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Prime minister to launch Internship Program in Rawalpindi and Islamabad today


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Prime minister to launch Internship Program  in Rawalpindi and Islamabad  today

Islamabad:Prime Minster Yusuf Raza Gilani will launch the first phase of the National Internship Program (NIP) in the Rawalpindi and Islamabad zone today (Friday).

Letters will be issued to 2,300 young candidates for internships in different public sector institutions during the ceremony. A source in the Ministry of Youth Affairs (MoYA) told The News on Thursday that approximately 22,000 letters had already been issued to unemployed youth under this programme. He said that the ministry had received applications from the federal capital, Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, NWFP, AJK, Fata and Northern Areas.

In order to accommodate a larger section of unemployed youth, he said that MoYA plans to increase the age limit to apply for NIP from 25 to 27 years. He said that change of age limit in the application criteria was the initiative of Federal Minister for Youth Affairs Shahid Huassian Bhutto who plans to request Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in this regard shortly. In this way, in addition to fresh graduates, a large number of youth around 25 years of age will benefit from the programme, he said adding that the increase was suggested while keeping in mind the present situation of unemployment among youth.

According to official statistics, over 50,000 youth complete 16 years of education from recognised universities/degree-awarding institutions in the country every year. A considerable time gap between the completion of education and job availability leads to frustration and waste of potential energy among educated youth.

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 organizations. The objective was to provide temporary placement of appropriate number of unemployed and educated youth in relevant and matching government outfits, which could be advantageous for both the government and the unemployed youth.

The internees were provided an attractive monthly stipend of Rs10,000. It is reported that the NIP proved beneficial for both the youth and the public sector. A source in the Establishment Division said that internees helped change the culture of public sector to a great extent. More than 6,000 internees of the year 2007 immediately got jobs in the public and private sectors and the programme also provided trained and capable youth for civil services. This year the government plans to offer internships to approximately 30,000 educated postgraduates under the National Internship Programme for which Rs3.6 billion have been allocated in the Federal Budget 2009/10.

Initiated in 2007, NIP received an overwhelming response from youth looking for employment opportunities and in the same year around 75,000 students applied for internships. Out of these, 26,000 qualified for one-year internship in the public sector. It was the Establishment Division that looked after NIPs first phase while applications for the second phase were invited in March 2008. Unfortunately, due to bureaucratic delays and disinterest of relevant quarters, the second phase was never launched.

In 2008, more than 70,000 students applied for the programme out of which 54,000 were found eligible. However, officials said that the procedure of short listing and recruitment came to a standstill at that time, as the Establishment Division was not provided the required funds to run the programme for one year. Finally, MOYA requested the prime minister to shift NIP to the ministry and the process was restarted. Sources said that government released more than Rs16 billion for NIP in 2008 that was not utilised for almost a year. During that period, youth kept calling the relevant departments to know the status of their applications. This year, the ministry received a total of 71,918 applications out of which 44,205 were received online whereas 27,713 came through snail mail. After initial verifications, 19,463 applications were rejected while 52,455 were sent to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for verification of degrees.
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