J&K is a state with a troubled economy, a dismal state of socio-political affairs, and it is a state simmering with colossal dissatisfaction a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standards of living, Kashmir is a state where roughly 70 percent of the youth population are marginalized in every sphere of society – from the home front, education, career and to business. Although the last few years has seen a handful of Kashmiri youth enter the realm of business, technology and entrepreneurship in the state, there is still a deep void to be filled as far as diversity for general economic progress is concerned. In Kashmir, even urban youth decrease in educational or career choices, or venturing into the domain of entrepreneurship and decision-making; except for a select few! It is true Kashmir suffers from the lack of a proper infrastructure, policies and opportunities for entrepreneurship – what with its socio-political and economic crises. Such an environment invariably poses more hurdles for youth .The business environment for young generation in Kashmir reflects the complex interplay of many factors. The modern institutional environment has a cosmetic tinge of equality and sometimes even discriminates positively in favour of youth, but the underlying power of tradition and the vested interests of the patriarchal system work to maintain the status quo
Even in this day and age, the pace of growth in youth’s participation in the economic activities of the state remains sluggish. While critics might argue that this is a global phenomenon, the public and the private sectors across the world are proactively working to change this situation. This is not the case as far as state is concerned. In order to create a knowledge-based, sustainable society – a notion of having something one would consider a topic relative to Kashmir – much work needs to be done. Rhetorical as it may sound; it is youth who hold the key to a prosperous future mainly because they not only work for economic progress but also because their inclusivity generates welfare development. The need of the hour in Kashmir, specifically speaking, is to enable youth participation in not only the skilled workforce but also to create a viable environment for entrepreneurship. For this purpose, it becomes critical that all stakeholders – the private and public sectors, families, especially government support system – play a proactive, positive role in encouraging and supporting youth Moreover, the private sector needs to step up by launching CSR or social impact initiatives such as competitions involving students in schools and colleges to encourage entrepreneurial diversity. In addition to this, national, regional as well as inter-school educational policies should be devised to promote inclusivity, encouraging youth to participate. Kashmir needs youth-centric incubators that actually launch ideas as well as offer training and mentoring grounds. More legwork is truly the name of the game which will, hopefully, lead to the constructive development of Kashmiri youth, thereby harnessing their true potential and creating an empowered, knowledge-based society.
Entrepreneurship is essential for rapid and sustained economic growth and development. It creates the required man power and skills necessary for accelerated growth, reduce unemployment and poverty. It is therefore strategic and wise for state Jammu and Kashmir to assign a significant and increasing role to entrepreneurship in their effort to revamp the economy. For the entrepreneurs to be effective in creating wealth and employment opportunities the government needs to create an investor-friendly environment encompassing stable macro-economic policies government needs to address urgently the dilapidated infrastructural facilities in the state, the educational sector needs to be revamped with emphasis on science and technology. There is need to change the mind set of young people to embrace self employment rather than waiting for non-existing government job. Lastly, there is the need to ensure that those with innovative ideas are provided with the financial support to translate such ideas into reality.
(The author has completed Ph.D from School Of Business Management Jaipur National University Jaipur. Views are his own)