Focus on rehabilitation, law soon on jobs for locals

The common minimum programme (CMP) jointly released by the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress on Thursday made a few promises on urban development and rehabilitation while also addressing the issue of unemployment in the State.

The CMP includes a poll promise by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during his election rally in Mumbai in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls. Mr. Gandhi had promised a 500 sq.ft. home for every slum dweller under the slum redevelopment scheme, if the Congress came to power. The CMP specifies that the Maha Vikas Agadhi (MVA) government shall provide tenements measuring 500 sq feet carpet area free of cost to eligible slum dwellers under the slum rehabilitation programme in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra, instead of the present 300 sq. ft. tenements.

According to the website of the Slum Rehabilitation Authority, Mumbai, there are 1,481 SRA projects currently underway in the city. However, housing rights activists have said that the announcement was mere lip service and even if it was to be implemented it would impact only a fraction of the people living in slums in the city. “The proposal doesn’t talk about project affected persons who end up being shifted to tenements in Mahul. Moreover, it talks of only eligible slum dwellers and there is a very large segment of the population that continues to not fall in that bracket,” said Bilal Khan, an activist with the Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Aandolan.

Another significant urban development announcement pertains to improving roads areas on the pattern of the Chief Minister Gram Sadak Yojana. The proposal said that a separate financial provision shall be made to improve the road quality in Nagar Panchayats, Municipal Councils and Municipal Corporations. Political analyst, Professor Surendra Jondhale said on the face of it, the proposal seems to be that of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and seeks to centralise a function that is being undertaken by local bodies.

‘Sons of Soil’ is back

The CMP proposes to address rising unemployment by enacting a new law to ensure 80% reservation in jobs for local youth, with domicile of Maharashtra. The demand for employment for the ‘sons of soil’ had been a cornerstone of the Shiv Sena’s rise in the State. Professor Jondhale said that the Shiv Sena now had an opportunity to fulfil a programme which had been traditionally demanding. Other proposals to reduce unemployment include filling up of all vacant posts in the State government and a fellowship for educated unemployed youth.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 4:24:20 PM |

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