English | Dzongkha Friday, June 18, 2021

Bhutanese youth in Japan problem persisting because of Government’s inaction, says Opposition

Pema Tshewang, Thimphu
Jul 8, 2019

The Opposition Party says the government has failed to implement the proposal of the Interim Government regarding the Learn and Earn Programme. The Interim Government proposed the government to support Nu 360,000 for each youth under the programme, which covers 55 per cent of the initial loan amount.

The monetary proposal was based on the similar support provided by the labour ministry to youth who are placed in State-Owned Enterprises under the Direct Employment Scheme in the country. Under the scheme, the ministry pays Nu 15,000 per month to a youth which amounts to Nu 360,000 in two years. The proposal was in view of the potential benefits to the youth and to ensure the success of the programme.

The Opposition during the recent press conference said the government’s inaction to this proposal has prolonged the problem of Learn and Earn Programme.

“We have requested the government to solve on an emergency basis. The first choice is to waive off the loan by treating it as stipend and consider as scholarships for youth who left for Japan. We informed the government if not applicable, second is to defer the loan repayment with interest-free. The government partially accepted the recommendation but seems they could not implement in practical. And we will continue to stand by this proposal,” Pema Gyamtsho (PhD), the Opposition Leader said.

“We don’t know what is the reason behind and why the government is stalling this one. There must be a problem with the government for not accepting the recommendations made by the Interim Government. We don’t know what has happened. If the government has considered the recommendations, problems with parents and youth, Bhutan Employment Overseas and SND would have been solved by now. The point is, this is persisting all because of the inaction of the government,” added Dorji Wangdi, the member of parliament of Panbang, Zhemgang.

The Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji said the idea of waiving off the loan is not a good decision the government should undertake.

“The government could not entertain recommendations put by the Interim Government because doing that will set a precedent. We don’t want to do that.  There will be many more like Learn and Earn programme. Some businesses will have the same problems, so we decided not to do. As far as we are concerned and from what the report says, the majority of boys and girls have some problems but there is an opportunity to do better. So, the government is working with the Japan government to come up with better opportunities,” Dr Tandi Dorji, the Foreign Minister said.

The government came up with a loan deferment scheme in March this year. As per the recent State of the Nation report, over 50 students have availed the scheme. About seven hundred youth have availed loan ranging from Nu 600,000 to Nu 700,000 under the programme with an interest rate of eight per cent per annum.            

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