Give jobs to Kashmiris: Government to India Inc.

Friday, January 14, 2011

DELHI - The central government has sought the help of India Inc. to curb unemployment in Jammu and Kashmir, a terror-riven state where some 500,000 men and women who are without jobs are often targeted for recruitment by militant outfits.

“Unemployment is a major issue (in Jammu and Kashmir) and the government is seriously considering how to tackle it,” Home Secretary G.K. Pillai said at a seminar on Kashmir organized by the Jamia Millia Islamia University here.

He said the private sector can absorb 100,000 Kashmiri youth who can work as paid interns and hone their skills.

“We are asking the Indian corporates to take Kashmiris and give them jobs. The private sector can absorb 100,000 Kashmiri youth,” he said, announcing a slew of confidence building measures to boost the government’s peace process after months of violent protests last year.

He said an expert group constituted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to formulate a job plan for the state is likely to submit its report very soon.

The panel, headed by former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor C.Rangarajan, was to submit it within three months of its Aug 10 formation last year. The group was formed to do away with the disillusionment of the youth in the state, which is facing a separatist campaign since 1989.

Pillai said the government didn’t expect any big industrial unit to invest in Kashmir, which was disadvantaged by its climate and location.

“But the USP of Kashmir can be information technology, agriculture, horticulture, tourism and adventure sports. The government is looking to develop these sectors which can be biggest providers of employment in the state,” he said.

According to official figures, the state has some 500,000 unemployed youth.

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