State-run job guarantee scheme will soon have a separate fund for urban areas.
The scheme, which is currently applicable to the 'C- class' municipal areas is likely to be extended to bigger cities such as Mumbai and Thane.
Currently, there is no segregation of urban and rural funds. Since it was observed that spending in the urban areas was much less, the state decided to have a separate funds for creating unskilled jobs in bigger cities.
The Centre’s legislation — the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) 2005 — has this provision and in accordance with this, the state cabinet will adopt the same along with other provision in the Centre’s act.
The state cabinet will take up the amendment to the act for discussion during Wednesday’s weekly meeting.
Employment guarantee scheme minister Nitin Raut will pitch for extending the scheme to bigger cities, said a senior official on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Maharashtra pioneered the employment guarantee scheme (EGS) in 1970s, which is precursor to the Centre’s scheme named after Mahatma Gandhi.
Under the Centre’s scheme, every state gets an annual grant.
However, Maharashtra is the only state to have its own legislation and the scheme. But it needs to adopt the Centre’s provisions to avail more funds from New Delhi.
While the Centre provides work for only 100 days in a year to a rural family, the Maharashtra act offers a job 365 days in a year to each unemployed, unskilled person.
Therefore, under the amended legislation, the state will have to create an annual labour budget for offering jobs for more than 100 days.
Currently, the state EGS runs on special funds created by taxing employed people and traders.
The state government has to make a matching contribution equal to the net collection of taxes and levies every year.
The state will also need to increase the unemployment allowance to 25% of the daily wage (current provision is Rs10 per day) for those who cannot be given work in spite of a proper demand made under the state and national schemes.