Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Friday announced an employment scheme for the unskilled workers in urban areas of the state, and claimed it will benefit 5 lakh poor families, The Telegraph reported.

The scheme, Mukhyamantri SHRAMIK (Shahri Rozgar Manjuri For Kamgar) Yojna, is aimed at providing work for 100 days (man-days) a year within 15 days of receiving an application. The project is similar to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Soren said.

Workers, who are over 18 years and living in civic body-run areas since April 1, 2015, are eligible to apply for the scheme, Secretary Vinay Kumar Choubey said. The state urban development department will be responsible for executing the scheme.

“That is the only criteria for applying for a job either through our portal or through ward-level resource persons under respective civic body limits,” Choubey said.

Soren, who launched the scheme online, said that if the state government failed to provide employment within the given time, it will give the applicants an unemployment allowance, which will be transferred to their bank accounts. “The idea is to ensure no one lives or dies of hunger,” he said.

The chief minister said the government did not know the magnitude of the workforce in Jharkhand and also the number of people who were migrating to other states in search of livelihood, adding that this was revealed because of the coronavirus-induced lockdown. “This is when we envisaged the scheme,” he said. “The idea is to provide equal opportunities for our shramik brothers in urban areas.” Soren estimated more than 10 lakh people returned to the state following the lockdown.

The chief minister said about 31% of urban area residents are below the poverty line and the government is targeting to cover them under the scheme.

The scheme would also help municipalities that lack the needed manpower to undertake projects for daily city management and beautification, Choubey said.

Jharkhand is now the second state after Kerala to launch an employment scheme for the urban poor, according to The Times of India. Kerala had in June launched the Ayyankali Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme.