By Vikram Nag
Jammu and Kashmir. Search it in dictionaries and thesaurus, it comes as a synonym to Beauty. The world calls it crown of India. Landscapes in the state are heavens. Ladakh is a mystical, it mesmerizes. Kashmir is serene, a calmness therapy. Jammu is Holy-City of temples. World comes here in pursuit of their Wanderlust. Being touristy is a lifestyle here.
And Jammu off late has seen the elation of this touristy lifestyle to new obnoxious levels.
There is a new type of tourism sprawling in Jammu. A tourism where Jammuties are visiting their own homes for a holiday. Visiting their own homes once or twice a year to spend few days of experiencing a laid-back city where the pace of life comes to a halt.
The other day I was visiting my Friend in one of the best residential areas in Jammu city. While driving around with him, he remarked, “This Locality is a Posh Old age home. Look around all these magnanimous Bungalows with big cars parked inside. Only above 60 people live here. Kids have gone to Metropolitan cities for studies, Jobs, careers. Bas budhe log hi hain sab idhar. ”
And this is not the story of this locality only. This is the story of every other home in Jammu.
Though Migration is a universal phenomenon but it changes its character when it associates itself with J&K. What is happening in Jammu division is a characteristic of rural migration. One way migration is a characteristic of backward rural areas. But this to happen on such a large scale is very disturbing.
Article 370 in combination with other land laws and state citizenship clauses create such mazes that force this one way migration out of state. Land laws are a barrier for foreign business establishments to work in J&k and hence creating zero incentives for employment generation.
Employment Sources are the biggest factor influencing the demography of a place and it can be broadly segregated in two categories.
The Corporate entrepreneurship in J&K is as big as the chances of finding life on Pluto. Ok getting it straight, its zero! J&K does not have any bit of that metropolitan employment opportunity where MNCs or private entrepreneurs can flourish and offer livelihood opportunities. This zeroes out the attraction power of the state for young educated youth from outside. More devastatingly, it means that state’s capacity of retaining the state youth in J&K is in negative. Because every day we are losing our educated minds to other states.
Employment opportunities in state are limited only to the government jobs. But this is also only a retention provision and not an attraction source since only residents of J&K can get a state-govt job here due to state subject clause. However, even this sector has started failing to retain the state youth because in the last few years owing to the introduction of New recruitment policy which is in itself a ‘Hidden message’ for state citizens to look for avenues out of state. New recruitment policy is a push to drive educated masses out of state. It is a mass Exodus policy.
- Demography of state is changing. Youth is on a constant move out of state. According to a study, More than 20 lakh youth has already migrated from state to other states in pursuit of their careers. J&K is slowly turning out to be a BIG NO place for youths. Increasingly large number of houses are turning out to have only 2 old members of the family with none to take care of this ageing population. Effects will be even more pronounced in next 5-10 years. Grey heads are outnumbering the Black haired people.
- Intellectual pool that is a prerequisite to develop a city is missing. Best Minds prefer metropolitan jobs with bountiful perks. This leaves the any future development of our state in shatters. Educated young people are the backbone of any city and Jammu has got a crack in its back.
- Economy is getting highly dependent on government initiatives. With the lack of laws that actively promote business and the ever increasing older population, conditions are just not supportive.
Even if the government starts from today to reverse this trend, it will take a decade to come up with something concrete that can initiate the reversal of migration. At least a rethinking, if not a complete revamp on state laws, like Article 370 and state subject is required. Employment ventures need to be put on an accelerator to convert this city to a magnet center for working avenues. There should be fatter incentives for the Corporate MNCs to develop and establish business in this city. There should be a progressive approach to the state and city building instead of the regressive steps like New Recruitment policies.
The trend is alarming and the effects that eventually will show in few years will be disturbing. This is an attempt to make people and government think on these lines also failing which Jammu will soon be The old age house of India like many rural villages.