With barely a year left for parliamentary elections, the Centre plans to launch a tweaked version of its flagship job plan, NREGS, customised for the urban poor - whose numbers are steadily rising.
The National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) would provide skill development training to four million urban poor during the 12th plan period (2012-17).
It would also help them get gainful employment and provide financial help to those who wish to start their own business - unlike the wage-based National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, which provides 100 days of employment in a year to the rural poor.
"The Centre's expenditure finance committee recently approved a little over Rs. 8,000 crore (for the entire plan period) to launch NULM," a finance ministry official said.
With the cut-off date for announcement of government schemes ahead of Elections 2014 drawing near, the housing and urban poverty alleviation ministry is fine-tuning the modalities before it goes to cabinet for approval.
The NREGS was perceived by the UPA as a major poll plank in 2009. Ahead of 2014, it hopes to encash on NULM and other pro-poor schemes such as food security and direct cash transfers.
A ministry report says 93 million urban residents live in slums.