Proposed Urban Employment Scheme and the Need for Minimum Wage Guarantee

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EMPLOYMENT

Azim Premji University’s research body producing proposal towards minimum employment guarantee in Indian small towns.

The New Leam Staff

The nation is currently undergoing job crisis and unemployment is at a peak. The problem of unemployment is most widely felt in urban areas where 18% males and 27% females are unemployed at present. Representative Image | Credit : Economic Times/ Twitter

Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections a host of economic plans are being floated to lure voters and guarantee them benefits such as a basic income, employment and therefore some level of economic sustainability.  It is in this context that we can look at a recent proposal that is likely to cover more than 4,000 towns throughout the nation and benefit up to five crore people.

While developing India’s urban centres may be crucial what we cannot deny is the fact that Indian towns and rural areas are equally important. We must work towards developing Indian towns in a manner that is ecologically and economically sustainable.

Azim Premji University’s Centre for Sustainable Employment has come up with a proposal that will work along with MNREGA and on similar lines to give guaranteed employment support throughout 4,000 Indian towns.  The plan has not been adopted by any political party yet but what immensely eye is catching is the way that it has been produced and the enormous hard work that has gone behind the production of the document.  

The researchers who have come up with the plan have argued that programs such as the Smart City Mission or the Jawaharlal Nehru Mission have all had their primary eye on urban areas and in more ways than one, the smaller towns have not been paid equal attention. The report asserts that while developing India’s urban centres may be crucial what we cannot deny is the fact that Indian towns and rural areas are equally important. We must work towards developing Indian towns in a manner that is ecologically and economically sustainable.

The proposal seeks to cover over 4,000 towns throughout the nation and reach to 3-5 crore people. The proposal is concerning itself with towns that have a population of less than 10 lakh people. The proposal says that if this were to be implemented then it would need 1.7%-2.7% of India’s total GDP. This because a crucial proposal especially if one were to look at the truth that NSSO’s leaked data on job scarcity puts ahead.  The nation is currently undergoing job crisis and unemployment is at a peak. The problem of unemployment is most widely felt in urban areas where 18% males and 27% females are unemployed at present.

The proposal plans to tackle this problem by a two staged mechanism.  People who have studied up till class 12th will be eligible for 100 days of guaranteed employment a year and Rs 500/day and those who have studied after class 12th will get an apprenticeship in surveying, public office work, work in schools and hospitals etc as ground staff on a sum of Rs 13,000/month and continuous employment guaranteed for 5 months.  

In order to be implemented the plan demands that urban bodies work with coordination and commitment from ward committees. It has been decided that wage payments would be taken over by decentralised bodies.

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