JK’s Competitive Advantage In Traditional Crafts To Be Focus Of Skill dev: CM

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CM-Mehbooba-Mufti-in-assembly-on-May-27-2016Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today said skill development in traditional arts and crafts of Jammu and Kashmir would be incentivized to keep these treasured crafts alive and create employment avenues for the local youth.

“Jammu and Kashmir has to capitalize on its competitive advantage especially in traditional arts and crafts for sustained economic growth and arming the local youth with adequate skills will be the key component of this process,” the Chief Minister said while intervening during the reply of a question on New Industrial Policy in the Legislative Council today.

She said the skill enhancement in heritage arts like shawls, carpets, paper machie, wood carving, Basohli crafts and Ladakhi craftsmanship will be incentivized so that the new generation of the State’s youth is motivated to take up these high-value crafts as a means of livelihood and at the same time contribute towards J&K’s economic growth. “We have to develop localized skill strategies so that the skills supply matches the skills demand. It is not just the supply of skills which needs to be addressed, but also the demand for skills and the utilization of skills in the local workplaces,” the Chief Minister said.

Ms Mehbooba said the focus of successful case studies should be on coordinated approach to skill development at the local level, involving partners from different sectors including education, training, industry and NGOs to balance supply and demand for skills. “The Government has asked the Education Department to start part-time skill development courses in traditional crafts in schools and colleges to attract the youth towards distinct heritage arts of the State,” she said and added that the Skill Development Initiative is still in infancy and a lot needs to be done to draw the desired results from this ambitious program.

The Chief Minister said during the first meeting of the Governing Council on National Skill Development Mission (NSDM) held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi in New Delhi earlier this month, there was consensus among the participants that skill development has to be area-specific and need-based to make the initiative productive. “In J&K also we are working out a model of skill development which will be in sync with the local arts and crafts and the market needs,” she said and added that the time has come to change the mindset and uplift the skilled people.

Ms Mehbooba said, at the same time, the government shall have to intervene to ensure adequate promotion and marketing facilities for the heritage arts of J&K which are otherwise facing severe pressure and competition. “While we train the youth in traditional crafts, we have to also ensure adequate market facilities to ensure good returns for their products,” she maintained.

The Chief Minister said the corporate houses like NHPC and various Cellular Companies operating in Jammu and Kashmir have been asked to adopt at least one ITI or polytechnic to train the local youth in specific trades so that they get employment locally. “We want to partner with the industry to train people, certify them and offer them jobs,” she added.

Making it clear that nobody will be allowed to fiddle with J&K”s Special Status, the Chief Minister said, the New Industrial Policy is completely in tune with the Industrial Policy promulgated by the then Chief Minister, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1975.

“Article-370 is our strength and our honor. We enter this august house by swearing on the State Constitution and it is empowering for all irrespective of the party grouping,” she said and added that nobody should harbor any misconceptions that there is any threat to J&K’s special status by the Industrial Policy. “We have decided to review the policy to remove any misconceptions in this regard,” she said.

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