Inching towards restoration
After the sensational August 5 decision of the government of India to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its statehood and split it into two Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir, ensuing clampdown and communication blackout have led most of India to ask, what now? Introducing a change of this scale was a challenge and accomplishing it marks the current Inidan leadership apart from rest this country has had. The next step is presumably restoration of normalcy with an improved state of being. A very glaring observation is the education of children and youth that has taken a massive hit in this political turn of events. Addressing the concerns and aspirations of the youth has for long been the pressing need as a means to develop a connect with the local people and in the process, help ease tense situations. Steps like addressing the local economic crisis and introducing market intervention schemes for apple business, slowly and steadily mean to bring normalcy in the region. But since the region was already heavily plagued with economic maladies and its impacts, extra efforts are certainly called for to normalise a hitherto compounded situation. Reaching out to youth as a first step is very favourable as productively engaged youth, empowered with education and skills, will ensure a better future for the Jammu and Kashmir region. J&K at present has a quota of about 2 lakh scholarships which include pre-matric, post-matric, and merit and means scholarship awarded by the Ministry of Minority Affairs and the Begum Hazrat Mahal Scholarships for minority girls. In line with the disempowerment of Article 370 which conferred special status to the Jammu and Kashmir state, and which was also quite discriminatory in many ways, the Union government is reported to do away with the state quota of scholarships in J&K and instead, award them to all eligible applicants, bringing them at an equivalence with others. Although debatable, this can prove to be helpful in bringing the youth to the national mainstream more prominently. Broadening scholarships to include maximum students as possible from J&K is part of a larger plan of the Home Ministry for development of the state. Instilling skills in the youth in J&K is vital to understand the needs of the state and where resources must flow for the youth to become ready for the jobs market. Certainly, investing in the youth will eventually help the government make J&K a peaceful and prosperous place.