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Youth loans for growth

Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated his government’s flagship initiative, the Kamyab Jawan Programme, with a renewed commitment to support youth receiving employment and education.
A similar programme was launched by the previous government but saw little success due to the stringent conditions imposed and collateral demanded by the banks handling the application. It is now hoped that the process will be merit-based and transparent to benefit deserving youth.
The ambitious project has allocated a whopping Rs100 billion to provide loans to youth including women. The projects aims that through providing technical and financial assistance, youth can start small entrepreneurial projects and make themselves self-reliant. The program also envisages arranging internships, establishing labs for digital learning and setting up a national youth development foundation.
The youth are not just the future of the nation but there are also the present. However, many young people are unable to gain employment due to a stagnating economy and lack of jobs growth. As a result they are compelled to settle for less or contribute to the brain drain. There is an absence of a startup culture, venture capitalists, or seed funding for entrepreneurs.
Science Minister Fawad Chaudhry started another controversy when he made the startling claim that people should not look towards the government for jobs. This is in sharp contrast to the PTI’s election manifesto in which they promised to generate ten million jobs during its tenure. Fawad defended himself stating that he was misquoted and was rather referring to the creation of a conducive environment as opposed to looking for public sector employment.
Pakistan has not developed a coherent youth policy till date which takes into consideration all stakeholders particularly the youth themselves. Any youth policy that doesn’t have input from young people is destined to fail. For this reason, the prime minister’s trusted aide Usman Dar has been entrusted a huge responsibility to prepare the nation’s first youth development framework.
It is hoped that this programme will ensure youth employment opportunities and provide them proper platforms to excel. Youth having willingness but lacking any coherent ideas can access a wide range of feasibilities to develop a business plan. The government should ensure that the project is run on merit and with any discrimination. If the government succeeds in empowering the youth then the nation is bound to prosper.
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