Youth and Small Entrepreneur Self-Employment Fund is planning to start the third phase of its programme with Rs 400 million aiming at creating some 9,000 employment for youths.

The UCPN-Maoists’ dream project, that has been crititicised for its failure in creating employment, was launched in 2009.

The fund has spent Rs 2.50 billion till date to create 21,000 employment for youths, said executive director of the fund Binod Guragain. “Among them, over 60 per cent are engaged in the productive sector,” he said addressing an interaction here today.

“A sum of Rs 1 billion that remained unutilised has been returned to the government,” Guragain said, adding that employment could be generated for an additional 50,000 people, if one-third of the loans that banks and financial institutions provide to the deprived sector were made available to the fund.

The central bank has categorised loans issued under the programme as deprived sector lending.

However, finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat highlighted need for operating such micro-level programmes effectively in rural areas. “It could help reduce shortage of manpower in the production business and also in rural agriculture sectors,” he said, adding that there is a need for developing a work culture in almost every sector.

As the government failed to provide employment to the youths back home, they flock middle east and Malaysia for employment. The youth exodus of some 550,000 every year has though helped float economy on remittance, the country has become more dependent.

Former finance minister Prakash Chandra Lohani, on the occasion, said that an increased dependency on remittance has weakened competitiveness of the whole economy. “There is a need for forming an all-party youth council to educate youths that could help achieve the desired results of programmes like the fund,” he added.

The youth self-employment programme under the fund is being run through 1,122 cooperatives in 73 districts.

As the programme has been blamed for misused by the UCPN-Maoist, former finance minister Barsha Man Pun defended that the programme had been launched to achieve economic transformation by utilising local resources.

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