Dhumal expresses reservations about number of unemployed in Himachal

Emphasizes on agriculture-horticulture as gainful employment avenues

Shimla: With industrial employment – one of the main objectives of the incentive ridden 2003-10 industrial package, having proven to be a mirage; the government is back stressing upon the primary sector of agriculture and horticulture as viable self-employment avenue because there are limited opportunities for state employment.

Responding to a debate initiated by GS Bali about taking concrete steps to provide employment avenues for curbing the rising numbers of unemployed in the state, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal responded with that many of the 8.50 lakh people registered with employment exchanges in the state were actually either self employed or were in engaged in private enterprise but continue to be registered with the exchanges.

Dhumal said that the dairy farming program Dood Ganga and precision farming project Deendayal Kisan Bhagwan Samridhi Yojna was proving to be a boon for the unemployed in rural areas. “About 16,000 young people have taken to farming under controlled conditions with the government sponsored and highly subsidized polyhouse scheme,” he said. Another 45,000 have applied for the scheme, he added.

Asking the youth to benefit from the government schemes, he said under the Dood Ganga scheme a subsidy of 30 percent was being provided to scheduled caste families and 25 percent subsidy to general category.

Mentioning that about 70 % of the state resident lived in rural areas, he said that there was a need to educate the people about these schemes as gainful self employment avenues.

Emphasizing on agriculture, the chief minister added that a crop diversification project with assistance Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was on the verge of being launched as a MoU had been signed and it would bring about qualitative changes in agriculture to enhance farm incomes.

At the same time the chief minister accepted that the growing population of wild animals like monkeys, neelgai (blue bull) and wild boars was driving people away from agriculture and only adding to the problem of unemployment.

For getting better returns for farm product, steps were being taken to set up modern marketing yards and one such is to come up at Parala in Shimla district, he said.

Spotting tourism as another sector which could provide employment opportunities, he said that a Rs 400 crore project funded by Asian Development Bank for improving tourism infrastructure would have a multiplier effect in creating job opportunities.

About reduced jobs for enlisting with the armed forces, he said that the central government had reduced the state quota for recruitment in the Indian Armed Forces, even though servicemen from Himachal had shown exemplary courage on the battlefield.

Lack of skilled human resource was proving to be a big obstacle for securing jobs in industry, said Dhumal adding that lack of mineral resources in the hinterland was discouraging industry to move into rural areas.

Laying blame on the previous congress government for passing the Fiscal Responsibility Management Bill, the chief minister said that under this act the practice of direct recruitment of Class III and IV employees had to be stopped.

On the other hand GS Bali, Sujan Singh Pathania and Kuldeep Pathania made a strong case about the government not doing enough to secure employment for the youth. Incidents about industry not meeting the mandatory 70 percent employment clause for state residents were pointed out.

Not satisfied with the chief ministers’ reply, Bali refused to withdraw the bill after being asked to and was put to vote but was defeated by a majority voice vote.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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