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Federal govt launches Rs150bn PM’s Youth Development Package

By Mehtab Haider
March 22, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Federal government has formally launched the Prime Minister’s Youth Development Package worth Rs150 billion amid to empower the youth which are ‘biggest asset’ of the country.

Under the umbrella of PM’s Youth Development Initiatives, 15 programmes were launched by the Federal Minister for Planning Development & Special Initiatives, Professor Ahsan Iqbal during a ceremony held 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 have attended the ceremony.

The 15 youth development initiatives include 60,000 internships, technical and vocational trainings for 100,000 youth, 100,000 laptops, 5000 scholarships for students of Balochistan and former Fata, 1000 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 Rs 5-20 million each, Rasta grants for research, 12 Seerat chairs, seven centres of excellence and uplift of 20 poorest districts and Pakistan.

“The two-third of the country’s population is based on young people who must be empowered through education and skills so that they can contribute for the socio-economic development of the country, "said Ahsan Iqbal in his remarks while addressing the participants. The minister said that Pakistan will cater the youth bulge till 2050 and it is essential to utilize their abilities so that they can perform for the country’s economic growth.

Minister's Ba-Ikhtiyar Naujawan Internship Programme is Pakistan’s largest internship programme aimed at the economic empowerment of youth. This internship will help in addressing the critical entry barriers to 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, 5000 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 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), Ahsan Iqbal 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.

Minister also took oath from Young Peace Development Corps (YPDC) who were attached to the country's various universities. The key objective of 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 Shazia Fatima said that the government is committed to provide a conducive and enabling environment to the country’s youth so that they can be empowered and perform for the country’s socio-economic growth.