Nawaz announces youth empowerment package
22 September, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday announced a development package worth Rs 20 billion for the country's youth.
The package comprises six projects, which are aimed at providing them assistance, mainly through affordable education, soft loans and skill-based training. The six projects are: Micro Interest-Free Loans Scheme, Small Business Loans Scheme, Youth Training Scheme, Youth Skill Development Scheme, Fee Assistance Scheme and PM's Scheme for Laptops Provision, said Nawaz Sharif in his televised address to the nation.
"I am sure that a self-reliant and prosperous youth will prove as a vanguard in the nation's journey towards national integrity, prosperity and sovereignty." The prime minister announced that the six development schemes would benefit the youth of four provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Nawaz said that to ensure more transparency, clarity and merit in these schemes, it was his desire to seek guidance from the general public.
He said input on these schemes could be given at the website www.pmo.gov.pk, which will be uploaded tomorrow (Monday), and through SMS on special mobile number 80028. About the first scheme, Prime Minister Nawaz said the Micro Interest-Free Loans is especially focussed on the financially weak segments of society. Under this scheme, a total of Rs 3.5 billion would be earmarked in the current financial year, which would benefit about 250,000 people. No interest would be charged on these loans. He also announced Small Business Loan Scheme exclusively for the educated youth willing to start their private businesses.
The prime minister said 50 percent loans would be specified for the women. Under this scheme, skilled individuals would get loans worth Rs 0.5 million to Rs 2 million to help start their work in agriculture sector or to open a workshop. "The markup rate on this loan would be 8 percent," the prime minister said, adding that the government had allocated Rs 5 billion for the scheme.
The third initiative, Nawaz said, was Youth Training Scheme under which the youth having completed 16-year education from accredited educational institutes would be provided training so that they may find suitable jobs locally or abroad. The prime minister said that during the on-job training, the youth would be paid Rs 10,000 stipend monthly for one year, and Rs 4 billion have been allocated for the scheme, which would benefit around 50,000 graduates.
Under the Youth Skill Development Scheme, he said youngsters would be trained to help them earn their livelihood respectfully. The youth aged up to 25 years and with education up to eighth grade would be entitled to avail this facility. "These youths will be trained for six months and will be paid Rs 5,000 monthly as stipend," he said, adding Rs 800 million have been specified for the purpose.
The fifth scheme is about providing assistance to youth of underdeveloped areas for their tuition fees. The government would pay for the tuition fees of all such deserving students at masters level and above. For this purpose, an amount of Rs 1.2 billion has been allocated which would cover the expenses of some 30,000 students. Under the Prime Minister's Scheme for Provision of Laptops, one million students would be given laptops with an amount of Rs 4 billion reserved for the project.