Odisha’s MUKTA receives global recognition for sustainable urban initiatives

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MUKTA has been selected from 260 submissions from 155 cities across 65 countries.

Odisha’s MUKTA (Mukhyamantri Karma Tatpara Abhiyan) has been selected as one of the top five finalists for the 2021-22 WRI Ross Centre Prize for Cities at the 11th World Urban Forum in Katowice, Poland.

The Prize recognises MUKTA’s swift action to create mass employment and infrastructure during the Covid-19 pandemic.

MUKTA has been selected from 260 submissions from 155 cities across 65 countries.

WRI Award for Cities is the premier global award constituted for celebrating and spotlighting transformative urban change. The Prize for Cities seeks to inspire urban change-makers across the globe by elevating trailblazing initiatives and telling impactful stories of sustainable urban transformation.

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The finalists were chosen through a rigorous selection process. Criteria of selection included demonstrated big, innovative ideas and novel approaches; life-changing impact on people’s lives, mindsets and behaviours; and ripple effects across and beyond the city. Finalists are chosen by a large evaluation team and the $250,000-grand prize winner will be selected by an independent jury of leaders in urban affairs. The four runners-up each would receive $25,000. The grand prize winner will be announced in November 2022.

MUKTA – the State funded flagship scheme of government coming under 5T Initiative with its community-driven and participatory approach has emerged as a highly impactful urban livelihood intervention across urban pockets of Odisha. The scheme is first of its kind in India and focuses on ensuring livelihood opportunities to the vulnerable urban workforce and migrant labourers residing in urban areas of the State.

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The Covid-19 pandemic pushed vast majority of informal sector workers in Odisha into poverty affecting jobs and livelihood. About one-fourth of urban population faced severe consequences especially with reduction of working hours, decrease in wages and abrupt layoffs. In addition, around 10 lakh migrants returned to the State due to shut down of economic activities.

The Housing & Urban Development Department (H&UDD) of Government of Odisha responded by announcing the Urban Wage Employment Initiative on April 18, 2020 aimed to create rapid, immediate and mass employment opportunities for urban poor, informal and migrant labourers, who were rendered unemployed while addressing the needs of creation of durable community assets.

Engagement of Mission Shakti Groups (MSG) and Slum Dweller Association (SDA) in MUKTA scheme has been accorded highest priority by the State government. Community Based Organisations (CBO) has been empowered to identify and create ward wise cost-effective, sustainable and replicable community-based projects in a saturation mode in all the 2053 urban wards across 115 Urban Local Bodies (ULB) of the State. All the projects taken up under the Scheme are executed directly by MSG/SDA as Implementing Agency with support of the ULBs.

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Based on the success, MUKTA has now been made a permanent scheme with enhanced budgetary allocations from this current year. Government has earmarked Rs 1,000 crore for providing meaningful employment to the urban poor and creation of climate resilient and sustainable community assets across 115 ULBs of the State.

Under MUKTA, around 28,500 projects with an investment of Rs 2,900 million have been implemented. More than 4.0 million work days have been generated directly benefitting around 6 lakh urban poor and migrant labourers, of which close to 40 per cent are women beneficiaries. Around Rs 1,300 million have been paid to wage seekers under the scheme. About 15,000 MSG/SDA have partnered in the Scheme for project execution and received more than Rs 140 million as supervision charges.

This Initiative had earlier received two International Awards namely Medal of Honour and Online Popular City Award for Urban Innovation at the prestigious 2020 Guangzhou International Award.

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