UPSC 2017-18: Gist of Yojana – July Issue: Social Security

Table of Contents

Social Security

Hand-Holding the Elderly

Pension Reform: Securing Life’s Second Innings

Institutional Delivery: Health for All

Supporting the Vulnerable: Empowering the Differently Abled

Securing Farmer’s Welfare: Reality to Vision

Prioritising Agriculture to Nutrition Pathways

Social Security: Global Scenario

Nurturing a Healthy Learning Environment

Ensuring a Rising Tide

Protecting the Unprotected

Systemic Reforms in MGNREGS

A Commitment to Support Initiatives

 

Hand-Holding the Elderly

Social Security: Objective

The objective of social security is to provide sustenance to those who cannot work and earn their living due to temporary or chronic reasons.

Provision of social security by the state is an intrinsic part of the living standards in More Developed Countries (MDCs).

India Specific Challenges: 

  • India is home to one-fifth of the world’s population, which includes a third of the world’s poor and one-eighth of the world’s
  • Traditional sources of old age security have come under great strain due to the increased longevity of the
  • Other socio-economic-cultural changes include: a) the disintegration of the joint family system, b) the non-availability of caregivers due to increased work participation of women, c) the lower incidence of widowhood and d) migration of youth and e) more individualistic attitude of
  • Further, it is important to note that this problem is more acute among the poor elderly who, with their deteriorating health conditions, are unable to work for earning and have hardly, if ever, any savings to fall back
  • There is a need to adopt suitably targeted measures that provide social security to the

BKPAI Survey 

  • Recently as a part of the project on ‘Building a Knowledge Base on Population Ageing in India’ (BKPAI), which was jointly undertaken by the UNFPA, Institute for Economic Growth (IEG), Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), a survey on ‘The Status of the Elderly’ was
  • According to the survey, nearly 45% of the elderly are from households with either BPL or Antyodaya
  • One third of the elderly are from households having monthly per capita expenditure below 1000.
  • About a quarter of the elderly are in dire need of economic support as they have no other sources of

Government Initiatives 

  • Central and state governments in India have been providing security to the elderly in cash (pension schemes such as):
  • Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS)
  • Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS)

In kind such as: 1) Goods and services as in food security 2)Health services as in the National Programme for the Elderly (NPHCE) 3) Concessions, facilities and services given by the various ministries.

Reasons for Low Utilisation

  • Difficulties faced by illiterate poor elderly in providing documentary proof like identity proof, age proof, recommendation of panchayat
  • This has led to emergence of middlemen, bribery, corruption and caste
  • Problems regarding accuracy of the BPL list leading to frauds and fake
  • Long waiting period for getting
  • Inadequate pension
  • Underutilisation of funds allotted to states due to failure in identifying eligible beneficiaries. Demand for Universal Pension Scheme
  • To overcome these problems Pension Parishad has made a demand for a universal, non-contributory old age pension system for all men aged 55+ and women 50+ with a monthly pension of Rs.2000 or 50% of minimum wage whichever is
  • Actual burden will be less as the expenditure on existing pension schemes will be saved.

AIDS and Assisted Living Devices Distributed Senior Citizens

  • AIDS and Assisted Living Devices were distributed to senior citizens during a camp on “Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana” of Ministry of Social Justice and
  • The devices will help the senior citizens to overcome their age related physical impairment and to lead a dignified and productive
  • The assisted devices shall be of high quality and conforming to the standards laid down by the Bureau of Indian Standards.

Concluding Remarks 

  • Identification of the needy by suitable exclusion criteria, simplification of the application procedure, efficient delivery system are the major
  • Finally, any scheme where money is involved, even if well conceived, is likely to end up in corruption and wastage of scarce resources, if it is not backed by the efficient monitoring

 

Pension Reform: Securing Life’s Second Innings

 Background

  • Pension or old age income is an important component of the social safety net. It provides a mechanism to alleviate or reduce the risk of old age poverty and a means to maintain living standard after
  • Pension system must be affordable to the subscribers, fiscally efficient and sustainable to the
  • In India the traditional family support system is gradually disintegrating due to occupational changes, urbanization and emergence of nuclear
  • Pension or provident funds have historically been confined to the organized

National Pension System (NPS) 

  • National Pension System is a defined contribution pension system administered and regulated by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).
  • NPS was initially introduced for government employees (except armed forces) joining on or after January 1, 2004 on mandatory basis and subsequently extended to the state government employees and finally from May 1, 2009 to all Indian citizens on voluntary basis both in public and private sectors including self-employed persons in the unorganised / informal
  • Now NPS is available to all Indian citizens between 18 to 60 years of age to avail post retirement
  • NPS is mandatory for government employees, 10% of their pay and an equal amount by the employer is credited to the pension account called Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN) of the
  • The accumulations are invested in government securities, corporate debentures / bonds and equity The subscriber has the option to decide the investment mix as per his risk appetite.
  • NRIs can also open NPS accounts both on repatriable and on non repatriable basis by remitting the contribution amount through their NRE/FCNR/NRO

 

Institutional Delivery: Health for All

Background 

  • India’s health system mirrors the iniquitous nature of development that has taken place in the
  • High income and wealth inequality has resulted in a skewed pattern of health care oriented towards secondary, tertiary level curative services, leading to neglect of the more basic preventive and primary care services needed for the poor to
  • Income and wealth disparities are also reflected in the sharply differing health outcomes across rural and urban areas, states and social
  • Universal health coverage remains an unfinished agenda with basic indicators of health in India continuing to be below those of low income countries such as Bangladesh.

