Aug 1 - 7, 2011

With a view to provide an opportunity to the unemployed youths to earn their livelihood in a respectable way and to combat the growing problem of unemployment, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz led Punjab government has launched 'Chief Minister Punjab Yellow Cab Scheme' in the country's biggest province Punjab.

An amount of Rs4.5 billion has been allocated in the Punjab Budget 2011-12 for 'Chief Minister Punjab Yellow Cab Scheme.'

Under the scheme, the provincial government will arrange provision of as many as 20,000 cabs to unemployed males and females below 35 years of age having qualification of FA. F.Sc, Intermediate or equivalent.

Application forms are available from all branches of the Bank of Punjab as well as the website of the transport department. Successful applicants will have to make a 20 per cent down payment at the time of delivery. The remaining amount is to be paid in monthly installments with low markup. Akhuwat Foundation representatives will be included in committees formed for the scrutiny of the particulars of successful applicants. Special number plates will be issued for yellow cabs having the name of the district.

Under the 'Chief Minister Punjab Yellow Cab Scheme', vehicles of Suzuki Mehran and Bolan will be given to those applicants who will fulfill the laid down criteria. The applicants will have to pay down payment amounting to Rs100,000 while the remaining amount will be taken in installments without any interest in five years.

The last date for submission of applications is July 30, 2011. It may be noted that the Punjab government has allocated an amount of Rs 7.3 billion as a whole for the transport sector including Rs4.5 billion for the Yellow Cab Scheme. One billion rupees have been allocated for Lahore Mass Transit System.

The Punjab government has allocated Rs100 million for a new project of Multi Model Inter City Bus terminal on Ferozpur Road Lahore, one billion rupees as subsidy for induction of CNG/diesel buses in Urban Transport System and Rs647.635 million were allocated for induction of new buses in Lahore Transport Company (LTC).

The government has allocated Rs40 million in the budget for an ongoing project of Transport Planning Unit in Transport Department and Rs12.365 million for Lahore Transport Master Plan.

Punjab Finance Minister Kamran Michael said projects like yellow cab, Rozgaar and Aashiana housing schemes would help reduce poverty in the province besides providing shelter to widows, orphans and low-income people.

He said the Punjab Rozgaar scheme was launched to provide jobs to educated and skilled people. Under the program, he said, some 20,000 taxis would be given to unemployed youths on easy installments under 'Chief Minister Punjab Yellow Cab Scheme'.

As per approval accorded by the Punjab Cabinet, 20,000 vehicles will be distributed among jobless youth. Forty per cent of these have been allocated for Southern Punjab. Computerized balloting for the distribution of vehicles will be held.

PML-N senior leader Muhammad Pervaiz Malik told PAGE that the PML-N government was undertaking a comprehensive program for the elimination and poverty from the province.

'Chief Minister Punjab Yellow Cab Scheme' would not only help reduce unemployment but also promote local industry and provide better transport facilities, he said.

According to him, 16,000 Suzuki Mehran and 4,000 Suzuki Bolan will be distributed from the day after Eid from Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Rawalpindi.

He said that yellow cab scheme was a revolutionary step of Punjab government and the balloting of yellow cab scheme would be made in a very transparent manner. He added that Punjab government was taking solid steps for elimination of poverty and unemployment in the province and huge funds have been allocated during the current fiscal year for this purpose.

He said that besides providing loans, decision of launching yellow cab scheme has also been taken enabling the educated youth to stand on their own feet.

He said that transparency is the hallmark of Punjab government and like Aashiyana and other projects yellow cab scheme would also be completed in a most transparent manner. He said that an effective system would also be evolved for scrutinizing the particulars of successful applicants in the balloting of scheme so that only deserving persons should benefit from this scheme.

There are also critics of the scheme who opined that this initiative of the Punjab government is aimed at getting cheap popularity and would not help overcome the huge burden of unemployment.

The need of the hour is to take pragmatic measures to improve state of the country's economy by promoting agriculture sector on modern lines, boosting the process of industrialization so that issues like poverty and unemployment could be tackled once for all.