Pakistan is the second youngest country in Asia with around 68% of its population below the age of 30 years. PTI Government, at its very outset, held extensive rounds of consultations with all the provincial/regional stakeholders besides international experts on youth development, and prepared a vision document, titled “National Youth Development Framework (NYDF)” for steering different initiatives aimed at socio-economic development of youth.
1. National Youth Development Framework (NYDF)
NYDF focusses on empowering youth socially, economically and politically. It is is based on following six thematic areas:
i. Mainstreaming Marginalized Youth
ii. Employment and Economic Empowerment
iii. Civic Engagement
iv. Social Protection
v. Health & Wellbeing
vi. Youth-Focused Institutional Reforms
2. National Youth Council (NYC)
In the light of “National Youth Development Framework (NYDF)”, for the first time in Pakistan, Government has notified a 33-member “National Youth Council (NYC)”, comprising outstanding young leaders of Pakistan in different sectors including entertainment, NGO, IT, sports, private sector, and Madaris. NYC also include provincial youth ministers and officials responsible for formulating and executing youth policies.
3. Prime Minister’s Kamyab Jawan Programme
To implement various initiatives for the socio-economic development of youth, Government has launched Prime Minister’s Kamyab Jawan Programme, which has a vast array of projects and initiatives in education, skill training, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement. These initiatives focus on 3Es: Education, Employment and Engagement, and include the following six flagship programmes:
i. Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES)
Under this scheme, subsidized business loans are provided to the potential young entrepreneurs for the promotion of SME sector in the country. These loans are divided into two tiers: Tier-1 loans offer clean lending facility for the small business loans with capital requirement from Rs. 100,000- Rs. 500,000 at 6% mark up. These loans have a tenor of up to 8 years with one year as grace period, and are offered against personal guarantees. They have a debt to equity ratio of 90:10; whereas Tier-2 loans have a relatively bigger ticket size as they cover loans above Rs. 500,000 and up to 5 Million. These loans follow normal banking requirements for guarantee and are given at 8% mark up for a period of 8-yers with first year as a grace period. They have a debt to equity ratio of 80:20.
ii. Skill for All Programme
Under this programme, technical and vocational training is imparted to 150,000 youth both in conventional and high-end technological trades along with international accreditation of 50 Pakistani TVET institutes, in order to enhance acceptability of their graduates in the international labor market. This programme also aims at the advanced training of 2000 TVET teachers to improve upon quality of technical and vocational training in Pakistan. Moreover, 25,000 youth will be trained under Apprenticeship Act 2018 in close collaboration with the industry.
iii. Startup Pakistan Programme
Under this programme, potential young entrepreneurs in public sector universities will be trained and mentored to conceive, incubate, and mature their business plans through access to digital incubation platform. The successful incubates will also be provided with seed funding to launch their startup ventures. Overall objectives of the Prime Minister’s Startup Pakistan Programme are to train one million students from Universities and Technical Colleges, launch 10,000 startups, and connect the national entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem globally through a single digital platform, connecting academia, industry and public stakeholders nationally and internationally.
A PC-1 has been prepared and submitted through HEC to accelerate the expansion of Business Incubation Centers by introducing Blended Incubation model, under the banner of Prime Minister’s Startup Pakistan Programme. HEC’s BICs will provide 500,000 trainings in entrepreneurship and provide blended incubation for all HEC accredited universities across Pakistan to graduate 5,000 start-ups from BICs, established in all Universities of Pakistan.
iv. Green Youth Movement (GYM)
This program extends small grants to Pakistani youth to bring eco-innovative solutions to tackle environmental and climate crises such as solid and liquid waste management, water conservation, renewable energy, agriculture and forestry and eco-tourism. Under this program a network of GYM clubs will be constituted around 110 Higher Education Commission (HEC) recognized public universities around the country. Young eco-innovators will be mentored by top ranking universities of the region and their innovations will be marketed and showcased at international level.
v. Internship Programme
An effective internship programme both for the under grad and post grad students is being conceived with the active participation of private sector including chambers of commerce and industries, trade associations, trade bodies and MNCs to ensure effective learning and maximum retention of the interns after the successful completion of their internships.
vi. Jawan Markaz
A revolutionary initiative to provide one-stop solution to youth-related issues at grassroots level. It would not only provide access to sports and other youth engagement activities but would also provide them with career counselling, mentorship and access to host of digital services aimed at youth development In education, and employment.
4. Kamyab Jawan Portal
An interactive web portal is being launched to collect data on major issues being faced by youth across the country. This information would serve as the baseline data for planning various youth-focused initiatives in different parts of the country.
5. International Partnerships for Youth Development
This office is striving hard to improve image of Pakistani youth abroad. For this purpose, it has started active collaboration with international youth forums like Commonwealth Youth Council and SCO Youth Council. SAPM on Youth Affairs, Mr. Muhammad Usman Dar, met Secretary General of the Commonwealth during his visit to the Commonwealth Headquarters, London in February 2019 to discuss reasons for drop in Pakistan's position in Commonwealth's Youth Global Index, and agreed to take corrective measure in collaboration for its improvement. In April 2019, Mr. Muhammad Usman Dar visited China, and met Chairman of All China Youth Federation. An agreement was reached to strengthen bilateral youth relation through a youth exchange program, as both sides initiated groundwork for the signing of an MOU to establish Pak- China Youth Committee. In June 2019, Mr. Muhammad Usman Dar represented Pakistan in World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, held in Lisbon, Portugal. He apprised the international delegates of steps being taken by Pakistan Government for the development of Youth. Also in June 2019, SAPM on Youth Affairs represented Pakistan in SCO youth forum, held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and briefed the SCO leaders on various initiatives of the Pakistani Government being taken for the socio-economic development of Youth. During the visit, he also successfully lobbied for the inclusion of Pakistan's National Youth Council in SCO Youth Council. Pakistani is on its way to secure membership of SCO Youth Council, as all the spade work in this regard has been accomplished.
100-member delegation of Pakistani youth will visit China from 6-12 November 2019, preparations for which are currently on.
Besides all the above mentioned international engagements, Mr. Muhammad Usman Dar has also been designated Co-Chair of UNDP’s Youth Empowerment Program (YEP), which will raise $30 million for the development of Youth in Pakistan.