley’s private sector pay proverbial peanuts to their staff. So this is again an area which needs attention.
Similarly it goes without saying that rampant corruption has rendered almost all the employment schemes almost useless. Need is to revive the self-employment schemes and think innovatively and make them more people-friendly. These schemes should be made so attractive that instead of looking towards the government for jobs, unemployed should voluntarily prefer to go for self-employment. And for this the government will have to make the financial institutions here to behave and share some social responsibility as well.