Contrary to the images of stone-pelting mobs creating “perennial unrest” in Kashmir, here is a nugget of hope. In the last two years, over 13,000 youth from the Valley have enrolled in a Central skill development initiative, Udaan, and more than 8,000 found placements after training in sectors ranging from tourism and hospitality to information technology, aviation, logistics and apparel.
According to official figures (up to March 2017) with the Union ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship, of the 22,237 youth from Jammu and Kashmir who received training under Udaan, 13,203 have been from the Valley. And of the 14,694 who were recruited by various PSUs, multinationals and corporate groups countrywide, 8,248 are from Kashmir.
“The number of placements could have been higher, even 100 per cent, but political instability in the Valley is not allowing industries to come up locally,” said Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy. “Girls do not prefer to go out of the Valley for work; hence their employment options are limited. But we are trying to help the maximum find suitable placement as this is Prime Minister Modi’s special thrust programme to bring Valley’s youth into the mainstream.”
Rudy said the ministry’s initiative listed nearly 84 corporate groups, PSUs and MNCs as recruiters while “another 48 potential entities have showed interest in the next phase of Udaan”. There are 32 streams of the training programme, ranging from six-month terms to one year.
The training is held in 26 cities across the country and the placement can secure a recruit monthly income from Rs 15,000 to Rs 70,000.
“A rare case among those who found employment is Aamer Shah, who was trained as an ethical hacker and is now employed with a Sweden-based software firm, earning Rs 13 lakh per annum,” a senior official from the ministry said. “Other cases in point are Srinagar-based Adnan A Bhat, who was trained by Bajaj Allianz in marketing, and is earning a monthly salary of Rs 70,000; and Md Iqbal, who was trained by Rooman Technologies and is placed in Microsoft, where he earns over Rs 65,000 a month.”
The official said students often disclosed that they used to earn Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000 a month in seasonal stone-pelting but the payments were dodgy and irregular. “In contrast, the skills and training given by Udaan are fetching them respectable income and social status,” the official said, adding that many of the trainees came from terror-hit districts of Shopian, Baramullah, Kupwara and Pulwama.
“Although the initiative was launched in 2011 under the UPA rule, it got real impetus after the NDA came to power. While barely 2,000 had enrolled and trained up to 2014, in the first 30 months of the Modi government, the enrollments swelled to 23,000,” pointed out the official. The cost to train and eventually find placement for one person has come to about Rs 1.84 lakh. “But the cost must be seen not in economic terms but its social and political background,” the official said.
Manish Kumar, MD and CEO of National Skill Development Corporation, said, “We are targeting school students from classes 9 to 12 and have tied up with nearly 350 schools to put their talent to constructive use… We have allocated Rs 73 crore to train 45,000 Kashmiri youth by 2020 under the Prime Minister Kaushal Vikas Yojana.”
Note: News shared for public awareness with reference from the information provided at online news portals.