The UPA government, which launched schemes providing employment opportunities for the rural poor during its two term in power, is now targeting the urban poor, majority of whom are slum dwellers.
With an eye on the 2014 Parliamentary election, the Centre plans to launch the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM), which will create job opportunities for the urban poor, during the 12th Plan. The housing and urban poverty alleviation ministry, which has proposed the scheme, has sought a Rs 20,000-crore budget to roll out the programme.
The UPA government had in 2006 launched its flagship Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Generation Scheme targeting the rural poor and had also rolled out the National Rural Livelihood Mission, a massive self-empowerment programme focusing on rural women, last year.
According to the ministry data, 93 million urban residents are estimated to be slum dwellers. "With the number of urban poor growing, a need was felt for a specific employment generating scheme targeting the urban poor," a ministry official said.
Officials said the programme will focus on providing wage employment opportunities and skill development to the urban poor so that they are gainfully employed. "Skill development will be the key to enhancement in productivity of this segment," a note by the ministry states.
NULM will have four components - building community institutions like self help groups and their federations, employment through skills training and placement, capacity building and training and self employment programme.
"The number of urban poor is so large that even a small increase in their productivity in wage and self-employment will lead to a huge augmentation of economic growth while contributing significantly to inclusion," the ministry note further says.
The programme also proposes to provide placement to those who have been provided skill training. Besides, those opting to start their own enterprise, the government will facilitate financial assistance. "We are working out the modalities of the scheme right now. It will take time before we give a final shape to the scheme," said a ministry official.
NULM will replace Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana - running since 1997.