Youth unemployment in Balochistan

Youth unemployment is the only sector which had been deliberately ignored by the decision makers for the past six decades or more. There is no significant project launched to address the issue of youth unemployment which is one of the root causes of unrest and disquiet in this Province. In recent years, the number of Universities had been increased to five and Government is planning to establish three more medical colleges in different parts of Balochistan. It will give a boost to production of trained manpower and professionals in various fields and the Government is totally blank on future planning to accommodate the army of jobless professionals. According to one estimate, more than 25,000 graduates, post-graduates and professionals in various fields are yearly joining the army of jobless people. The Chief Minister is on record to have told the media that out of 30 districts, people of 29 districts are much below the poverty line having no means to get a single meal a day. During visits to villages and remote settlements of the Province, hardly a few people are given Government jobs while other people are forced to live with the meagre local and undeveloped resources which are not sustainable to cater the needs of the local inhabitants. Poverty is rampant in 29 districts only because of backwardness. Without a decent and basic infrastructure, the concept of economic development is misleading and self defeating. Take the main economic artery of Balochistan—the RCD Highway—which is under construction since the US Marshal Plan initiated to support the economies destroyed economies during the World War II.
The US and western countries considered it a high value security highway which was supported by erstwhile military allies of Pakistan, Iran and Turkey as part of the Anti-Soviet and anti-Russian alliance to contain Soviet Communism. Economic development will ensure job opportunities making the life of the people sustainable if it is carried out on regular basis. Without infrastructure, economic development is inconceivable. If we look at the Federal Government spending on development of Balochistan on yearly basis, it was confined to few crores for first 40 years of Pakistan. It was late 2000s that the Provincial Government is spending couple of billions on development projects without planning and support from experts, economists and professional planners. During the past three to four years, the Provincial Government is spending around Rs 30 billions yearly on uplift projects, all insignificant and total waste of resources. No scheme of worth mentioning can be identified by the successive three Governments that had any impact on the provincial economy, generating revenue of the Provincial Exchequer or providing employment to a significant number of people. On the contrary, the Punjab Government is pumping in hundreds of billions of rupees in the provincial economy and an equal amount is pumped by the Federal Government making Punjab economic super power of Pakistan with a decent infrastructure and developing Lahore at par with the mega cities of the world.
Thus the Government of Balochistan should review its priority to end with the present politics of PSDP and MPAs related development funds and prepare long term plans for organized and sustainable development of its provincial economy. The main objective of the long term planning should be generating employment in large scale, develop the provincial economy and generate more resources of the Government for future development. The Cabinet as an institution should oversee the functioning of national building developments barring the Ministers and MPAs from day-to-day interferences and changes in the PSDP on daily basis. The Ministers and MPAs should be asked to make suggestions at the time of preparation of development plan only. Once planning is complete, it should be handed over to the economic managers and experts to implement the plan ensuring sustainable growth addressing the issue of youth unemployment first and revenue for the provincial exchequer later. There is vast scope for developing an industrial base in Balochistan. Dozens of cement factories, textile mills, garment factories, fish and date processing plants can be established in all parts of Balochistan. Fish resources can be tapped by barring the trawler Mafia of Sindh and other countries destroying marine life, generating substantial employment for youth. Date process plants should outmatch Iran and give a boost to value added date to world over. Even it will help food security in Balochistan being a substitute to many food items.

 

Siddiq Baluch

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