NEW DELHI : eople in Jammu and Kashmir are entering the workforce late, compared with the rest of the country, according to the latest payroll data, leading to a better understanding of the labour market in the region that has for decades been in the news for political reasons rather than economic ones.

In November, at least 11,887 people aged 35 or above and 6,536 in the 29-35 age group were in formal sector jobs. Thus the total of those above 29 in formal sector jobs is 18,423, which is nearly three-and-a-half times more than that of the 18-25 age group, which is considered the prime age for job seekers in the labour market.

The late entry into formal jobs is seen as a good indication of the formal employment crisis in Jammu and Kashmir, which was bifurcated into two Union territories (UTs) of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution. However, experts argue that this has to be seen along with the sociopolitical alternatives available in the region.

There are three factors that are driving such as trend, including educational, political and administrative, said K.R. Shyamsundar, a labour economist and a professor at XLRI, Jamshedpur. “Disruption of social peace delays and affects acquirement of labour market endowment," he said. “You have to understand that the youth face two kinds of mobilization, economic and political. In J&K, political mobilization of youth for various reasons outpaces the economic mobilization," he said.

Shyamsundar argued that how “continued unrest, government’s law and order actions, and the frequent shutdowns of educational institutions lead to completion of courses taking longer than normal and thus resulting in a delay in the graduation of youth from schools and colleges", argued Shyamsundar. This, he contended, contributes to the delayed economic entry of people in that region.

The governance failure and administrative challenges have also impacted the social security adherence and the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), which has just entered the two UTs, will find it tough to cover a wide group of people without a sustained and prolonged effort.

According to EPFO, the education providers, manpower companies, handicraft suppliers, and tourism and hotels are the key employers in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

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