Islamabad March 22 2023: The Federal Government on Tuesday formally unveiled the Prime Minister’s Youth Development Package worth Rs 150 billion to equip the younger generation, considered the country’s ‘biggest asset,’ with modern and technical education for their empowerment.
Under the umbrella of the PM’s Youth Development Initiatives, as many as 15 programmes were launched by Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Professor Ahsan Iqbal at a ceremony here, a news release said.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Youth Affairs Shaza Fatima, Higher Education Commission Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed and thousands of students from across the country attended the ceremony.
The 15 youth development initiatives include 60,000 paid internships, technical and vocational trainings for 100,000 youth, distribution of 100,000 laptops, provision of 5,000 scholarships for the students of Balochistan and erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), around 1,000 PhD scholarships at top 100 universities in the United States and 75 scholarships at top 25 universities of the world, establishing 21 university campuses in remote districts and 250 sports complexes, besides 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 centers of excellence and uplift of 20 poorest districts of the country.
“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 to the socio-economic development of the country,” Professor Ahsan Iqbal said while addressing the ceremony participants.
The minister said Pakistan would cater to the youth bulge till 2050 as it was essential to utilize their abilities so that they could play their due role in the growth of the national economy.
The Prime Minister’s Ba-Ikhtiyar Naujawan Internship Programme is Pakistan’s largest internship programme that aims at the economic empowerment of youth. The internship programme will help in addressing the critical entry barriers to the market and enhance employability, under which 60,000 paid internships will be awarded to young graduates from across Pakistan.
To eradicate the sense of deprivation from the people of Balochistan, who remained neglected in the past, the incumbent government initiated a scholarship programme for the students of Balochistan, and ex-FATA, under which around 5,000 scholarships will be awarded.
These scholarships will help the students of Balochistan and ex-FATA in pursuing their higher education in their respective fields.
It is for the first time that any government has started a project to uplift the 20 poorest districts for which funds of Rs 40 billion have been earmarked.
Planning Minister Professor Ahsan Iqbal has been actively pursuing the initiatives since he assumed charge in April 2022.
During 2013-2017, Ahsan Iqbal under the Vision of 2025 had started several initiatives, but some of the projects were stopped by the previous government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which are now being restarted again.
At the launching ceremony, the minister also took oath from Young Peace Development Corps (YPDC) that was attached to the country’s various universities.
The key objective of the YPDC is to bring young people together, exchange ideas and collaborate on projects, promoting peace and addressing root causes of conflict and violence in their communities
Earlier speaking on the occasion, SAPM Shaza Fatima said the government was committed to providing a conducive and enabling environment to the youth so that they could be empowered, making them able to play a role in the socio-economic uplift of the country