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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Rajasthan Govt’s urban employment scheme promises 100-day work in a year

Those aged 18-60 yrs eligible, migrants may be included during pandemic or calamity.

Written by Hamza Khan | Jaipur |
Updated: May 23, 2022 2:06:42 am
Rajasthan budget, ashok gehlot, Rajasthan govt, Rajasthan news, Indian expressRajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. (Express Photo by Rohit Jain Paras)

From tree plantation, cleaning ponds and lakes, conserving heritage to collecting garbage from door to door and segregating it and catching stray animals, the Rajasthan government has come up with the job description under its much-touted Indira Gandhi Shehri Rozgar Guarantee Yojana.

Announcing the employment scheme for urban areas on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi NREGA for rural areas, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, in his budget speech this February, had said that Covid has impacted the livelihood of the common man. “While MGNREGA assisted people in rural areas, there is no such scheme for street vendors, as well as those working at dhabas and restaurants in urban areas,” he had said, announcing the scheme as “the largest urban employment guarantee scheme in the country”.

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Under this scheme, employment will be provided for up to 100 days in a year, and the state government will bear an additional expense of Rs 800 crore on this.

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Mainly, the labour-based works have been included and the same will be prioritised. Moreover, the ratio of cost of material to payment for labour work of “general nature” will be in the ratio of 25:75, while for special works, it will be 75:25.

Bhupendra Mathur, chief engineer with the local self government (LSG) department, said: “The focus is on providing as many jobs as possible. So, the jobs of general nature will be undertaken by unskilled labourers, since there won’t be much asset creation. On the other hand, creation of assets will require a higher material component, hence under ‘special works’ the ratio is 75:25.”

All those aged between 18 and 60 years and residing within urban body limits are eligible for the scheme, and in special circumstances such as a pandemic or a calamity, migrant labourers may be included. The payment has to be made in the bank accounts of the labourers within 15 days. Besides, there is a provision for facilities to the labourers at the workplace, along with a provision to redress the complaints and for social auditing.

Mainly, the tasks have been clubbed under eight heads.

First is environmental conservation such as tree plantation in public places, maintenance of parks, watering plants on footpaths and dividers, preparing nurseries under departments of urban local bodies (ULBs), forest, horticulture and agriculture.

Next is water conservation, where one may undertake works for improvement of cleanliness and improvement of ponds, lakes, step-wells, etc.; construction, repair and cleaning of rain water harvesting structures; and restoration of water sources.

Third is cleanliness and sanitation-related works. This includes works related to solid waste management, labour work, including door to door garbage collection and segregation, separation of waste at the dumping sites, cleanliness and upkeep of public/community toilets, cleaning of nullah/drain as well as removing waste created due to construction and demolition works.

Fourth is works related to defacement of property. This includes labour work to remove encroachments, as well as illegal boards/hoardings/banners, etc. and painting of dividers, railings, walls and other publically visible spaces.

Fifth category has been defined as convergence, wherein people under this scheme can be employed in other centre or state level schemes, already having a material component, and which require labour work.

Sixth is ‘service’ which includes labour work at gaushalas and ‘multi task services’ at offices of civic bodies, record keeping, etc. Seventh is simply work related to heritage conservation. And last is miscellaneous works, such as those related to security/fencing/boundary wall/guarding of urban civic bodies and public lands; development and management of parking spots within urban civic body limits; catching and management of stray animals, etc.

Apart from all these categories, the government can add new tasks or amend the ones already included in the list.

Dr Joga Ram, Secretary, Local Self Government department, said: “The guidelines have been issued, the recruitment process has been initiated by the District Collectors, posts have been sanctioned and the budget has been allocated.”

Social activist Kavita Srivastava said: “Just the idea of responding to increasing unemployment and decline in income with such a scheme is a solid step towards reducing distress. The ultimate test of the scheme will be to ensure that it improves the wage rate in the market for labour, that is what MGNREGA did.”

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