The Odisha government’s urban wage employment scheme, Mukta, has earned global recognition as it has been selected as one of the winners of the World Resources Institute (WRI) Ross Center Prize for Cities for the year 2021-2022.
The other cities that received the award are — Barranquilla in Colombia, Iloilo City in the Philippines, Paris in France and Peshawar in Pakistan.
The housing and urban development department of the state government launched Mukta (Mukyamantri Karma Tatpara Abhiyan) on February 1, 2021. It aims to create job opportunities for poor urban people and migrant labourers.
The scheme also helps in the creation of community-level civic facilities in an equitable manner. The winners of the award were announced at an event held at the Ford Foundation Centre for Social Justice in New York City on Wednesday.
Principal secretary of Odisha housing and urban development department, G. Mathi Vathanan, was present at the event to receive the award. An international jury selected Mukta as one of the five finalist projects through a competitive process. There were 260 projects in the fray representing 155 cities in 65 countries.
The Prize for Cities is WRI’s urban transformation award recognising the leaders creating more sustainable and inclusive cities worldwide.
The award acknowledges Mukta’s innovative approach to responding to uncertainty, disruption and crisis by creating large-scale jobs for the urban poor and informal and migrant labourers by engaging them in development work as a mechanism for cities to live and thrive in turbulent times.
Citing the reason for getting the award, Vathanan said: “Till date, 7 lakh urban poor and migrant workers across Odisha’s 114 cities have been engaged in 22,500 community-level development work worth Rs 208 crore, which include paved roads, drains, rainwater harvesting, community centres, plantation, water bodies rejuvenation and public space development.”