Our today is defined by what had been done in the past and so our tomorrow will be defined by what we do today. The youth of today will shape the future for years to come. If we succeed in the shaping and development of the young generation today, then we will be able to make our future glorious and brighter than the present times. The present-day young generation is much aware, much wiser, and more receptive to new ideas and to the likely changes for a brighter future.

With this as the bedrock for our endeavors to shape the world, it makes it imperative that we tap into the young generation and enable them to secure better lives and thus assist in overall Nation building. In today’s world, one must allow the principle of “Jack of all trades Master of one”, which conveys that one must possess as many skills as possible and should be able to excel in at least one so that an individual starts off by firstly being independent and then gradually being able to support and sustain his/her family and finally their contribution to the National effort.

Now, what is that the Kashmiri youth is aspiring and wants to achieve is something that we need to understand so that we provide them with the appropriate platform and standing to do so successfully. It is not the stereotypes of yesteryears, wherein one is only looking for engineering and medical sciences as potential options, but today the horizon has widened and options range from art, culture, history, large to small scale infrastructural development projects, modern farming methods, government departments, sports and physical education stream and even including a balanced involvement of both men and women. A number of schemes at the National and State levels have been introduced to this effect, but certainly, it needs to be further promulgated and encouraged at the ground level to be able to achieve its goal of developing certain important and specialized skill sets amongst the youth that would ensure not just paper certificates of diploma, but assist in income generation/growth, satisfaction and overall development of the society. Indian Army is playing a pivotal role in not only promulgating and implementing these existing programs at grass root levels, specially in the far-flung, remote, and border areas of our country but also in initiating many such high impact low-cost programs that empower the youth and enable them with specialized skills that in turn helps them financially and economically. A few of them include vocational programs such as electrician, carpentry, masonry work, and many other more rigorous and modern schedules including computer courses, hotel management programs, and tourist management-related skill sets. Coaching the youth for clearing the recruitment rallies for enrolment in Security Forces,

counseling for each individual to correctly identify their talents in poetry, singing, music, and dance, etc are other such examples of how the Indian Army has played a pivotal role in harnessing the talent of the youth. The young generation also wants a good and entertaining social life for which the Army organises “Village Melas” and art-culture-related events wherein men and women of varying age groups participate and relish the good times by indulging in team games and fun activities.

Certain pioneer projects aimed at women empowerment include Food Processing such as Jam and Pickle manufacturing small scale ventures, embroidery, and tailoring centers. Two “Super 50” projects started by the Army train underprivileged children to complete in NEET for Engineering and Medical. Likewise, the Indian Army identifies the talent in various sports amongst the youth and provides them a platform to further excel and practice in their respective arenas. Society as a whole must be provided with such opportunities and exposures so that an inclusive growth of the young generation is achieved and no individual is left behind. The more we improve skill development projects and programs, the youth will learn more and thereafter use such knowledge and skills to sustain a financially, economically and socially content life which would thereby lead to the progress of our society, region, and Nation as a whole.

Youth must be empowered, specially in the region of Kashmir that lacks adequate employment opportunities and is affected by unemployment. Such focused skill development programs will go a long way in securing a brighter future for the youth and for the Nation by making them participate in healthy Nation-building endeavors.