Date: 6th September, 2013 Gloria Ganguly
The Center has gone into overdrive to woo India’s urban poor through two schemes. First is to impart job-oriented skills to help urban poor get gainful employment and second is to provide housing to slum dwellers. These two schemes are likely to be approved by the cabinet on next Tuesday. Both the schemes are piloted by the Union housing and urban poverty alleviation ministry.
NREGA in 2009, targeted the rural poor was perceived by the Congress to be a major vote plank for the UPA. For 2014 polls, along with the ambitious food security bill passed by the Parliament on last Monday, the UPA hopes to en-cash on the NULM (National Urban Livelihood Mission) and RAY (Rajiv Awas Yojana) as well.
NULM proposes to give skill development training to four million poor youth living in cities during the 12th plan period (2012-17), whereas the center plans to build about two million houses for the slum dwellers under RAY. However, RAY is not a new scheme, launched in 2011 on a pilot basis.
An official said, “We are taking it to the cabinet to get it approved for its nationwide launch. An allocation of Rs, 35,000 crore has been made for it during the 12th plan.”
Mr. Ramesh Menon of Certes Realty Ltd. says that – according to a report, 93 million urban residents in India are estimated to be slum dwellers. Under the Rajiv Awas Yojana, the Centre will provide between 50% and 70% of the project cost of respective states to redevelop existing slums and create affordable accommodation and the remaining cost will be borne by states, the beneficiaries and municipalities.
On the other hand, for the NULM during the 12th plan, an allocation of over Rs, 7,000 crore has been made. Unlike the wage-based NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme), NULM would help develop the job skill of the poor youth.
Those who have been provided skill training, NULM propose to provide placement to those only. The government would facilitate financial assistance to those who are opting to start their own enterprise Funding for NULM will be shared between the Centre and states in the ratio of 75: 25.
It will have four components — building community institutions like self-help groups and their federations, employment through skills training and placement, capacity building and training and self-employment program.