At least 2.50 lakh unemployed youth registered themselves with the district employment and counselling centres in Jammu Kashmir in 2019, officials said Thursday.
Last year, the Employment department started voluntary registration of unemployed youth including postgraduates and those having Ph.D. degrees.
Deputy Director, Employment (Central), Shahid Mehmood said until December 2019, 2.5 lakh unemployed youth including 1.5 lakh postgraduates and Ph.D. scholars had registered themselves with the department.
“We are counselling the unemployed youth and providing self-employment schemes under Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI) to them,” he said. “We also provide funds to the Women Development Corporation for self-employment of women. We are to some extent helping youth get rid of unemployment.”
The Deputy Director said the department had their trainers who go to schools and colleges across places for career counselling of the unemployed youth.
Mehmood said they had different schemes like Self Help Group of Engineers under which unemployed engineers had been registered.
Similarly, Seed Capital Fund Scheme, and schemes with the National Development Financial Corporation were meant for helping youth become entrepreneurs.
“We have helped hundreds of unemployed youth who are now creating job opportunities for others,” he said.
According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), in 2017, the unemployment rate in Jammu Kashmir was at 12.13 percent.
In 2016, the unemployment rate hit an extreme high of 24.6 percent amongst youth aged between 18 and 29.
J&K is amidst a turmoil for the past three decades and unemployment has become a serious concern with the percentage of unemployed youth increasing and absorption rate being poor.
According to 2011 census, the population of Jammu Kashmir is 1.25 crore and more than 70 percent of the population in J&K is below 35 years of age.
Khalid Mehraj, a sociologist, said unemployment not only affects an individual but the entire family economically, socially and psychologically.
“Due to unemployment, marriages are not held on proper time. It also causes depression and pushes youth toward drug addiction. It affects the family and society as well. One of the causes behind the rising trend of drug addiction in Kashmir is unemployment. When there are no jobs, it impacts the society negatively,” he said.
Last time, the government held voluntary registration of the unemployed youth in 2009.
Thereafter, the then National Conference-led coalition government, headed by former chief minister Omar Abdullah, started the Sher-e-Kashmir Employment and Welfare Policy for Youth with an aim to provide jobs to the unemployed educated youth.
Despite whopping number of unemployed youth, the government does not have any concrete employment policy to address growing unemployment.
Until last year, J&K government had no data of the exact number of unemployed educated and uneducated youth.