Young and joblessThe issue of unemployment is robbing Nepali youth of a glorious future
Three years ago, UK’s the House of Commons discussed that the youth unemployment in developing countries has been rising as “the ticking time bomb”. The issue of youth unemployment is robbing our youths of a glorious future too. With 40.68 percent of the people between the age group 16-40, Nepal has a sizeable amount of youth population.
Moreover, despite the increase in youth civic engagement, they are still restrained by social, political, and economic issues. The transitional imbroglio of the past decade has badly hampered Nepal’s development and economic growth. More precisely, economic growth was stalled that triggered unemployment pushing millions of youth abroad in search of jobs. The government then must realise that without addressing the youth issues, especially one pertaining to unemployment, country’s economic growth will remain but a dream.
The government’s recent budget allocation for youth development program is a reason to cheer. To address the problem faced by youths, budget looks to fulfill the aspirations by investing in education, skills development and job creation. By allotting Rs3.10 billion to initiate the “Prime Minister employment Programme”, the government has plans to create jobs for 500,000 individuals. Further, the government has also announced to provide Rs 700,000 as loan at only five percent interest rate to youth entrepreneurs provided they produce educational certificates. Similarly, education loan will be provided at five percent interest rate to students from economically backward and marginalised groups. To internalise the migrant worker skills in Nepal, government announced project loan up to Rs 1 million based on certificate of the returnee migrant skills. Such step by the government has signaled a positive ambience for youth’s development, but questions pertaining to its procession and implementation still looms large.
The process of loan has not been clarified. Even to maintain transparency, the government should provide complete and clear structure of loan procedure for the intended program. Similarly, the Ministry of Youth and Sports had developed a ten-year strategy entitled “Youth Vision 2025”, for empowerment of youths but not much has changed in the rhetoric of youth leadership. The National Youth Policy 2010 has envisioned youths as powerful agents of change. According to the policy, “The long-term vision of this National Youth Policy shall be to prepare capable, entrepreneur, creative and competent youths with scientific and positive vision and establish the youths of the country in the leadership role so that they can render a meaningful contribution to the economic, social, political and cultural spheres of the nation, while guaranteeing the basic rights of the youths and also taking into consideration of the sensitiveness of the younger age through youth empowerment.”
Through discussions on the comprehensive framework, government should support young entrepreneur’s skills and networks that enhance the youth community in any way possible.
Every day, 1500 to 2000 youths migrate to Gulf countries for labour employment. Youth of 26 from Siraha, east Terai who is about to board a flight to Malaysia states, “Nepal would be developed if every youth was guaranteed a job in in the country itself”. Another youth from far west said “none wants to leave their pregnant wife, children, older parents but the situation of livelihood does”. This paints a gloomy picture for the country.
In the fiscal year 2016/17, 3.82 million youths departed as migrant workers. Granted, remittance immensely contributes to our economy, but we cannot neglect that almost every day some one or the other returns in coffins. More than 5000 youths died working abroad since 2008.
The merger of ruling party CPN-UML and CPN Maoist Centre as ‘Nepal Communist Party’ (NCP) ensures political stability at least for the next five years in the country. A new ray of hope emerged as two party unification declared the manifesto to bring stability and development in Nepal. One of its biggest challenges would be to stop youths fleeing away to foreign countries in search of jobs. Government should provide potential solutions to youth employment and leadership crisis. The success of youth policy and programme is only a gateway to boost shared prosperity for the country.