J’khand to launch urban version of NREGS to curb unemployment
Formulation of the scheme has been done. It will be rolled out once it gets approval from the state cabinet.
VINAY KUMAR CHOUBEY, urban development secretary
RANCHI: Jharkhand may soon launch an urban version of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), becoming the second state to have such a programme after Kerala, in order to deal with a rise in unemployment due to the Covid-19 pandemic, officials said on Sunday.
The scheme, Mukhyamantri SHRAMIK (Shahri Rozgar Manjuri for Kamgar) Yojna, will guarantee 100 days of maximum work in urban areas annually to those who enrol under the scheme. It is said to be the brainchild of Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren.
“Formulation of the scheme has been done. It will be rolled out once it gets approval from the state cabinet,” state urban development secretary Vinay Kumar Choubey said.
Like MGNREGS, the scheme will have a provision for unemployment allowance, if any urban local body failed to provide work to job seekers within 15 days of application, Choubey said.
An enrolled person who does not get work will be entitled to one-fourth of the minimum wage for the first 30 days of unemployment and half of the minimum wage in the second month. If the worker does not get job for the third month, he will get money equal to the basic minimum wage, Choubey said. The minimum wage has not been decided yet.
“They (workers) will be given priority in the existing schemes. If they could not be accommodated in existing schemes, exclusives schemes for the purpose will be created, and ULBs (urban local bodies) will be given separate funds for this. There are lots of opportunities of jobs in urban areas right from sanitation work to development projects,” Choubey said.
Like labourers in MGNREGS, urban workers will also be registered and they will get job cards. “A special website is also being designed...,” Choubey said.
Experts welcomed the move . Over 500,000 labourers have returned since May 1.
“Till now there was a notion that poor means rural people. So, lots of poverty alleviation schemes have been launched for rural areas. However, there is also a chunk of urban poor and they also need job guarantee...,” said Jharkhand-based economist Harishwar Dayal.