Numbers matter

Pakistan’s young population has grown at a breathtaking pace in the past decade. According to Pakistan Labour Force Survey, the population of citizens aged 15-24 years increased from 28.14 million to 37.4 million during the period 2002-2013.

The gender disaggregation of the 37.4 million youth in 2012-13 shows that 19.35 million are males (51.67%) and 18.1 millions are female(48.33%).

In terms of labour force participation, 43.6 percent of the 37.4 million youth were economically active in 2012-13, while 56.4 percent were out of the labour force and about 8.1 percent are unemployed.

The education profile of the employed youth reveals that 36.74 percent of them do not have any formal education, whereas 55.15 percent studied below intermediate level. Astonishingly, this makes a total of 91.15 percent of the employed youth with education level below intermediate.

Youth with education above intermediate and up to Masters and M.Phil degrees ranging in subjects including engineering, medicine, agriculture, social sciences, natural sciences and all others, comprise of a mere 8.1 percent of the employed youth.

Employed Youth

The analysis of their employment status reveals that the majority of them   (around 57 percent) are working as unpaid family helpers followed by paid employees (42.68 percent), while only 0.23 percent of youth are independent employers.

 Among the 14.5 million employed youth, 43.41 percent are employed in agriculture, forestry and fishing sector, which is followed by the manufacturing sector at 18.2 percent and wholesale & retail trade sector employees 14.77 percent.

Real estate sector employs the lowest proportion of youth at just 0.08 percent of total youth employment.  The remaining 23.56 percent are employed in other sectors including, social work activities, information and communication, and financial and insurance companies.

An analysis of employed youth with technical or vocational training reveals that over 84 percent of the 14.5 million employed youth have not received any kind of vocational or technical training such as auto or engine mechanics, carpentry, tying, computer or tailoring etc.

Amongst the 15.7 percent employed youth with technical or vocational training, 9.44 percent have taken off-job training; whereas 6.2 percent of the youth have taken on-job training.

In total, 2.2 million youth have taken some form of vocational trainings. A majority of the youth have taken training in tailoring and sewing at 28 percent, while 14.3 percent youth choose to take driving trainings.  The remaining 2.2 million employed youth have received other forms of training, including repair of machineries, arm repairs, drillings, garment making and live stock etc.

Earnings

The analysis of monthly earnings of paid employed youth by education level highlights an alarming situation in the youth labour market. It is observed that youth with no formal education have an average monthly earning of Rs. 7,016.2, while those with pre-primary level of education, on average earn Rs. 7,202 per month.  Young people with education above primary level and below middle level earn Rs. 7,472.8 per month, while employed youth with education achievement above middle but below matric earn Rs. 8,284.2.

Moving up to matric level, the average monthly earnings comes out at Rs. 8,448.5. This comparison illustrates that the difference between earnings of the youth with no formal education and those with matric mounts to just Rs. 1,432.4, highlighting the low returns of education up to the matriculation level.

Those with professional degrees earn, on average Rs. 13,359.5 per month, while for MA/MPhil degree holders, the mean earnings rises to Rs.18, 034.8.

The Unemployed

The unemployment rate of youth for the year 2012-13 is 10.54 percent. The educational profile of unemployed youth reveals that 17.07 percent have no formal education, while 39.21 percent have education up to middle level.

Another 21.47 percent of the unemployed youth have education up to matric but below intermediate level, and 11 percent have attained education up to intermediate but below degree level – while only 3.1 percent of unemployed youth have M.A/M.Sc, M.Phil/PhD degrees. A total of 0.19 million unemployed youth have received some form of technical/vocational training, whereas 1.5 million of their unemployed counterparts have never taken any vocational or technical training in life.  The high share of economically inactive youth is an alarming sign for future growth and development prospects of the country.  A substantial majority of the out of labour force youth is female, representing 78.9 percent of all inactive youth in 2012-13. Both the cases reveal that the impact of gender discrimination is higher in labour market in case of Pakistan.

This large mass of youth does not contribute to the economic prosperity of the country willingly. For this bulk of youth awareness is essential in order to minimize the cost which the society bears as a whole.

The above analysis of youth labour market prospects highlights a number of challenges; including majority of the youth being employed in low skill jobs, low educational attainment of employed youth, high unemployment among educated youth, and low earnings gap among educated and illiterate youth.  Most importantly almost half of the out of labour force youth is not enrolled in education.

Recommendations

The government’s response to the emerging issue is worth mentioning. After the 18th Constitutional Amendment in 2010, the subject of youth was devolved into provinces.

