Srinagar: With the easing of Covid-restrictions and resumption of the business activity, the unemployment rate in Jammu and Kashmir too has witnessed a decline from 21.9 percent in January to 10.6 percent in the month of June.
According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) figures, J&K has a 10.6 percent unemployment rate in the month of June, the unemployment since the beginning of the year has witnessed a continuous decline. At the beginning of 2021, the unemployment rate was 21.9 percent which dipped to 14.2 percent in February, 11.4 percent in April and 12.1 percent in May.
Though the J&K’s unemployment rate as per CMIE has witnessed a decline, it is still higher than the national average of unemployment.
The unemployment rates are produced by CMIE using its Consumer Pyramids Household Survey machinery. CMIE has pegged India’s unemployment rate at 9.2 percent which means J&K has much higher unemployment rate than the national average.
According to officials, the unemployment scenario has eased out mainly due to resumption of economic activities which were hampered by the lockdown imposed by resurgence of Covid-19 cases in J&K.
“As the businesses resumed their operation, the job creation opportunities too witnessed an increase which means jobs for the unemployed,” explained a senior government official.
However officials attribute the higher unemployment rate than national level to lack of avenues in the private sector. “Apart from the mid-scale private sector enterprises, there is no high=end companies, MNCs operating in J&K which is main reason why the jobs are scarce. Youngsters see government jobs as the only sustainable future prospects for them given the prevailing situation.”
Besides these official figures, there are other data sources which indicate the severity of unemployment in J&K. For example, the employment registration carried out by the Directorate of Employment last year witnessed 3 lakh registrations by post graduates and PHD degree holders.
Few months back, J&K Service Selection Board advertisement for 8000 class IV posts saw a whopping 5.4 lakh aspirants applying.
The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries also in its preliminary report suggested that since August, five lakh job losses were recorded in Kashmir region only, post abrogation of Article 370 which was followed by lockdown to combat COVID pandemic.
“Problem in Kashmir is compounded by the fact that the private sector in the region is yet to realise its full potential. The main source of employment here is government sector which is over stretched to the extent that you have around 1 lakh youth working as daily rated workers in government departments and are seeking regularisation of their services,” said a senior official, adding that “for past two years tourism sector of J&K too is dull due to the situation.”