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MUKTA Scheme of Odisha bags WRI ROSS Centre Prize

Bhubaneswar: MUKTA, the Urban Wage Employment Scheme under the 5T Initiative of the Housing & Urban Development Department of Odisha government has been selected as winner of the 2021-2022 World Resources Institute (WRI), Ross Centre Prize for Cities.

The winners were announced at Prize for Cities event held at the Ford Foundation Centre for Social Justice in New York City on February 1.

Principal Secretary, Housing and Urban Development (H&UD) Department G. Mathi Vathanan received the International Award in the special event organized in New York.

The award administered by an International Jury, selected ‘MUKTA’ as a winner through a competitive process from amongst 260 applications from 155 cities in 65 countries.

The Prize for Cities is WRI’s Urban Transformation Award recognizing the leaders creating more sustainable and inclusive cities worldwide. The award acknowledged MUKTA’s innovative approach to responding to uncertainty, disruption and crisis by creating large-scale jobs for the urban poor, informal and migrant laborers by engaging them in development works as a mechanism for cities to live and thrive in turbulent times.

As of now 7 lakh urban poor and migrant workers across Odisha’s 114 cities have been engaged in 22,500 community-level development works worth Rs. 208 crores, which includes paved roads, drains, rainwater harvesting, community centres, plantation, water bodies rejuvenation and public space development.

Besides, 5,368 Mission Shakti Groups and 438 slum dwellers associations have also been engaged as implementation partners under the ambitious Scheme of Odisha Government.

MUKTA scheme is lauded for the swift response of Odisha State in introducing a new scheme to meet the emergent situation and its courage for entrusting the execution responsibilities to the Mission Shakti Groups and Slum Dwellers Association instead of engaging contractors. The scheme also helps in the creation of community-level civic facilities in an equitable manner.

The central government has also appreciated and applauded the Odisha Government’s efforts and recommended the model to other States for replication. Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu have announced and rolled out their urban wage employment schemes on the lines of Odisha’s MUKTA for the creation of employment opportunities for the urban poor.

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