Rashid Paul

Himayat scheme fails to live up to the promises and hopes it was launched with

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Achieves just 15% of target over past 12 years

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir continues to be among the top four states of India with the highest unemployment rate. Oddly enough its employable skill training programmes like Himayat seem to have miscarried, as just 15 percent of the target has been achieved over the past 12 years.

‘Himayat’ (support) was the outcome of the recommendations of the Rangarajan Committee report submitted to the Government of India (GoI) in February 2011.  It suggested increasing the employability for J&K’s school and college dropouts by improving their skill-sets and providing support for their placement and self-employment.

Himayat Mission Management Unit and J&K State Rural Livelihoods Mission (JKSRLM) were designated as implementing agencies of the scheme. A target of training (approx) 1.5 lakh youth was set at the time of its launch.

As part of the GoI’s policy programme to mainstream the unoccupied youth of Kashmir, the scheme promised their employment in the industrial and services sectors, including the multinational companies across India.

But 12 years down the line, outcomes seem horrific as only 21,667 candidates have been trained and much less did actually get the jobs.

Even the national auditor of India in its recent report has put some light on the ‘dishonorable’ results besides some financial embezzlement in the scheme.

The scheme in 2015 had an outlay of Rs 1,601.51 crore. A target of 53,547 youth was set to be trained from 2016 to 2019. But only 4,494 (8 percent) were actually trained during the period. Moreover only a handful, 732 youth were placed in jobs, disclosed the auditor’s report.

Between 2016 and 2018 the scheme seemed to have been shelved out. Around 120 youth were trained during the period and no placements thereof were made.

Sources say the scheme has terribly failed in meeting its objectives.

The provision of reservation for skilling 40,000 young women has remained a promise without a substance.

The assurance of placement of 1000 Kashmri youth in the overseas job market has also ended as a dream apart in space.

Interestingly, the implementing agency, the HMMU, is in itself deficiently staffed. It suffers a human resource shortfall of 63 percent at the apex level, and 100 percent at district and block levels.

The selected candidates under Himayat were to be provided free training for three to 12 months in a range of market-oriented skills.  At the end of the training they were to be provided with jobs. A one year post-placement tracking had also been envisaged under the scheme.

Bilal Abdullah, one of the candidates from Budgam had been selected for training in early 2019 and subsequently placed with a business process outsourcing center in Noida.

Bilal had to leave his job midway. “The living expenditures far exceeded my salary. I was unable to save or remit anything to my elderly parents,” said Bilal.

The young man has, however, encouraging experiences of the time he spent as trainee and subsequent placement in Noida, except for the low wages.

“Living in a harmonious atmosphere among educated people from different geographical and cultural backgrounds was a valuable time of my life,” he said.

The experiences in that modern city inspired Bilal to do something worthwhile. Currently he is running a successful micro-level venture in cast iron grilling.

Repeated telephonic calls and an email by this scribe to Chief Operating Officer of Himayat (K) failed to elicit any response on the miscarriage of the scheme.

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