Political parties pledge solution for youth unemployment
Unemployment is expected to be addressed more seriously. The four political parties observed that youth unemployment posed the greatest threat to national achievement for which reason it needed to be addressed.
Youth unemployment is the greatest challenge to nation's development. The parties which included Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), People's Democratic Party (PDP), Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP) and Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) have been outlining their manifestos for continue concern and follow youth unemployment.
The recently released 2017 Population and Housing Census of Bhutan 2017 showed the youth unemployment at 2.4 percent. The youth unemployment challenge was bigger for females than their male counterparts and there was a high rate of joblessness and unemployment in urban areas as compared to rural areas.
According to the parties, about 63,000 to 66,000 new jobseekers with secondary and university education are expected to enter employment market in the next five year.
Ahead of the 2018 elections, all four political parties have identified increased investment in unemployment, robust technical and vocational education and training (TVET), and prudent government policies as the best policies to deal with the rising spate of youth unemployment in the country.
Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party
In its election manifesto, Bhutan KuenNyam Party pledges that employment creation is its top agenda. “We will accord high priority to job creation and opportunities for entrepreneurship, creative space and the arts, professional and career development.”
The party would allocate funds to provide numerous startup opportunities empowering youth for self employment through incubation centers in both rural and urban areas, and gainful and dignified employment through policy promulgation and finance. “We will invest in every young Bhutanese to help them get good jobs both inside and outside Bhutan.”
BKP wants to strategically develop well-paying and dignified jobs in both agriculture and allied industries. Besides, it also promised to provide incentives for integrating our youth into agribusiness value chains, including market guarantees and incubation centers.
According to the party, they would impart specialized career learning and skills development for short, medium and long term professional and career development in partnership with the private sector, and rampup apprenticeships and mentoring.
The party ensures to strengthen and incentivize robust micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that generate jobs and enhance per capita incomes throughout the country according to their comparative advantage. “Together with employers, industry and youth representatives, BKP will help the young Bhutanese acquire skills and progress in their careers.”
To explore and formalize bilateral labor contractual arrangements, strengthen and consolidate Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centers to train rural youths on farm production, value addition and entrepreneurship, skills development and support MSMEs are few among other pledges.
Druk Phuensum Tshogpa
Druk Phuensum Tshogpa ensures to provide productive employment for all. Describing youth as the greatest wealth of nation, the party said the nation is faces with a record high unemployment. “We need to accord the highest priority to youth employment and strive to ensure productive em- ployment for all.”
DPT said, their party would create a minimum of 120,000 jobs and ensure employment for all, pursue the policy of regular employment and decent jobs for all.
The party promises to revise Economic Development Policy, Labour and Employment Act and National Employment Policy, and frame a comprehensive human resource development policy.
Besides, they wants to revise FDI Policy to attract investment and create large employment particularly in ICT, tourism, hospitality, agro, creative and green industries, and enact a Tourism Act to promote tourism as a major sector of employment.
To generate employment opportunities, the party would establish three mega hydropower projects, four industrial estates, additional IT Parks in a regionally balanced manner, one agricultural bank and one public com-
mercial bank, networking program with global and regional youth forums.
The party would provide special focus to accelerate the growth of cottage, small and medium industry, financial, fiscal and tax incentives to private sector for employment of youth easily access to finance for youth including loans without collateral.
According to the party manifesto, DPT ensures to support mechanization and automation of construction industry and accord support and institute special incentives and privileges for employment of youth. The party would provide entrepreneurship, life skills and leadership trainings to youth.
To frame policies to encourage and support youth to take up agriculture and agro-business, and reduce security deposits required for studies and jobs abroad like Australia, Japan, and Canada are their promise among others.
Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa
Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa ensures better opportunities, assured employment in the country. The party said that they will accord the highest priority in creating employment and livelihood opportunities for people and ensure they have a decent job. “We will prioritize and allot the highest investment in employment generation and livelihood programs.”
In its party manifesto, the part promises to establish an employment and livelihood corporation to employ, contract, create and manage employment. To achieve full youth employment, DNT pledges to support private sector to create 5,000 jobs annually with a minimum daily wage increased to Nu.450.
If DNT forms the government, the party promises to make agriculture attractive for livelihood and employment through our Sonam Gongphel project, thereby, motivating thousands to take up farm activities. “Unemployment and lack of livelihood opportunities for our youth are a major concern leading to despondence, social disharmony and insecure future.”
DNT promises to expand entrepreneurship programs across the country and support incubation centres with funds and space. “We will guarantee credit, provide incentives, simplify processes and de- velop schemes to enable trained entrepreneurs to start businesses immediately.”
The party would establish an employment and livelihood corporation to ensure youth employment and develop to ensure youth are gainfully engaged.
To strengthen and improve quality TVET in the country, the party says that the existing institutes would be upgraded with better facilities and equipment to match the best in the world. “TVET institutes will be prioritized and exchange programs will be organised to improve quality of training.”
According to the manifesto, the party ensures to train and build skills among youth in collaboration with partner agencies in identified countries with good paying jobs. “Will track the wellbeing of every Bhutanese sent abroad and provide assistance wherever required.”
People's Democratic Party
The People's Democratic Party has accorded the highest priority on creating employment opportunities for all. The party ensures to create meaningful jobs for all. “Our aspiration is that every Bhutanese must be gainfully and meaningfully employed so that they can provide for their children and families and live fulfilling lives.”
Describing youth as a nation's true treasure and the core solutions to nation's problems, PDP promises to continue to focus on creating employment opportunities for young people. “We shall develop long term National Workforce Plan to map jobs and forecast the labor market.”
According to the party manifesto, the party promises to come up with 11 special flagship programs that would spur economic growth and create at least 10,000 jobs in the next five years.
PDP also promises to provide unemployment and sustenance allowance for youth who have been actively seeking employment for over one year and support them through appropriate measures to get employed.
The party would invest in entrepreneurship development trainings to equip youth with necessary business skills to initiate startups for self-employment. Besides, they would provide low interest loans to enable individuals to start businesses both in rural and urban areas.
According to the party, they want to enhance social protection and safety net for employees in the private sector and ensure all salaried employees are covered under the Pension and Provident Fund scheme.
To empower youth with disabilities and enable them to live with dignity through entrepreneurship trainings, provision of low interest loans and special allowances would be provided. “We shall provide guaranteed jobs for students and graduate youth living with disabilities and youth with special needs.”
The party also promises to promote and support engagement of youth in performing arts and provide financial support for youth music bands, youth professional sports clubs, and youth in creative industries.
PDP ensures that at least 90 percent of the TVET graduates are employed within six months to one year after graduation. Besides, to invest in TVET to offer a diverse range of industry related skills to young people and introduce diploma programs in the TVET sector and upgrade are their pledges among others.