Youth Employment and Peace

Kumar Paudel

The Maoist became able to physically win most of the wars with the help of such young combatants. Later, the Maoist came to mainstream politics by signing a Comprehensive Peace Accord on 21 November 2006 with seven political parties. This agreement overthrew the Nepalese monarchy and established the Democratic People's Republic of Nepal. The Moist led the government. Still, they are leading the government. However, they have been unable to secure the economic status of young people. This has increased the number of unemployed young people in the country day by day.

The Nepali Civil War (labelled People's War by the Maoists) was a conflict between government forces and Maoist rebels in Nepal, which lasted from 1996 until 2006. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) started the war on 13 February 1996. During the war, the Maoist used a large number of unemployed youth as fighters or combatants to fight with the government security forces.

Now the number of unemployed youth has crossed 2.5 Million. The country is facing Problem-related to youth unemployment which will become acuter in the next decade as the labour force in the region is also expected to grow by around 2.1 percent a year, warns the International Labor Organization (ILO). According to the statistics, at least 0.4 million youth enter the labour market every year. According to the recent study carried out by National Planning Commission, at least 0.3 million youth go abroad in search of a job, at least 25 thousand out of remaining 0.1million youth are found to have jobbed hardly.

As the state fails to chalk out proper strategies to provide jobs, the problem is gaining urgency day by day. The increasing rate of unemployment has turned the youths into a frustrated lot and caused severe mental illness. Most of the youth who visit doctors are found to have stated unemployment as the main cause of tension and frustration. This may even encourage them to engage in destructive activities like terrorism. They suffer low self-esteem, exclusion from mainstream society and impoverishment. The doctors have given a warning to the government that there would be grave consequences if the youth unemployment were not addressed.

Approximately 700 young migrant workers from Nepal leave for various labour-receiving countries every day or gulf countries with dreams of making money with loans taken at high-interest rates or by selling the family property for loans. Around 200 Nepali labourers die each month, and ferrying those bodies back to Nepal for proper funeral rites takes more than a year without any kind of compensation. Most workers return home with nothing but their debts and mental illness like depression and schizophrenia. Mental illness has also resulted in the suicide of young migrants. Suicidal tendencies and actual attempts are common in depressed migrant workers/returnees. According to a recent report published by the Parliamentary Committee on Women, Children and Social Welfare, nine Nepali housemaids committed suicide in Lebanon alone in the past three years.

The youth have started coming on the street demanding employment with the government. There is a maximum probability of above-mentioned more than 2.5 million youth coming to the street demanding employment. If their demands are not fulfilled then their next step could be the birth of another civil war by more than 2.5 million youth. Industrialisation is very important for the creation of jobs. Being a country rich in natural resources, Nepal has the maximum possibility of natural resources-based industries like the tourism industry, agricultural industry, hydro industry etc.

I would like to make it clear by giving an example of just employment prospects through the tourism industry in Nepal. The World Tourism Organization has revealed that one foreign tourist in Nepal could employ at least 12 people. The government declared 2011 as the Nepal Tourism Year with a target of bringing 1 million tourists in 2011. The government could not meet the target. However, if the government gave the tourism industry a higher priority and became able to bring at least 12 million tourists in a year then at least 12 million people could be engaged in the economic sector. Additionally, we can create more and more jobs through other natural-based industries.

Now, the country is in the process of making the constitution just for the sake of building peace in the country. Nevertheless, I say that unless and until the government created jobs for the unemployed youth then there will not be lasting peace in the country no matter how well the constitution will be.

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