Kozhikode: Noted development economist Jean Dreze has strongly advocated an urban employment guarantee scheme as part of efforts to address the twin problems of poverty, particularly during exigencies like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and gender inequality through government programmes and policies.
The suggestion was made by Dreze 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 on Thursday.
The scheme, which he called as 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, Dreze 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.
Kudumbashree Mission Executive Director S Harikishore, chaired the session 'Gender Equity in Innovation & Entrepreneurship Policies and Programmes: Role of Government and Related Institutions.'
Other panelists were IT Secretary K Mohammed Y Safirulla, Department of Women and Child Development Director T V Anupama and Odishas Commercial Tax Officer Aishwarya Rituparna Pradhan.
The conference commenced on Thursday at the Gender Park Campus in Kozhikode, abiding by the COVID-19 safety protocol.
Pradhan, a transgender officer, said her experience showed that a change in the social mindset was crucial for ensuring gender parity through implementation of laws and government's policies and programmes.
Anupama called for sensitisation of every single service provider on the importance of gender equity.
Women should be facilitated to come out of their stereotype roles assigned to them and "discover new space" in automobile engineering and other technical areas considered as the exclusive preserve of men, she said.
Safirulla listed the achievements of the IT department in promoting women to become entrepreneurs.