July 15, 2016 12:30 AM NPT
By: Bira Gadal
BAITADI, July 15: With no employment opportunities at home, number of youths heading abroad for employment has been steadily rising in Baitadi district. According to Padam Raj Bhatta, an official at the District Administration Office (DAO), over 2000 youths went abroad during the last fiscal year. Bhatta said that the numbers reflected a spike in the numbers compared to the trend in the past.
Concurrent increase has also been reflected in the number of applicants for passport. During the observation period, Bhatta said that the office collected about Rs 4 million in revenue through passports.
Most of the aspirant migrant workers are male. The number of women going for foreign employment is very less in the district. Only nine females have applied for passports this fiscal year, DAO said.
Locals feel that the trend is reflective of the social reality which compromises of unavailability of financial opportunities. “Most of the district's residents are poor. With no employment opportunities at home, they are forced to look out for employment opportunities outside the nation,” said Chief District Officer (CDO) Kishwar Kumar Chaudhary.
Kaman Bahadur Bhandari, a local of Haat-6, said it is better to work abroad than do nothing at home. “I worked in Malaysia for a long time and recently came back from Saudi. Although migrant workers like us do not earn good salary in foreign countries, it is definitely better than wasting time in village,” he said.
Another local, Kaharish Bohara of Kuwakot-8 said accused the state of not addressing the unemployment rates across the country and subsequently forcing youths into working abroad. “The government has failed to provide us employment at home. That is why we are forced to go abroad to earn livelihood for our families.”
These complain come at a time when the government has been spending millions in development programs that aim to reduce unemployment rates among youths. Locals feel that such programs benefit to only a handful of people who have political contacts.
“The trend of youths going abroad for employment would stop only when the government manages to involve them into agriculture and other economic activities at home,” said Chabbiraj Joshi, secretary of district chapter of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI).