Exposing the underbelly of Jammu and Kashmir on economic indices, the newly created Union Territory has registered the highest unemployment rate of 21.6 percent among all states, UTs in India.
According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) figures, J&K has a 21.6 percent unemployment rate, which is the worst among states/Union Territories in India.
The unemployment rates are produced by CMIE using its Consumer Pyramids Household Survey machinery. CMIE has pegged India’s unemployment rate at 6.9 percent which means J&K has much higher unemployment rate than the national average.
According to the CMIE data, the unemployment rate in J&K has jumped from over 13 percent in August 2021 to 21.6 percent in September. As per the official data, J&K is the only region in India which has over 20 percent unemployment rate.
Other states, which follow J&K in terms of the highest unemployment, are Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Tripura where unemployment rate is above 15 percent.
Besides these official figures, there are other data sources which indicate the severity of unemployment in J&K. For example, the employment registration carried out by the Directorate of Employment last year witnessed 3 lakh registrations by post graduates and PHD degree holders.
Few months back, J&K Service Selection Board advertisement for 8000 class IV posts saw a whopping 5.4 lakh aspirants applying.
“Problem in Kashmir is compounded by the fact that the private sector in the region is yet to realize its full potential. The main source of employment here is government sector which is over stretched to the extent that you have around 1 lakh youth working as daily rated workers in government departments and are seeking regularization of their services,” said a senior official, adding that “for past two years tourism sector of J&K too is dull due to the situation.”
According to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI), the combined unemployment rate of J&K and Ladakh hit the highest 17.8 percent in October-December of 2020, against the national average of 7.11 percent.
Around 48,908 unemployed youth have registered with the J&K Department of Employment up to June 2021, which included 21,205 post-graduates. The government departments remain the highest employers in the UT in the absence of a flourishing industrial sector as well as the corporate sector.
However, Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha has said he was expecting creation of five lakh jobs as the UT was all set to get Rs 25,000-30,000 Cr of private investment.