By: Sameer Showkin Lone
Srinagar: With unemployment touching new scales in Jammu and Kashmir, where around six lakh youth are jobless and are just eyeing for government jobs, it has turned into a good opportunity for the non-locals to creep into the other modes of employment in Kashmir.
In and around Lal Chowk-the commercial hub of Kashmir valley, where on daily basis a business worth crores is being done; one finds every third person who owns a stall a non-local, who have come from different parts of India.
While the non-local laborers have already taken the jobs of carpenters, painters and other related skills, some left out things like shop-keeping and other street hawking are slowly being taken over by the non-Kashmiris.
The trend puts a question mark if government job is the only thing a Kashmiri youth needs in order to generate his income.
At Sarai-Bala, which houses the Dastageer Sahab shrine and remains flooded with people, almost every stall owner selling different day-to-day items are non-locals.
Would you imagine, a non-local vendor who sells (pea and peanuts), said he earns between 2 to 2.5 lakh in winter season-which spans six months. In summers he says he sells ice cream and juice which fetches him almost the same amount.
However, he says this season the business has hit hard die to Covid lockdown.
Like him, there are thousands of others who sell guava, pine apples and other things, but hardly a Kashmiri is seen except some barbeque sellers.
Unemployment occurs when people are without work and actively seeking work. Ground reports and many surveys reveal the menace of unemployment among the educated youth in Jammu and Kashmir has immensely increased with lakhs of candidates applying for a few hundred posts advertised by recruitment agencies.
Though, the government under various schemes and flagship programs provide entrepreneurship opportunities to the local youth, most of these programs ended up in failure.
Experts term conflict related uncertainty the main reason that pushes the Kashmiri youth to crave for government jobs.
Muhammad Shafi, an industrialist, says government has been very slow in tapping some of the productive employment generating sectors such as commercial floriculture, fisheries, forest, horticulture and agriculture based industries.
Tourism players say youth or the new comers are apprehensive to invest in this sector as tourism is universally known as a peace time activity. “Peace in Kashmir is very fragile,” they say.