Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal unveiling the plan. Image Credit: Supplied

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s federal government has unveiled the Prime Minister’s Youth Development Package worth Rs150 billion (Dh1.95 billion) to equip the youth of the country with modern technical and vocational methods of education.

Under the initiative, 15 programmes have been launched.

The details and implementation mechanism of the new programme is yet to be sorted out. However, according to the Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, it is a mega programme of youth empowerment which included 60,000 internships, technical and vocational training for 100,000 youths, distribution of 100,000 laptops, 5,000 scholarships for students of Balochistan and the formerly Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) districts, 1,000 PhD scholarships at the top 100 US universities, 75 scholarships at top 25 universities of the world, 21 university campuses in remote districts, 250 sports complexes, youth peace and development student councils in 80 universities, 75 leadership awards, 500 innovation grants worth Rs5-20 million each, Rasta grants for research, 12 Seerat chairs, seven centres of excellence, and development of 20 poorest districts in Pakistan.

The two-third of the country’s population consists of young people who must be empowered through education and vocational and technical skills so that they can contribute to the socio-economic development of the country, said Iqbal while addressing the launching ceremony.

Besides, the Prime Minister’s Youth Internship Programme is going to be Pakistan’s largest internship scheme and aims at addressing critical entry barriers to the market and enhancing employability.

Under this programme, 60,000 paid internships will be given to young graduates nationwide, both in the public and private sectors.

This included 30,000 internships in the public sector development projects with an estimated cost of PKR 9.6 billion (Dh 125 million) and 30,000 interns in the private industrial sector at the cost of Rs9bn — both through the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) — for up to one year.

Moreover, about 100,000 young people would be provided free laptops at the cost of Rs10 billion (Dh 130.41 million).

These projects are in addition to the Rs87 billion (Dh 1.13 billion) already approved by the government for development schemes in the constituencies of 174 MNAs supporting the prime minister.