Plans Don’t Work for Urban Poor?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

VARANASI: Though there are provisions for poverty alleviation in urban areas, a number of urban poor and slum dwellers in Varanasi are bound to face financial hardships. However, officials claim things are improving with the implementation of programmes.

“It is difficult to manage household expenses for people like us,” said Gopal, a daily wager. Like him, there are a number of people living mostly in slums in the city. The district has 227 slums, including 210 in the municipal limit of Varanasi Nagar Nigam (VNN). According to records, the total population at these slums is about 4,53,222, which constitutes about 37.69% of the total population of the city. The report prepared under Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) suggests that the average income of a slum household is Rs 100-150 per day with average household size of eight members.

“Many poverty alleviation programmes are being conducted for the urban poor,” project officer of the District Urban Development Agency ( DUDA) PK Das told TOI on Wednesday. For urban poverty alleviation, there is Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY) that includes components like Urban Self-Employment Programme (USEP) and Urban Wage Employment Programme (UWEP). The shelter up gradation component has been merged with the National Slum Development Programme.

The USEP has three distinct components, viz assistance to individual urban poor beneficiaries for setting up gainful self-employment ventures, assistance to groups of urban poor women for setting up gainful self-employment ventures and training of beneficiaries, potential beneficiaries and other persons associated with the urban employment programme for up gradation and acquisition of vocational and entrepreneurial skills. The Development of Women and Children in Urban Areas (DWCUA) scheme is distinguished by the special incentive extended to urban poor women who decide to set up self-employment ventures as a group, as opposed to individual effort. Groups of urban poor women take up an economic activity suited to their skill, training, aptitude and local conditions.

Source: The Times of India (link opens in a new window)