Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Consequences of Promoting Patronage Jobs Over Private Sector Jobs

Kashmir's elites loath to give up control on job creation, with attendant consequences

Unemployment Woes

The grave unemployment issue continues to haunt Jammu and Kashmir. Whenever the issue is raised, chief minister Omar Abdullah comes out with a routine statement that it was not possible to provide government jobs to everyone. While no would contest the statement, the government on the other hand has not done much to generate employment in the private sector. The private companies that have come to the state are here as a part of their routine business expansion plans and not because the state has attracted them with sops.

Even though to win over the hearts of the youth, in an effort to keep them away from street protests, both the state and the central governments every now and then keep on announcing ambitious job packages, unfortunately the required implementation of these promises to the youth is hardly done. In fact, whenever a minister visits the state from New Delhi, we hear tall announcements. Besides the centre, the local ministers too have been making similar promises as Minister for Information and Science Technology Aga Syed Ruhullah recently had said the government was hopeful that the upcoming Information Technology (IT) Park in central Kashmir's Budgam district will create job opportunity for 10,000 IT professionals. In the given scenario, the people have every reason to have disbelief in the promises that are made to them.

While it is no secret that the state’s Sher-e-Kashmir Employment and Welfare Programme for the youth has only remained a political slogan, the centre too has drawn flak for not implementing its promises. For example, the Kashmiri Pandits have been demanding full implementation of Prime Minister's Employment Package, a scheme launched for the youth of the community. Recently, during a protest they alleged that only 1,700 jobs have been filled up in the last three years while the rest of 4,300 jobs are yet to be announced and filled up. Even as the list of unkempt political promises made to the people of the state is very long, the state and the centre has to ensure that the promises made towards generating employment avenues do not face the same consequence.

Some youth may have got jobs under the ‘Himayat’ scheme but most of them were recruited for just Rs. 5000, that too outside the state. Under the scheme, one lakh youth would be provided trainings for enhancing their employability and ensuring their absorption in private job market within five years. However, the government has to ensure that the youth get good jobs. Getting salaries of Rs. 5000 initially may be decent within the state but the amount is peanuts if one has to set up a new home outside.

And what adds insult to the injuries of the unemployed youth is the brazen nepotism in recruitments, not just in the government sector but also at the universities. Recently, one RTI had found the KU guilty of other brazen violation of rules in the filling up of other posts. And it has been observed that even if the KU in the past followed the recruitment rules, it still managed to employ its “chosen ones” through a “match fixing of sorts”. Even though the interviews are conducted, the candidates have often complained that the procedure was a “mere formality” to select the blue-eyed ones. And the fact that the selected candidates usually turn out to be the children of the KU faculty, as seen during the filling up of the assistant registrar and PRO posts, only adds weight to these claims. Therefore, if the government cannot do much about the unemployment issue, it should at least ensure that the deserving candidates are hired. (Kashmir Monitor)

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