J’khand to launch ur­ban ver­sion of NREGS to curb un­em­ploy­ment

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - HTSPOTLIGH­T - San­joy Dey San­joy.dey@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.

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