The Injuries We Suffer

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There is something deeply heartbreaking about reporting the failure of Himayat Mission

There is something deeply heartbreaking about reporting the failure of Himayat Mission, the placement-linked skill training programme for the unemployed youth of Jammu and Kashmir. One reads of so many scams across the country. It would be expected that in these corrupt, unscrupulous times, one will become thick-skinned and weather one more such scam. In these pages, KASHMIR CENTRAL reports of the scam at the Himayat Mission. The Himayat Mission is a placement-linked skill training programme for unemployed youth of Jammu and Kashmir. It is being implemented by the Himayat Mission Management Unit (HMMU) of the J&K State Rural Livelihoods Mission (JKSRLM), Govt of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Himayat Mission scam involves the siphoning of crores of rupees into the personal accounts of the officers associated with the monitoring agencies, the implementing agencies and the executing agencies that had to ensure the success of the Himayat Mission. It turns out that one is not so thick-skinned, after all. The failure of the Himayat Mission is not just another headline and another news report of some corrupt men and women in high-sounding government offices. While reading about the Himayat Mission scam and reporting it in the magazine, the heart can still suffer pain. I think of the lakhs of youth across Jammu and Kashmir who are searching for meaning in life, and who are searching for livelihood. I think of boys and girls out of schools, out of colleges, who seem to be staring at a blank future. Their parents are poor. Their parents do not have the money to send them to fancy institutes for training.All these budding youngsters could have been assured of livelihood through this well-intentioned scheme. The greed of government officers and the private companies associated with the project killed the possibilities that the youth could have found through the Himayat Mission.

COLOSSAL FAILURE

SHOCKING STATISTICS OF HIMAYAT MISSION

According to the report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), the Himayat Scheme had to impart training, both residential and non-residential, for courses on computer-oriented skills, soft skills, communication skills in English as well as technical skills. During the years 2016-17 and 2017-18, only 123 youth were trained. No placements were made during these years, the report said. According to the report, 9,200 was set as the target number of trainees to be skilled and provided employment in 2016-17 at a sanctioned amount of Rs 46.72 crore. No one was trained or employed. Rs 30.40 crore, or 60 per cent of the sanctioned amount, was spent without achieving desired results, stated the CAG report. In 2017-18, against a target of 18,352 number of trainees to be skilled and employed at a sanctioned amount of Rs 60.10 crore, only 123 were trained. Placement was not provided for any candidate even after spending Rs 28.02 crore. In 2018-2019, as many as 4,371 trainees were skilled and 732 were employed at an expenditure of Rs 76.42 crore, or 43 per cent of the sanctioned amount. The target was to provide skill training to 25,995 youth. During the year 2019-20, an amount of Rs 234.94 crore was sanctioned by the Government of India. According to the CAG report, against this the J&K government released Rs 52.68 crore in favour of the Himayat Mission and retained Rs 182.26 crore. “An expenditure of Rs 23.83 crore was incurred during the year leaving an unutilised balance of Rs 314.01 crore at the close of 31 March 2020,” said CAG. The report further said that for the year 2019-20, no targets were fixed. According to the figures submitted by Himayat Mission, 10,045 unemployed youth were trained and 2,582 were placed in jobs under the scheme.

LOFTY OBJECTIVES, DISMAL PERFORMANCE

All the lofty-sounding objectives of the scheme carry no meaning in the face of such scams. There is no point reproducing those lofty objectives here. You can read them extensively at https://www.himayat.org/AboutUs.aspx But there is something that definitely merits reproduction: the statement of Mr Kapil Sharma, Chief Operating Officer, Himayat Mission Management Unit (HMMU). Mr Sharma is under probe by the Anti Corruption Bureau for his role in the Himayat Scheme scam. In the typical way that government departments function, the website himayat.org continues to display his statement at the top of the home page.

Find Mr Sharma holding forth with elan on the website:

“We are living in interesting times. We have the world’s largest young population and yet employers are constantly searching for the “right talent”. The same is true for all over the world. To add to it, most of the jobs from blue to white collar have undergone drastic transformation and technology infusion leading to bigger gap. HIMAYAT is essentially an ‘urdu’ word which means “Support”, therefore HIMAYAT and its training partners are the bridge between you and the need of the hour.”
The need of the hour was also honesty by those government officers and private agencies entrusted with the success of the Himayat Mission. This is part of the injuries that we suffer. The difference between what should be, and what is. Let us also examine our assumptions. We assume that lakhs of boys and girls across Jammu and Kashmir do not have any recourse to government help through which they can be imparted vital skills that can get them employment. We assume that the government has made no provision for lakhs of these boys and girls from poor and needy families in order to give them a chance to build their careers, and to engage or enthuse them. Herein lies the pain. Now it is revealed that the government had provided for skill training and development for these poor, needy youth. But in one more big scam of mammoth proportions, the youth were cheated by corrupt officers in the state and the system.

INNOCENT YOUTH ROBBED OF THEIR FUTURE

The report by The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India brings to light these sad facts: Only 4,494 aspirants were given skill training under the scheme as against a target of 53,547 from 2016 to 2019. This is not just a report of some government statistics. These are the injuries that the youth of our nation suffer. The federal auditor has noted that only Rs 134.84 crore has been spent from the sanctioned amount of Rs 237.74 crore between 2016 and 2019. What was the percentage of youth trained by the Himayat Mission from 2016 to 2019? A mere 8 per cent of the target! The CAG report states that according to the target of the Himayat Mission, 53,547 youth were to be trained during the given period. How many youth were actually trained? Only 4,494 youngsters. These government statistics get sadder and sadder. Of the total of 4,494 youth trained by Himayat Mission, only 732 youth were placed in jobs during the period, stated the CAG report. This is the dissection done by CAG of what was called the livelihood mission called ‘Himayat’ in Jammu and Kashmir. These are not just the statistics of a failed government programme. These are the statistics of the injuries that the poor and needy people in our country suffer. Tender, innocent youth from poor families kept staring at a blank future, wondering what to do ahead. And officers in fancy-sounding organizations tucked away crores of funds in their personal and benami accounts.

NAMES OF ORGANIZATIONS WHOSE OFFICERS DEFRAUDED THE J&K YOUTH OF THEIR FUTURE

Jammu and Kashmir State Rural Livelihood Mission (JKSRLM)

NABARD Consultancy Services (NABCONS)

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)

Why do I hold even NABARD responsible for defrauding the J&K youth of their future? Because NABCONS is a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). It is engaged in providing consultancy in all spheres of agriculture, rural development and allied areas. So the CAG report reveals that the youth of Jammu and the youth of Kashmir –both were defrauded by a number of officers associated in various capacities with the Himayat Mission.

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