Govt allocates Rs 6 billion to employ 60,000 individuals

Published On: December 13, 2023 06:00 PM NPT By: Dilip Paudel

KATHMANDU, Dec 13: At a time when unemployment is rising in the country, the government is going to spend about Rs 6 billion to create job opportunities. Around 60,000 unemployed individuals will be provided employment in the construction and maintenance of community infrastructure.

When the Prime Minister Employment Program conducted by the government in the past was surrounded with controversies, the government focused on employing the unemployed through the local level for development work. Shobha Pokharel, Under Secretary of the Prime Minister Employment Program, said that jobs would be created as part of the local-level development plans.

She said that although the government has set a target of creating employment for around Rs 86,000, only 60,000 will be employed. "We will provide minimum wages to the unemployed, they will receive Rs 668 per day," said Pokharel, adding that an individual can work for up to 100 days. "Those registered with the local authorities as unemployed will get jobs. The local government will implement employment plans after selection," she added.

In the past, there were criticisms for distributing money to workers under the Prime Minister Employment Program by engaging them in tasks like uprooting weeds. She claims that she has made a plan to correct the shortcomings of the past and put maximum effort into infrastructure development. "Local authorities will provide employment opportunities after the selection process, ensuring that those who are having difficulties to sustain daily livelihood will also get job opportunities,” Pokharel stated.

The new program includes maintenance of the existing projects along with new initiatives, covering all 753 local units. The Prime Minister Employment Program was initially launched to provide minimal employment to individuals between the ages of 18 and 59.

The 100-day minimum program for unemployed individuals outlines regular maintenance of local-level roads, construction and maintenance of roads connecting settlements, health posts, schools, financial centers, open-air markets, religious, cultural, and tourist places.

Additionally, the program includes maintenance and upgrading of canals, ponds, or water sources, preservation of ponds and water sources, construction of fruit gardens in public places, storage and sale of agricultural and livestock products, construction and maintenance of cold storage, open-air markets, and vegetable collection centers.

The individuals will also be mobilized for the construction, expansion, and maintenance of infrastructure, including toilets, playgrounds, compounds, gardens, public sports fields, and school premises under the local level.

Despite the government introducing a program with the goal of reducing forced foreign employment, increasing internal employment, fostering an environment that respects labor, and discouraging unemployment, challenges were observed in effective implementation. There was criticism against the previous year's program especially in issues of financial transparency, budget underutilization, and allegation that people’s representatives were taming cadres.

Although the government introduced a program with the goal of bettering the economic conditions of the unemployed through employment, this program was criticized in the past years when the implementation was less effective. It was alleged that millions of rupees were misappropriated by some local units in the employment program by including work such as uprooting weeds, cleaning drains, and chasing monkeys. The Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security has instructed the local governments to rectify the shortcomings of the past.

Even though the government said that they would provide jobs according to skills when they are listed in the list of unemployed, that has not happened. Even those without skills get the opportunity to work. There is a complaint that the local governments have violated the provision that the government can select a maximum of Rs 500,000 schemes for employment programs and 25 percent of the amount can be spent on construction and security materials. There are also accusations of irregularity by buying through quotations while purchasing goods.


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