ISLAMABAD: The federal government has announced 15 mega initiatives under the Prime Minister’s Youth Development Package at the cost of Rs150 billion for youth, two-thirds of the country’s population, to provide them opportunities of education, skill development and employment for a brighter future.
Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal announced the development package while addressing a ceremony held at Jinnah Convention Center, Islamabad on Tuesday. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Youth Affairs, Shiza Fatima, Chairman Higher Education Commission HEC Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, and thousands of students from across the country attended the ceremony.
The 15 youth development initiatives include 60,000 internships, technical and vocational training for 100,000 youth, 100,000 laptops, 5,000 scholarships for students of Balochistan and former Fata, 1,000 PhD scholarships at top 100 universities in the US, 75 scholarships at top 25 universities of the world, 21 university campuses in remote districts, 250 sports complexes, youth peace and development student councils in 80 universities, 75 leadership awards, 500 innovation grants worth Rs5-20 million each, Rasta grants for research, 12 Seerat chairs, seven centres of excellence, and uplift of 20 poorest districts and Pakistan.
“The two-thirds of the country’s population is based on young people who must be empowered through education and skills so that they can contribute to the socioeconomic development of the country,” said the planning minister in his remarks while addressing the participants.
He said that Pakistan will cater for the youth bulge till 2050 and it is essential to utilise their abilities so that they can perform for the country’s economic growth.
Prime Minister’s Ba-Ikhtiyar Naujawan Internship Program is Pakistan’s largest internship programme aimed at the economic empowerment of youth. This internship will help in addressing the critical entry barriers to the market and enhance employability. Under this programme, 60,000 paid internships will be given to young graduates across Pakistan.
In order to eradicate the deprivation of Balochistan which remained neglected in the past, the government initiated a scholarships programme for the students of Balochistan, and ex-Fata. Under this programme, 5,000 scholarships will be given to the students of Balochistan and Fata. These scholarships will help the students of Balochistan and ex-Fata to pursue their higher education in their respective fields, remarked the minister. It is noted that for the first time in the history of Pakistan, the government has started a project to uplift the 20 poorest districts of the country and Rs40 billion has been earmarked for this purpose.
The planning minister has been actively pursuing these initiatives since he assumed charge in April 2022. During (2013-2017), the planning minister under the vision of 2025 started several initiatives. However, some of the projects were stopped by the previous government and it has been restarted again.
The minister also took oath from Young Peace Development Corps (YPDC) who were attached to the country’s various universities. The key objective of the YPDC is for young people to come together, exchange ideas, and collaborate on projects that promote peace and address root causes of conflict and violence in their communities
Earlier, speaking on the occasion, SAPM on Youth Affairs Shaza Fatima said that the government is committed to providing a conducive and enabling environment to the country’s youth so that they can be empowered and perform for the country’s socioeconomic growth.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023