CM unveils ‘rehashed’ employment policy today
No Jobs, But Doles
Srinagar, Dec 4: A day ahead of unveiling the ambitious employment policy, the state cabinet failed to arrive at consensus to approve the policy as several members of the cabinet sought last minute modifications in it.
Following extensive deliberations, the cabinet sent the much-hyped policy back to the Planning and Development department for “re-framing”. Chief minister Omar Abdullah would unveil the policy Saturday on the 104th birth anniversary of the former chief minister and NC founder late Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah.
Though sources maintained that the demand for modification in the employment policy mostly came from the Congress members. However, a senior cabinet minister asserted that the changes, in the policy, were sought by the members of both the coalition partners.
Sources said government had set the educational qualification of 10+2 as criteria for providing financial assistance to the educated unemployed youth to encourage them to set up their own ventures.
However, some Congress ministers opposed the proposal demanding that the criteria should be brought down to the matric level. “The issue was discussed by the cabinet and it was unanimously decided to send the policy back to the Planning Department for modifications,” sources said. “Possibly, the matric pass youth will now also be eligible for financial assistance,” a senior member of the cabinet said, on condition of anonymity.
Sources said that varied opinions were dished out during the cabinet meeting regarding stipend to the unemployed youth. “While some cabinet members demanded that only graduates should be eligible for the stipend, others said the criteria should be lowered to the level of matriculation. There were some voices stressing that government should do away with the stipend in view of the fragile economic condition of the state,” sources said. Besides, some minor changes were also expected in the policy,” sources said.
A major component of the new employment policy, according to sources, is the provision of Rs 3 lakh and Rs 5 lakh financial assistance to the educated unemployed youth as per their qualification for setting up income generating units. The money for the purpose would be provided by the Planning Department for which Rs 25 crore already stand earmarked. “It would be non-refundable and any person who will opt for the financial assistance to set up his own unit would not be eligible for government job unless he returns the money,” sources said.
Another component of the policy, sources said was the provision for “special loans” to encourage self-employment schemes. “The loans will be provided in time-bound manner with less rate of interest,” sources said.
Following the modification, the document will go to the chief minister, Omar Abdullah for approval.
In October this year, the government had announced that all the educated unemployed youth should get themselves registered with the newly renamed employment exchanges/career counseling cells besides the EDI had also started registering unemployed educated youth.
Officials said the EDI had invited applications wherein the unemployed professionals and educated youth were asked to come up with a project report in their area of interest like floriculture, horticulture, agriculture, tourism industry and other sectors for financial assistance from the government.
A student with qualification up to graduation, and above graduation would be given financial assistance of Rs three lakh and Rs five lakh respectively by the government through EDI. “The amount is non-refundable. Scores of unemployed youth have dropped the applications. Each project report will be evaluated for its viability by the steering committee comprising of experts from different fields and headed by director EDI who is also the sanctioning authority,” officials said, adding the committee will also be focusing on whether the aspiring youth is really interested in setting up own unit.
Asked what were the criteria for selecting the youth, the official asserted that the selection process would be transparent. “Though we had asked for some more time from the government for completing all formalities, the same was denied,” he said.
The selected youth will be imparted training courses by the EDI the duration of which may vary from two weeks to one month depending upon the project details.
There are more than four lakh unemployed youth in Jammu and Kashmir including professionals like doctors, engineers and others. Though the coalition partners, National Conference and Congress had repeatedly announced during campaigning for assembly elections during 2008 that if voted to power they would provide at least one job to each family, the promise was put on a back-burner after the formation of government citing weak financial position of the state as a reason.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 4 Dec 2009 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 4 Dec 2009 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 5 Dec 2009 00:00:00 IST
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