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Skill development programme for J&K youth


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By roping in few corporates, the Central government has embarked on a major training-cum-placement programme to keep Kashmiri youth away from separatism.

The first component worth Rs 235 crore was launched by minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh, involving seven corporate majors, who will provide training and placement to 100,000 non-technical youth over the next five years.

Second component to be launched by Ministry of Home Affairs will provide jobs to 40,000 skilled youth like engineering, medical, nursing or science graduates at a cost of Rs 1000 crore.
The corporates would provide three-month training and then placements to the first batch of 800 youth mostly from humble backgrounds. The selected youth would mostly be from poorer families and school and college drop-outs.

The Minister made it clear that this is no official employment package and all jobs would be in the private sector. Denying that government was providing any subsidy or concessions to these corporate majors in return, the minister said the government was providing them Rs 23,000 per youth for providing training.

As per the plan, IL&FS and Don Bosco Technical Institute have been selected as the first two training-cum-placements providers. Training facilities will be provided at each of the block headquarters. Ministry of Rural Development will also establish a fully-funded J & K Jobs Mission Unit in Srinagar and Jammu by the end of the year to work with local entrepreneurs as well. Most of the initial jobs will be provided in Chandigarh, Jaipur, Shimla and other places. But, girls would be largely absorbed by these companies within the state.

The Minister believes that the programme will convey a political message and will have major impact to bring youth to mainstream, who according to him have become soft targets for militant activities. He also clarified that they would be entry level jobs open to further training and skill development. He said while this programme was specifically designed for Jammu and Kashmir, but will slowly be propagated to naxal affected regions as well.

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An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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