The government has failed to meet its target of providing minimum employment to jobless youths.

According to the annual report (2019-20) of Prime Minister Employment Programme, the programme aimed to provide work opportunities for a minimum of 100 days to 60,000 unemployed persons this fiscal.

But it managed to ensure employment of an average of only 16 days to 106,365 people.

The report recently published on the website of the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers said the appropriated budget for the PMEP posed a challenge in operating employment-oriented programmes. As per the report, only 52.29 per cent of the appropriated budget was sanctioned during the period. The total budget appropriated for the fiscal 2019-20 was Rs 5.01 billion, including government resources and foreign aid. "The amount of foreign aid was not sanctioned during the period.

The programme was implemented with government resources," it reads.

A total of 270,734 persons had applied to the local levels for enlistment, seeking a minimum employment of 100 days a year. However, only 105,365 were employed, that too, for 16 days, in the fiscal 2019-20.

The report suggests that the relevant authorities focus on providing minimum employment for 100 days a year in line with the spirit of the PMEP. According to the report, the government had provided conditional grants of Rs 2.32 billion to the local levels for the 'Cash for Work' project.

"Of the 701 local levels provided with conditional grants, only 495 of them implemented the programme. As many as 206 local levels could not operate the programme due to the COVID pandemic," reads the report. A total of 21,417 projects were proposed in relation to community-based 'Cash for Work' during the period, but only 4,302 got implemented.

The government had mobilised employment coordinators in most of the local levels to collect details of unemployed people. These coordinators collect details and data of unemployed persons at the respective local levels, update it and provide identity cards to the listed unemployed people.

The listed unemployed persons are provided employment opportunities in road construction, agriculture, irrigation, rural water supply, health, sanitation, education, forest and tourism and other labour-centric projects.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 14, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.