Srinagar, Nov 1: Asserting that Jammu and Kashmir is open for business and committed to build strong and sustainable partnership, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha sought support of the national-level investors and industry experts in creating robust infrastructure and employment avenues for the youth of the Union Territory.
The LG made these remarks during a day-long workshop on Youth Engagement and Outreach in Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir organized by J&K government at SKICC here on Saturday.
“The Workshop was attended by top Industry Heads from Ashok Leyland, ICICI foundation, Bombay Stock Exchange, Universities, IIMs/IITs and Policy Analysts from across the country,” an official spokesperson said late on Saturday night.
He said the outreach programme was aimed to create opportunities and infrastructure for engaging youth, addressing their issues and concerns and empower them in entrepreneurship, self-employability and create livelihood for the youth in a well curated and holistic manner.
Addressing the gathering of Policy Analysts and Corporate heads of different organisations during the inaugural session of the event, the Lt Governor said that the idea behind this Youth Engagement and Outreach workshop is to create institutional mechanism to empower and groom our youngsters and to make them valuable for J&K as well as the country.
He remarked that in the past many initiatives were taken to engage the youth here but all of them somehow fell short of meeting all the requirements so there is a need to have an umbrella programme that dovetails all the resources meant for this purpose to achieve the goal of youth empowerment and youth development.
“I believe in concrete plans and immediate execution. My idea of Institutional Mechanism under Mission Youth is to ensure that we have a concrete framework and a definite time-line to execute it on the fertile ground that we have prepared,” he added.
On the occasion, he also announced that a seed fund of Rs 200 crores has been earmarked for creating initial infrastructure and institutional support for meeting the initial needs of this programme. This amount, he said, would be used to create a ‘Centre of Excellence’ and infrastructure in districts to realize our goals of making youth the leaders of success.
Mr Sinha also beckoned the industrial leaders to partner J&K in formulating and implementing the programme successfully on ground as he assumed that best designs are not what looks good on paper but what works best when implemented on ground.
He sought support of the national-level investors and industry experts in creating robust infrastructure and employment avenues for the youth of the UT. “We not only need your investments but your expertise as well, which will help us realize the dreams of prosperity,” he added.
“It is my aim to truly create a stable policy and regulatory ecosystem to business so that they can build for scale and create a thriving startup ecosystem which is inherently entrepreneurial in approach, creating local jobs and employment,” the Lt Governor maintained.
“In the domestic Ease of Doing Business ranking and State Reform Action Plan, we are moving up. By minimizing regulatory burdens, J&K have scored over states like Kerala and Odisha in September’s ranking by the central government,” the Lt Governor said.
Highlighting UT Government’s efforts in promoting entrepreneurship; the Lt Governor said that within one month, two aspiring entrepreneurs from each 4290 panchayats of J&K were selected for handholding and about 10 thousand people have been provided loans through the J&K Bank to establish their businesses.
“We believe in Uniqueness of Youth Energy and providing Equal Opportunities for them to build a Modern, Equitable & Sustainable Society & the Nation. To bring changes to a society, the youth needs to be transformed at first. And this transformation needs to be thoughtful,” he observed.
He also stressed upon the need to create a major platform to cater to our talent pool and resources to our industrial, skill and modern technological gaps.
Mr Sinha said almost 65 per cent of Jammu Kashmir population is under the age of 35 years. “So, on one hand we have a demographic dividend like the rest of the country, but on the other we have faced many challenges; systemic unemployment and joblessness along with the absence of holistic development of the youth,” the Lt Governor maintained.
He said the youth of J&K will be benefited from the programme through creation of opportunities in the field of Sports, Livelihood generation, Recreation, Education, Counselling to effectively support and encourage young individuals to shape their future as per their aspirations.
“Kashmir offers abundant raw material for Agro & Food Processing, strategic location which is truly blessed by nature in its abundance, home to handloom and handicraft, responsive governance, minimum government, timely policy reforms & rapid single window clearances and industrial infrastructure”.
