VELLORE: The livelihoods of little over 500 personnel employed under the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) through the outsourcing mode across the state is in jeopardy following alleged moves by the Union government to wind up the scheme.
Sources in Vellore said BL Mehra, under-secretary, NULM division in Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, in a letter dated March 30 to NULM principal secretaries in all states and union territories has said that based on the current period of the scheme ending on March 31, it was decided to extend it by another 6 months, or till the approval by a competent authority, whichever was earlier.
Sources in Vellore Mahalir Thittam office, which runs the programme, said that “the six month extension is only to wind up all scheme-related accounts after which the livelihood of those employed in the scheme from 2016 would be big question mark.”
While NULM staff in other areas were not sufficiently qualified, those absorbed in Vellore region are all postgraduate degree holders in social work. They are at present placed in corporations, municipalities and town panchayats for monthly salaries of Rs 16,000, Rs15,000 and Rs 14,000 respectively.
Sources said that community organisers were involved in identifying those below the poverty line and forming them into self-help groups for getting loans and funds, creating urban livelihood centres, arranging COVID-19 vaccination camps, awareness and confirming that orphans seeking coronavirus related aid were bona fide. They were also being deputed for dengue awareness campaigns and in the state government’s Makkalai Thedi Maruthuvam camps.
Top district sources said, “the issue is that with huge loan amounts outstanding (said to be more than Rs 500 crore), payment will be nil once the scheme is wound up as presently only visits by community organisers ensures repayment. In Vellore, when two SHG members failed to repay loans the Mahalir Thittam office would be approached to redress the issue.”
TN state community organisers association sources said that top officials promised to write to the Central government in their favour.