Government aims to support workers from unorganised sector with relief-for-work programmeUrban development and federal affairs ministries have submitted the list of potential jobs to the finance ministry.
The Ministry of Urban Development has come up with a list of 840 potential jobs for unorganised sector workers who have been hit by the lockdown.
The ministry has forwarded the list to the Ministry of Finance, which has announced a work-for-relief programme targeting the poor and daily wage workers amid the coronavirus crisis.
Although the government is already running a relief programme for the poor and the people involved in the unorganised sector with no means of livelihood during the lockdown, there have been several reports about the relief materials not reaching the targeted group, mainly due to the irregularities in the relief distribution process.
To address this concern, the government has come up with the work-for-relief programme, where relief packages would be distributed in the form of food or wage in return for work.
On April 30, the Cabinet had decided to mobilise unorganised sector workers in construction works initiated by federal, provincial and local governments.
According to Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada, the Cabinet has instructed the local governments to fix the wages of the workers.
“For those who do not wish to work, they will receive food relief equivalent to 25 percent of the wage paid to the people who sign up for the programme,” Khatiwada had said in a press meet on Thursday.
The Finance Ministry had sought the details from concerned ministries and government agencies about the potential jobs and the areas where unorganised sector workers could be employed.
“At the request of the Finance Ministry, we have submitted a list of several potential jobs that could be created under our district based offices,” Madhusudan Adhikari, secretary at the Ministry of Urban Development, told the Post.
According to Adhikari, the ministry has prepared a list of 840 jobs that could be created by its 20 offices in various districts.
Urban Development and Building Office, Kaski has estimated that it could create around 100 jobs, the highest from among 20 offices, Adhikari said.
“Potential jobs to be created by these offices are related to construction, maintenance, sanitation, painting, plumbing, transport of construction materials among others,” said Adhikari.
Likewise, the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration has submitted the areas where temporary jobs could be created for the informal sector workers.
“Painting, construction of buildings and infrastructure, sanitation works, river control and small irrigation projects are some of the areas proposed by the ministry,” Basanta Adhikari, spokesperson at the Federal Affairs Ministry, told the Post.
“The proposed work-for-relief programme will help expedite the development projects as well as create jobs. Going by the number of families receiving the government relief, we expect to employ at least one million people.”
Economic activities and construction works in the country are at a virtual standstill ever since the lockdown was enforced more than a month ago.
The government, which extended the lockdown early this week till May 7, has not said anything about when the lockdown would be lifted or relaxed and how.
Officials say that the relaxation of lockdown is the only way the government could employ unorganised sector workers.
According to the Finance Ministry, unorganised sector workers include those transporting goods from a shop to the customer, porters carrying tourists’ belongings, truck loaders, farm workers, people serving at others’ households, construction sector workers and footpath vendors.
Others in the category are drivers who operate delivery vans and trucks, their assistants, people who drive taxis and tempos paying daily rental, rickshaw pullers, garage technicians and daily wage workers at the local level.