Launched in the face of hostile conditions created by Kashmiri separatists over a year ago at the University of Kashmir campuses in Srinagar, the union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh’s Himayat initiative will have nearly 15,000 youth trained and placed in different jobs in the public and the private sectors in the current financial year.

The University of Jammu’s auditorium on Wednesday saw Mr. Ramesh unfolding more of his promises for capacity building, training and placement of the conflict-riddled State’s youth, besides the upliftment of women.

In his keynote address, he revealed to an enthusiastic gathering that 5,000 youth from J&K had been trained and helped to get jobs under the Himayat scheme since the day it was introduced by him in 2011.

As many as 15,000 more were being trained and helped to get jobs, primarily in the country’s corporate sector, which had already offered a remarkable placement drive.

For its initial life of five years, Himayat, among others supported by the Jammu and Kashmir Bank Ltd, would benefit 100,000 unemployed youth from J&K, Mr. Ramesh said. Announcing the distribution of Akash palmtops to 400 beneficiaries who had completed one year of service in different companies, Mr. Ramesh said that the tablet would be gifted to all recruits on the completion of one year of their job.

While claiming that 76.42 per cent of the trained youth had proved their mettle and had been retained by the companies, Mr. Ramesh declared the enhancement of the monthly stipend in favour of the youth under training. As against the existing monthly of Rs. 1000 for two months, the Himayat youth will now be paid Rs. 2000 a month for six months.

After highlighting promises and achievements of the two Centrally-funded schemes for the J&K youth —Himayat and Udaan —Mr. Ramesh disclosed that the Government of India, in coordination with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, was also launching a special scheme for socio-economic welfare and the upliftment of the State’s women. It would be part of the Centrally- sponsored Mahila Swayam Sahayata Samooh for which an outlay of Rs. 800 Crore had been earmarked.

He expressed satisfaction over the interest more than 30,000 Panchs and Sarpanchs were showing in these developmental initiatives in the State.

On the occasion at the University of Jammu, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah acknowledged the support provided to the strife-torn State by the United Progressive Alliance government under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

He said that the special capacity building and employment schemes like Himayat, Udaan and the State government’s Sher-e-Kashmir Employment and Welfare Scheme for the unemployed youth had gone a long way to train and absorb the youth in different sectors.

Mr. Abdullah said that over four lakh youth were currently unemployed in the State. Of them, 70,000 were being taken into government services this year.

He said that the Centre’s support would be significant in expanding the job market for over three lakh youth.