J&K: 1.5 lakh postgraduates and above jobless

J&K: 1.5 lakh postgraduates and above jobless

An army soldier stamps the arm of a Kashmiri youth during a recruitment drive organized by the Indian army in Pattan, north of Srinagar, earlier this month (PTI File Photo)

Unemployment in Jammu and Kashmir is burgeoning with 1.5 lakh youth having post-graduation or higher educational degrees hankering for jobs.

In a first-of-its-kind of exercise carried out by the governor administration, the state Directorate of Employment had asked the unemployed youth having post-graduation, M. Phil or Ph. D degrees to register themselves with employee exchanges in their respective districts.

In just 15 days' time, over 1.5 lakh highly qualified youth registered themselves as unemployed. “The last date for registering as unemployed has come to an end, but in future, we plan to open registration again for post-graduates for few more days in order to come up with the exact number of jobless post-graduates in J&K,” Shahid Mehmood, joint director at the Directorate of Employment and Counselling, said.

This is a first-of-its-kind exercise in the state to have an “exact database of highly qualified persons, including postgraduate, MPhil and PhD degree holders”, as the previous regimes who ruled J&K had never compiled the specific data of unemployed postgraduates.

According to the 2011 census, the total population of the insurgency-hit Himalayan state is 1.25 crore. More than 70% of the population in J&K is below 35 years of age and chronic unemployment and under-employment has spawned the problem.

The state, which is already facing the brunt of turmoil, resulting in negligible investments with business marred by uncertainties, the unemployment rate indicates the problems which educated youth in J&K go through.

State’s own Economic Survey Report of 2016 mentions that unemployment rate in Jammu and Kashmir is higher than the average national unemployment rate, with J&K having 24.6% population in the age of (18-29 years) unemployed which is far more than All India unemployment rate of 13.2%.

In February, Talat Ahmad, vice-chancellor of Kashmir University, had said that Kashmiri youth were career-oriented “but employment issues drive some of them in the wrong direction.”

Many unemployed youths believe that misgovernance, poor administration and corruption have been the biggest problems of the state.

“But we are no longer willing to tolerate it. The jobs in the government sector are distributed by ministers, bureaucrats and top officials among their kith and kin. We hope Prime Minister Narendra Modi will punish all those corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, who have made the lives of people, especially youth, hell over the decades,” a group of well-educated youth told DH.

They said if Modi government could eradicate corruption from the state, that would be his biggest service to Kashmiri youth.

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