Odisha, India

2021-09-09 14:46:34

The Urban Wage Employment Initiative – reducing vulnerabilities and enhancing resilience of the urban

Basic City Data

Population size: 7003656

Population Growth Rate (%): 26.94

Surface Area (sq.km): 3256

Population Density (people/sq.km): 2146

GDP Per Capita (U.S.$): 1600

GINI Index: 0.31

Main Source of Prosperity (e.g. industry, trade, tourism, creative industry, etc.): Industry & Services (73%)

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. Migrants from Odisha, a lagging province in India, also returned to their home state. In response, the provincial government launched Urban Wage Employment Initiative (UWEI) whereby the urban workforce has been guaranteed a minimum number of workdays annually at specified daily wage. 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.