Mehbooba: Will invest to empower, educate, employ youth

SRINAGAR: Placing great hope and expectations on the vast potential of the state’s youth, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Saturday that her task is cut out in creating an enabling environment that allows abundant employment opportunities for the youngsters.
She said youth have been the biggest casualty of more than two decades of violence and time has come to deliver the promise of a future which does justice to their enormous ability.
“I admire your perseverance to go on, despite cycle of violence that snatched your childhood and I promise to heal your scars by securing your future,” she pledged, during her meetings today with several youth delegations from different parts of the valley.
Mehbooba Mufti said she wants to bring the focus back on the potential of the youth and channelize the same for rebuilding the state. For this, she said only peace and stability will enable her to invest in empowerment, education and employment of youth in the state.
“Increasing investment in young people is the key and this includes quality education and skill development that prepares them better for future opportunities,” she stated.
The Chief Minister vowed to mobilize all resources at her disposal to firmly entrench a system were merit will be the sole determinant of selection, either in government or private sector. “Our youngsters are sharp and brilliant with a very high IQ. They excel individually. I look forward to provide them a level-playing field to succeed collectively,” she stated.
The Chief Minister said she is pained to see too many young and qualified people getting trapped in a vicious cycle of idleness with very few opportunities of employment available to them, This, she said makes them vulnerable to many ills plaguing the society. “The Government will try to tap the huge potential in tourism, hospitality, horticulture, industry and floriculture segments so that the avenues of productive employment are created for our youth and which also does not make them wholly on government jobs,” she stated.
Elaborating upon her plans to promote J&K as a great tourist destination, the Chief Minister said she wants to transform the state into a beautiful garden for the tourists which in return will create a lot of jobs, especially in the fields of gardening, landscaping, tourist guides and the hospitality sector for skilled under-qualified youth. She also batted for youth to take up agri-entrepreneurship in a big way, especially in the Horticulture sector, where economic returns are very high.
Mehbooba Mufti also urged for a more proactive role for Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) wherein they are able to reach out to talented youngsters at the district level by enhancing their skills and providing them hassle-free access to finance. She said time has come when people have to recognize the exuberance of youth and hone their skills further by importation of knowledge and expertise from within the country and outside.
The Chief Minister also asked the youngsters to perform their duty of becoming role models in propagating the message of peace and harmony that the great religion of Islam teaches. “It is very disturbing to see our youth getting sucked into the vortex of violence when they should be attending schools and colleges,” she added.
Seeking cooperation of youngsters in taking responsibility of creating a ‘feel-good factor’ for the visiting tourists, Mehbooba Mufti said that their good behaviour will go a long way in increasing visitors’ footfall in the state. “Tourism spreads by the word of mouth. This will also change the perception amongst tourists who intend to visit Jammu & Kashmir,” she added.
Later, several youth delegations from Kupwara, Baramulla, Budgam, Shopian, Pulwama, Ganderbal and Kulgam, met the Chief Minister and brought into her notice various issues confronting them in pursuit of their goals.

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