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Sudurpaschim government overwhelmed with unemployment benefit applications  



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Sudurpaschim, Nov 11 : The Agriculture and Livestock Special Programme being implemented in the Sudurpaschim province has received more than the expected number of applications.    
The province government has brought this programme targeting the COVID-19 affected people. The Ministry of Land Management, Agriculture and Cooperatives, which is implementing the programme, is in dilemma how to address the sheer number of applicants.    
It is said nearly 82 thousand people presented letters of intent in response to a notice calling for applications from people affected by COVID-19 and those returning from abroad. The programme is aimed at making foreign-returnees who have lost their job due to COVID-19 self-employed. The Ministry had issued a notice two months back calling for submitting letter of intent from those interested in the programme.    
Ministry's senior agriculture extension officer Gokul Prasad Bohara said that it would be difficult to address all the applicants considering the size of the budget allocated for the programme and the overwhelming number of those who have presented their letter of intent for the programme. The selected applicants would be provided with financial incentives in various installments.    
"We are going to select the applicants through on-site study and evaluation by taking into account all the aspects including the technical feasibility of the proposed enterprise. The number of applications might decrease after the proposals are selected strictly on the set standard," Bohara said.    
According to him, the Agriculture Knowledge Centre and Livestock expert Centre in all the districts in the province have been given the authorisation of the budget allocated for the programme.    
Six million rupees has been earmarked towards agriculture and Rs 18 million towards livestock in Kailali district alone. Nearly 14 thousand applications have been received for the programme in Kailali district. However, only 200 applications and proposals can be included in the programme given the size of the allocated budget and the standards set for the programme.    
Under the Agriculture programme are included enterprises as vegetable, mushroom and fruit farming, and apiculture while under the Livestock Programme are included enterprises as goat and sheep rearing, pig and cattle farming, fishery and poultry keeping.    
The Programme aims to make nearly 9,000 families self-employed throughout the province. The province government has allotted Rs 150 for the Programme in the current fiscal year.