The talent within the youth in Jammu and Kashmir is no way less than the youth outside the Union Territory. But, the talent of youth remained always hidden due to militancy related activities here, which kept the youth away from the sports, skill development and other opportunities to rise and shine. Though Govt of India spends a paltry sum of 40 crores annually on Operation Sadbhavana yet Army translates it into a flurry of events and activities. This has acted as a major reason for youth shunning the path of militancy and parents motivating them to carve a niche for themselves.
‘Operation Sadbhavana’ was started in 1990s when militancy was at peak. Initially in the form of a humble effort, it was enhanced as an institution of support for the people of J&K. Slowly Army established Schools called Army Goodwill Schools (AGS) and Army Goodwill Public schools, Vocational Training Centres (VTC), Women Empowerment Centres (WEC) and Youth Empowerment and Guidance Nodes (YEGN), Sports Clubs, Orphanage Centres, Drug De addiction Centres and even Dog Bite Treatment Centres. Initiatives such as Super 30 and Super 50 are some of the finest ways of helping the youth to manufacture their destiny and realise it too.
To quote few numbers, total of 43 AGS, have approximately 15000 students getting quality education and hundreds being employed as teachers or staff. Each school conducts parents teachers meetings, independence and Republic Day events, competitions related to sports, painting, quiz, debates, etc thus guiding them and giving opportunity to grow. 87 centres located in Kashmir region itself are imparting skills and empowering thousamds of youth in different forms.
Each Army element located in J&K undertakes engagement of the local population related to skill development, sports and cultural aspects engaging on large scale. At least 35 to 40 engagements are undertaken on daily basis benefitting over 20000 people everyday in terms of awareness, awakening, guidance and material benefits. During COVID 19, Army undertook thousands of engagements to prepare the people to prevent and later to fight the epidemic. From masks to distribution of food to labourers, stranded people and the poor are just some examples of Army’s efforts.
Super 30 and Super 50 are two super programmes churning 75 to 80 into Engineers and Soctors. It is yeomans service if we look at the number of these who have completed education and already employed in quality jobs.
Lt Gen YK Joshi, the current Army Commander gave a huge push to three areas, that is , education, quality skills and employment generation. Despite COVID, the fruits can be seen. Army recently launched Shaurya, a talent hunt competition in collaboration with Mausiqui Studios. Famous singers like Sukhwinder Singh and AR Rehman extended their support to make it grand success. The event started with online auditions spread over first week of January. Over 2000 talented youth took part. After screening, over 300 youth from J&K performed during off line screening at Jammu and Srinagar separately. Judges came from Mumbai and the standard of conduct was even better than India Idol. Finally, 10 budding singers and musicians were selected to form the J&K Band. This band is scheduled to perform at Srinagar on 18th January. After this, all 10 will be trained at Mumbai under famous music directors and contracted by Mausiqui Studios and other Musi Companies for three years.
Army has decided that similar platforms will be given in varied fields and youth given a chance to flourish.
Over the years, showing solidarity with the violence had become the norm for youth. As a result, they abstained from the good coming their way.