The J&K now a Union Territory has beautiful tourist destinations which attracts tourists from across the globe.
Kashmir valley has a huge Tourist potential but due to the poor tourism infrastructure this sector has failed to provide sustainable livelihood for stakeholders throughout the year.
During winters we have succeeded to explore Gulmarg and Pahalgam tourist destinations while other tourist destinations witness deserted look.
Kashmir valley is also known for its natural Lakes, Gardens, parks, Water-bodies, Glaciers, Mountains but during the turmoil this sector suffered huge losses with the result hundreds of people associated with the imperative sector are looking for alternative business for permanent livelihood.
From April to October we witness a satisfactory footfall but from November a sharp decline of Tourists has been witnessed. This industry mainly depends upon the Law and Order situation in Valley as in past due to turmoil hiccups were noticed in this Sector.
The flow of foreign tourists is very low as compared to other Union Territories as US, UK and many other European Countries have not lifted the travel ban to Valley due to militancy in the UT of J&K.
Though the Law and order situation has improved post abrogation of Article 370, diplomatic channels are yet to activate for boosting tourism industry in the Valley so that it can generate employment for educated youth and can also strengthen the economy as well.
Industrial sector in Kashmir could not flourish due to multiple reasons while in Jammu, this sector has comparatively shown some progress.
The growth of this sector in the valley has miserably failed to generate employment for unemployed youth. I filed an RTI in the Department of Industries and Commerce and sought information of industrial units of Srinagar and other District Headquarters. I was surprised to know that a large number of units are either sick or have been closed by unit holders which were established by unemployed youth a few years back.
The reason is non-availability of material in due time, frequent closure of National Highway especially during winter, non-availability of outside labourers during winter, Power issue, marketing and above all premium of Bank Loans. The failure of the Industrial Sector in the Valley has surged the unemployed graph. While talking to many unit holders, they alleged that no sincere effort has been taken by the successive regimes for Industrial growth in J&K. Banks have encouraged an influential section of Society while no relaxation has been given for new unit holders to boost their morale.
Covid-19 has added further miseries to this Sector. Unit holders demand a soft and flexible premium under the single window system. They stressed that to avoid further closure of units, the Government should devise a Policy which can encourage more and more educated and qualified youth to start their entrepreneurship so that they may become job providers rather than job seekers.
Horticulture Sector is one of the imperative and sustainable sectors of J&K which has a unique identity across the globe. This Sector has a huge potential for further growth and to strengthen the economy of J&K. Our Apple and walnut are famed across the globe but last year the growers of the valley suffered huge financial losses which has crippled our economy. Iranian Apple and Walnut have influenced our outside market and due to frequent closure of National Highway the laden trucks could not reach their respective destinations which has hit the industry. Fruits and Walnuts worth Crores of rupees are still in the Valley and the growers are unable to find suitable and serious buyers for their Fruit. This Sector is very lucrative for growers, Transporters, Labourers and other stakeholders but it needs fervor marketing by Government and a proper monitoring policy to avoid future losses. This Sector can provide decent and sustainable livelihood for growers as well as can generate employment opportunities for unemployed youth of J&K.
One of the traditional and decades old Sector Handlooms is dying and no tangible solution has been presented by the Government for the revival of the sector as well as to safeguard the livelihood of thousands of workers and artisans associated with the Sector.
While talking to artisans about this imperative Sector, they allege that their Sector has no takers in J&K as Kashmir art, Craft and other hand-made items which we used in our daily life and for the decoration of our home has been substituted by other items of other States which has put the whole Sector in an adversity.
The young generation is not ready to take their ancestral job as there is no market for their Art and Craft. Workers are looking for jobs in other Sectors for their survival. Artisan believe that for the revival of this Sector, Government should frame a Policy for upliftment of this age-old Sector which can generate employment opportunities on National as well as on International level.
Every year the Government allocates a budget for the Higher Education Department to establish new Colleges and Institutes in different Districts of J&K. After completion of degree and even Research Programme (Phd) educated youth have no job guarantee from Government or any Private agency thus conspicuous that there should be revision of education and employment system in J&K as the present system has generated unemployment in the UT of J&K.
Opening of Schools and Colleges in both regions without employment opportunities are fag and fiasco of system. Government has repeatedly made it clear that all the unemployed educated youth can’t be provided Government jobs so they should establish their Units and entrepreneurship.
It is understood that the UT of J&K due to limited resources and financial constraints can’t fulfil the dream of every qualified youth but under a single window system the Government can provide employment opportunities.
In J&K though there are a satisfactory number of Colleges in “Paramedical” and “Management” but it has been observed that there are shortage of Professional Colleges like Engineering, Medical, Dental, Aviation and in other allied Sectors.
Government should encourage those groups who are interested to set-up Professional Colleges in J&K especially in Kashmir Valley where there is no Private Dental or Medical College nor any Private University.
If such institutions can be established it can give ample opportunities to students to Pursue Higher Courses as well as provide employment to thousands of qualified youth.
Every year thousands of our students have to move outside Kashmir Valley or even outside Country to Pursue Higher Education especially in MBBS in Bangladesh and other Central Asian Countries.
The unemployment rate is touching heights so to decline it, a high level committee of experts should be constituted to deal with this issue.
Due to unemployment in the region, youth have been indulged in overt and covert activities, taking alcohol, Drugs and other intoxication by unemployed youth is a serious concern not only for parents but for administration as well.
The government should act swiftly on all these burning issues so that the youth can come-out from the gloomy phase and can live a peaceful and dignified life.
The author is a senior Journalist .
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.