Pakistan at present has the highest youth bulge ever recorded in its history. According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), 64% of Pakistan’s population is below the age of 30. And this bulge is forecasted to increase until at least 2050 as statistical analysis shows.

Such a huge youth bulge can either prove a boon or a bane. Fortunately enough, the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) knows this fact quite well. For this reason, the federal cabinet has approved an ambitious scheme, Wazir-e-Azam Kamyab Naujawan Programme, worth rupees 100 billion. It is indeed a welcome development in times when many are not happy with the performance of PTI’s government and are disillusioned by the much-repeated “Naya Pakistan” rhetoric of PTI.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Fidous Ashiq Awan has already informed the public on how the government will distribute the package among the youth in a press conference. Let’s hope the programme is not a repetition of earlier such schemes which proved to be failures in steering the youth bulge to find sustainable employment. The government needs to come up with a comprehensive plan in this regard. The government needs to take a radical shift from past practices in this regard. In all previous governments, the state would award loans to the youth without keeping track of how the young people were utilising those loans. There was no oversight of the government.

However, what the incumbent government needs to do is to keep an oversight on the business ideas of the young people. The state needs to make the business ideas and proposals of the young people more job-creating ones. It is appreciable that the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (Smeda) will be assisting the youth in establishing their businesses. However, with the state’s oversight, it will prove more beneficial.

Nevertheless, the initiative of the government to assist youth in finding sustainable entrepreneurial opportunities is what is the need of the hour. The state should neither the vast sum of money allocated for the purpose nor should it ignore the oversight that the younger ones may need to make their businesses and start-ups successful.

The approved scheme is indeed a step forward in the right direction. A humble suggestion to the authorities is to invest all their energies in the success of this programme. It is not just an ambitious project that the government needs for its reputation, but it is a project that the youth direly needs to utilise their energies in building the nation.