The bird year kept the ministry of labour and human resources on its toes from the delay of the labour force survey to government asking Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate labour ministry’s training programmes. For the ministry, the year was also filled with complaints from Bhutanese employed overseas.

June saw the ministry face to face with the Royal Audit Authority’s performance audit on employment generation and promotion initiative 2017 report. The report found lapses and deficiencies concerning the overseas employment programme.

The ministry in the mid-year initiated plans to address unemployment. Four state-owned enterprises – Farm Machinery Corporation Limited, Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited, Bhutan Livestock Development Corporation Limited, and Green Bhutan Corporation Limited were expected to create 900 jobs.

The ministry as per the annual performance agreement 2017-2018 also committed to facilitate 120 new business start-ups to achieve full employment at 97.5 percent as per the 11th Five-Year Plan. The plan was expected to create around 240 new jobs.

In August, the ministry received complaints from 42 Bhutanese in Qatar against Yarphel Overseas Recruitment Agent.  It was later found that the company in Qatar had executed the work as per the contract agreement signed between the company and the Bhutanese workers. The trend continued into October when Bhutanese who had gone to India through the Guaranteed Overseas Employment Programme returned home due to hardship and alleged ill treatment by the employers.

The year saw youth unemployment grow to 13.2 percent from 10.7 percent. After much foot-dragging, the ministry published LFSR 2016 in December. Report found unemployment to be  highest among those with middle and higher education. About 190,819 men and 156,311 women are employed.

Karma Cheki