Department of youth affairs in each province is attempting to encourage improvement in youth’s skills and capacities. However, a focused and holistic approach is yet to be developed and implemented, which would directly impact the high rates of youth unemployment.

In some provinces like Baluchistan, the department of youth affairs is not operational yet, while in all other provinces these departments are focusing more on promotion of sports, arranging seminars, and promoting youth organizations; instead of taking any tangible measures.

On the other hand, the Prime Minister’s youth schemes including laptop schemes, skill development schemes, and loan schemes have not shown any positive effects on the current market situation of youth unemployment.

Additionally, government’s attempts as suggested in the annual plans include the promotion and establishment of the National Vocational and Technical Training Commissions, Youth Development Centers, (YDCs), e-learning centers for youth, youth internship programs, IT labs and Danish Schools do not seem to have made much of a difference on the ground level to address youth labour market vulnerabilities.

Traditional attempts have not been very successful in improving the market situation of youth labour force, with youth being exposed to worsening economic circumstances.

In order to adequately address youth labour market challenges, the government should take an evidence based approach, on the basis of which scarce public resources are allocated to the most efficient programs and projects having the highest impact.

The government should stick to the 4Cs rule: Commitment, Consistent, Continuity, and Courage. It should take holistic approach and practice long steps forward to ensure decent employment opportunities for youth.

As a result the dynamic population can contribute to the prosperity of economy and society with their skill and potential which would certainly assist to accomplish economic stability.

This article was published earlier at The News International.

http://magazine.thenews.com.pk/mag/moneymatter_detail.asp?id=9107&magId=10&catId=82#sthash.sDxTrcGu.dpuf

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Will Pakistan be able to achieve its Target by 2015?

Education is one of the important things, which is essential for the development of the human capital.pakistan-school-girls-ogb-79792 MDG2 has aimed to endeavor the increase in the primary education and achieve universal primary education in the country by 2015. The right to education has also been one of the clauses of the article 25a of constitution of Pakistan. Moreover the 18th amendment has also provided the extensive devolution of functions to provincial governments including the subject of education.
Primary School Enrollment
Contrarily statistics show that Pakistan is not progressing according to the targets it has set in order to achieve its goal. Pakistan adopted MDG target of 100 percent for 2015, against its baseline of 46 percent in 1990/91. So far currently the net primary enrollment ratio is only 57%. While in 2001-2002 the net primary enrollment rate was 42%. However evidence from the last 12 years shows that Pakistan has not shown enough progress on achieving its goal. Primary school enrollment increased by 10 percent to 52 percent between 2001- 2002. In spite of the fact that number of primary schools grew more than 50000 in 2005, the enrollment rate has not been appreciable. Keeping this thing in mind, it is really hard to meet the MDG target on this indicator.
On the other hand the completion of 1 to 5 grades is now only 50%; however which was 57% during 2001-2002. The MDG target is 100 by 2015. One of the major objectives is to achieve a total literary of 88% in 2015; the target so far achieved is only 58%, which were 45 in 2001-02.
Disparity among Provinces
There has been significant disparity among provinces as well. Punjab has the highest literacy rates however Baluchistan has its lowest. The national average of literacy has been pulled up by Punjab. The progress of the individual provinces is below.
KPK in spite of the war against terror, performing well as compared to other provinces; it does not witness the decrease in literacy rate.
Due to the impact of floods and the displacement of indigenous population Sindh as shown decrease its enrollments since 2008/09 falling from 54% to 50% in 2011/2012.
AJ&K has show progress up to 2006, but later on from 2007 to 2011, its progress remained stagnant.
The net enrollment rates of the GB climbed up to 41% in 2011-2012. FATA’s NER at 31 percent in 2012 is the lowest in country.
Thus the above statistics show that progress in Pakistan is not significant in the educational sector, either the government needs to speed up its progress or they need to revise its target.

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A threat to the Minorities is a threat to the Ideology of Pakistan

Pakistan was established in the name of Islam, a state where freedom of choice and freedom of faith was to be practiced. Quaid-The Father of Nation made this country with his tiresome and strenuous efforts so that Muslims can spend a peaceful life, conversely what we witness today is a situation of hue and cry, life insecurity, rising unrest, killing in the name of religion, coupled with both social and economical backwardness.

The current threat to the Ismaili Muslims and the Kalash tribe (who are descendents from Alexander the Great) residing in Chitral Imagelocated in North Western Frontier Province in Pakistan is very alarming. It is upside down of the ideology of Pakistan. Moreover genocide is practiced openly in the country. After persistent rise of inhuman bloodshed in the tribal areas, atrocious killings of Shia in the Quetta, and the brutal killing of the Christians in Peshawar, now threats are being sent by TTP to the other Ismaili Muslims and the Kalash minority residing in Chitral.

