National Urban Employment Guarantee Programme: Benefits and Issues

Urban Employment (Representation Only)

Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University, recently published policy brief “Strengthening Towns through Sustainable Employment”, which propose the creation of a National Urban Employment Guarantee Programme.

According to Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) report of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), the unemployment problem is aggravated in India especially in cities and towns. The scheme, which is similar to MGNREGS, would provide minimum livelihood security to the poorest of the poor in the urban areas.

Centrally funded programmes like the Smart Cities Mission and Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) have disproportionately focused on development of bigger towns and cities. Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY) launched in 1997 provided employment to the unemployed and underemployed urban poor through self-employment and wage employment. The SJSRY was replaced by the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) in 2013. Yuva Swabhiman Yojana in Madhya Pradesh recently announced a 100-day urban job guarantee scheme.. In the United States of America, ‘Green New Deal’ proposals provide for a ‘Green Job Guarantee’ which enshrines ‘a legal right that obligates the federal government to provide a job for anyone who asks for one and to pay them a liveable wage’. Ayyankali Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme (AUEGS) guarantees 100 days of wage-employment to an urban household for manual work

Benefits:

1. It would give urban residents a statutory right to work.

2. improve the quality of urban infrastructure and services

3. Prevent ecological degradation of urban spaces

4. Ensure the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

5. Check migration to large cities

6. Enables people to contribute productively to the creation of useful public goods and services.

7. It increases demand by raising incomes directly, and indirectly in the informal sector.

8. Address issue of Underemployment and low wages in the informal urban workforce

Issues:

1. Urban unemployment is different from rural. In urban area unemployment is primarily among skilled and semi-skilled

2. Increase Migration from Rural to Urban areas

3. Successful implementation of scheme require huge fund

4. Identification of beneficiary is a challenge

Way forward

1. Passage of a National Urban Employment Guarantee Act will legally bind the state to provide a fixed number of days of work for all eligible people who apply under the programme,

2. This is on a line similar to the highly successful programmes on urban livelihoods. The basic premise of a healthy rural to urban economic transformation is to transfer workers from low-skill and low-productivity professions to high-skill jobs.

3. Establishing functionaries for administering the programme will ensure accountability measures under this programme.

4. Creation of a Ministry of which will be responsible for all matters related to employment generation

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