lmost ninety percent people thing it does not exist. But the fact is that it does exist. Urban poverty, with its deadly tentacles, is eating away the progress of our society. Kashmir, sadly, is no exception.
With the 90s came the violent phase in the history of Jammu & Kashmir and apart from the political changes a lot of socio-economic changes also took place. The prosperity of the urban middle class etherised away and those who did not have even one family member in government service were the worst sufferers.
In Srinagar, much like many other cities in the world, everything has to be bought. You earn from hand to mouth to survive. A bulging lower middle class has appeared in almost every possible area of Srinagar where men in their 40s are not able to get married off and just above survive somehow. The availability of a huge number of unemployed youth is leading to exploitation. In the prime location of Lal Chowk it is not uncommon to find salesmen working for a monthly remuneration of less than Rs 6000. In many schools even Masters degree holders are forced to work for even lesser amount of money.
This exploitation is leading to more alienation and frustration in the youth. We now have a huge number of educated youth with nothing to do and the scarcity of blue-collared jobs is adding to the problem.
The current establishment must think of a lot of out of the box solutions to mitigate the problems caused by urban poverty. To start with skilling youth, counseling session, better monitoring of work places to ward off exploitation and strict implementation of minimum wages act are some of the acts that need to be followed in letter and spirit.