Like many youths of his age in Kashmir, Aijaz Ahmad Khan, 29, was full of dreams and plans for his future. Living in Bimyar, a village in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district where only one-in-five people are working, Khan's dream was simple; he wanted to secure a respectable livelihood that could open the door for a better tomorrow for him and his family.
Khan, a driver, couldn't bear the expenses of his family of six comprising two minor children, wife, and elderly parents. After working as a driver for almost ten years for different owners and firms, he couldn't save enough money to purchase his own vehicle.
"The financial constraints and rising cost of living had left me in an overwhelming feeling of frustration and depression," he said.
The driving job was giving Khan the earning of less than Rs 10,000 a month, not enough to run the family affairs.
Determined to stay in his village with the family and to find good work, Khan searched for opportunities. When he learned of ‘Mumkin’ livelihood scheme for unemployed youth seeking financial support, he was the first to apply and was accepted.
"I learned about the scheme from my friend. And when I applied, my financial assistance was accepted. Now, I can start my own vegetable distribution business," he said.
Khan is not alone, the government has already approved the loan of nearly 1043 youth under the ‘Mumkin’ scheme so far.
"The subsidy amount has been released in 451 cases which go up to Rs 3.72 crore," as per officials.
Some youth have asked the government to include passenger vehicles also under the purview of this scheme. Presently, only load-carrying vehicles manufactured by different companies are on the approved list of vehicles.
Another beneficiary Irshad Ahmad, 32, of Daedpaeth village of Kishtwar said the scheme has brought hope for him and his family.
"Now, I can easily earn more than Rs 30,000 per month. But, earlier I could only get Rs 8000 from an owner whose vehicle I would drive," he said. Ahmad said he couldn't fulfill the daily expenses of the family including his four children.
"All of them have attained the school-going age, but I couldn't afford to send them to school. But, with this scheme it's now possible to earn handsome earning and support their education," he said.
The scheme also shows overwhelming response in other districts like south Kashmir Anantnag where the employment department received hundreds of applications so far.
Some of them were facing poverty due to the scarcity of job opportunities and a lack of practical skills.
The lucky ones however, got the approval to get subsidy and finance for their load carrier vehicles under Mumkin and have already started working in their respective areas.
One such youth is Rayees Ahmad of Ashmuqam village in Anantnag. He said the financial situation was getting worse at his home as he didn’t own a vehicle which could give him some kind of stability.
Ahmad is living with his elderly parents and after marriage an extra responsibility came on his shoulders but, according to him his earnings were not enough to fulfil the daily basic needs of the family.
“I am the lone bread earner in the family. So, it was important for me to get out of this situation,” he said.
“When I heard of the Mumkin scheme it gave me a new hope. Otherwise I was unable to bear the daily expenses of the family,” he said.
Now, Ahmad has already started earning from the load carrier by carrying different kinds of loads
Mumkin is a livelihood programme designed primarily for unemployed young people in the age bracket of 18 to 35, with a special focus on those already working in the transport sector or who want to boost their earnings through self-employment.
The programme is a part of the Mission Youth Initiative of the J&K government to uplift, mentor, and provide sustainable livelihood to the youth registered with District Employment and Counselling Centres (DE&CC).
Under the ‘Mumkin’ scheme, small commercial vehicles are being provided to the youth with reasonable subsidies both from the manufacturer and the government, enabling them to earn a decent livelihood.
As per the guidelines, the banking partner shall extend the loan facility to the extent of 100 percent of the on-road price of the vehicle to be purchased. "Mission Youth, J&K shall provide an amount of Rs 80,000 or 10 percent of the on-road price of the vehicle (whichever is lesser) as upfront subsidy.”
As per the scheme, vehicle manufacturers (scheme partner of government) provide an upfront special discount, not less than the amount of subsidy. The bank gives finance facility on the basis of their normal assessment procedure and on the basis of hypothecation of the vehicle only, without asking for any collateral security.