Addressing unemployment issue will be one of the priorities for Trashigang dzongkhag in the 12th Plan.

Set in the backdrop of the 12th Plan’s objective of just, harmonious and sustainable society through enhanced decentralisation, the dzongkhag aims to bring down its unemployment number to zero.

According to the labour force survey report 2015 (latest), the total number of unemployed persons in the dzongkhag stands at 18. There are nine male (graduate) and nine female (higher secondary) unemployed people in the dzongkhag as per the report.

The dzongkhag’s senior planning officer, Wangchuk, said that given the increasing unemployment rate in the country, the number would be higher than what is stated in the report today.

“We are still tracing the unemployment numbers in every gewog and villages. Once we get a number, it would be easier for us to proceed with our plans,” he said.

The planning officer said that one of the key areas to address the issue is promoting the establishment of cottage and small industries. “The dzongkhag would facilitate entrepreneurship development courses to provide the necessary skills.”

Wangchuk said that employment would be generated in both agriculture and non-agriculture areas. “Agriculture sector provides vast potential in terms of business opportunities.”

The high number of fallow land in the dzongkhag is also expected to reduce with the inception of agriculture based entrepreneurial activities.

Of the total 21,529.6 acres of dry land, about 7,015.78 acres have been left fallow, according to recent records from the dzongkhag agriculture office. About 483.34 acres of 4,104 acres wetland remain uncultivated.

The planning officer said that any interested youth or those people without land can pitch their business ideas and the dzongkhag administration would make the land available to them. “The dzongkhag and gewog administration would provide them with irrigation canals and other required facilities to encourage them.”

For vocational graduates, there are opportunities in hairdressing and electronic fields, according to the planning officer. “The dzongkhag does not have a proper electronics shop and there are opportunities in opening a saloon here in town,” he said.

Meanwhile, the dzongkhag also aims to increase food production and enable people to become self-sufficient.

The planning officer said that chili plantation would be one of the priorities. “We aim to produce enough chilies so that we no longer have to import from India,” he said. “This should not be difficult.”

Save for Radhi, rest of the 14 gewogs grow chilies. Techniques to produce the chilies even during offseason and drying machines in places such as Thrimshing and Kangpara is being explored.

Trashigang dzongdag, Chekey Gyeltshen, said that all activities in the Plan are geared towards reducing poverty and making the dzongkhag self-sufficient.

“While addressing the unemployment issue might be challenging because not many jobseekers opt for farm jobs, we are optimistic that we can achieve the goal of reducing poverty and making the dzongkhag self-sufficient.”

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang