The biggest problem that the state is dealing with at this present moment is the rising number of unemployed youth. The issue is taking the toll of state administration.
According to the data revealed by state government, the figure has grown to a highest number of six lakh besides a huge number of other underemployed youth. The people are engaged contractually into some casual labour. This has put more pressure on the state.
Because of the fact that there is hardly any substantial private sector, the whole responsibility has fallen on the shoulders of state government. Being the only significant employer in J&K, it has managed to provide more than four lakh jobs.
Even though the employment provided by the government of Jammu and Kashmir is described as the highest in the world but there is still a huge burden on the state economy which is already under pressure with very less resources generation.
At this point in time, the only solution to this problem is conversion of job seekers into job providers. There is a high potential in the youth of Jammu and Kashmir and the situation can become better only if they venture into entrepreneurship which shall not only be limited to food business and trade, the traditional fortress in Kashmir.
The politico-economic instability that prevails in Jammu and Kashmir has opened up a lot of opportunities for the small businesses and risk-taking entrepreneurs. There is also one positive point for young entrepreneurs and small businesses to flourish and that is the political uncertainty which prevents the big fish from entering the markets of the state.
As per a report, the state of Jammu and Kashmir imports goods and services worth about Rs 40,000 crore which put imports to GDP ratio of the country to about 50 percent. This is a worst situation for any economy but it also provides a big opportunity for young generation of Kashmir to venture into any business they want. The experts believe that there is a possibility that more than 50 percent of state’s imports can be manufactured and produced locally. All we need is a little improvisation in the services and modern infrastructure and we can multiply the job opportunities in the state.
The system that exists in the state along with the government setup for setting up business in state has put it at the bottom top in the recent World Bank study. This clearly indicates that bureaucratic hassles, lack of work culture and corruption is prevalent in the state setup.
Even the Entrepreneurship Development Institution (EDI) established to provide help and guidance to unemployed youth who want to set some business in the state has limited it self to DPR formation and loan disbursement. Besides helping the candidates for the business registration and overcoming other formalities like acquiring operating spaces, land in industrial area etc, it has turned into a government department for running a self-employment scheme. All it does is conducting of a training capsule, prepares a project report of a candidate and helps him in sanctioning a loan from J&K Bank.
The real motto of EDI is providing a training capsule, prepare a project report of a candidate and help him in sanctioning a loan from J&K Bank but it is only serving as a single window for startups fulfilling the requirements and helps in all the procedures required of them at one place so that they don’t have to face those bureaucratic hassles which plagues local system here. Also, there is a great need to develop a business incubation center for young entrepreneurs.
There is a knowledge gap between the educated youth who want to start a business and all the information about opportunities in the business and industrial sector. This gap needs to be filled and only then the problem can be solved.
Inputs from GK