It’ll be quite interesting to see how the government tweaks its policies so as to encourage the private sector towards job creation in the days to come.
--BY ISHAN BISTA
Nepal has made unparalleled political achievements over the past few decades.
However, the situation has been quite different in terms of economic development. While political issues are still at the centre stage, economic issues haven’t yet got the kind of government attention they deserve. The younger generation has been making an exit from the country in search of better job opportunities abroad. Nevertheless, the recent interest shown by the government in bringing policy changes to improve the current job market scenario is positive. The recently unveiled ‘The Prime Minister Employment Programme’ can be a spur to create jobs for the youths in the public sector. The government has also been planning for compensatory unemployment wages if it fails to provide job to someone who enlists himself or herself as without job and the claim is verified as true. At this instance, it becomes very important to look at some of the practices that countries around the world have adopted to bring positive policy changes for creating jobs.
India has several experiences in this area as the government there has run several programmes for job creation. One of these major programmes is the one implemented through the ‘Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act’ (MGNREGA). This programme is for one adult male from each family who is willing to do unskilled manual work. The work includes creating infrastructure for water harvesting, drought relief and flood control, protecting the environment, fostering social equity and other similar works. The Indian government also aims to provide a legal guarantee of at least 100 days of unskilled wage employment in a financial year to rural households.
Also, the failure to provide the job within the first 15 days of the job application will result in the payment of unemployment wages.
Bangladesh has named their programme ‘Employment Generation Programme for the Poorest (EGPP)’. This is targeted to households in extreme poverty. The programme aims to provide short-term employment and provide cash for work during lean seasons. Here, participants are required to do physical work in building rural community infrastructures chosen by the local communities and the government. They also put some extra efforts to encourage women’s participation in the programme. Countries like Kenya and Egypt, too, have youth-targeted employment programmes. Kenya’s ‘Kenya Youth Employment and Skills Program (K-YES)’ and Egypt’s ‘Employment for Youth in Egypt (EYE)’ aim to increase the overall labour supply through both wage-employment and self-employment. They intervene in the areas of agribusiness, enterprise development, access to finance, partnerships and jobs that could be of help in the day-to-day life. Argentina with its ‘Trabajar Programme’ during 1997-2001 focused on providing temporary work to unemployed workers, and later, with the ‘Jefes Programme’ during 2002-2009, the country focused on building human and social capitals in vulnerable households.
The Philippines focuses on using disasters and natural calamities for job creation. Their programme ‘Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP)’ links disaster and climate risk management with social security and active labour market policies. Singapore has a rather interesting approach. It allows their citizens to be involved in a training programme which helps them get a job or even shift jobs in the middle of their careers. Singapore also has some compensation for their citizens to enroll in these programmes. This is a way to encourage its citizens. A lot of Middle East countries have put efforts in educating and training their youths for white collar jobs while they import low skills workers from abroad.
Nepal’s economy is sustained through remittances. The remittance inflow helps Nepal thrive, but it also shows the problem that exists in our society. Nepal has not been able to create jobs domestically which has pushed people to look for jobs beyond our borders. Another issue is that there is little respect for work. People discriminate those holding the so-called “lower class”jobs. For a move towards a prosperous future, we need to end such discriminations. Besides this, we need to learn from the experiences of other countries.
Any programme aimed at creating the Nepali youths should consider our socio-cultural background. Also, our geography makes it a tougher job. We also need to know what type of job is needed and where it is needed. Our internal migration has seen youths fleeing rural areas to urban destinations in search of a better living. Urban destinations are the junctions for opportunities. Additionally, the right government policies are a must. However, it’s the private sector which has to play the major role in job creation in the country. It’ll be quite interesting to see how the government tweaks its policies so as to encourage the private sector towards job creation in the days to come.
The author is a BBA (Marketing) Graduate from Kathmandu College of Management.