Stating that unemployment is among the largest challenges in Jammu and Kashmir, Minister for Finance, Culture, Labour & Employment, Dr Haseeb Drabu Monday called for formulation of a comprehensive employment policy and complete overhauling of the Employment Department.
He stressed the need to engage with the people outside the walls of government and asked the officials that there is urgent need to address the issue as there is growing unrest in the civil society and danger of radicalization of the youth.
Dr Drabu while taking review of the Department of Employment, J&K Women’s Development Corporation, J&K Entrepreneurship Development, J&K Overseas Development Corporation in Civil Secretariat Jammu told the officials to be receptive to the market needs rather than engaging in age old practices which have no significance as of now.
Minister of State for Finance, Mr Ajay Nanda was also present in the meeting.
Urging the officials to have a new employment policy in place, Dr. Drabu said that as the state is in post-conflict phase, there is need to have a new policy vis-à-vis current scenario and not the one formulated decades ago. He insisted that the department should not look in providing jobs but to bridge the gap of skill deficit.” He added that there are sectors where you have huge demand and there are also without demand. He stressed to have a plan of managing this deficit.
He urged to develop schemes not to make employees work, but to make youth workable. “Our schemes should not be a process to provide work to district employment officer. It is to be tailored for unemployed, unskilled, less educated/uneducated youth.”
Commenting about the figures presented in the meeting of 1.1 lakh youth registered as unemployed, Dr. Drabu said that there is need to have more detailed mapping as the number of unemployed is more. On voluntary registration of unemployed youth, Dr Drabu advised to have incentivize online registration system. “It is embarrassment to stand in a line for registration. You make the system online and incentivize it, “he said.
Dr Drabu directed officials to leverage the existing infrastructure in the districts and rope in private players in managing these centers. He assured of all possible help in allowing these center’s to flourish to the extent of bearing 50 per cent of the operational cost. “The government will provide infrastructure and market assistance, rest private parties can train counsel and prepare youth,” he said.
While talking about the dismal situation of unemployment in the state, Dr Drabu said that this department is important in shaping up the future of our state and needs serious and focused effort across the line. “This is not seen as prized posting. Nobody wants to work here,” he said. He further said that the lack of robust private sector and saturation in the government sector is the growing concern which needs to be tackled systematically.
Directing the winding-up of the Overseas Employment Corporation, Dr Drabu said there is need to have some vibrant, energetic organization in place. “It makes no sense to have an organization doing absolutely nothing,” he said.
Dr Drabu was informed that since its inception over Rs 1.42 Crore revenue expenditure has been incurred on running the corporation without any significant contribution.
Dr Drabu directed the officials not to have defaulters to banks as Board of director on any of the corporations. “Ethics should be maintained. A defaulter cannot be on Board of Directors “, he said.
Emphasizing to work in a coordinated manner, Dr Drabu set May 15 as deadline for coming up with strategic paper on restructuring Directorate of employment and other allied departments.
Others present in the meeting included Secretary Employment, Managing Director, Women’s Development Corporation and representatives of allied departments.