SRINAGAR: With government departments freezing recruitments from the last six months, job aspirants in the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir have become increasingly anxious.
Even after six months post the special status of erstwhile J&K state was repealed, the Central government has not been able to decide on the issue of domicile rights in the UT.
Not only the recruitment process in government departments has been badly hit but also, the private enterprises have halted their plans for expansion. This has caused a steep rise in the number of unemployed youth in J&K.
Kashmir’s biggest global Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Aegis Limited winded up its operations in the Valley last month after being severely hit by the government-enforced longest ever internet shutdown in the world. Many other Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises also closed down quietly due to the prevailing situation.
The hopes of any revival of the private sector were further dashed after the much-hyped J&K Global Investors Summit was postponed in October 2019 and rescheduled 2020. Reports suggest that the number of unemployed youth has risen up to 2.5 lakh as on December 2019. “This is the number of youth registered with the employment exchange,” said an official.
The then Governor Satya Pal Malik in September 2019 had announced that 50,000 jobs will be filled up on fast track basis. Instead, the entire recruitment process has got stuck due to the delay by the Government of India in clearing the air about domicile rights for the non-J&K UT residents, who intend to work in the UT’s government departments “Centre is very much working on this and there will be soon an announcement,” an official in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs was recently quoted saying in a media report.
Even Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) General Secretary (Organisation) Ashok Koul has reiterated that BJP will ensure that land and job rights of the people of J&K UT are protected by all means. The delay, however, has caused immense confusion and panic among the job aspirants who fear losing out due to increased competition if the domicile rights weren’t protected.
Altaf Ahmad, a postgraduate job seeker, says that the situation for people like him is going be very difficult if the Centre didn’t secure them a job policy, restricting non-UT candidates to apply. “How can we withstand the competition from non-UT candidates as our preparations are always marred by shutdowns, strikes and turmoil,” he says. “I have been waiting for the job advertisements in government departments for the past three months but it seems the issue of domicile status is the hindrance,” Shafiqa Gul, another job seeker from a Pulwama hamlet says.
Pertinently, High Court of Jammu and Kashmir in December 2019 came out with a job notification (No. 09/2019; Dated: 26-12-2019) for 33 non-gazetted positions, asking for applications from non-UT candidates also. The recruitment notification was eventually withdrawn after being criticized by civil society and local politicians.
Given the uncertainty, the government departments are waiting for a nod from the Centre so far as domicile eligibility criteria are concerned. Private investment, on the other hand, seems hard to come by. Meanwhile, the Centre is reportedly working on a domicile law for the UT and the formal announcement is expected by the end of this month i.e, February.
The development will take place in the backdrop of a visit to the UT by a delegation of Central ministers who were asked to submit their feedback to the Prime Minister’s Office.