Unemployment is the biggest challenge that the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is face to face with. The situation on the front further worsened post August 2019 as the life came to a standstill and all sectors got impacted. Whatever hope was left vanished as Covid-19 gripped the entire world. People lost jobs and businesses and a place like J&K, where jobs were already scarce, the situation has been more grim. Jammu and Kashmir has very little employment avenues available for the youth as, in fact, the government is the main source of employment. No government, anywhere in the country can provide jobs that could address the needs of all the unemployed and therefore the government here need to look for avenues that would help educated youth to get employment. Though tourism industry has a potential to generate employment but this sector has suffered huge losses post August 2019 and is struggling still thus has not much promise for the time being. Other main sectors are agriculture and horticulture. If the governments takes step to realize the true growth potential of the local agriculture and horticulture produce, lots of unemployed youth could be encouraged to joi these sectors. The young and educated people who are keen to try their luck in these sectors need hand-holding by the government but that is missing. The Lt Governor, while addressing Kissan Mela the other day has made some valuable suggestions for tapping the immense growth potential of agriculture and allied sector products of J&K. He stressed on the need to provide hand holding to the Self-Help Groups and enhancing their knowledge in branding and marketing of the products. There are many young people who are keen to contribute in agriculture and horticulture sectors and are desirous of joining different schemes of the government in place for such sectors. However, most of them fall victim to the red-tapism and administrative inertia. They are made to run from pillar to post for availing these schemes and most of them feel so disheartened and disoriented that they are forced to call it a day. Lt Governor has to make his administration accountable and ensure the scheme are implemented and youth are involved to get befefits.
Secondly, government needs to involve big business houses of the country. These houses should be convinced and encouraged to work in fields of skill development, proper training, honing of talent and also absorbing the youth in their respective organizations. It may be recalled here that youth of J&K are second to none subject they are provided an opportunity to prove themselves. One would expect the Lt. Governor administration to help creating that opportunity. Sometime back, the Lt Governor had said that his administration’s focus was on providing job opportunities to 80 percent of the young population within the next five years. However, given the past experience, the youth always remain bit sceptical. In past, promises, as tall as Himalayas were made, but there was no change on the ground. In the past many initiatives were taken to engage the youth in Jammu and Kashmir but all of them somehow fell short of meeting the desired requirements. It is because of these failures that in comparison to the national average unemployment rate of 13.8 percent, J&K has a 25 percent rate. In this backdrop, the Lt Governor administration has to take the issue of unemployment very seriously and work towards realizing its ‘Mission 2025’ under which the administration intends to bring the opportunities to 80 percent of the youth of J&K.