CMIE report and government response

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Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory government is looking into the reasons behind sudden jump in unemployment rate of J&K, as projected in recently released report of CMIE with the Lt Governor pointing out that there could be a “lapse on behalf of J&K administration in providing accurate and updated data in this connection.”Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) latest report reveals that J&K has a 22.22.2 percent unemployment rate, which is the worst among states/Union Territories in India. The unemployment rates are produced by CMIE using its Consumer Pyramids Household Survey machinery. CMIE has pegged India’s unemployment rate at 6.9 percent thus indicating that J&K has much higher unemployment rate than the national average. The CMIE data suggests that the unemployment rate in J&K has jumped from over 13 percent in August 2021 to 22.2. As per the official data, J&K is the only region in India which has over 20 percent unemployment rate. Other states, which follow J&K in terms of the highest unemployment, are Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Tripura where unemployment rate is above 15 percent.

Though the LG administration has not outrightly rejected the CMIE report, the LG Manoj Sinha, while responding to a question posed by media persons on the sidelights of a function on Tuesday said that his administration is looking into the reasons as why there has been an upswing in the unemployment rate projected in the data. He asserted that his administration was focussing on creation/generation of self employment (opportunities), recruitment against vacancies in the government departments and in this connection, a transparent process has been initiated. 8000-9000 people have already been recruited while the process is on for the recruitment against 20,000 posts. Even in case of self-employment generation, he said, the administration has fixed a target of creating avenues for two lakh youth. He also said that he cannot blame that these figures are fudged or wrong as even he himself  used to quote them in the past. He, however, said that there may be some kind of lapse in providing accurate and updated data.

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 in a place like J&K, where jobs were already scarce, the situation has been grimmer. 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 needs 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 due to pandemic and thus has not much promise for the time being. Other main sectors are agriculture and horticulture.  If the government takes step to realize the true growth potential of the local agriculture and horticulture produce, lots of unemployed youth could be encouraged to join 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. 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 schemes aimed at generating jobs are implemented and youth are involved to get benefited.

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