The party believes the govt. should develop a long-term strategy to deal with the issue

Jobs: In the wake of growing unemployment, the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) has urged the upcoming parliament session to formulate resolutions that will address the problem in a sustainable way.

“It’s time to keep our political differences aside, stand together as Bhutanese, and get down to what we promised to do,” the party said issuing a press release yesterday.

The government recently asked the employment creation task force to come up with more recommendations.  But the party said that doing so revealed the government’s ignorance of the many existing studies, reports, and recommendations readily available, based on which adequate actions could be taken.

The DNT also stated that the government must develop a long-term strategic plan to address unemployment, keeping in mind that it will not be able to solve the issue within the five years of its mandate. “Therefore we propose that a long-term strategy be developed, through the involvement of relevant agencies. including all political parties.”

Without a long-term strategy, it stated, there was an inherent danger of new governments disrupting and changing the path of development strategies.  It stated that such a trend had already emerged in “recent times”.

The party stated that short sighted ad hoc programmes would only bring temporary relief for a few well-connected individuals. “There is also an issue of equity, which is a core focus of DNT, with girls and those from humble backgrounds not benefitting from available opportunities,” it stated.

The press release stated that the “blame game and petty squabbling” between the government and the opposition creates more confusion for the citizens. “The endless criticisms against the policies of each other only reveal the narrow partisan interests harboured by them for short-term political gains.”

Currently, 8,591 young people are looking for employment, it said, citing figures from the labour ministry. DNT president  Dr Tandin Dorji said that the government was aware that only 42,000 jobs were available against the requirement of 82,000 jobs by the end of 2018, when the PDP government’s term ends.

Describing unemployment as the biggest challenge the country was likely to confront in the next few years, DNT stated that, given the small and already saturated job market, the numbers were intimidating.

It stated that the PDP manifesto had raised high hopes and expectations, promising full employment during its term. “Two years have gone by, but the government is yet to put in place an effective strategy to fulfil this pledge.”

The DNT is of the view that the government has been rather lackadaisical, when it comes to implementing substantive initiative to address the issue of unemployment in the country. “The only visible actions taken are the Guaranteed Employment Program (GEP) and Youth Employment Scheme, both of which are short sighted, temporary measures to manipulate the employment statistics,” the party stated.

In addition, the party stated that the government’s much-touted Overseas Employment Scheme was also failing, with allegations of misinformation and fraudulent practices. “Those, who were sent abroad, find themselves working under miserable conditions in areas where the citizens of that country refuse to do.”

In some cases, the party stated that their passports have been taken away and with limited resources, they are unable to return home. The party further added that the government’s employment schemes focus on getting people employed, rather than in developing long-term measures, such as creating jobs.

It stated that unemployment was a serious issue and would only worsen, with more graduates pouring into the market every year.

By MB Subba