J&K's unemployment rate soars, jobs go scarce

Two separate reports on unemployment have placed J&K among the worst performers in job creation.

According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) figures, J&K has 16.2 percent unemployment rate, which is the second worst among states/union territories in India.

The unemployment rates are produced by CMIE using its Consumer Pyramids Household Survey machinery. CMIE has pegged India’s unemployment rate at 6.7 percent which means J&K has much higher unemployment rate than the national average. According to the periodic labour force survey of urban areas for July-September 2019, Jammu and Kashmir was among six states that saw rising joblessness in cities in July-September 2019  quarter. The other states are Gujarat, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh.

Besides these official figures, there are other data sources which indicate the severity of unemployment in J&K in the last 12 months.  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 realize 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 regularization 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.”

Chairman, Kashmir Economic Alliance, Muhammad Yaseen Khan said that the job generation is one of the biggest problems in the Kashmir division. “Unfortunately things since last year have not gone well for us as a result of which instead of job creations we are facing job cuts in the private sector.”

It is germane to mention that the Administrative Council last month allocated Rs 1350 crore for the recovery of J&K business sector.