Rethink on disbanding SHGs

There must be compelling reasons with the UT administration in deciding to abolish Self Help Groups (SHGs) of engineers and also the work quota of 30 percent, which are to be analysed but the immediate fallout of this decision is that 15000 young engineers may lose their jobs – their livelihood. These engineers aremaking their both ends meet by working through these self help groups in various departments like R&B, PMSGY, PHE, PDD, REW and the like . We have been given to understand that nearly 2500 Self Help Groups of engineers from various streams like Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Structural, Electronics and Communications, Computer Sciences, Bio- Medical Engineering etc are working through these groups. In fact, this quasi demanding and as a quasi alternative arrangement, was thought of and implemented during 2004 by the then State Government as a response to the agitating engineers and diploma holders who were demanding Government jobs. In fact, they were ”adjusted” and also for the time being till years passed in a row. That being the position, on the other hand, we have already few days back, through these columns, commented upon the decision of the UT Government about merger of various engineering wings in the PDD, Public Works Department , Jal Shakti etc with effect from December 1, 2020. To implement the decision, one or two high powered committees too have been constituted to devise modalities about the process of implementation.
We all know that the already somewhat slowly moving economy got the unexpected and the most severe blow on account of the corona-virus pandemic which virtually brought to a screeching halt the economic activities for over two months and the opening up too with fits and starts is in a position to demand more from the Government than contributing to fill its staggeringcoffers. The immediate fallout of the pandemic is losing of jobs by millions of people especially in the private sector and in the unorganised sector across the country . The coming days are no better either unless full economic activities at more than the speed before the pandemic struck us, took place. Under these circumstances, it is ill advised and a hasty decision to achieve an aim with whatever objective at the cost of disturbing the existing fragile equilibrium . In other words, do not take any such decision which costs someone one’s job and livelihood. At a time when decisions needed to be taken as to how help, relief and succour could reach the affected people due to the deleterious and telling effects of the pandemic, at least this decision could have been deferred or some alternative arrangements for their livelihood made. Displacement as we would term it, without alternative remedies, is tantamount to inviting avoidable trouble in the shape of resentment and even possible protests too from the affected people. Why not, dislocating from one’s livelihood after a long period of 16 years by any account and measure howsoever meriting such decision to be taken, could never be justified.
Jammu and Kashmir is such a part of the country which has traditionally and throughout remained preferring education and has produced more educated persons and of late, professionals in better numbers than most of the states and UTs. Even in female education beyond college levels, percentage has been phenomenal. Looking to the employment scenario especially among the educated youth from that angle is paramount. Prudence demanded to take more and varied work from these professionals in different exposures , no qualms about that, but sending them home jobless merits an urgent review and rescinding of the decision. We, therefore, strongly urge the UT administration to deescalate the lurking adverse reaction and resentment from the prospective affected persons.