Lack of standard definition and policy foils KMC's plan to reduce urban poverty
KATHMANDU, Nov 12: Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) allocates budget every year to reduce urban poverty but it has not successfully utilized the budget due to lack of standard definition and set policy.
The Local Self-Governance Act, which has provisioned to reduce urban poverty and empower the poor urbanites with skills and opportunities, was promulgated 17 years ago.
The working manual related to urban poverty was brought only four years ago.
However, there is no standard definition about urban poverty or any set policy to address their problems, said KMC officials.
Urban poverty reduction program comes under the social welfare program for which the KMC has allocated Rs 205.1 million for social welfare program in the current fiscal year.
According to the KMC, 25 to 40 percent of the total budget is allocated for capital expenditure. Of the total capital expenditure, 15 percent is allocated for children, 10 percent for women and 15 percent for urban poor and senior citizens.
The KMC doesn't have any data of urban poor including women and children in the capital city.
“It is difficult to identify the poor in the urban area due to lack of standard definition and set policy,” said Rajya Prakash Pradhananga, director of social welfare program.
“Migrated people are not considered as urban poor by the KMC. The local people don't want to be labeled as urban poor,” said Pradhananga. “Though the economic condition of the people is good in the core areas of the city, their living standard is poor due to lack of sanitation and poor housing. The government should plan for a package program to address the problem,” said the KMC officials.
“The issue of squatters is also the main problem related to urban poverty,” said KMC officials. “Due to lack of identity cards, children living in squatters are deprived of scholarship schemes,” said Pradhananga. He further said, “The government should clearly define the squatters so as to address their problems.”
KMC has plans such as skill development, awareness creation and employment opportunity, capacity building to reduce poverty prevalent among such urbanites. It focuses on four sectors such as seed money, skill development, capacity development and organizational development.
“Implementation of the program related to alleviation of poverty in urban areas is not effective,” said Pradhananga.
“People take training only to get certificates and after training they do not contact us and we also don't do any follow up,” said Pradhananga. “In the name of urban poor, other people including women come for training provided by the KMC so that they can go abroad,” he added.