DNT’s pledge to address unemployment as an issue of national emergency

The government-elect, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa, has committed to accord the highest priority in creating employment and livelihoodopportunities for people and ensure that the youth have a decent job. DNT has pledged to prioritize job for the Bhutanese nationals between the age group of 19-35 to help gain work experience and to start theircareers, and contribute fully to the country’s economy.

In order to achieve their commitment to address,to what the party refers as the ongoing
issue with short term, unplanned and sporadic programs meant for youth to be exposed to risky work environments abroad without security, the DNT government has set several ambitious work plans to tackle such issues.

1. Prioritize and allot the highest investment in employment generation and livelihood programs

DNT plans to organize a national multi-sectorial committee chaired by the Prime Minister to draw up a long-term plan of action to ensure employment and livelihood programs for all.

The government-elect will also undertake detailed study on the current mismatch between unemployed youth and available jobs in the construction,manufacturing, agriculture and service sectors, and the recommendations from the study will be actively taken up to address the mismatch.

The other plan is to expand entrepreneurship programs across the country and support incubation centers with funds and space, guarantee credit, provide incentives, simplify processes and develop schemes to enable trained entrepreneurs to start businesses immediately.

2. Establish an employment and livelihood corporation to ensure youth employment

DNT plans to establish an Employment andLivelihood Corporation to address unemployment issue in the country. As a corporate body, it will be tasked to recruit, create,contract and manage jobs and livelihood programs for the youth. The corporation is expected to work closely with educational and training institutes to develop programs to equip the youth with necessary skills required by employing agencies.

The corporation will function as one-stop-shop, linking employers with job seekers for all employment types. It will study the job market and negotiate with all employers (government, corporate and private) on placement of employees and institute attractive pay packages and allowances to encourage enrolment.

The corporation will establish centers in major urban towns such as in Pheuntsholing, Gelephu,Samdrupjongkhar and in regional centers, like Trashigang, Bumthang, Samtse and Tsirang with the main purpose to link job seekers to employers and livelihood opportunities and ensure that no one remains unemployed for more than a year.

The corporation will liaise withTVET institutions to build capacity and skills needed for local and global markets to guarantee employment. An important consideration required to encourage the youth to take up available jobs in the market is to make pay and allowances attractive and enhancing the dignity of labour. The corporation will manage a job portal and ensure all formal employment is routed through the corporation. It will institute processes and mechanisms to make recruitment fair, transparent and protect the rights of both employers and employees.

3. Identify skill needs of the country and strengthen vocational institutes to create those skills

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions in the country will offer courses that build skills required in the country. It will do away with courses that are irrelevant and have no employment opportunities for graduates in the market. The courses will be reviewed periodically as per market demands.

TVET institute and business houses will be encouraged learning through consultation, internship and exchange programs. All graduates will be provided a holistic package of relevant technical and transferable skills,opportunities for apprenticeships,mentoring and connections to employers, as well as access to financial services.

4. Create more jobs by investing in agriculture and manufacturing sectors

DNT’s Sonam Gongphel project is expected to incentivize and attract many to return to agriculture and take up livelihood and employment opportunities. The guaranteed purchase of farm produce from farmers by the State at prevailing floor price will accelerate agriculture production, contributing to the goal of self-sufficiency and self-reliance.
DNT’s commitment to establish five manufacturing industries and many more through public private partnership is expected to create 5,000 additional jobs annually.

5. Expand apprenticeship program and institute guaranteed employment

The current apprenticeship program will be further expanded and theTVET graduates will be placed as apprentices in reputable firms in collaboration with the private sector. The government shall guarantee employment for those that complete the program and institute incentives and allowances for the employing agency.

6. Reintroduce the national service program for all graduates to gain experience

The government will reintroduce the national service program and evaluate its benefits and effectiveness in the third year of their tenure, and the program is expected to enable graduates to gain work experience for employment, and also allow graduates to plan their careers accordingly

7. Ensure youth detained by law for substance abuse are considered for reformative measures

Realizing that detention centers are not always the best way forward,the new government will review the policies that will enable the youth to return as productive citizens into the mainstream society.The DNT government will subsequently introduce reintegration programmes.

8. Increase the minimum daily wage to Nu 450 a day

In keeping with DNT’s goal of narrowing the gap and being mindful of periodic inflation, DNT will increase the minimum daily wage to Nu 450 a day, whereby inflation, cost of living, and
GDP would be tracked to revise rates accordingly.

9. Review and amend overseas employment program to improve it

DNT believes that the former government has overlooked security and living conditions including poor regulations and proper research on the destinations of the jobs overseas, thus DNT will draw agreements and MoUs with select countries to recruitBhutanese workers in identified sectors. DNT government shall ensure attractive salaries, secure work places and decent living conditions for the Bhutanese. As far as possible DNT plans to target ¬first world countries like Europe, America, Canada, Australia and Japan.

DNT will draw up a monitoring mechanism and have the dedicated employment agency to work with Bhutanese embassies and consulates to ensure agreements are honored. The embassies will track the well being of every Bhutanese sent abroad and provide assistance wherever required.

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