Job plan designed to address youth unemployment

With youth unemployment hovering at 10.7, about 19,363 jobseekers expected to come into the labour market annually as per the jobseekers projection, labour ministry is all set to implement Job Plan 2017-2018 designed to address the unemployment issue.

The officials claim it is estimated that of the expected 19,363 jobseekers in 2017-2018 financial year, about 8,162 jobseekers will be absorbed through normal economic activities and about 4,100 through ministry’s different school-to-work transition programmes such as skilling, trainings, and internships.

Chief of employment services division, Ugyen Tenzin, said that’s why the job plan targets to address and engage the remaining 7,101 unemployed jobseekers through specific programmes.

Data collected by the ministry found that ministries, organisations, corporations, and private companies recruit employees through normal economic activities without government’s support.

“We need to create jobs for the unemployed to reduce the youth unemployment through direct intervention from the ministry,” Ugyen Tenzin said. “So we came up with the job plan like employment in the state-owned enterprises (SOE), entrepreneurship and self-ownership programme.”

Ugyen Tenzin said that jobseekers would be employed in the four established SOEs where the pay will be funded by the ministry for two years.

“The SOEs are expected to become sustainable within two years and they should regularlise the employees. The ministry would withdraw its support by then,” Ugyen Tenzin said. “Regularisation would, however, depend on the performance of the employee.”

The four SOEs – Farm Machinery Corporation Limited, Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited, Bhutan Livestock Development Corporation Limited, and Green Bhutan Corporation Limited – are expected to take in about 900 jobseekers.

Ugyen Tenzin said there is also a revolving fund for those returning from overseas to start the business with help of small loan. A total of Nu 303.367M (million) has already been approved for the job plan that would employ class 10 and 12 graduates, and university graduates between 2017 and 2018.

Lack of employable skills, joint family structure, and voluntary unemployment were some of the factors that lead to youth unemployment, Ugyen Tenzin said. “Our job plan specifically targets youth unemployed ranging from age15-24.”

Ugyen Tenzin said youth unemployment is one of the major concerns for the ministry and is fully committed to providing full employment to youth genuinely seeking employment through the job plan. “However, youth are not willing to take up available employment despite various opportunities. That’s the real challenge.”

He added that specific programmes were developed to engage 5,780 youth with the supplementary budget of Nu 262.808M from January this year, but only 2,187 took up employment in different sectors.

“The sustainability of job plan beyond 2018 would depend on 12th Plan to come up with different plans to address unemployment issues,” Ugyen Tenzin said.

“There is a need for more collaboration among private sector, ministries and other sectors.”

Yangchen C Rinzin

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