An urban jobs safety net (The Hindu, GS-3)

Context:- Due to the pandemic, we have faced the difficult choice of saving lives versus protecting livelihoods. Exploring these questions in the World Economic Outlook report 2021 published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) depicts a picture where almost all countries, except China, experienced economic contraction last year. The global GDP has shrunk by 3.3%. China is the only one country who posted a growth of 2.3%.

Some figures and data about GDP:-

  • There are almost 95 million people who have fallen into the ranks of the extreme poor category. 
  • The unemployment rate in the Euro Area, the U.S.A. Canada shot up to 7.1%, 8.1% and 9.6%, respectively.  
  • Spain, Greece, Turkey, the Philippines, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru among others are grappling with unemployment rates in double digits.
  • In India, the unemployment rate in India peaked to 23.5% in April 2020 before falling to 6.9% in February 2021 which is according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy’s estimates.

Issue remains in this pandemic i.e. Rural-Urban Divide:-

    • In the wake of economic contraction there is the challenge in minimising livelihood losses. 
    • We as the governments have addressed this issue from a sectoral viewpoint since independence.
    • But we have to look on this issue from the way of rural urban perspective
  • Why?

  •  For two reasons

        • It is essential to provide people with formal access to a livelihood safety net whenever there is an economic shock. 
        • The livelihood safety net must have comprehensive coverage so that every needed human being should be included.
  • (MGNREGS) exists only in rural areas so we must have same type of yozna for urban areas as well.
  • We have a National Urban Livelihoods Mission for urban area but this doesn’t cater to the current need.
  • We have seen migrant labour moving in large numbers from the urban to rural areas, especially during this catastrophe.
  • This rural-urban divide needs to be bridged if the livelihood loss is to be minimised.
  • This pandemic has demolished that myth thay MGNREGS checked the rural urban migration and provided a livelihood safety net in rural India.

A case study from from Himachal Pradesh

  • Himachal Pradesh (H.P.) has launched the Mukhya Mantri Shahri Ajeevika Guarantee Yojana (MMSAGY) with the objective of enhancing livelihood security in urban areas by providing 120 days of guaranteed wage employment.
  • Any adult member of a household residing in the jurisdiction of the urban local body (ULB) having less than 65 years of age and willing to engage in unskilled work at projects being executed or in sanitation services being provided by the municipality can register under the scheme.
  •  The beneficiary is eligible to be compensated at a rate of ₹75 per day.
  • This scheme has generated a quarter million man­days which is benefiting about 3% of the total urban households in H.P.