111 of 157 Mountain Hazelnut employees also register with the ministry

Yangyel Lhaden 

Within two days after the labour ministry announced reintegration programmes for drayang employees, 526 people registered with the ministry.

The ministry announced it would provide skilling, upskilling, self-employment, and engagement opportunities to laid-off drayang employees after the closure of drayangs on January 7.

The Prime Minister, through an executive order, directed the ministries of finance, labour and economic affairs to collaborate and render necessary support to drayang operators and workers as they explore new avenues.

The finance and economic affairs ministry issued a notification on compensation and support measures to drayang employers on January 13.

Labour ministry’s programme officer of employment service division, Chimi Rinzin, said that the programme implementation would depend on their assessment of the employees’ requirements and interests. “Applicants will be screened as per their qualification and interest for self-employment and engagement opportunities, but if they are interested in skilling, they will be provided with skills training.”

He said that participants opting for self-employment would be provided with entrepreneurship training to develop entrepreneurship skills. “The ministry will also provide handholding support to avail loans from National Credit Guarantee Scheme and Cottage and Small Industry Bank in consultation with the finance ministry.”

Chimi Rinzin said the executive order mandated the ministry to work closely with the finance ministry to facilitate loans for the laid-off drayang employees.

He said employees opting for direct engagement in job would be facilitated through the youth engagement livelihood programme (YELP) and Build Bhutan Project (BPP) as per their qualification, experiences, and interest. “There are many vacancies with YELP and BBP.”

A laid-off drayang employee, Sonam Choden, has registered with labour ministry’s skilling programme.

She is interested in carpentry. “She also registered in electrical training with the youth group of Lungnyi gewog in Paro.”

Sonam Choden said that she was interested in carpentry and was inspired by seeing her friend who knows carpentry. “I want to train myself in many skills to sustain myself.”

Another laid-off drayang employee, Thinley Pem, said that she was thankful for the training from labour ministry as working with drayang was not a stable job. “ I want to learn tailoring.”

Another employee, Tshering Lham, has registered with the labour ministry’s skilling programme as well.

She said that she did not choose self-employment and engagement options as she would not be able to work more than eight hours a day. “There’s no one to look after my bedridden mother at the moment.”

She said that she wanted to take this opportunity and would explore other opportunities as well. “I am not sure which skilling programme to choose.”

Meanwhile, the ministry has also issued the reintegration programmes to laid-off employees of Mountain Hazelnut along with drayang employees reintegration notification and 111 employees with Mountain Hazelnut registered.

Labour Minister Karma Dorji said the ministry recently received a notification from Mountain Hazelnut that it is laying off 157 employees. “The ministry is trying to provide re-integration programmes and reach our programmes to them.”

Lyonpo said the ministry’s programmes are aimed to cater to laid-off employees, overseas returnees and tourism sector employees. “We are also going to provide such training to messengers of the Royal Civil Service Commission ( RCSC) when their contract expires.”

Lyonpo said that RCSC would not renew the contract of messengers and when they are out of civil service the ministry would roll our programmes for them to get into the labour market.

Chimi Rinzin said that the ministry requests all job seekers and affected Covid-19 individuals to also participate in skilling programmes to prepare for emerging labour market requirements.

The registration is open until January 25.