Jammu and Kashmir, according to the latest PLFS (Periodic Labor Force Survey), had the largest number of unemployed youth than any other state in the country, standing on the top of the unemployment list at 17.8 percent, reports Shah Ishtiyaq Mehfooze
Shah Ishtiyaq Mehfooze
Unemployment, a menace already; do we see a better tomorrow amid over Employment, Inappropriate Staffing, and Underemployment?Half a million youth lost jobs post abrogation of Article 370. JK stands on top of the unemployment rate at 17.8%.Unemployment is a situation where individuals are competent and reliable yet unable to find a job, while over-employment is a situation in which individuals find jobs higher than their capabilities without having any adequate time off. Underemployment is a situation in which an individual is unable to find work according to his capabilities and skill set. They are paid lower than they deserve, and their crafts don’t come adequately into an application. Jammu and Kashmir, according to the latest PLFS (Periodic Labor Force Survey), had the largest number of unemployed youth than any other state in the country, standing on the top of the unemployment list at 17.8 percent. This means that if 100 youth are employed, 1780 are unemployed. The unemployment rate is 17.8 times higher than the employment rate. In other terms, out of every 19 individuals only 1 individual is employed. The unemployment rate of women in Kashmir stands at 76.5 percent, second worst after Haryana at 78.97 percent. India’s unemployment rate is increasing at an increasing rate, from 7.9 percent in 2019 to 10.3 percent in 2020 and then 10.7 percent in 2021 is a catastrophic circumstance to combat. JK’s current unemployment rate is worse by 7.1 percent compared to India’s 10.7 percent, still worse by 3.1 percent compared to Gujarat with 4 percent that stood at the lowest in the unemployment rate in a research. Since the abrogation of Article 370 JK has witnessed a loss of over half a million jobs with gender discrimination at jobs pinging at its zenith. In the 2011 census, JK had 26.44 lakh total ‘main workers’ in which only 3.17 lakh were females, accumulating only 11.98 percent of the total working population. According to the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) Educational employment in Kashmir, unfortunately, stands at 16.2 percent compared to the unemployment rate of the country at 6.7 percent. JK is among the leading UT/States with soaring joblessness chiefly due to political strife, the abrogation of article 370, and the Novel Coronavirus. The statistics of the educated unemployment could be comprehended by the recent recruitment of 850 Class IV posts by JKSSB in which around half a million educated youth from 12th class to Ph.D. degree holders had filled up forms. Such an enormous selection process could morosely enhance the employment rate of the UT by only 0.17 percent. There sadly hasn’t been any recruitment in Jpost the abrogation of Article 370 as expected.
Unemployment is catastrophic for the development of the state, but the two other factors that could impede the development of any country, UT, or state are over employment and underemployment.Giving jobs requiring more extraordinary skills to lower-skilled youth based on political links, nepotism, corruption, and unauthorized selection have been prevalent in JK since independence. In June 2019, J&K Bank chairman Parvez Ahmad had been charged with nepotism, favoritism, loot, and plunder by ACB (Anti Corruption Bureau) for illegal selection of 1200 Bank officials at the behest of political leaders of the PDP-BJP dispensation in the state that also included his daughter-in-law Shazia Ambreen appointed as a PO. Illegal over employment has constantly been perilous for the general economy of the state and the country along with the entity over employment is done in. The consequences of this unlawful staffing proved a tough pill to swallow for J&K Bank because that year alone J&K Bank suffered a 58 percent fall in net profit to Rs 21.87 crore in the first quarter of 2019-20 due to a surge in bad debts. There are a lot of other departments in which people are given jobs which they aren’t able to do justice with. The department that has become a stout victim to over employment is the Education department majorly of its poor selection criteria. The majority of the teachers deployed in Middle schools and High schools aren’t competent enough to do justice with their jobs. They may have a different skill set that could aid them to do justice with some other job in other departments, but their performance in Government schools has always come under scrutiny, yet no action has ever been taken.
Some common reasons of Unemployment, Underemployment and over Employment Political Instability: – Political instability isn’t any new when we talk about JK. Research on the 2008, 2010, 2016 agitations was carried out only to make shocking revelations. About 3 lakh people lost their jobs partially or permanently in these three different periods.
Abrogation of Article 370: – Post 5 August 2019 which happens the day when Article 370 was abrogated, 5 lakh people lost their jobs permanently. The closure of business firms including transport and suspension of the internet made almost 15 lakh people partially jobless.
Industrial Sector: – Kashmir is devoid of industrialization, there is a very little number of established firms in JK which could provide jobs to youth.
Seasonal Impact: – People working in summers by default become jobless in winters when the demand for labor is low. Since JK’s tourism is an employment booster unfortunately only in summer. When snow falls, a fewer number of tourists visit here which decreases the demand for youth on the job. A miner working in mines, a gardener, and a daily wager has the same ordeal to narrate.
Resistance to risks: – Because of the political instability, strikes, and lockdowns people have become more resistant to the risk of investment. People are not willing to take risks of lending loans and establishing business units.
Nepotism: – one of the biggest catastrophes the whole nation has been unsuccessfully combating is nepotism. It is an act of giving jobs to people based on kinship. Nepotism compromises with skill, knowledge, and education to give jobs to friends, and relatives leaving the deserving candidate unemployed or under-employed for life.
