NIP closed down at provincial level

Islamabad:Adding to the list of federal initiatives that have suffered as a result of devolution, the National Internship Programme (NIP) has also been closed down at the provincial level. Talking to The News , NIP Director General Muntazir Hussain confirmed the news and said that the federal government would now manage NIP at the capital level only under Ministry of Professional and Technical Training. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani created this ministry on July 29. The federal government will also cater to the youth from Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Fata, he said. After 18th Amendment, the NIP was shifted to Establishment Division as it was attached with the Ministry of Youth Affairs (MoYA), which made part of the first five ministries devolved under 18 Amendment. Later, the provinces were asked to run NIP in their respective areas with provincial resources. As expected, the Punjab and Sindh governments have informed in writing that they have decided to close the initiative due to lack of resources. The Balochistan government has asked the details about the resources required to run NIP whereas KP government has decided to review the project, said a source in NIP. Started in the year 2007, the National Youth Programme (NIP) quickly grabbed the attention of freshly graduated youth that was looking for employment opportunity. Each year, thousands of youngsters applied in NIP to get the valuable experience. In the year 2007, around 75,000 students applied for the programme that acceded 100,000 in 2010. From 2007 to 2010, the NIP offered internships to 85,000 boys and girls. The rationale of the programme was to provide job experience to youth while side-by-side addressing the chronic shortage of staff in various public sector organisations. The project was aimed at providing temporary placement to unemployed and educated youth in relevant and matching government outfits, which could be advantageous for both government and the unemployed youth. The internees were offered a monthly stipend of Rs10,000. The project was started under the Establishment Division which was shifted to Ministry of Youth Affairs in the year 2008. After the ministry was devolved, it was shifted to Establishment Division again and now the initiative has become part of newly established Ministry of Professional and Technical Training that is still coping with the teething problems. The federal government has cut down the NIP budget from Rs3.6 billion to Rs70 million only for the fiscal year 2011-12. The budget was passed in the National Assembly but not a single member Parliament raised any question or concern over the cut on youth related initiative, said the source. It is pertinent to note here that among 50,000 internships issued last year, only 6,000 were from capital city. The source said that in its proposal, the NIP requested the federal government to finance the project for one more year. We, at NIP, proposed that within one year, we will be able to device the exit strategy but unfortunately that decision was against continuing the project in provinces.The news.

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