Economist Jean Drèze calls on Kerala govt to launch urban employment guarantee scheme

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on February 12, 2021

Economist Jean Drèze   -  Reuters

‘To eliminate corruption in the form of ghost employees, govt should issue job stamps — and not cash — to employers’

Noted development economist Jean Drèze has strongly advocated rolling out an urban employment guarantee scheme as part of the efforts to address the twin problems of poverty, particularly during exigencies like the Covid-19 pandemic, and gender inequality, through the government’s programmes and policies.

Making the suggestion at a three-day International Conference on Gender Equality (ICGE II 2021) organised by the Gender Park under Kerala government’s Department of Women and Child Development in association with UN Women, Drèze said the scheme, which he called Decentralised Urban Employment and Training (DUET), could be utilised for keeping public places like educational institutions, hospitals and bus and railway stations clean by taking the services of jobless people in cities and towns.

At least one-third of such jobs under DUET could be offered to women, Drèze said, and explained that under the scheme the government should issue job stamps to the employers instead of providing funds in cash in order to eliminate corruption in the form of ghost employees. Such employment should be offered only to those enrolled with workers’ cooperatives to be launched under the scheme. He appealed to the Kerala government to try out the suggestion through a pilot project before scaling it up.

He also suggested putting in place an enabling policy, regulatory framework and infrastructure for carrying out of non-profit activities in a smooth manner.

Kudumbashree Mission Executive Director Harikishore chaired the session on ‘Gender Equity in Innovation & Entrepreneurship Policies and Programmes: Role of Government and Related Institutions’.

Summing up the session, Harikishore said creation of opportunities, putting in place a comprehensive eco-system to support enterprises run by women and framing of policies and programmes for women were the key to addressing the problems confronting all the stakeholders.

Published on February 12, 2021

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