Corruption: – the Centre for Media Studies (CMS) in its annual corruption study has placed Jammu and Kashmir as one of the top corrupt states at a 44% corruption rate. In 2005 the corruption rate in JK was 69 per cent. Corruption drastically reduces development and increases under-employment.
Irrelevant Education: – schools and colleges in Jammu and Kashmir are no match to the educational institutions in the rest of the country. Lack of exposure and technical education is missing. 73-year-old prominent Kashmir University was sadly ranked 143rd in India by a survey carried out by uniRank and 5175th in the world topped by Massachusetts Institute of Technology located in Cambridge.
Literacy: – literacy rate of Jammu and Kashmir is another factor of unemployment and underemployment. Educational unemployment is more prevalent than that noneducational unemployment. According to the 2011 census, JK was the 5th worst state in literacy rate at 68.74 percent, but according to NSO () survey carried out in 2017, there was seen a slight improvement in the overall literacy rate of the state at 77.3 percent but was still out of top 24 states.The other reasons seen are Poor infrastructure, improper guidance, fear of uncertainty, improper identification of talents. The Centre and state government need to come forward to take serious steps to curb unemployment and under-employment. However, it seems a long process but the implementation of new schemes and framing new policies can better the unemployment and underemployment rate in the UT.
Limitations of unemployment and underemployment Reduction in GDP: –
One percent increase in unemployment leads to a two percent decrease in GDP. When there would be lesser economic activities and lesser demand and production in a country or a state, the money circulation diminishes which affects the overall GDP of the country. India’s GDP growth for the first time since 1979 was recorded negative at -7.96 percent in 2020 which also happen to be the worst growth rate since 1951. Countries like Bangladesh (2.38%), Pakistan (0.53%), and even Bhutan had better GDP growth in 2020.
Lower per capita income: – Jammu and Kashmir in the NSDP per capita for FY2020-21 stood at rupees 1,21,468 and bagged 23rd rank among States/UT’s. India’s per capita income for the FY-2020-21 was recorded at USD 1,947.414 worse than Bangladesh with USD 2,227 for the same period.
Poverty: – due to job losses due to COVID-19 and Abrogation of Article 370 JK’s poverty line increased to 10.35% compared to all India at 21.92%.
Inflation: – unemployment and underemployment lead to a decrease in the overall production of goods and services in a state which decreases the overall supply. Consequently, the price of goods rises mainly of inferior and Griffen Goods, thus leads to inflation.
Poor rank in Happiness Index: – unemployment leads to poverty, depression, and anxiety among youth. This results in political dissatisfaction and unhappiness among youth. According to India Happiness Report 2020 released by Professor Rajesh K Pillania, Mizoram topped with 3.57 points JK ranked 27th with 3.3 points. India’s rank in the global Happiness Index stood at 139 for the year 2021 while Pakistan happened to be happier at 105. Imbalance in BOP: – unemployment drastically decreases the production of goods and services in a state, in this situation government is forced to import goods from other countries leading to an imbalance in the BOP. Excessive imports can create inflation and lesser demand for local goods. Present import duty in India stands at 10%. There are some other limitations to unemployment majorly on an individual level which include depression, delayed marriages, political dissatisfaction, drug addiction, anxiety, crimes, and suicides. Limitations of over employment:- Giving jobs to the youth who are less skilled and observe discord and anxiety at the workplace due to insufficient breaks can have the following limitations.
• Slower development of state and nation
• Inefficient work
• Economic Imbalance
• Mismatch in the input-output ratio
• Fewer quality products and services
• Decrease in demand
• Increase in export
• Lack of responsibility
• Delayed goals
Public outrage Government initiative to curb unemployment and underemployment Employment Schemes: –
Government should come up with more schemes like MGNREGA launched in 2005 for unskilled labor and PMKVY launched in 2015. Start-up India launched in 2016 has also provided jobs to thousands. However, a scheme like MGNREGA has faced a lot of criticism and challenges in JK. A major criticism is that a lot of money disbursed by the government is siphoned off by middlemen, thus leaving a lot of MGNREGA workers either unpaid or underpaid. The seasonal challenge won’t let the MGNREGA workers work for about 6 months of winter and rain.
Monetary policy: – Monetary policy needs to put down interest rates which will consequently decrease the cost of borrowing and motivate people to invest and earn. Lower interest rates also reduce the exchange rate and can make exports more competitive.
Indirect loans on less interest: – loans to investors and new entrepreneurs shall be provided on lesser interest. Also, banks should directly invest in new startups on the loan seeker’s name instead of providing direct loans to individuals. This will help to publicize the startup and in case the individual fails to pay interest, the bank has an option to overtake it anytime and run the unit in its name. This will help banks earn more profits and create job opportunities for many.
Other major initiatives to curb unemployment and underemployment could be the proper selection of employees, strict rules and regulations, education, and training.
Government initiatives to curb over Employment:-
Over-employment by the government can be eradicated by laying down an ethical code of conduct to follow for employers to follow, proper selection, and strict prosecution in cases of corruption.
Shah Ishtiyaq Mehfooze is a Novelist and post as well ‘A Road Through Bushes’r hails from kupwara and can be reached at [email protected]