Pakistan Prime Minister M. Nawaz Sharif on Saturday announced various schemes for the youth with a budget of Rs 20 billion

Pakistan Prime Minister M. Nawaz Sharif on Saturday announced various schemes for the youth with a budget of Rs 20 billion. Addressing the nation, Mr. Sharif said though the government was facing a resource crunch, it was fulfilling its promises which will open new avenues for the welfare of underprivileged segments and youngsters.

The main idea, he said is to provide financial opportunities for making these segments self-reliant and self-sufficient in their development, an official statement said. He launched six programmes for the youth including micro interest-free loans, small business loans scheme, youth training and free laptops, apart from fee payment in under privileged areas. The government has allocated Rs.3 billion for micro interest free loans and about 250,000 will benefit.

Under the small business loans scheme, 50 per cent of the loans will be provided to women, he said. These loans ranging from Rs. 500,000 to Rs. 2 million will be given at a discounted interest rate of 8 per cent. Initially these loans will be provided through the National Bank of Pakistan and First Women Bank. Rs. Five billion has been allocated for this scheme.

Under the youth training scheme, a monthly stipend of Rs.10,000 will be given for a training period of 6 months. Rs. Four billion has been allocated for the purpose and 50,000 graduates will benefit from the scheme.

The government will pay the fees for students in remote areas in post graduate programmes or higher and 30,000 students are expected to benefit. The federal government will launch the free laptop scheme nationwide and the PM laptop scheme with a provision of Rs 4 billion is aimed at 100,000 students. The federal cabinet has approved these initiatives; Mr. Sharif said .The government is also inviting feedback on the schemes which will be put up on the official website of the Prime Minister. They will be finalised in ten days after assessing the response.

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