Foreign jobs for downtrodden

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 18:

The government has so far sent 147 persons for foreign employment under the Youth Self-employment and Training Programme (YSTP), which is especially designed for aspiring job seekers from conflict-hit areas and downtrodden groups such as Dalits, Janajatis and women.

The programme had come to a halt following the dissolution of the Employment Promotion Commission last year. However, the government restarted the programme with some changes in selection procedures through the ministry of labour and tran-sport management (MoLTM) from January this year. According to figures provided by MoLTM, altogether 147 youths have already left for Malaysia and Gulf countries under the scheme. Although, the figure is still lower than that of total target of 1,000 for the current fiscal year 2004-05, the number of applications has increased remarkably.

MoLTM has so far received 5,349 applications from five different authorities, which have been given rights to recommend possible candidates among youths displaced as a result of the Maoists’ terror and violence, Dalits and Janajatis and women. The government has authorised the National Academy for Development of Indigenous-Nationalities, National Dalit Commission, National Women Commission and the home ministry and district administration office to recommend names of youths from Janajati, Dalits, women and Maoist-affected victims.

Of the total applicants, Janajatis top the list with 2,300 applications followed by Dalits with 1,515 and 1,099. Most applicants have applied to work as general labourers in Malaysia and Gulf countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and others. YSTP will send selected candidates for foreign employment in cooperation with manpower agencies on subsidised loans provided by a designated bank with guarantee from the government and Credit Security Corporation. Every manpower firm has to allot a separate 10 per cent quota for the purpose. The government has already signed an agreement with Nabil Bank Ltd and Himalayan Bank Ltd to provide subsidised loans of up to 80 per cent of the total initial cost, whereas the rest 20 per cent is to be borne by the worker himself. The loan should be repaid within two years through instalments, at an 8.5 per cent annual interest rate. Under the same scheme, the YSTP is trying to send women to Israel and Hong Kong as baby-sitters and domestic helpers. However, only one woman has so far gone under this scheme.