It is not just the political parties that are targeting our youth today. Given the large number of unemployed young people in the country, there are perhaps more scams offering them jobs than genuine employment opportunities in the market.

As overseas employment programmes remain embroiled in alleged scams and labour ministry’s attempts to regain its credibility feeble, our youth are getting lured into joining schemes offered online.

Such developments are disturbing. Our youth are becoming prey to scheming scams and it appears that authorities concerned aren’t making much effort to address these concerns. If they are, they haven’t told the people yet. The eight youth who returned home to share their stories in the hope that it would dissuade others like them is commendable.  The people do not yet know if efforts are underway to bring home some 600 youth who were allegedly duped in Siliguri, India.

After the issue was reported in the media, the central bank on October 6 issued a public notification stating that it has noticed Bhutanese citizens being lured to participate in Pyramid/Ponzi Schemes such as Crypto-Builder/ Nobel8 Revolution via social media with promises of large financial returns.

The central bank states that given the inherent and undesirable nature of such schemes and to protect unsuspecting citizens from suffering large-scale losses, it cautions the public against getting/being deceived into participating into pyramid/ ponzi schemes, which are illegal.

The people expect the authority to do more than “notice” such practices. We can do better than issuing public notifications with concerns of protecting unsuspecting citizens. What the eight youth shared merits a thorough investigation and the labour ministry, as the lead agency that looks into employment issues must probe further. It was alleged that a registered agent with the labour ministry contacted the youth. While it is confirmed that the agent isn’t a registered entity, the labour ministry should go public with the list of registered agents. This will allow youth and their families to verify the authenticity of the agency.

While we call on institutions to do more, the recent case reveals a bigger problem confronting the country. It shows the desperation of youth to get a job and make a living, if not at home then abroad. In the process, we are seeing their gullibility exploited and those expected to clamp down on such practices are becoming mere spectators.

Somehow in our process of development and in our rhetoric of touting youth as the country’s future, we have left behind the youth and their aspirations. We have been unable to tap the economic and social potential of school leavers and graduates in nation building. When some attempts are made, we see employment programmes being operated as a business.

For a country that puts the happiness of its people first, the state of our youth tells a different story. We know we should have done better. It is time we ask how and where we went so wrong.