West Bengal State Urban Livelihood Mission.
To reduce poverty and vulnerability of the urban poor households by enabling them to access gainful self-employment and skilled wage employment opportunities, resulting in an appreciable improvement in their livelihoods on a sustainable basis, through building strong grassroots level institutions of the poor. The mission would aim at providing shelter equipped with essential services to the urban homeless in a phased manner. In addition, the Mission would also address livelihood concerns of the urban street vendors by facilitating access to suitable spaces, institutional credit, social security and skills to the urban street vendors for accessing emerging market opportunities.
The core belief of National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) is that the poor are entrepreneurial and have innate desire to come out of poverty. The challenge is to unleash their capabilities to generate meaningful and sustainable livelihoods. The first step in this process is motivating the urban poor to form their own institutions. They and their institutions need to be provided sufficient capacity so that they can manage the external environment, access finance, expand their skills, enterprises and assets. This requires continuous and carefully designed handholding support. An external, dedicated and sensitive support structure, from the national level to the city and community levels, is required to induce social mobilisation, institution building and livelihood promotion.
NULM believes that any livelihood promotion programme can be scaled up in a timebound manner only if driven by the poor and their institutions. Such strong institutional platforms support the poor in building up their own human, social, financial, and other assets. This in turn, enables them access to rights, entitlements, opportunities and services from the public and private sectors, while enhancing their solidarity, voice and bargaining power.
As per the Constitution (74thAmendment) Act, 1992, urban poverty alleviation is a legitimate function of the Urban Local Bodies (ULB). Therefore, ULBs would need to undertake a lead role for all issues and programmes concerning the urban poor in cities/towns, including skills and livelihoods.
NULM would aim at universal coverage of the urban poor for skill development and credit facilities. It will strive for skills training of the urban poor for market-based jobs and selfemployment, facilitating easy access to credit.
Street vendors constitute an important segment of the urban population at the bottom of the pyramid. Street vending provides a source of self-employment, and thus acts as a measure of urban poverty alleviation without major Government intervention. They have a prominent place in the urban supply chain and are an integral part of the economic growth process within urban areas. NULM would aim at facilitating access to suitable spaces, institutional credit, social security and skills to the urban street vendors for accessing emerging market opportunities.
Urban homeless persons who live without shelter or social security/ protection are the most vulnerable class, even while they contribute towards sustaining cities with their cheap labour. Life on the streets involves surviving continuously at the edge, in a physically brutalized and challenging environment. There is a need for appropriate policy intervention to address the challenges faced by homeless people, with regard to shelter, social housing and social protection. Accordingly, NULM would aim at providing shelter equipped with essential services to the urban homeless in a phased manner.
NULM would place a very high emphasis on convergence with schemes/programmes of the relevant line Ministries/Departments and programmes of state governments dealing with skills, livelihoods, entrepreneurship development, health, education, social assistance, etc. An alliance strategy will be sought with all concerned departments to promote skills training of rural-urban migrants as a bridge between the livelihoods of the rural and urban poor.
NULM would aim at partnership with the private sector in providing skill training, employment and operation of shelter for homeless. It will strive for active participation of private and civil society sectors in providing shelter to the urban homeless, skill training and placement of the urban poor and also in facilitating technological, marketing and handholding support for the urban poor entrepreneurs who want to be self-employed and set up their own small businesses or manufacturing units.