Meaningful relief


THE coalition government, on Tuesday, announced further schemes to serve as an effective shield against the rising inflation and to improve the living standards of the people. While Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif launched Teleschool Pakistan initiative aimed at providing free online education to students of all grades, Minister for Planning Prof. Ahsan Iqbal rolled out a series of funded programmes for the country’s youth by putting together a total of 15 schemes worth about Rs150 billion.

The new initiatives came on the heels of a widely acclaimed plan to provide substantial relief to motorcyclists, rickshaw owners and cars up to 800 cc as they would be able to get a subsidy of Rs 100 a litre on petrol. The schemes announced under the umbrella of Prime Minister’s Youth Development Initiatives would help the youth equip themselves with educational and professional skills, facilitate their studies, encourage research and development and help them stand on their own feet financially. These include 60,000 internships, technical and vocational training for 100,000 youths, 100,000 laptops, 5,000 scholarships for students of Balochistan and the erstwhile Fata, 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 uplift of 20 poorest districts in Pakistan. These are timely and relevant schemes as the youth was losing hopes in the backdrop of economic slowdown and the resultant unemployment. Separately, the Prime Minister announced the establishment of a network of Danish schools in the far-flung areas of Balochistan, which would surely go a long way in improving socio-economic uplift of the people of the province. Federal Education and Planning ministries deserve credit for coming out with tangible plans, the implementation of which has the potential to accelerate the pace of growth and development.