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Rozgar Scheme lacks selection criteria

June 10, 2011

LAHORE, June 10: The Punjab Rozgar Scheme for the youth, which includes provision of yellow cabs and loans on easy terms, looks like an attempt to woo voters before the next general elections, say critics.

They particularly expressed their astonishment over the re-introduction of the yellow cab scheme while mentioning the one launched by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 1992 which ultimately flopped, making banks, especially the National Bank of Pakistan, lose billions of rupees.

Many had imported luxury vehicles under the scheme and kept them for personal use. In a few years most of the yellow cabs disappeared as their owners changed their colour.

According to the 2011-12 budget document, 20,000 locally made up to 800cc yellow cabs will be provided to the educated unemployed youth on easy terms. This will cost Rs 4.50 billion. The share of south Punjab will be 40 per cent.

There is no mention of the method of selection of the recipients of the vehicles, making critics of the government believe that these will be distributed among PML-N workers or sympathisers. There is no mention of the terms on which the vehicles will be distributed, or of the method that will ensure the use of the vehicles only as cabs.

The budget shows allocation of Rs 2 billion for giving Rs 20,000 interest-free loan to each of the 100,000 educated or skilled youth. Again, there is no mention of the selection of the recipients. And the critics wonder as to how educated and skilled youth can start cottage industry or small scale business with this meager amount.

The third aspect of the employment scheme is grant of 12.50 acres to 25 acres of state land to agriculture and veterinary graduates on a 15-year lease. The recipients, nearly 3,000, will also be given a loan of Rs900,000 each for establishing model agriculture farms on granted land.