EDI Pampore.
J&K EDI Pampore

By Bilal Ahmad Dar

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‘Curbing the unemployment problem in Kashmir through entrepreneurial development’

Unemployment both of the educated and the uneducated manpower has become one of the most topical and thorny issues in contemporary Kashmir. Despite constituting a major chunk of our population our youth are lagging behind in every field. They have a major role to play in state’s progress but due to lack of support system they are facing many new challenges in today’s society they are afflicted by an identity crisis lack of self-confidence, a sense of hopelessness and confusion, and ambiguity concerning about moral issues and the future. They have been trapped in a culture marked by violence.

All this has resulted in an unstable economy a shattered confidence of foreign investors, lawlessness and a break-up of the social fabric. The most profound problem our youth is facing at present is frustration. This monster is eating up our youth slowly and gradually. The youth in Kashmir don’t have jobs means of healthy entertainment health resources and awareness. The frustration as a result of multitude problems is increasing day by day.

Unemployed youths waiting in queue to submit their government employment forms.  Pic: Bilal Bahadur
Unemployed youths waiting in queue to submit their government employment forms.
KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

Entrepreneurship development is the most powerful weapon of the youth; with it they could lead their state towards progress. Unfortunately quality and skill based education is still a dream for our youth especially for the poor. There is no formal guidance for students in logical selection of a specific course of study. There is no unified entrepreneurship education system. Our universities and colleges have become degree distributing machines.

Education does not mean only degrees but in its true sense it is the future of the youth. Entrepreneurship-education is a global phenomenon and a proven solution to combat youth unemployment. It’s a tool that can arm young people not only to start businesses and create jobs, but also to be opportunity-focused. It provides youth with the ability to think like entrepreneurs and to act like business owners, the ability to be problem solvers and the capacity to be adaptable, comfortable and self-directed in unclear situations.

 I think, we all agree that the first group who should be prioritized in terms of employment is the youth. It is the youth who are employed who can contribute most effectively to the state economy and the development process of their state.

Former Union Minister, Jai Ram Ramesh, with J&K EDI trained youth.
Former Union Minister, Jai Ram Ramesh, with J&K EDI trained unemployed youth.

There are some fundamental discrepancies in our system that brings about this situation of unemployment and also the lack of decent employment among youth the lack of marketable skills in youth makes it harder for them to find decent employment. But this is not the only reason.

As skilled individuals come out of universities the job market is already highly saturated that no space is there to create new jobs. Even the private sector is running on full capacity.

The government recently introduced vocational training schemes as a solution to the unemployment. This is an intelligent and a futuristic solution and it has helped in countering the problem to a certain extent. But there’s much more to be done.

If government can come up with an efficient system to provide initial capital and consultative support to interested individuals a huge chunk of the unemployed youth would find a better alternative than being employed in the aboard or private sector.

Since establishment of J&K EDI, it has made valuable contribution by creating an impressive record of achievements and advocating a strong opportunity from 2007 to promote entrepreneurship among youth. It suggests that having a venture of your own helps in generating employment, the challenge lies in the fact that many young people are hesitant to move to start ups of their own. This is often a result of misconceptions regarding the risks involved.

Yes, there are significant risks but with government’s backing youth should change their mind set to take calculated risk. We do have a subject in the state curriculum for Ordinary Level called Entrepreneurship Studies but this is simply not enough.

We need a proper system in place for the best resource of Kashmir which is youth. We cannot afford to lose them, and we cannot afford to let them leave for career prospects abroad because of the inadequacy of opportunities here.

It is a duty of a popular government to look after its youth. If a government cannot afford to find jobs for each young person, it is bound to help them create their own through entrepreneurship.

(The author is a PhD Scholar at in at Jaipur National University, Jaipur Rajasthan.)


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