Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay yesterday said that apart from 879 jobs made available through state owned enterprises, the government has created an additional 700 employment opportunities for the year 2017-2018.

Lyonchhen was responding to Kengkhar-Werringla MP, Rinzin Jamtsho’s question the government’s pledge to provide 100 percent employment and unemployment benefits.

“The government had pledged to provide unemployment benefits to unemployed youth and promised 100 percent employment but the promise is not fulfilled nor unemployment benefits provided,” Rinzin Jamtsho said. “Why were both the pledges not fulfilled and how does the government plan to fulfill its pledge before the tenure ends?”

Lyonchhen informed the house that the government created different types of employment programmes like direct employment, pre-job trainings, internship, and overseas employment at a cost of Nu 1.156 billion, which has benefitted 20,578 jobseekers. The government also spent Nu 307 million to send 500 students abroad to study and work.

He said that a total of 38,804 jobseekers had registered with the labour and human resources ministry in the last four years, of which, 36,293 were employed through various employment programmes.

“This means 2,511 are still unemployed,” lyonchhen said. “A total of 30,916 vacancies were announced but 3,616 jobs still remained unfilled.”

Lyonchhen said that 7,101 jobs were created through job plan between 2017-2018, but only 1,220 jobs have been availed while 5,879 vacant posts are still available in private and corporate sectors.

“We urge jobseekers to register and we also urge parliament members to bring unemployed youth and help them register so that government can facilitate them to get jobs,” lyonchhen said. “There is no specific answer if 100 percent employment is achieved but jobs created are more than the number of registered jobseekers.”

Bomdeling-Jamkhar MP Dupthob said that the government had pledged to send those who are 65 years and above on a pilgrimage. “Could you inform the house on how many people have been sent on pilgrimage by the government through government’s expense,” the MP asked said.

Lyonchhen said that the government has not sent any senior citizen on a pilgrimage on government’s expense.

However, he said that PDP supporters have sent 290 people on pilgrimage and that he helped 25 people to go on pilgrimage.

“We’ve to see if it is viable to send them on government’s expense or if it is the responsibility of all citizens to help our own parents to go on pilgrimage,” Lyonchhen said. “There are 9,189 sacred sites in Bhutan alone and people can visit these sites.”

He also informed the house that he has plans to send 25 more on pilgrimage this year.

“But we’ve to also study the pros and cons before sending more Bhutanese outside for pilgrimage, the risks involved and also its effect on the economy,” lyonchhen said. “If we want we can send this winter but we have to discuss in the cabinet and study all problems Bhutanese might face.”

Yangchen C Rinzin