Mission Impossible /Possible – The Urban Poor

By Nidhi Singh nee Batra, Sn. Programme Officer,PRIA

Here is a look at two ‘new’ central schemes planned for the Urban Poor. Wonder if they take any lessons from JNNURM and RAY?!

 1.       National Urban Livelihood Mission:

a. Mimics a similar programme run by the ministry of rural development- the national rural livelihood mission

b. Concept paper put in by Ministry of Housing and Poverty Alleviation in January 2012

c. The mission has three broad aims: To train the urban poor so that they can find employment, to mobilize them into self-help groups for financial security and finally promote entrepreneurship among those of them who want to venture out.

d. It will replace the decade old Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana that has an outlay of R813 crore in 2011-12 (a 37.5% year on year). The new programme, couched in such grand terms, could have a budget close to R1,500 crore in the next fiscal.

e. To develop these and other initiatives, the ministry of housing and poverty alleviation has proposed setting up a national mission management unit. Since urban issues are primarily of municipal level, the national units will be replicated at the state and then at the district level. For million plus towns, currently 53 as per the 2011 Census data, there will be separate city-level units. At each stage a multi-disciplinary team of experts in the area of poverty alleviation, skills and livelihoods, slum development/ redevelopment, community mobilization, institution development, social development, credit, marketing, research and training, MIS etc will staff the units.

 2.       National Programme for providing permanent shelters to the homeless in towns and cities:

a. Prodded by the council, the housing and urban poverty alleviation (HUPA) ministry is planning to launch the programme this fiscal (2012-13).

b. The plan is to build one shelter in every city with a population of one lakh. They would be like transit homes, where the homeless can come at any time to avail of the facility.

c. In all, the government proposes to build 16,000 well-equipped shelters for the homeless in the next five years

d. The ministry has already been allocated R50 crore in the 2012-13 budget for preparatory work

e. A concept paper prepared by the ministry stated that while the Centre would share 75% of the cost for setting up a shelter home, the rest would be borne by the state governments and municipalities concerned.

f. The day-to-day management of the homes would be the responsibility of the state or municipalities. “The latter can rope in community-based organisations/NGOs to run the homes.

g. Earlier, the NAC had urged the Centre to amend guidelines of the Rajiv Awas Yojana — its flagship slum rehabilitation programme — to bring the “ultra poor” under its ambit. But when the ministry refused, the NAC recommended that a separate scheme be framed to cover the urban homeless.

The question amongst many, is do our municipalities have the capacity/ staff/ financial resources to run multiple missions (not to forget that JNNURM has recently got two year extension and most cities are wary about implementing RAY)?! 

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One thought on “Mission Impossible /Possible – The Urban Poor

  1. Manoj Rai April 20, 2012 at 8:19 am Reply

    If both NULM and NRLM (Urban and Rural Livelihood Missions) focus on skill building, I wonder what National Skill Development Corporation does? Are these schemes and institutions really meant to build skills of citizens? Or schemes are created to cleverly accommodate outdated bureaucratic skills of some IAS and Allied services folks?

    JNNURUM came with some purpose (of congesting narrow lanes of cities by big buses bought from JNNURM money and many more such eccentricities)? But before its failures could become a public issue, government came up with another dream scheme RAY. Now before RAY could actually take off, MoHUPA is trying to distract peoples’ attention from RAY by bringing another good face-bad intention scheme on shelter. Great politics with democratic citizens of India?

    Thanks Nidhi for raising these issues. Don’t know how to answer your question about plight of municipalities? May be others could say anything. For me this is the most crucial question we all should pose to central and state governments. God/Goddess save poor and our democracy.

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