Published On: Tue, Oct 13th, 2015

Governance is responsibility

Kashmir Scan, March 2015
New political dispensation is a ray of hope to turn the things around. Remember, bad governance fails the efforts of any efficient economist or a planner.

By Sajjad Bazaz

long-term-unemployedFinally wedlock between Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) matured. The alliance got into act on a holiday (Sunday) with Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending the oath ceremony in Jammu. For the kind of alliance forming the government we can register this as a major unprecedented political development in the history of the J&K state. The chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayed added more spice to it when he immediately after taking oath played a masterstroke by hailing the support of Pakistan and separatists cadres for allowing the elctions to happen without any disruption. Of course, it generated political heat across all political dispensations in the country, but let me focus on certain core developmental issues which we need to revisit.

Ours is a state flooded with wide range of economic issues. Youth unemployment is growing at an alarming pace and our state is topping the northern Indian states vis-à-vis unemployment rate which stands at 5.3 percent. Even as many self-employment schemes were rolled out to cater to engage unemployed youth into a gainful employment venture, nothing much has changed on ground.

While we witness a burgeoning number of unemployed youth, at the same time thousands of people coming as skilled and unskilled work force from outside the state find work here. This situation can simply be defined as a paradox. And the reason for this absurdity is the skill profile of our unemployed youth in the current times which is not what the market needs. This gap between the market requirements and the available unemployed youth force is basically the problem of employability.

This means we have opportunities to employ people but it’s the lack of skill among our unemployed youth which is an impediment in their employment. So, to address the unemployment issue, the basic thing is to change the skill profile of our youth to meet the market needs. Even as some high profile groups headed by experts like Dr. C. Rangarajan, had in the past recommended two pronged strategy for creating large number of jobs for the youth of the state, we never saw these recommendations given a practical shape.

Even a high profile task force in 2006 on development of the state had set out six objectives and goals like reconstruction and maintenance of existing physical assets, investment in physical infrastructure, investment in social infrastructure, conducive climate for private investment, balanced regional development and comprehensive fiscal adjustment. But these broad based goals and objectives were not translated into workable programmes.

I remember a sort of innovation unprecedentedly done in the budget 2007-08 to address to the menace of unemployment in the state. Any measure in the said budget whether financial, fiscal or concessions or taxation measures, a thread of employment was projected by the then regime. The Budget 2007 was loaded with an innovative scheme with a venture capital fund of Rs.100 crore for employment and no interest was to be charged from the beneficiaries of this fund. Small enterprises having employment potential were slated as eligible for the fund and not the output of the enterprises. But this innovative employment mission supposed to be carried through capital fund scheme never saw light of the day and died its own death.

Few years back I had a chance to listen to Dr. C. Rangarajan at the ninetieth annual conference of the Indian Economic Association. He listed six challenges to sustain high rate of growth and accelerate it to higher levels and translate that growth to broad-based poverty reduction. Setting up agricultural growth, infrastructural development, fiscal consolidation, building social infrastructure and managing globalization were the first five challenges identified by him. He stated that these challenges could be met only with the sixth challenge, which is good governance.

So it’s again an issue of good governance. We know it implies the process by which the ruled are guaranteed the right to good life which inter alia include good housing, sufficient food, quality education, justice and fair play, security of life, liberty and property. At our place neglect of even basic concept of governance is not a sudden phenomenon. Let us own it that the gradual decline in the heritage of trust in the institutions of governance has been there since 1947. We find borrowed ideas being implemented without assessing the suitability, acceptability and adaptability to the local environment.

Here it’s youth who form pillars of quality governance. Today Kashmiri youth faces identity crisis and is confronted lack of proper guidance and leadership. So they, most of times, fail to translate their dreams into realities and there is no light at the end of the tunnel for them.

Now, the new political dispensation is a ray of hope to turn the things around. For this they (who have been voted to govern) need big heart to take governance as responsibility and not as opportunity. Remember, bad governance fails the effort of any efficient economist or a planner.

(The views are of the author & not the institution he works for)

About the Author

Ajaz Rashid

- Ajaz Rashid is a renowned journalist writing on Politics, conflict, Business, Society, Health etc in Jammu and Kashmir over the last 10 years.

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