October 15, 2021 3:53:52 am
The Tamil Nadu government is set to implement an urban employment scheme that aims to boost job opportunities through the creation and maintenance of public assets. The scheme will be implemented in two zones in the Greater Chennai Corporation, one zone each in 14 municipal corporations, one municipality each in seven regions and one town panchayat each in 37 districts on a pilot basis.
Madurai, Coimbatore, Trichy, Vellore, Tirupur, Salem, Dindigul, Tirunelveli, Erode, Nagercoil, Thanjavur, Thoothukudi, Hosur and Avadi in the Chennai city suburbs are among the municipal corporations selected for the pilot project. One municipality each from Chengalpattu near Chennai city, Vellore, Salem, Tiruppur, Thanjavur, Madurai and Tirunelveli have also been chosen for the scheme.
The scheme will have an allocation of Rs 100 crore for the pilot stage implementation. It mandates that 50% of the total person-days be earmarked for women besides ensuring equal wages for women and men for the unskilled and semiskilled workers.
The idea was first proposed by a committee headed by former RBI governor C Rangarajan which was constituted by then AIADMK government last year to study the impact of pandemic in the state economy. Senior economist and a member of the Rangarajan committee, M Suresh Babu, who teaches economics in IIT-Madras, said the implementation of the urban employment guarantee scheme was one of the prominent proposals of the committee.
“Tamil Nadu has a high rate of rural to urban migration of the working class population. So, an intervention in the urban job sector, something similar to Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee programme (MNREGA) is crucial to ensure a basic income for the urban poor,” Babu said. He said a large part of migrant population in urban centres is part of the informal sector, with jobs that give them no job security or social protection.
“We call them vulnerable jobs. If they lose their job, they do not have many options to fall back… This is where this urban employment scheme would play a major role. This is on pilot basis and we can scale it up after studying the first phase of implementation. I assume that the onus of identifying the beneficiaries of this project would be on the local bodies, using the same devices that identify MNREGA beneficiaries,” he said.
A similar project was implemented in Kerala in 2010 — Ayyankali Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme — which aimed to provide at least 100 days of employment in a financial year to the elderly of each family willing to be a part of the unskilled labour in urban areas.
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