The country imposed a nationwide lockdown a week ago to stop the imminent spread of the Novel Coronavirus. The pandemic has caused serious health concerns, anguish and apprehensions in our country too. It has put the lives and livelihoods at risk particularly that of the most vulnerable section of our society. There is fear and anxiety among the people as a stigma has been attached to the disease. At this challenging and uncertain time we were supposed to stand together to fight the battle against Coronavirus.
Kashmir has remained under a lockdown since august 5 last year. All modes of communication were shutdown and internet blocked. The internet speed is still restricted to 2G only and most of the people haven’t been able to access basic information on how they can protect themselves form the Coronavirus. The economy of Kashmir region has suffered approximately 20,000 crore loss since 5th of August 2019. Now the ministry of home affairs has introduced a new Domicile Law in Jammu and Kashmir UT which now formally allows people from outside Jammu and Kashmir to apply for jobs in the region. The worst thing is class 4 jobs (like junior assistant and constable), have been reserved for native people and gazetted jobs have been opened up for people from across the country, including people domiciled in Jammu and Kashmir. According to the law people who have resided for 15 years in Jammu and Kashmir or have studied for seven years and appeared in class 10th and 12th examinations in an educational institutional located in Jammu and Kashmir are now eligible to become a permanent residents.
Jammu and Kashmir being a conflict ridden zone has far less opportunities for employment than rest of the states of the country. Political insecurity, rough territory and lack of infrastructure have been a constant hurdle in the industrial development of the state,particularly in Kashmir region. The industrial infrastructure, whether private or public is in mess thereby failing to absorb a big chunk of unemployed educated youth of the state. Due to absence of private sector the educated unemployed youth have have relied mostly on government sector where there are limited chances of finding employment. Unfortunately this opportunity too has been snatched from them by the govt of India with new domicile law.
Unemployment level in Jammu and Kashmir UT will only rise as educated youth struggle to eke out a living. According to state’s own economic survey report (2016) j&k has 24.6% population in the age of 18-29 years. This must has risen up to 35% now. The youth who are above 29 years are going through depression, anxiety and stress. The helpless youth including men and women don’t get married while unemployed ,most of them have also crossed the age eligibility criteria.
The Central Govt has ruined the future of J&K youth by this ill conceived law. Govt has played with the sentiment of unemployed youth and have thrown them into dungeons of darkness. First they made an announcement of 50,000 jobs for the youth of the region then scraped J&K Bank’s recruitment of 1200 banking associates and 250 probationary officers. Scrapped age relaxation for UPSC civil services and cancelled all the job notifications which were published.
The law is making youth feel they have been betrayed, screwed and pushed to wall and are being deliberately targeted. The domicile law has created an atmosphere of fear, uncertainty, anger and worry among the unemployed. The corrupt politicians of Jammu and Kashmir have already betrayed and cheated them with giving jobs to their relatives and worker’s.
The youth of J&K are seeking fulfilment of the commitments made from time to time by the Govt of India. The Govt of India must revoke the domicile law in order to protect the future of unemployed youth of Jammu and Kashmir and at least fulfil this one promise they made.
Irshad Ahmad Rather
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