“ There is nothing new in world except the history you do not know.” – Harry Truman

Shafi conducts a disection of the new jobs policy announced by the State Government

(Mr. Mohammad Shafi Ayaz, 47, was born in Anantnag, and continues to live in the same town. He studied in various state schools, colleges and universities. He has completed his MBA, and is a Certified Associate of the Indian Institute of Bankers(CAIIB), and is working on a doctorate thesis on “Non Performing Assets in Indian Banks.” He is a banker and presently associated with the Jammu & Kashmir Bank as Senior Executive. Mr. Ayaz has three publications – two in Urdu, one comprising of fictions/short stories titled as “Dard-i-Pinhan” (Hidden Pain), and the third comprising of poetry titled as “Talash-i-Sahar”(In Search of Dawn). He has also published another short book in “Interest Free Banking.” He writes on various topics in the Daily Kashmir Images, Weekly Shuhab and Weekly Sabzar. Earlier he contributed articles to two leading Urdu dailies of the Valley – ‘Aftab’ and ‘Srinagar Times’.)

New Job Policy or NO Job Policy?

The new job policy announced by the state Government has received sharp reaction at the hands of various political parties as well as unemployed youth including student unions and groups. As per an order issued by the General Administrative Department of J&K Government, the new direct recruit to the government service shall be entitled to the fixed salary for the initial period of five years. The fixed salary for this purpose would mean that a fresh recruit for non-gazetteed position would draw only 50% of the basic pay for first two years and 75% for next three years. For implementing this new job policy, a range of modalities have also been notified. It is also reported that the government has asked the Service Selection Board to advertise all the posts referred to it under new recruitment rules. The SSB had been asked to keep all the posts on hold in March 2011 but the directions have been reportedly withdrawn now. The government has, however, asked all recruiting agencies to re-advertise the available vacancies under new policy and rules in respect of such vacancies which have already been advertised by them earlier. The recruitment process has not been started as yet.

Knowing that the industrial sector has not flourished in the valley for obvious reasons and that there is not a single multi-national firm operating from the state, unemployment turns out to be a natural phenomenon here. The scenario leaves the unemployed educated youth with only a fewer options at hand. They either have to migrate to other parts of the country or the world for better options or see government jobs as a viable option. Government jobs, therefore, appear alluring for the majority of the unemployed youth here who seek financial security for a lifetime and have no motivations for experimental carrier building.

If economists are to be believed, Kashmir valley is best suited for numerous small-scale businesses and many ventures can satisfy people economically. But the turbulence here has never paved way for the youth to see beyond the fixed options. However, the recently announced job policy seems to have generated more criticism among political parties than the unemployed youth. Political parties cutting across the lines have strongly opposed it in their specific tunes. They have declared it as an exploitation of unemployed youth and said that it (the policy) will further alienate the youth in the state.National Conference, the ruling coalition partner, rejects the criticism saying that the opposition was playing politics with the issue while as the policy was aimed at accommodating more and more unemployed youth into government jobs. Apart from the criticism the decision of the state government earned from different quarters, people here do not regard it as a best thing to have happened is.

Though a job policy cannot be the same forever and it is supposed to be re-casted and tailored as per requirement from time to time. But it, in no way, means that the job polices can be changed frequently without any specific aim and objective. A unique feature here is that whenever the Prime Minster of India visits the state, a job policy/declaration is announced for the reasons best known to everybody. At times it is titled as “Special Recruitment Drive” which indirectly means that the government wants to curb the alienation and bring the youth closer to mainstream. There are also efforts for bringing the Pandit migrants back to the valley by virtue of unique job policies. But this has never been a fruitful activity as those migrants who left the valley in early 1990’s chose to keep away from the valley. One must understand that the jobs are not alms to be distributed or prizes to be distributed among people of our choice. When there is a need for human resources for accomplishment of any job, the recruitment is made on some basics including merit expressed in terms of the essential and desirable criteria established.

Coming back to the recently declared job policy, it is surely exploitation of un-employed youth who have no other option but to accept it. So many young and educated people here work for mere Rs 15,00 a month as R.E.T’s. Many of the R.E.T’s are highly qualified and better educated than most of our Assembly Members. But the scenario has forced them to work for the proverbial peanuts in the absence of a healthy private sector.Now that the youth here already declared their sense of defeat by accepting such posts as R.E.T’s, why shouldn’t they opt for the recruitment now as it guarantees them 50% salary mode employment? While the youth here will surely accept the new job policy, the state government must not take it as a sign of acceptance. It is merely a sign of helplessness and meager options at hand. Given a better choice they will surely shock the government by rejecting such an exploitative policy aimed to tease the youth.

Instead of making a mockery of sorts, the state government should have taken steps in familiarizing ‘Self Employment’ or ‘Employment Generation Programmes’ in the state. In this way, the government would have done a favor to the unemployed youth of the state and avoided the alienation that runs deep into the veins now. The need is to make realistic and hassle free Self-Employment programmes wherein youth would see such ventures as viable options for a better survival. For the sustained economy of the state, the government needs to search for relevant alternatives and dig deep to know the faults with the self-employment schemes initiated each year.

If the Self-Employment Schemes have failed in bringing about a change, something must be terribly wrong and that is to be located and fine tuned for future. People here know and understand that government cannot provide jobs to everyone while as the private sector too has hesitations in setting up bigger units in the valley. But there is scope for numerous other ventures that can change the overall employment scenario in the state. An analysis of sorts must be undertaken to know the potential of this land and the possibilities that can be availed for a better future.