Why The Educated Youth Live With The Sense of Hopelessness?


by Aasia Hassan

We have lost faith in our system, in our recruitment agencies, and the most heartbreaking thing is we have lost hope, hope that anything is actually going to change here; hope that the culprits will be brought to justice.

The unemployment rate of Jammu and Kashmir keeps increasing rather than decreasing day by day.  As reported in March 2022, the unemployment rate of Jammu and Kashmir was the second-highest in the country.

According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) figures, Jammu and Kashmir has a 25 per cent unemployment rate, which is even higher than the national level unemployment rate of 7.6 per cent recorded across India. The actual figures will be higher than the official ones, as one loophole of these surveys is that, they take a particular age group (e.g. 18 to 29) into consideration in order to get these unemployment figures.

In reality, most of the exams have the age bar at 40. Often, the sample size of the survey is small, and those people who have become hopeless and are no longer actively seeking jobs are excluded from such surveys.  So in reality these unemployment figures will be higher than what is shown by these surveys.

Compared to the rest of the country, the youth of Jammu and Kashmir face more hurdles in getting employment. One of the primary reasons for this suffering is the absence of a strong private sector in Jammu and Kashmir, and not everyone can afford to leave their homes in search of jobs. There was a small number of private companies prior to 2019, which provided limited employment to some people, but some of these companies collapsed owing to the shutdown of 2019 when Jammu and Kashmir was stripped off of its special status along with statehood. This was followed by hollow promises by the Government that measures are being taken to draw investments to the newly created Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, which will generate some 4 to 5 lakh jobs. In reality, no such thing was seen to date, and in such a set up the youth of Jammu and Kashmir have no choice but to linger after government jobs.

We Kashmiri students have seen many setbacks in our life, more than some people see throughout their whole life. We have seen conflicts, we have seen curfews, we have faced half-year-long communication blockades, we have seen friends and colleagues get hurt, we have lived in an era with a special status, and we have lost that special status…and the list of our sufferings is so long. But one thing which I am proud of is that despite these hurdles we moved forward.

Corruption and scams are inherent in our system and are other setbacks faced by honest, dedicated and hard-working students. There have been numerous occasions where candidates appearing in various exams for jobs have asserted foul play or scams on the part of recruitment agencies. Some of these scams were highlighted, but mostly they were suppressed one way or the other.

There have been multiple scams in the history of Jammu and Kashmir where well-deserving candidates faced discrimination at the hands of various recruiting agencies.

This is on behalf of all those 2016 KAS Mains candidates, who faced this discrimination and were not delivered justice to date. This is on behalf of all those Jammu and Kashmir Bank aspirants who faced discrimination because of those backdoor entries. This is on behalf of the candidates of 10+2 English lecturers, whose papers were copied from the “Master guide by H S Bhatia”. This is on behalf of those Prosecuting Officer mains exam candidates, whose papers were set up directly from a website “law finder”. This is on behalf of all those JK FAA and JKP SI candidates, who faced the recent discrimination at the hands of JKSSB. These recent unfortunate events have left almost all the serious aspirants devastated.

Jammu Kashmir Public Service Commission in Srinagar

Another thing of grave concern, which has become so common and normal is the landing of almost every recruitment notification in the legal battle. These notifications and advertisements are not well planned, such as for example a particular age bar is specified, which is arbitrary to some aspirants, and they engage in court processes or meetings with the Lt Governor, and they get their grievances redressed but in this process, a lot of precious time is wasted.

It would have been better if before releasing these notifications, the authorities sit and plan first in order to avoid these lacunas. Exams get delayed on a daily basis, and if luckily the exams are conducted, something else happens and the results get stayed. This defeats the whole purpose of the claims of so-called fast-track recruitment. In all these circumstances the question that arises in everyone’s mind is, “when the system will change and enough will be enough?” Is it this easy to play with the careers of lakhs of aspirants? Does the hard work and dedication of students mean nothing?

I know aspirants who left their jobs outside the state to prepare for these government jobs and make a living at home. I know aspirants who despite very little means at home struggled and managed to get coaching for these jobs. I know aspirants who despite being highly educated such as PhD holders and due to lack of employment opportunities prepare for even these menial jobs. I know aspirants who delayed their marriage to prepare for these exams first. I know aspirants who have socially boycotted themselves in order to prepare for these exams.

Aasia Hassan

Every aspirant has a story and every one of them have their fair share of struggles on behalf of each and everyone, I have a question for policymakers – do our struggles mean nothing? Is our time of no value? Is our education, our degrees a joke to you? For how long will our careers be jeopardized?

We have lost faith in our system, in our recruitment agencies, and the most heartbreaking thing is we have lost hope, hope that anything is actually going to change here; hope that the culprits will be brought to justice.

The youth is the future of a country and if you continue to deceive the educated youth by destroying their future, then ironically there can be no future.

(The author is a research scholar at the Indian Law Institute, New Delhi. She completed her LLM in Constitutional Law. She also is a blogger. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Kashmir Life.)


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