By Gulzar Bhat / News Click

SHAHID Ahamd, an unemployed youth from Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, has been beavering away to get a government job for the past three years. Although he has applied for a couple of jobs advertised by the Jammu and Kashmir government, the authorities, following the reports of discrepancies in the selection process, scrapped the recruitment process.

The gruelling wait for a job has now begun exacting a toll on his health, and sometimes he feels that he is slipping into depression.

For Ahmad, the ballooning youth unemployment is a major issue in Jammu and Kashmir, and the political leaders in the region must do something about it.

Given the mood of the electorate, a host of issues like rising unemployment, protection of land and jobs, farmers’ issues, release of prisoners, and scrapping of draconian laws could appeal to the electorate during the upcoming Assembly elections. Although political analysts believe that the restoration of Article 370 of the Constitution will remain a critical poll promise for key political parties in Kashmir, the other issues may take the lead.


Unemployment in the region has witnessed a quantum leap over the past several years. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, an economic think-tank and business information company, has pegged the unemployment rate in Jammu and Kashmir at 32.8 per cent for the month of August, which is the second highest in the country.

The abrogation of the special position of Jammu and Kashmir which, according to the Bharatiya Janta Party (‘BJP’), had stymied the development of the region, did not help creating enough job opportunities for the unemployed youth. The government has failed to prod private investors into investing in Jammu and Kashmir by restoring normalcy in the region.

In the absence of big corporate houses, the government is the only major employer in the region. About 69 percent of the population, according to the 2011 census, in Jammu and Kashmir is below the age of 35 years, and there are more than 2,50,000 educated jobless youth. The key issue before this large chunk of population is finding government employment.

“The youth cannot wait till the larger political issues are resolved. We need immediate relief”, said Ahmad.

Professor Noor Ahmad Baba, a prominent political analyst from Kashmir, said that there was much desperation among the youth, and the joblessness was the most pressing issue.

“The political parties like the National Conference will take up the issue of Article 370 during the elections, but there are a string of other issues confronting the people in both the regions of Jammu and Kashmir”, he said.

This story was originally published in . Read the full story here