Budget 2021-22 and the Youth


Pakistanis were hopeful that the federal government would spell a much-anticipated and needed friendly budget.

A week ago, the federal government and two days ago, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government unveiled a pro-people and business-friendly budget that had a chunk allocated for the empowerment of youth. Several proposals were hailed as positive for the economy and some were way amazing for the empowerment of women and youth.

In that case, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, like every year, has been making strides in empowering the youth and women. For instance, they have allocated Rs 10 bn for small and medium enterprises, women, youth, minorities, and businesses hit by the pandemic.

Similarly, the government will also provide interest-free loans ranging from Rs20,000 to Rs1 million to 25,000 young people.

Importance of Youth Empowerment:

The 1.1 billion youth are a significant group in the world, they have the ideas and perfect energy to shape a better world through innovation and imagination.

Around 65% of the country’s population represents the youth aged between 15 to 33, which has posed many challenges to the social and economic sectors of the state.

As compared to all the countries, youth employment rates are everywhere considerably higher than in Pakistan.

The importance of empowering youth for a bright tomorrow is connected to the financial elevation and the increment of the standard of living. It could only be pursued by promoting youth rights, activism, and investing in their empowerment.

By uplifting the youth you are eradicating poverty, providing improved standard education, good governance, reducing crime rates, and creating employment opportunities.

Despite youth being the talk of the town, the millennials still go through hurdles every day, as they lack the understanding of how to channelize their energy in the right direction.

Where on one side, rapid technological developments and globalization have given birth to increased labor mobility and created new employment opportunities, however on the other side, there is a sheer lack of unemployment due to downsizing, the high growth rate of population, faulty education system, poor governance and most importantly deep-rooted corruption.

Youth job opportunities allow a person to achieve a milestone towards independence, self-reliance, and transition into adulthood. It promotes social integration, citizenship, and intergenerational dialogue. It also develops an appreciation for the value of education.

What can the government do to empower youth?

The 2021-22 budget also mentioned providing 65% of youth with job opportunities. They announced to adopt the bottom-up approach as every citizen will be provided with up to Rs5 lac loan to initiate a business but that is not enough.

It is high time the governments meet the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), address youth unemployment, and promote entrepreneurship. But is there a cohesive way and strategy for this?

The government needs to spark entrepreneurship, just like in this budget, the government has allocated an amount for the empowerment of youth by providing them interest-free loans, a good chunk allocated for the Kamyaab Jawaan Markaz, not just that but there needs to be done more. 

They need to be impact-centered by making policies in the context of young people’s lives today, the more you spend, the more it will make a significant impact. Give them a voice and a seat on the table by engaging them in decision-making processes both provincially and federally.

Provide as many pieces of training as they can. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has already introduced Durshal, a gateway envisaged to anchor digital transformation by creating a network of community spaces in the province. The purpose is to enable the youth to collaborate and create with innovation and launch new businesses. Such programs are much much needed.

And lastly, showcase and create case studies of successful youth entrepreneurs, highlight their struggles and stories.

The 21st century is not far away, it’s here, it’s today. If you invest in youth, you are investing in a prosperous future. The more government will create youth empowering programs, the more they will shine. They will take it as a responsibility to personally take initiative to do better for the country to give back.  

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