By Hina Kiyani
ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Youth Affairs Shaza Fatima Khawaja on Wednesday unveiled the Federal Government’s plan of distributing 100,000 laptops among talented students of universities and colleges during the next one year.
“Laptops have an important role in building a knowledge economy which ultimately creates massive job opportunities for youth,” the SAPM said.
She said the laptop scheme, which was halted by the previous government, had been resumed. It was a flagship project of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) which was launched during the last government tenure of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif who had a vision to empower the youth by creating an enabling environment in the country, she added.
“Half a million laptops were distributed by the Federal Government during 2013 to 2018 by keeping the importance of technology in mind which is crucial to acquire modern education in the current era,” she added. The SAPM recalled that the youth continued their employment and educational activities through laptops during the Coronavirus pandemic.
She also shared details about a proposal of allocating Rs 100 billion in the upcoming budget for the distribution of subsidized loans among the youth under the ongoing scheme. Half of the allocated money would be dedicated for the agriculture sector while the rest would be distributed for promoting entrepreneurship in the country, she added.
She explained that the agri loan would help the youth add innovation and technology in the agriculture sectors to bring it at par with international level. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, she said, inaugurated the loan scheme on January 24 and loans amounting to Rs 22 billion had been disbursed so far, while the target was Rs 30 billion by June 30.
Discussing the innovation awards, she said 100 students would be given the awards and 500 children would be invited to a boot camp in that regard. “Tops 20 ideas will be awarded Rs 1 million each and others Rs 500,000 each,” she added. The SAPM said national development was not possible without women’s participation. Therefore, efforts were being made to ensure more inclusion of women, persons with disabilities, minorities and transgenders in various youth programmes.