Kathmandu, August 1 The government claims that the ambitious Prime Minister Employment Programme (PMEP) provided employment opportunities to 179,909 people in the last fiscal year. Organising a press conference here today, Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista, said the PMEP grabbed the attention of a large number of people despite some criticism. “It is normal for the government to face some criticism in the initial phase of launching any ambitious programme. But when the programme starts generating results, such critics are silenced on their own.” Bista further said that as the government has now appointed employment coordinators in most of the local bodies, the programme will certainly move ahead in a full-fledged manner from the ongoing fiscal year. “The employment coordinators have already started collecting the unemployment data of their respective areas, which will reveal the exact number of jobless people in their area and help distribute the benefits to those people.” As per the ministry, PMEP beneficiaries carried out 2,262,269 days of work through 6,864 community works (projects) that amounted to Rs 2.37 billion in the last fiscal year. A total of 31,958 beneficiaries in Province 5 carried out tasks that amounted to 492,630 working days. Similarly, 34,432 beneficiaries in Sudur Paschim Province carried out tasks of 433,306 days; 27,448 people in Province 2 carried out tasks of 312,675 days; 31,022 persons in Province 1 completed works of 311,093 days; 25,871 in Karnali Province carried out works of 283,755 days; 17,619 persons in Province 3 carried out works of 226,036 days; and 17,559 people in Gandaki Province carried out work of 202,774 days. As per data released by the ministry, one jobless person received employment for an average of 13 days through the programme and received Rs 13,460. While the programme was announced through the budget of fiscal 2018-19, it was finally implemented on February 12. The government had allocated Rs 3.10 billion for the programme in the last fiscal. But the government came under immense criticism when it was revealed that the local bodies had been haphazardly spending the allocated funds and misusing the programme by assigning the beneficiaries to menial jobs. The government has allocated Rs 5.1 billion for PMEP for this fiscal. READ ALSO: Prime Minister Employment Programme starts in Bhojpur PM Employment Programme launched Pvt sector seeks programmes that encourage skilled workers