In a 50 minutes long video released on Friday, 2 February, TTP threatens both the minorities openly, which reads, “By the grace of Allah, an increasing number of people from the Kalash tribe are embracing Islam and we want to make it clear to the Kalash tribe that they will be eliminated along with their protectors, the Western agents if they don’t embrace Islam,”  additionally “The Aga Khan Foundation is running 16 schools and 16 colleges and hostels where young men and women are given free education and brainwashed to keep them away from Islam,” the narrator says.

The incessant rise of TTP in Pakistan is a very big challenge, due to which unfortunately our motherland is known as “The Land of Terrorists”. The practices of TTP are against the basic principles of Islam, the teachings of Holy Prophet, and the ideology of the country. Islam is a religion of peace, brotherhood, and love. The threat to both the Ismaili Muslims and the Kalash Tribe of the valley is not only a threat to the minorities rather; it is a threat to ideology of Pakistan.

Failure of governance, weak public policy and malfunctioning of institutions is solely responsible for current crisis in the country.  For more than a decade we are witnessing escalation of Taliban militants, who started with a number of hundreds, reached thousands and still incessantly increasing in the country. What the government is waiting for? Additionally what pragmatic steps by the authorities we have witnessed so far in order to curb the rising challenge? Alternatively our leaders are offering them peace dialogue. Authorities have still enough time to take some serious steps to check this major issue prevailing in the country. Moreover the current step taken by Tassaduq Hussain is highly appreciated hope it will ensure security to both the minorities of the Chitral Valley. 

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The valley is Bleeding-In solidarity with the people of Kashmir

Historically Kashmir was ruled by Muslims from 14th to 18th century, until 1819 when

Kashmir is bleeding

Kashmir is bleeding

Ranjit Singh, the Sikh ruler of Punjab conquered it. Subsequently he acknowledged Gulab Singh, who entered his services as Raja of Jammu. Gulab Singh expanded his rule all over Kashmir except for the valley which he purchased from Britishers for a sum of 7.5 million rupees in 1846.

At the time of partition there were in total 560 princely states, which were to decide whether to join India or Pakistan. All of them decide except for Kashmir, Junagadh and Hyderabad. Both Junagadh and Hyderabad decide their accession after some time, but the accession of the Kashmir to any of dominions remained undecided.
Kashmir being one of the Muslim majority states, with 78% Muslims want to give its accession to Pakistan, however the ruler being a non Muslim want to be with India, however the matter remained undecided. In June 1947 Lord Mountbatten also went to Kashmir and advised maharajah to join India, who was followed by Ghandi, however it was suggested to hold a plebiscite in the state to decide its future.

Kashmir shares boundary of 902 miles with Pakistan, and only 317 miles with India. The three rivers from Kashmir directly flow into Pakistan. Moreover the two land roots which connect it with rest of the world enter into Kashmir through Rawalpindi and Sialkot. Keeping in view these prospects it is worthy for Kashmir to join Pakistan.

In accordance with these issues, two of the resolutions were passed on 13 August 1948 and 5 January 1949 but ultimately both failed to have satisfactory results.
The Kashmir issue was taken to UN in 1957, which later seems to do not take it seriously. Several of the presidents of the council visited to observe the issue, but finally they suggested it to be solved according to the will of Kashmir is. In short so far UN also failed to resolve the matter.

History reads, the tyrannical ruler of the Kashmir tried to strike out the massive population of Muslims from Kashmir with the help of the external forces. Since many of the personals were those who fought in the Second World War therefore they were able to face the tyrannical attitude of the ruler. The ruler was accused of the genocide of the Muslim population in the state. Many of the times Pakistani military entered to help their Muslim brothers, but the demilitarization of the forces also remained a long debated issue between the two dominions.

Up till now, hundred thousands of the lives have been lost, the valley is bleeding. No single day passes without violence, bomb blasts. This issue has fueled weapons and nuclear proliferation around the region. In addition to the wars of 1948, 1965 and 1971 between two countries Kashmir issue has been characterized as nuclear flash-point in the region.

Now the questions arises how long the valley will keep bleeding? How more mothers will lose their sons, brothers and husband? How long the people will morn lack of identity, and self determination? Will the UN take a stance to solve it? These are the few questions which need to be addressed.

In conclusion as soon as the issue gets solved the valley won’t be able to take a sigh of relief, it will keep bleeding between the uncertain circumstances. More over regional harmony, prosperity and the peace is not possible. Both the nations are required to think over the matter, and solve it as soon as possible. On this day, I wholeheartedly express my solidarity with the people of Kashmir. May it get identity and live long.

