Foreign job loan getting popular

Kathmandu, August 3:

Number of youths going abroad for foreign employment under the Youth Self-employment and Training Programme (YSTP) — the especially designed package for aspirant job seekers from the conflict-hit areas and down trodden communities like Dalits, Janajatis and women — has increased from strength to strength.

Altogether 360 youths so far have been benefited under the programme. Although the YSTP had come to a halt following dissolution of the Employment Promotion Commission (EPC) last year, government re-launched the programme with some changes in selection procedures earlier this year through the ministry of labour and transport management (MoLTM).

According to figures, altogether 209 youths left for Malaysia and Gulf countries under the scheme during the fiscal year 2004-05. Out of the total youths those who received concessional loan under the programme, 110 are from the indigenous community, 74 from Dalits and 25 are Maoist victims. The figure stood at 151 for the previous fiscal of 2003-04.

Though, the figure is too low than that of total target of 1,000 for a year, youths applying for the scheme have been increasing significantly.

“Though the number of youths going for foreign employment under the scheme is relatively low, the number of applications in recent times has increased significantly,” says Gopal Adhikari, officer at the MoLTM.

MoLTM has so far received 5,507 applications from five different authorities, which have been authorised to recommend the possible candidates. The government has authorised the National Foundation for Development of Indigenous-Nationalities, National Dalit Commission, National Women’s Commission and the home ministry and district administration office to recommend from Janajati, Dalits, women and Maoist victims respectively.

Among the total applicants, Janajatis top the list with 2,334 applications, followed by the Dalits at 1,515 and 1,104 Maoist victims. The youths applying through district administration offices and National Women’s Commission are relatively low in number; 294 and 270 respectively.

YSTP will send the selected candidates for foreign employment in cooperation with manpower agencies on subsidised loan provided by a designated bank in guarantee of the government and Credit Security Corporation (CSC).

The government has an agreement with Bank of Kathmandu (BoK) to provide loan for these youths. As per the agreement reached between the BoK and 12 other participating commercial banks, a seed fund of Rs 50 million has been created for the purpose.

The bank will provide up to 80 per cent loan of total initial cost, whereas rest 20 per cent is to be borne by the youth oneself. But, in case of Maoists victims, the government bears the rest 20 per cent, too.

The loan should be repaid within two years in instalment at an interest rate of 8.5 per cent per annum.

Adhikari further says that the programme is getting popular. “In a month, we have approved loan for 41 youths also. At present, YSTP is forwarding about 15 applications a day. And, BoK is sanctioning loan for four persons a day.”