Unemployed Nepali youths crowd for loan under Youth Self-Employment Programme scheme announced by the government
A desperate queue of unemployed with little trust lined up for three days continuously in front of the gate of Chambers of Commerce at Jamal Kathmandu. One among the people of the crowd was Shankar Adhikari, 21 originally from Kailali of mid west Nepal. Enduring a hot climate, a education student in bachelor was waiting his turn to submit his document in hope of getting interest-free loan from the government under Youth Self-Employment Programme (YSEP). The Nepal government has decided to provide loan up to Rs. two hundred thousand for an individual without imposing interest under YSEP. Self-employment contender Adhikari has already begun to count the chicken though he is not confident whether or not his eggs will be hatched. He has planned to start goat farming with the sum he hopes to get from the government.
As the uncertainty of job always looms large in Nepal even if one holds master degree, most of the youths feel that they should secure the job as early as possible regardless when they would complete their degree. Due to the poor financial back up, youths, specially those from rural area should have whether to find a job to pursue higher studies or to stop attending college.
Shankar is one of those who often have a glimpse over the pages of broadsheets to conform whether there is any vacancy suitable for his qualification. But he gets no thing other than the disappointments as his every attempt gets exit with failure. "I appeared examination many times for job in government agencies but my name never published," Shankar said, "Recommendation of 'great person' is needed for job in Nepal but I didn't have such persons around me." Youths don't have trust that they would be fairly treated while competing for job opportunity as every sector has been politicised in the country.
Ranju Tripathi,18, will consider herself lucky enough if her name will be selected for the loan government is planning offer without interest. Ranju is plus-two student at a community college of capital city Kathmandu. She was lining up in the same crowd weaving a plan how she will be utilising her leisure time in a small entrepreneurship and ease the economic burden of parents.
According to her, her parents already owe loan while educating the kids and she thinks of presenting herself as good daughter through helping reduce the loan. "I always thought of financially assisting my parents but I could do nothing, I always survived in scarcity", Ranju said showing the form she was holding, "I am filling this, lets see what will happen."
While staying at queue she managed to tell the story of family why she was obliged to submit the form of loan at a time when she should have busied in turning the pages of books of college library. "Our source of income is traditional agriculture but it is just a means of subsistence, owing loan is essential for my parents if they wish to give continuation to my study" she added. Two years have gone since her graduate brother went to Indian in search of job after getting no any job in the country. He is out of contact to the family since he left the country.
May be the obligations that triggered the self-employment aspirants to join the uncertain opportunity-queue were dissimilar, but everybody had own pains.
The government has planned to provide maximum Rs. 2 hundred million per individual after the evaluation of applicant's capacity and skill. However, youths are not confident enough that the programme would be successful one. Kathmandu resident Manoj Maharjan said he didn't fill the forms as he was not assured that the progreamme would be fair. "I doubted the plan of government, so I didn't fill the form," he said.
Unemployment is pressing issue in the country. Due to unsecured life, there is no alternative for Nepali youth to leave the motherland for gulf country for lower-payment jobs. "going gulf counties is not willful, its obligation" said Dinesh Thapa of Chitawan.
For proper mobilisation of the youths in the country, the government has implemented the YSEP. The goal of the programme is to identify and reach target groups, employ youth skills in productive sectors, utilise skills, education, capital and entrepreneurship in the rural areas, make the youths self-dependent and so on. However, being selected in the scheme is not as easy as one thinks.
The questions have been raised over how influential the programme will be amidst the criticism of the government that Youth Ministry is doing nothing to address the unemployment problem in the country. Minister for Industry Ashta Laxmi Shakya also concedes that the programme was implemented without enough preparation.
According to Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Around 3 lakh 50 thousands people have submitted applications but the grim reality is that out of them 80 percent are unskilled. The economists fear the investment in short term training will be just a waste of money as the government has not seriously worked out the plan.
-By Janak Timilsina