The Union cabinet Tuesday cleared two schemes that will go a long way ameliorating the condition of India’s urban poor, whose share in India’s below the poverty line population is rising.
With elections drawing near and along with it, the cut-off date by which the government can announce new programme, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) with an allocation of approximately R6405 crore.
NULM will target the urban poor who are occupationally vulnerable and will give them skill training to help them get gainful employment. Besides, through the scheme’s self employment programme, financial assistance would be provided to individuals and groups of urban poor to set up gainful self-employment / micro-enterprise ventures.
The job plan scheme will be implemented in two phases. In the first phase (2013-17) NULM will target all cities with a population of one lakh or more and district headquarters towns with a population of less than one lakh.
The second pro-poor scheme that got the cabinet nod would help provide affordable housing for slum dwellers. Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) will provide support to big and medium sized cities for providing housing, including rental and transit housing, development/improvement of basic civic and social infrastructure and operation and maintenance of assets created under the scheme.
“It’s a positive sign. Under RAY the thrust will shift to small and medium towns where a sizeable number of slum dwellers live. They would be given access to cheap credit to build/improve their homes,” said Professor Amitabh Kundu of JNU’s School of Social Sciences.