Thousands of 10+2 students toil for engineering or medical courses. Accordingly they apply for seeking admissions in various government, or private colleges. These institutions being less in number with little intake capacity, the admission conducting bodies resort to short listing of candidates and leave the unselected candidates to either change their choice, and join other courses, or leave the home state to pursue their ambitions outside. Unpopular programmes offered in these colleges and some slots reserved for special categories are other reasons for their being left out.
The parents of these candidates feel hard pressed for getting admission in any appropriate institution. They try to ensure better future of their wards which requires huge capital investment. As all are not affluent enough to have ready finance, a good number of them dispose off valuables, movable or immovable properties, to arrange finances. Admission is done. All his well wishers pray and wait for his successful completion of course. By the time loved one returns with a degree certificate his parents stand exhausted physically and financially. They fall in dire need of dual support of finance and physical attention. The need to take care of parents, and then the demands of his own future, make him search for some employment, which he finds nowhere. The opportunities get bleak, owing to non-establishment of relevant institutions/industries back home.
The job hunt proves futile. Seeing their ward unemployed dejected parents unwillingly bid him adieu to move again out of home state. The person gets some employment outside where major portion of his earnings exhaust on his maintenance leaving little for his parents. Now being an employee imposed with service rules & regulations he would visit his parents once in a blue moon. Meanwhile he nears entering another crucial stage of his life. Marriage. The search for life partner starts. However, no homebound girl ordinarily volunteers to be the spouse.Now you need someone who sails in the same boat, in the same ocean. The person gets married. Managing the marital life increases responsibilities.he is further cut off from his parents. The two, always yearning for proximity, now move poles. The ward earns and spends in an economy which has not invested anything in him. Loss of capital takes place never to return as the wages you get are in exchange of your services. According to a rough estimate 3,000 students are undergoing studies in engineering courses in various colleges/universities outside J&K, minimum expenditure on which works out to Rs.2.40 billion in 4 years. Another 3,000 are pursuing MBBS, BDS, Physiotherapy, Medical, Non-Medical, Arts, Commerce, Social Sciences and other courses. Summing up the expenditure to more than Rs. 6 billion for graduate courses only. Post graduation /specialisation courses may mean another billion. Besides, in the name donations lakhs of rupees are drained out. More than seven decades have elapsed since the end of the monarchial rule in Jammu & Kashmir, yet it has not moved beyond the creation of a few medical and engineering colleges in public/ private sector.
Had government established sufficient institutions or encouraged/allowed private partners, like in other states, there would have been scores of colleges/universities functioning right now. It would not have been employment deficient. By retaining billions so many institutions would have been established. Jammu & Kashmir would have been brought near the point of a stable economy by narrowing service and fiscal deficits, increase in capital investment/returns, improving revenue generation, warding off debt redemption and interest payments. When our Diaspora work miracles outside why cannot they perform at home? When outsiders are in a position to have surplus vacancies to offer admissions why cannot our state suffice at least its own requirements?
During 2019, the Government spent Rs.1325 crore on 8 percent (3+5) on account of dearness allowance on its 4.5 lakh employees. Had Government planned and the employees agreed to for alternate mobilisation, this amount would have provided resources for creation of 27,604 new posts at an average rate of Rs.40,000/ per month over & above the existing vacancies in J&K. In view of the shattering world economy new methods may have to be tried to facilitate employment and employability. This may be an accommodation and not retrogression. It will increase share of government in jobs. It will balance the purchasing power to aggregate moderate averages slowing the speed of dearness index sans affecting the overall consumption/production besides filling the deficiency in income tax through the indirect taxes realizable on increased consumption due to enhanced purchasing power. Exploring more avenues will be ‘service inclusion’ like that of financial inclusion. If there was any ignorance towards this stark reality, it is never too late to mend. With every passing moment the urgency for the establishment/strengthening of the local institutions intensifies. Jammu & Kashmir has to be made vibrant on all fronts possible for profitable utilisation. Economies shorn of intrinsic prowess cannot have dignified survival. The financial and the brain drain are to be stopped and brain trusts created. Continuous erosion cannot be overlooked. If some have woken up early in the morning, some are late risers. This flight of human and financial capitals has to be stopped. The vacancies must be filled up as what can be offered should not be denied or delayed. No state can afford losing capital, resources, and human minds.
The author is former Sr. Audit Officer and Consultant in the AG’s Office, Srinagar