Sending youth overseas for opportunities should be an option for jobseekers, according to labour minister Ugyen Dorji.

This will remain one of the government’s plans to solve unemployment, particularly youth unemployment in the country. The Minister was responding to a query on the ministry’s plans on addressing unemployment.

On January 11 at National Assembly’s question hour session, Nganglam MP Choida Jamtsho said that it was the government’s responsibility to solve unemployment and not send students overseas.

Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji said the government accords highest priority to unemployment issue, adding that there were many plans and programmes to address the unemployment in the 12th Plan.

According to the ministry’s projections, there will be about 82,000 jobseekers in the next five years. “Of the 82,000 jobseekers, about 77,000 are expected to be youth,” said the minister.

The minister said that an employment responsibility system would be established along with a committee that would guide, conduct research, and review employment programmes. “We expect to create about 67,000 jobs in collaboration with other agencies. About half of 67,000 jobs would demand youth,” Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji said.

The agencies identified are agriculture, tourism, hydropower and mining, Information and Technology, cottage and small industries, business sectors under Druk Holding and Investments, Royal Civil Service Commission, armed forces and private sectors.

Lyonpo also said that the direct employment schemes would continue and expects to provide between 10,000 and 20,000 jobs through the scheme. “Although there are views expressed against sending youth overseas, we feel that options should be provided for youth to take opportunities.”

It is not only the youth of the country that go overseas for opportunities, knowledge and skills, it is happening everywhere, he said. If there are not enough job opportunities in the country, overseas programmes also need to be considered, he added. “We have plans to create opportunities but it will also rely on the jobseekers’ skills and knowledge.”

In the 12th Plan, 75 percent of the ministry’s budget is allocated to improve Technical and Vocational Education and Training.

In response to Bartsham-Shongphu MP Passang Dorji’s (PhD) query about the government’s plans on creating opportunities in rural areas, Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji said that about Nu25 million have been allocated for village skills development programme.

He said that the government would collaborate with the local government to address unemployment issues in the 12th Plan. “There are also training programmes for business related activities.”

Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji said that land user certificates system was also being assessed. “Agriculture and construction sectors will be focused to create employment opportunities.”

He said that in rural areas most of the people depended on farming activities for livelihood. “As we focus on agriculture and strengthen activities, unemployment in rural areas would be addressed.

Rinchen Zangmo