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“Employment schemes for Kashmiri youth should continue”

Ghulam Nabi AzadSrinagar:(IANS) Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad here on Thursday said the Centre should continue the job schemes that the erstwhile UPA government had initiated in Jammu and Kashmir.

His remarks came as he expressed solidarity with National Youth Corps (NYC) candidates who are on hunger strike for the past 17 days demanding joining orders and regularisation.

“When the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) was in power, we had initiated more than half a dozen job schemes in the state so that youth can be part of the progress and the development of Kashmir,” Azad, who was minister of health and family welfare in the previous Congress-led UPA government, said.

“The government should immediately adjust these youth in various state government departments according to their qualifications. And such job schemes must be continued and expanded,” he said.

The former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir promised the protesting NYC candidates that he would take up their issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi.

More than 400 NYC volunteers, including dozens of female candidates, have staged a sit-in and have been on a hunger strike since September 1 in the city’s uptown Pratap Park.

Asif Ali Bhat, state president NYC, told IANS: “We have adopted a democratic and peaceful way to agitate for our demands but so far we have received only hollow assurances and nothing else. During these days many of our volunteers had to be hospitalized as their health condition deteriorated.”

In 2010, under the national NYC scheme, more than 6,000 youth were engaged as contingent workers and a cabinet decision of 2014 had decided to adjust them in the state education department.

“We are demanding the implementation of the 2014 cabinet order but we have been left to fend for ourselves and now we are without any pay since November 2012,” Bhat said.

More than half of protesting NYC volunteers have been put on glucose drip during the ongoing hunger strike.

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