It also has Strategic advantages which includes-an area Spread over 2 lakh square kilometres with the country’s major tourist and spiritual destinations, including Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine, Gulmarg, Patni Top, Shri Amarnathji Shrine; three perennial rivers Chenab, Jhelum and Ravi; leading producer of- Apple, Walnut, Almond, Saffron; Major producer of – Wool, Figs, Berries, over 57 industrial estates; International airports, 65 per cent of the population in the age group between 15-59 years; over 7 lakh MSME units, over 10.25 per cent of India’s total Hydel Power production; Major handloom and handicraft industry with total exports of over 5000 crore over the last 5 years.
We have so much to offer and there is a lot that I expect this group to contribute for accelerated economic growth, the Lt Governor maintained.
The Lt Governor said that the UT Government is aiming to build a robust infrastructure for our youth in all 6 identified focus areas and to create more favourable factors to bridge the gap between alternate scenario and current growth rate in this Union Territory. We need both your investment and expertise to achieve this.
In comparison to the national average unemployment rate of 13.8 per cent, J&K has a 25 per cent rate, which is almost double the national rate. To fix the lag, we have before us Mission 2025 under which we have to bring opportunities to 80 per cent of our J&K youth, he added.
The Lt Governor expressed the desire to conduct student knowledge and tech hackathons and to do a collective truly bottom up solutions approach consultation powered by the Corporate heads present there and with institutions of excellence like IIMs and IITs to create white papers and host multi-stakeholder roundtables for a positive agenda. I am also looking at each one of you to address both the shortages of intellectual and investment capital, said the Lt Governor.
You are all welcome to Jammu & Kashmir for an unprecedented revolution with public participation. The four sectors in which we are focussing our energies in J&K are Industry & Services, Technology & Innovation, Infrastructure, Agriculture & Allied Sector, he added.
The Lt Governor observed that valuable contribution and investment made today, will give dignity to the youth and it will restore their pride and will make Jammu and Kashmir truly a piece of art in the Country’s economy.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam said that the Jammu and Kashmir Government is aiming to create a one-stop center where all the issues of youth are addressed, be it their education, their scholarships, their jobs, their skills or their entrepreneurship or self-employment.
He urged that ways and means should be searched for providing the sustained support to youth as the piecemeal approach has not done any good in the past. Our youth has struggled due to many reasons as lack of avenues regarding job prospects, skill up gradation, recreation abetted by poor educational standards, skill sets are taking toll on them. The main objective behind creating this platform is the overall development and progress of youth, he added
During his welcome address, Financial Commissioner, Finance Department, Arun Kumar Mehta, said that this is an opportune time to think about youth and create an environment for them where they can showcase their talent and make strides in every field of their choice, be it academics, administration and entrepreneurship.
He laid stress on the fact that entire country is the platform to rear and chisel the talent of J&K youth and recommendations taken from today’s workshop would be guiding principles towards formulation of future policy regarding development of our youth.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, CEO, Mission Youth gave a detailed presentation on the programme and highlighted that the intent of the programme is to effectively facilitate young people to shape their future as per their aspirations and wishes.
Jammu and Kashmir Government is aiming to launch massive Youth Engagement and outreach programmes which would address the issues of the young population. The idea of Institutional Mechanism under Mission Youth is to ensure that we have a concrete framework and a definite time-line to execute the idea of youth empowerment and engagement plans. Youth Centres will be established in each district which will be the nerve centers of all the activities to be taken through this program, he added.
Dr Abid said that the UT Government has conceived the creation of a parallel, professional organization within the government -The ‘Youth Empowerment Society’ which will work in the domains of Livelihood Generation, Education & Skill Development, Counselling (Psycho-social & Career), Sports & Recreation, Financial Assistance and effectively support, encourage young individuals in fulfilling their potential and aspirations while addressing their needs and concerns.
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