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   Friday, October 19, 2018
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Skill development programme for J&K youth


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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Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

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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