Lt Governor Manoj Sinha has done well to set the record straight to an extent regarding the issue of unemployment in the UT of J&K. In an interview to the Hindustan Times on November 25, Lt Governor Msnoj Sinha asserted that unemployment was big problem everywhere and the story was no different in J&K. At the same time, however, he hit the nail on the head and said that the number of government employees in J&K was almost equal to the number of government employees in Bihar, which houses 11per cent times more population as compared to J&K.What exactly did Lt Governor Sinha say while reflecting on the issue? He said, “Unemployment is big problem everywhere, but it’s more acute in J&K. Apart from government jobs, there are fewer job opportunities here. The number of Government employees here is the same as in Bihar though the latter’s population is 11 times more. We are working on a three-pronged approach. First, a time-bound recruitment drive for 13,000 vacant Government jobs is underway, and will be completed in six months. Second, we expect a plethora of opportunities after the new industrial policy kicks in. Third, we are focusing on skilling and start-ups. By 2025, the target is to provide entrepreneurial opportunities to 80 per cent of J&K youth. Tata group has set up a skill development centre in Baramulla, which will be inaugurated after the DDC elections. A similar facility in Jammu will come up this month. In a week or so, we will sign a memorandum of understanding with the Bombay Stock Exchange for setting up training centres in financial and insurance services. We are working on many fronts, including setting-up of a state-of-the-art sports infrastructure for which the PM has sanctioned Rs 200 crore”.
Unemployment problem: LG sets record straight
Earlier, former FM in the PDP-BJP coalition Government Haseeb Drabu had made almost similar statement. He, inter-alia, had said, “Out of a population of 1.25 crore, 5 lakh people work as Government employees in J&K. Bihar with nearly 10 times the population of J&K, has 4 lakh employees. If the population below 20 (which is about 45 per cent) and above 60 (which is 15 per cent) is excluded, then one out of every ten people is on the payrolls of Government! The average size of a family in J&K is 5. So, one person from every other family is in Government”.However, Drabu had concealed many facts. He had only generalised things. For example, he didn’t disclose that the number of Government employees in Kashmir was more than 4 lakh and over 99 per cent were Muslims and less than 1 per cent Hindus and Sikhs and the number of employees in Bihar was 3.7 lakh. He also concealed the fact that while the population of Kashmir Valley was about 60 lakh, that of Bihar was more than nine crore – over 16 times more than Kashmir. The fact of the matter is that Haseeb Drabu suppressed the fact that Kashmir was the most privileged region in the whole of the country in terms of employment rate.The former Finance Minister not just concealed the vital information on employment rate in the Kashmir Valley, but he also did not disclose that the number of Government employees in Jammu province was less than one lakh. These positions were held by Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and other sections of society in Jammu province.It is important to note that the population of Jammu province is equal to Kashmir, if not more. Leave aside the fudged census figures. In other words, Drabu didn’t tell the nation that the number of Government employees in Kashmir Valley was at least 30,000 more than those in Bihar and four-time more than those in Jammu province. But was not all. Haseeb Drabu also concealed the fact that the rate of unemployment in Kashmir was less than 30 per cent, as against over 69 per cent in Jammu province.Now that none other than Lt Governor Manoj Sinha has spoken on the subject, it’s time for his Government to prepare a comprehensive white paper on the subject and make it public. The nation must know how the New Delhi-backed Kashmiri ruling elite accorded a preferential treatment to Kashmir and to the followers of one particular religion and how it systematically excluded the Jammu youths from the vital service sector. It’s hoped that the J&K Government would not flinch and do the needful so that anti-Jammu elements in the establishment were exposed and censured and the rigorously excluded Jammu youths dispensed justice. It’s also hoped that the Lt Governor’s dispensation would ensure parity between the two regions in all spheres and at all levels and announce a special employment package exclusively for the unemployed Jammu youths.Prof Hari Om
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