National job guarantee scheme mooted

Industries Minister K.T. Rama Rao has appealed to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman to announce National Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme (NUEGS) on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in the ensuing Union budget to help urban poor in the country.

In a letter to Ms. Sitaraman today, Mr. Rao said the nature of urban poverty posed distinct challenges for housing, water, sanitation, health, education, social security and livelihoods. As per 2011 census, he said 31 per cent of Indian population or about 380 million people lived in urban areas. A sizeable chunk of the population was migrant labour engaged in construction activity, casual labourers, security staff, delivery boys, helpers or small vendors.

It was evident in most of the urban areas that the urban poor were offered daily jobs on roadsides.

They were deprived of their earning if they did not get work for that day. They were the worst hit by loss of employment during lockdown.

Mr. Rao recalled that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour headed by Biju Janata Dal MP Bhatruhari Mahtab recommended that the Centre strengthen social security measures in urban areas and also suggested brining an urban employment guarantee scheme on the lines of MGNREGS.

Social security

The trade body Confederation of Indian Industry also sought social security measues in urban areas.

In this background, Mr. Rao urged Ms. Sitaraman to thing big and come out with a policy measure to safeguard the interests, especially livelihoods of urban poor and raise their income levels.

This was more so because urbanisation was unabated and the country would see a surge in urban population requiring more employment avenues to the growing labour force.

Urban centres and towns had become the growth engines of Indian economy and the urban informal sector was the major thrust factor. Hence, it was high time for the government to create a facilitating environment for the urban informal sector in the form of skill upgradation, financial linkages and social security to labour.

A national policy aimed at increasing the daily income for urban labour was the need of the hour.

The country’s urban centres and towns aimed to provide qualify of life to citizens which could only be ensured if the urban labour engaged in informal sector had higher income levels to take care of their families..

They could be given job cards like in rural employment guarantee programme for engaging their services, Mr. Rao added.

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Printable version | May 23, 2022 7:53:24 pm |