CII to set up skills development centre for Kashmir youth


Jammu : The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is setting up a skills development centre in Jammu and Kashmir, a state that has around 300,000 jobless youth who are often targeted for recruitment by militant outfits.

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CII director general Chandrajit Banerjee said they would establish the centre in partnership with the state government on an investment of Rs.1 crore (Rs.10 million) in various skill development initiatives.

The announcement follows a meeting between Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Banerjee in this winter capital of the state.

Banerjee reaffirmed the CIIs participation in the development agenda of the state, ravaged by the nearly two-decade-old separatist war.

The CII and the state government will also be actively involved in the initiative that will specifically identify areas and sectors that can be targeted for development.

Abdullah, who took over as the chief minister three weeks ago, has said the unemployment was one of the biggest challenges in the state.

He told Banerjee that his top priority was to improve the skill sets of the youth to meet futuristic job requirements.

According to a 2008 survey, there are 141,000 unemployed youth registered with various employment exchanges in the state, but many jobless youth have not registered themselves with any of the employment exchanges making the rough number the jobless around 300,000.

The chief minister will chair a task force with members drawn from industry and academia to promote tourism, trade and investment in the state.

He also asked the industry lobby to specifically evolve plans for areas such as IT, horticulture and agro-processing that he said had great potential in the state and not disadvantaged by location.