Handholding of youth
Youth are the main strength of each and every society. It is the attitude and behavior of the youth that determines which direction the society is going to move in. Unfortunately from past more than three decades this vital section of the society has been on the receiving end. Sadly the governments, that be, neglected this section and therefore it couldn’t contribute in society building as one would have desired. Given the volatility of the situation here, the youth, particularly those from Kashmir Valley were always seen through the security prism. They were viewed as a “liability” not as an “asset”. On their part, when the youth found themselves pushed to the wall, they turned cynical and skeptical. They failed to contribute what they were capable of contributing. Though tall claims were made about youth engagement but practically nothing was done on the ground. Result being that youth were and still are missing from every sphere of life. They have never been involved in policy making instead all the political parties projected some of their cronies and projected them as youth icons and leaders leaving the majority of youth high and dry.
In this backdrop the present dispensation’s decision to establish District Youth Centres and Psycho-Social Counselling Centres across the districts of Jammu and Kashmir with active involvement of youth from planning stage to management of these state-of-the-art institutions is a welcome step and will go a long way in making the section a strong stake-holder in the process of progress and nation building. Under mission Youth, the District Youth Centres are being envisaged as centres of excellence to provide a platform for constructive engagement of youth. These DYCs are aimed at to provide opportunities to young people to explore and recognize intellectual and professional potentials besides extending them professional counseling and systematic assistance. DYCs will also focus on opportunities of skill development, social interaction and recreation. Besides, these centers will provide systematic professional support for drug de-addiction and other social issues. It is pertinent to mention here that drug addiction and drug trafficking are the serious issues that the society here is face to face with. Not a single day passes when media doesn’t report seizure of contraband drugs and related arrested. If these youth centers are run on professional lines, these would contribute a lot in defeating the drug abuse and thus save the lives of the youth. The decision of the concerned authorities to have a month-long programme wherein a consultative process with youth under the “Ideas Conclave” series will be organized is equally welcome. It will be for the first time that the youth would be part of a process aimed at empowering them. The reason why the earlier youth related policies failed to take of was that youth themselves were missing from the policy planning and the policies were made in cozy office rooms without understanding the aspirations and the issues of the youth. This latest initiative has a huge potential to involve the youth in nation building and at the same time redressing the issues confronting them. This handholding by the government would go a long way in empowering the youth subject the implementation side is taken care of.