BTP and PDP’s youth centric manifestos

Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have comprehensive manifestos addressing the pressing challenges faced by the nation’s youth.

BTP

The manifesto begins by addressing the alarming unemployment rates in the country. With the national unemployment rate standing at 5.9 percent, affecting 18,198 people, and youth unemployment at a staggering 28.6 percent, impacting 8,496 individuals, BTP acknowledges the urgency of intervention.

The party aims to develop a national skills policy to identify and address future and chronic skills shortages across different occupations. BTP commits to assisting every unemployed youth in reskilling, retraining, and reequipping with 21st-century skills in collaboration with the private sector, aiming for 100 percent employability within and outside the country.

The party endeavors to achieve full employment by 2029, setting an ambitious target to address long-term unemployment. Striving to reduce the youth unemployment rate below 10 percent, the party recognises the need for a concerted effort to create a conducive environment for job creation.

The manifesto pledges to strengthen a conducive ecosystem for entrepreneurs, recognising the role of small businesses in driving economic growth. A “One Stop Career Centre” under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is proposed to facilitate youth employment in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Employment (MoICE). The party plans to conduct regular job fairs to connect employers and job seekers, fostering a direct link between demand and supply in the job market.

The manifesto delves into the multifaceted challenges faced by Bhutanese youth, recognising the need for a holistic approach to issues such as teenage pregnancy, school dropouts, youth crime, substance abuse, and rising unemployment rates.

Acknowledging a youth crime rate of 62 percent in 2021, BTP emphasizes on crime prevention, rehabilitation, and community support to address root causes. The manifesto outlines preventive measures for youth substance abuse, including awareness campaigns, counselling, and rehabilitation programmes.

Recognising rising youth unemployment, the party prioritises job creation and vocational training to equip youth with workforce-ready skills. The manifesto underscores the need to support young entrepreneurs with mentorship, funding, and a conducive business environment to drive innovation and economic growth.

The manifesto recognises the importance of youth engagement in political and community activities, aiming to address challenges arising from low participation in democracy and shifting societal norms. The party plans to introduce a youth engagement platform under the PMO to address urgent youth-related issues. BTP commits to reviewing and providing support for the implementation of the National Youth Policy 2011.

The manifesto aims to establish a robust skill development ecosystem, offering internship schemes and opportunities to university and TVET graduates for job experience. The party proposes to support development in sports, the arts, creative industries, and the digital economy by providing scholarships and establishing linkages with renowned institutions.

To address youth substance abuse, the party suggests a review of legislation related to substance abuse, strengthening rehabilitation centres, and devising effective reintegration programs. The manifesto pledges to provide support to law enforcement agencies for creating awareness and enhancing surveillance. Improving access to services, such as youth-friendly health centres, is highlighted as a priority.

PDP

In a bold move to address the critical challenges faced by the youth in Bhutan, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has unveiled a comprehensive manifesto outlining key initiatives aimed at fostering employment, skills development, entrepreneurship, and overall well-being for the nation’s young population.

The PDP manifesto begins by acknowledging the significant demographic importance of Bhutan’s youth, who constitute approximately 50 percent of the population, with those aged 15 to 25 making up 30 percent of the demographic landscape. However, with youth unemployment standing at an alarming 28 percent, the PDP emphasizes the urgency of ensuring the nation’s future success by providing a wide range of opportunities for employment and businesses.

PDP commits to achieving full employment (97.5 percent) within the next five years, demonstrating a strong commitment to reversing the current trend of high youth unemployment.

As part of the youth employment program, the party plans to establish a youth centre in every dzongkhag. These centres will be mandated to support youth employment, provide rehabilitation services, facilitate entrepreneurship development, offer skilling services, and provide various forms of support for those returning from abroad.

Through this program, PDP aims to equip 60,000 youth with essential skills in various trades and professions currently in demand in the job market. Additionally, the party plans to expand technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions to accommodate the growing demand for skills development.

To enhance opportunities for Bhutanese youth abroad, the party plans to liaise with safe countries for work, establish partnerships with foreign educational institutions, and support youth studying and working overseas through concessionary education loans.

PDP envisions establishing a dedicated youth startup organisation to generate innovative business ideas and assist young entrepreneurs in securing resources such as land leases, credit, and marketing networks. A specialised “Access to Finance” window will offer concessional loans to support entrepreneurial ventures. PDP also plans to give youth unemployment support allowance while involving them in skilling programs needed in the job market.

The party also plans to provide support for youth in distress who come in conflict with the law and the youth who have to fend for themselves by providing them reintegration programs lined with avenues for a better future.

A comprehensive program to track and facilitate every youth in search of employment, engaging them in skilling programs to enhance their employability. Recognising sports as a significant contributor to health and well-being, PDP plans to support the development of sports facilities, encourage participation in regional and global sporting events, and sustain sports clubs.

As the political discourse in Bhutan shifts towards prioritizing youth-centric policies, both BTP and PDP present robust frameworks to address multifaceted challenges.

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