Remove unnecessary hurdles
Of the many problems facing Jammu and Kashmir, joblessness or lack of meaningful employment is certainly one of the major crises. However, thus far not much is actually being done to tackle it. While a good chunk of jobless people could be engaged in government service, it is also true that no government, how-much-so-ever it wants to, could provide government jobs to all unemployed people. But it is certainly the responsibility of the government to explore ways and means and then also facilitate meaningful and profitable engagement to not only the educated but even uneducated jobless people. As an alternative, the jobless people could and should be encouraged to think of starting their own business ventures so that not only they themselves but other jobless people too get jobs. For this governments have time and again pledged all sorts of support including seed money and soft loans from the banks besides other incentives that appear quite an attractive offer, at least on the paper. Unfortunately, all these sops do not materialize as easily on the ground as they seem in political and official assertions.
That intended recipients of such sops are aware of the problems which governments also know but do not want to acknowledge and accept for obvious reasons – various self-employment schemes have had very limited takers here -- at least among the people who want to do some serious business and not just loiter around only for grabbing subsidies and other incentives. For the political leaders, making statements to highlight attractions of it government policies is an easy thing, but this does in no way mean that the policy on paper is actually available in the same spirit and manner to the people on the ground.
Government, for instance, is well within its right to boast about having entered into a deal with the banks to mobilize easy loans for the prospective entrepreneurs. But as the actual situation on the ground is, getting a loan from the bank is not as easy for those seeking this facility. Besides the government’s seed money there are other formalities too that must be fulfilled by clients to convince banks for giving them loans. And mind it, this is no easy task to go through all the formalities. Not that there should be no such prerequisites, but the hassled culture of banks is a major impediment which must be taken care of. New government knows it, for there are quite a few enterprising people in it who are aware of the hassles such schemes carry for the intended beneficiaries and also gifted with the acumen to ease the situation for the enterprising people who want to create jobs not only for themselves but given a chance would create attractive job avenues for others as well.
Same is the case with each and every other supporting agency. Right from the stage of registration at the District Employment and Counseling Centres to the formalities an entrepreneur is supposed to go through at SICOP, DIC, and their affiliated wings, to getting No-Objection Certificates (NoCs) from power, water, Pollution Control Board and other agencies, everything is so overly hassled that only the most ardent and sturdy ones are able to pass through. And that too only if they are able to shrug off worst kind of humiliating behaviour they face from the people manning these agencies.
No self-employment or any other scheme that promises progress and welfare of the state and its people could succeed unless the supporting agencies are taught to act as facilitators and not the masters. The work culture in various government departments is rotten to the core. People sitting in official chairs must be sensitized to the duties they have towards the people they are paid to help and service. They must be taught what a government employee or a public servant means. They are not people’s masters and should therefore stop behaving like that. Similarly those in the banks need to learn the service culture. Once government is able to remove these unnecessary hurdles then only should it expect its welfare programmes, including the employment schemes, bearing fruit to yield it desired political dividends.