COVID-19 induced national lockdown in India highlighted the economic and housing vulnerabilities of urban labour force, composed largely of migrants from lagging parts of the country working in informal sector in the primary cities. The lockdown stress led to the reverse migration of the labour force in large numbers.
Background and Objective
The workers are being engaged in public works and the resources are drawn from on-going welfare schemes of the national and provincial governments. In addition to mitigating the economic stress due to the pandemic of the impoverished urban labour force, the provincial government has adopted the initiative as a long-term measure for poverty alleviation.
The TC recommends this initiative for consideration to the Guangzhou Award because this is an excellent example of regional/city government providing a safety net during the pandemic for the vulnerable population which also helps build city resilience through the public works. UWEI is relevant, replicable and innovative in similar contexts in developing cities. Odisha is the first province in India to launch urban wage employment scheme though the national government is implementing rural wage employment scheme.
This initiative is highly relevant to SDGs 1, 3 and 11.