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Govt aims to eradicate unemployment in J&K in 5 years: LG

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Seeks investors’, industry experts’ support in creating employment avenues

Srinagar: The aim of the Jammu and Kashmir administration is to eradicate unemployment in the union territory in the next five years, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said on Saturday.

He was speaking after inaugurating a day-long workshop on youth engagement and outreach here.

The workshop, organised by the J&K administration at SKICC, was attended by top Industry heads from Ashok Leyland, ICICI foundation, Bombay Stock Exchange, various universities, IIMs/IITs and policy analysts from across the country.

“I am happy that big business houses are here today and they are fully supporting us. We will frame a policy document on which we will work. We will share all the details with you once the plan is ready. Our aim is to eradicate unemployment in Jammu and Kashmir in five years,” Sinha told reporters on the sidelines of the workshop.

The workshop is aimed to create opportunities and infrastructure for engaging youth, addressing their issues and concerns and empower them in entrepreneurship, self-employability and create a livelihood in a well-curated and holistic manner, an official spokesman said.

Addressing the inaugural session of the event, Sinha said the idea behind the workshop is to create an institutional mechanism to empower and groom the youngsters and to make them valuable for J&K as well as the country.

He said in the past, many initiatives were taken to engage the youth here, but all of them somehow fell short of meeting the desired requirements.

So, there is a need to have an umbrella programme that dovetails all the resources meant for this purpose to achieve the goal of youth empowerment and youth development, he added.

“I believe in concrete plans and immediate execution. My idea of institutional mechanism under Mission Youth is to ensure that we have a concrete framework and a definite time-line to execute it on the fertile ground that we have prepared,” Sinha said.

He said in comparison to the national average unemployment rate of 13.8 percent, J&K has a 25 percent rate.

To fix the lag, we have before us ‘Mission 2025’ under which we have to bring the opportunities to 80 percent of the youth of J&K, he added.

On the occasion, Sinha announced that a seed fund of Rs 200 crore has been earmarked for creating initial infrastructure and institutional support for meeting the initial needs of this programme.

This amount, he said, would be used to create a ‘Centre of Excellence’ and infrastructure in districts to realise the goals of making youth the leaders of success.

The LG also beckoned the industrial leaders to partner J&K in formulating and implementing the programme successfully on the ground.

He sought the support of the national-level investors and industry experts in creating robust infrastructure and employment avenues for the youth of the UT.

“We not only need your investments but your expertise as well, which will help us realise the dreams of prosperity,” he added.

“It is my aim to truly create a stable policy and regulatory ecosystem to business so that they can build for scale and create a thriving startup ecosystem which is inherently entrepreneurial in approach, creating local jobs and employment,” he said.

In the domestic ease of doing business ranking and state reform action plan, J&K is moving up, Sinha said.

By minimising regulatory burdens, J&K has scored over states like Kerala and Odisha in September’s ranking by the central government, he added.

Highlighting UT administration’s efforts in promoting entrepreneurship, the LG said within one month, two aspiring entrepreneurs from each 4,290 panchayats of J&K were selected for handholding and about 10,000 people have been provided loans through the J&K Bank to establish their businesses.

We believe in uniqueness of youth energy and providing equal opportunities for them to build a modern, equitable and sustainable society and the nation, he said.

Sinha said almost 65 percent of the population of J&K is under the age of 35 years and on one hand we have a demographic dividend like the rest of the country, but on the other, we have faced many challenges, systemic unemployment and joblessness along with the absence of holistic development of the youth.

The LG said the administration is focussing its energies on four sectors — industry & services, technology & innovation, infrastructure, agriculture & allied sectors.

“You are all welcome to Jammu & Kashmir for an unprecedented revolution with public participation. Valuable contribution and investment made today will give dignity to the youth and it will restore their pride and will make Jammu and Kashmir truly a piece of art in the country’s economy,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam said that the Jammu and Kashmir government is aiming to create a one-stop center where all the issues of youth are addressed, be it their education, their scholarships, their jobs, their skills or their entrepreneurship or self-employment.

He urged that ways and means should be searched for providing the sustained support to youth as the piecemeal approach has not done any good in the past.

“Our youth has struggled due to many reasons as lack of avenues regarding job prospects, skill up-gradation, recreation abetted by poor educational standards, skill sets are taking toll on them. The main objective behind creating this platform is the overall development and progress of youth,” he added

During his welcome address, Financial Commissioner, Finance Department, Arun Kumar Mehta, said that this is an opportune time to think about youth and create an environment for them where they can showcase their talent and make strides in every field of their choice.

He laid stress on the fact that entire country is the platform to rear and chisel the talent of J&K youth and recommendations taken from today’s workshop would be guiding principles towards formulation of future policy regarding development of youth.

Dr. Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, CEO, Mission Youth gave a detailed presentation on the programme and highlighted that the intent of the programme is to effectively facilitate young people to shape their future as per their aspirations and wishes.

“Jammu and Kashmir government is aiming to launch massive youth engagement and outreach programmes which would address the issues of the young population. The idea of institutional mechanism under Mission Youth is to ensure that we have a concrete framework and a definite time-line to execute the idea of youth empowerment and engagement plans. Youth centres will be established in each district which will be the nerve centers of all the activities to be taken through this program,” he added.

The day-long workshop was divided into different technical sessions during which speakers from the corporate world and J&K administration deliberated on different issues pertaining to the engagement and empowerment of youth of J&K, the press release informed.

It said the first technical session ‘Livelihood Generation’ was led by Shashank Tripathi, Partner and Leader Strategy, PwC India; while the session on ‘Financial Assistance’ was led by Ashish Kumar Chauhan, MD and CEO, BSE, Ltd Mumbai and Arun Anant from INC Value Advisors.

The session on ‘Counselling’ (Psychosocial and Career) was led by BS Sahay, Director IIM, Jammu while as the session ‘Recreation Avenues for Youth and Sports’ was led by Siddharth Shankar, GM Reliance Foundation Youth Sports.

The session on ‘Education and Skill Development’ was led by Pankaj Chandra through video conferencing, and the one on ‘Organizational structure of My J&K’ was led by Adil Zain-ul-Bhai,  Chairman Quality Council of India through video conferencing.

The last session on ‘Youth and Start Ups’ was led  Ramanan Ramanathan, Mission Director, Atal Innovation Mission through video conferencing and Dr. Subhi Chaturvedi, Policy Analyst and Public Relations professional and former member MAG United Nations who spoke on Innovation and Entrepreneurship Opportunities for Next Gen Youth and Building Brand Kashmir 2.0- Entrepreneurship and Start Ups respectively.

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