Bangalore: Increasing divide between the rich and the poor and lack of skill training among the poor youth remain the biggest challenges before the government, Union Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Ajay Maken said Monday.
The other challenge faced by the urban poor is that of financial exclusion as not all benefits accorded by government under its various schemes reaches them, he said, inaugurating Janalakshmi-Manipal Institute of Financial Inclusion (JMIFI) here.
"We need institutions like Janalakshmi to empower the urban youth among the poorer sections of the society and the country`s average of just seven per cent of population getting skill training is pathetic," Maken said.
As against South Korea, where 74 per cent of its population is imparted skill training and African country of Botswana which has 22 per cent of its people trained in some skill or the other, India is lagging behind in this area, he said.
"Exclusion has been the major problem and the best way to solve this is to ensure financial inclusion. Private institutes like Manipal academy and Janalakshmi, the biggest Micro Finance Institution in the country, joining together in this direction is welcome," he said.
With 31 per cent of Indian population living in the cities, there is an urgent need to empower the urban youth as it is this 31 per cent which is contributing to 56 per cent of the GDP, Maken said.
Quoting a report he said, if the economy grows at 7.4 per cent, 170 million jobs will be created which again will need skilled manpower.
Referring to the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, Maken said the Standing Committee on the bill has given its report and the bill will be re-introduced in Parliament soon.
The bill aims at licensing street vendors and providing upto 2.5 percent of the city population an opportunity of proper regulated vending.