Hurdles galore

The government’s foreign employment loan scheme for youths seeking employment in foreign lands has failed to catch on as expected, thanks to cumbersome qualifying procedures. The scheme was aimed at benefiting the minority groups in particular. But certain provisions have made it extremely difficult for those aspiring to acquire the loan without any collateral deposits. The policy, devised to benefit 500 people this year, has so far secured jobs for 25 youths only. Similarly, another project, which was devised to provide some kind of employment by involving 10 university students at the Employment Promotion Commission has also been least effective. Only five students have submitted their proposals for it. Promising as the plan to assist job-seekers from the underprivileged sector appears, the lukewarm response from the latter, who found the application procedures too cumbersome, now seems to have backfired.

There is no denying that the scheme was a novel one. But like all good action-plans in Nepal, this too has hit the rough patch, in some ways created by the planners themselves. The elaborate recommendations from national umbrella organisations representing the groups, besides other prerequisites have indeed acted as a repellent to the job-seekers in question. Nepal is adept at borrowing ideas but not in properly doing the necessary groundwork required to sustain such plans in order to produce the intended results. Authorities tend to induct fancy schemes only to deal with situations on an ad hoc basis instead of adopting a much more result-oriented long-range strategy. It is true that providing loans without proper documentation is not advisable. But to adopt a plan that requires one too many formalities, on the other hand, proves that the employment through loan scheme will not deliver the punch that a move such as this should have. It is symptomatic of the attitude of the government as to how indifferent it is towards finding a solution to several problems the common people are facing on a day-to-day basis.

Nepal has been witnessing migration of a large number of people to various countries, most importantly to India and the Gulf. But the country has yet to develop a coherent strategy to assist those who wish to be employed abroad. Furthermore, the Maoist insurgency has aggravated the situation, and the conflict is forcing villagers to abandon their ancestral homes and property. In the circumstances, the government cannot but streamline its employment plan for the marginalised if benefits are to be reaped without any hassles born out of perfunctory formalities. All schemes in this bracket must be free of unnecessary bureaucratic procedures.