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Urban Poverty rises persistently in Pakistan

A little boy carrying bag of waste in the urban areas of Pakistan.

A little boy carrying waste of bag in the urban areas of Pakistan.

Pakistan has been reported to be a place which is dangerous for human life; it faces range of challenges from lack of the good governance to the inequality of the wealth. Poverty rises as consequences of these challenges, which Pakistan is facing severely as a whole, however according to annual report recently issued by the State Bank of Pakistan, population in the urban areas is poorer than that of rural areas.
This is as a result of the poor economic growth, in addition to the high influx of the population to the urban areas. The distribution of the resources in urban areas is highly skewed than those of the rural areas, in urban areas 60% of the sources are availed by 20% of the population, in contrast this is not the case in rural area. It is worth mentioning here that the traditional perception of the urban and rural divide on the basis of economic prosperity is no more application in recent times.
Since 2008, country is facing an economic growth at a pace as low as 3%, ever since economy has remained sluggish. Average economic growth remained at 3%, contrarily in order to absorb the high influx of youth it must be high enough. On the other hand the wide range of the unemployment has forced the urban population into poverty, additionally savings ratio of economy as a whole is vanished. As reported by the State bank of Pakistan, for the FY-13 the national savings declined to 13.8pc, for sure which is a very bad indicator.
These facts and the statistics are enough to have a true picture of our economy; government is required to take immediate measure which could at least initiate the economic revival. It must take serious measures in order to pursue high economic growth, to reduce poverty and in order to improve human development. For this reasons it needs to consult experts, rather than relying on self-proclaimed economic rainmakers, who have been replicating the past policies. This is how we can End Poverty in Pakistan.

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Some National Statistics of Pakistan at the end of first half of FY14

Inflation fell to single digit; it declined from 10.9 in November to 9.2 in December.Finance-Chart-Statistics-Backgrounds-1000x750
Rupee appreciated 2.9 % in December after falling 8.9% against dollar in previous 5 months of same fiscal year.
Domestic debt growth declined to 3.5 %in July to august from 5.7 percent in the same period last year.
Fiscal deficit has also declined to 2.2 percent in Q1FY14 from 2.9 % in Q1FY13.
In the first half of the FY14 federal government borrowed a total of 716 PKR billion, and retired 47.6 PKR billion to the commercial banks. In the second quarter government is expected to retire central bank credit through its borrowing from commercial banks.

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Get one and change your life-“Veronica Decides to Die” by Paulo Coelho

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A must read novel by the author of all time bestseller.

The Brazilian author Paulo Coelho was born in 1947, who dreamt to be an author during his early ages when he was at school. However his family wanted him to be an engineer since it was the profession adopt by his father, however he made his dream came true by his dedication and the passion towards writing. He is amongst the best novelist of his times, and his novel Al-Chemist has been best selling book of all time. The Manuscript found in Accra is one of other widely read books among range of his publications.

“Veronica decides to die” is one of the best novels by the author. This novel is about a girl Veronika who has every thing in her life, she wished for. She is pretty and young with a number of boy friends. Her family loves her a lot and she a steady job as well and there is nothing which could make her sad or feel like she has any constraint in her life. But still she is not happy with her life. For that reason she took overdose of the sleeping pills, when she opened her eyes after a long time, she found herself in a local hospital. Although she was alive but she was told by the physicians that her heart has been damaged severely, this message gave her ultimate happiness since she decided to die, however later on she decided to think about her life. 

The story goes on and she starts questioning her ideas about life. She realizes that every second of existence in our lives is to make a choice between living and dying. In shortly she tries to find out what the actual meaning of living is, and the way she explores her life is inspirational. Well this novel also gives an insight about how do people have to deal with mental illness.

Well the doctor who treated Veronica during her illness in hospital is a central character of the novel; he is an ambitious, dedicated and inspirational physician with his eyes on alternative methods and techniques. The author being a wonderful storyteller with his ability to inspire people and is responsible for changing lives of several people, has uniquely wrote this novel which realizes us that every moment in our lives is special and precious. This book has changed many of the lives and has changed the perception of many people the way they think about their lives.

Reading an interesting book is worth than a hundred things, this is correct in case of the Paulo Coelho’s books and novels. The “Veronica decided to die” is such a kind of book in which the story is being told with a specific flow and an inspirational way. It has changed many of the lives, this is one of the best books in my list, and I highly recommend reading it. It is an excellent and a must read novel for all ages. So be quick get one and change your life. 

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