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J&K keen to set up Overseas Employment Corporation

Lacking enough resources to go for a mass recruitment spree, the coalition government in J&K is working on many options to manage unemployment.

Mar 25, 2005, 11.26 PM IST
SRINAGAR: Lacking enough resources to go for a mass recruitment spree, the coalition government in J&K is working on many options to manage unemployment.

While the government has formally announced to fill the existing 20,000 vacancies on a contract basis, some policy makers are toying with the idea of setting up an Overseas Employment Corporation (OEC) for the placement of skilled manpower in labour-hungry markets.

Converting state government into an employment-generating corporation has transformed J&K into a government of the employees, by the employees, and for the employees.

Its over 3, 55,000 regular employees and 80,000 pensioners account for 40% of the annual government expenditure.

A thrust on downsizing the government and lack of enough resources in the state sector has forced the state to avoid making mass recruitments. Barring exceptions, it continues to abide by an agreement with the Central government that seeks yearly reduction of revenue deficit by 5% by not filling up vacancies besides essential services.

“We are seeking Rs 1,000 crore annual assistance from the Centre as budgetary support for making new recruitments in the state government,� Nawang Rigzin Jora, state labour and employment minister said.

But senior officials said getting the assistance is a remote possibility. Jora said the Central government decision to take 40% fresh recruits in the paramilitary forces from J&K and North East would also help in managing the unemployed.

At the same time, Jora said the government was planning to set up OEC so that skilled personnel from the state could be sent to work in foreign countries like Malaysia or in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and Iraq. Plans of an OEC date back to Sheikh Abdullah era but it never materialised.

Insisting that government is not in a position to appoint every unemployed, chief minister Mufti Sayeed said it was after the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s permission that the state would make 20,000 contractual appointments in the state sector.

He asked his education and industries ministries to produce need-based graduates who could find jobs in the industries sector that in last couple of years have attracted Rs 1,800 crore investment from outside.

J&K has 26,045 vacancies — 5209 gazetted, 17,074 non-gazetted and 3,762 class-IV and 5,000 of them have already been referred to various recruiting agencies.

The stress on the public kitty is so severe that Mufti is keen to do away with the appointments on compassionate grounds. Under existing rules (SRO-43), the kin of an innocent person slain in militancy related violence is entitled to a job.

“The government can’t provide jobs to the next of kin of people killed in militancy related incidents in the state and we have approached the home ministry to pay an ex-gratia payment of Rs two lakh to such victims instead of one lakh rupees,� Mufti told the state legislature recently.

So far 4,742 such appointments have been made and hundreds of cases are still pending.
Official records put the civilian deaths since 1990 in J&K at 15,320 and over two-thirds of them might be having kins to be provided government jobs.

Government employees in J&K enjoy minimum work, no accountability and the maximum number of holidays — excluding Sundays and 41 official holidays and work only 274 days a year (in case of civil secretariat only 226 days a year) — so the jobs are in great demand.
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