Important Observations

  • In 2015, health inequality resulted in a loss of 24% of India’s health index value as per the Inequality adjusted Human Development Index computed by the
  • Unlike education, Health for All has never been an important electoral issue, though the potential for electoral gains are evident as in the case of Andhra
  • The general political apathy towards the health sector is also reflected in low budgetary allocations, with public spending accounting for not more than 5% of GDP over the last decade despite impressive economic growth.
  • This has meant that 75% of health care costs are financed by out of pocket expenses which push a large number below the poverty line. Health Insurance in India
  • Countries such as Brazil, Bolivia, Indonesia and Thailand, all characterised earlier by situations of high inequality and uneven access to health care systems, have revamped policies since 1980s towards universal health
  • They also indicate that strengthening of the primary health care system is a prerequisite for achieving universal health
  • However, in India none of the central or state level insurance schemes cover primary care in the insurance package, with the exception of Meghalaya that provides partial All the schemes focus on secondary and/or tertiary care.

The Way Forward

  • India’s new National Health Policy 2017 signifies a paradigm shift in government policy towards comprehensive primary health care and is significant for two reasons:
  • It defines health in terms of wellness rather than as absence of
  • It brings focus back on primary care and accords a key role to the public
  • Public-private partnerships are being relied upon as a way out of the financial crunch.

Unless carefully designed, it leads to enriching the private sector at the expense of liberal public subsidies.

  • International experience shows that health insurance can function when the basic health infrastructure is in place and this is a function that the government alone can perform.

Strengthening the healthcare delivery system would require 1 to 1.5 percent of GDP as capital investment to ensure adequate health infrastructure, with another 1% of GDP to provide free universal access to comprehensive primary care, secondary and select set of tertiary conditions for 60% of the population.

  • Additionally, atleast 2% of GDP would be required for supporting infrastructure like public sanitation, waste disposal, nutrition and
  • Achieving universal health coverage is listed as goal 3.8 in the SDGs agenda for 2030. India’s performance holds the key to achieving this global
  • The Government of India’s implementation of the National Health Policy 2017 in letter and spirit is crucial for ensuring health security for all by

 

Supporting the Vulnerable: Empowering the Differently Abled

Background

  • Traditionally the family has been the informal social security system in India. In a joint family system, members of the family were taking responsibility for those who were in
  • The impact of industrial revolution, modernization and urbanisation and job opportunities in cities, lead to the breakdown of joint family systems and disturbed the social Therefore the state has to take steps to protect its citizens.

Constitutional Provisions

  • Article 43 of the Indian constitution speaks of state’s responsibility to provide social security to its
  • Article 14 guarantees that no person shall be denied equality before the
  • According to Article 41, the state shall make effective provisions for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and

Social Security Initiatives

  • Promotional social security schemes are providing assistance to the people with disabilities by undertaking various programmes by state and central government to promote health, education, rehabilitation services, and reservation so as to enable them to participate in social and economic
  • In order to recognise their effort, separate awards are being presented to the outstanding employees with disabilities, best employers, role models, outstanding creative disabled individuals and outstanding technological innovation and adaptation of innovation to provide cost effective

Challenges Faced and a Way Forward

  • Most developmental programmes in India are not accessible to differently abled people mostly because of social or physical barriers that surround
  • Lack of information dissemination and absence of single window approach often make the differently abled people unaware of what benefits and schemes are available to
  • There is neither a uniform benefit formula nor is there any single agency that administers or guides the
  • Multiplicity of departments or agencies looking after disability benefits need to be integrated together to have comprehensive programme design and implementation policy under one umbrella with a chief executive
  • There is a need to plan and design inclusive strategies by understanding dynamics of disability. The first step would be collect detailed data on
  • Comprehensive administrative arrangements, pooling the funds from various sources and delivering the benefit under professional supervision and control are important steps to be taken
  • In addition, more resources from local, state, national and international agencies, government and non-government organisations need to be mobilised in order to reach the benefits to differently abled

Securing Farmer’s Welfare: Reality to Vision

Background

  • Renaming Ministry of Agriculture as the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare in 2015 was recognition that agriculture is not just about producing more food but also about a vision that producers will live a life comparable with other sections of the
  • In India’s agricultural growth story, large sections of primary producing farmers remained deprived and disenchanted. Not only do farm incomes tend low, some of the worst victims of economic uncertainty are farmers.
  • A survey of 2003-04 conveyed that 40% of agricultural households would take up a different occupation if given a choice (NSSO, 2005).
  • Later the same survey showed that even to meet their meagre consumption needs, agricultural households needed to supplement their income from cultivation with other sources (NSSO, 2014).

Farmers Income and Vulnerability

  • Farmer’s income gained interest in the wake of reports of farmer’s distress and the prime minister’s speech about doubling food producer’s income by
  • Farm income depends on number of Productivity, especially of land, is regarded as the key to higher earnings.
  • Improvements in technology and practices enhance production and
  • Agro-climatic diversity of India is well known but in a federal setup, policy, infrastructure and institutions differ among
  • Crop cultivation is therefore more remunerative in some parts of the country than others owing to natural, demographic and administrative
  • Monsoon failures can impair not only current production but their effects can spillover to subsequent seasons via water levels in reservoirs, rivers, canals, wells and
  • Excess or untimely rainfall is a threat too. Floods can be
  • Price movements too cause
  • Raising MSP encourages farmers to grow enough food and keep prices remunerative and stable, but only if government can procure
  • The bumper harvest of 2016-17 brought prices of pulses down in spite of raised
  • Demand fluctuations and global competition may further intensify price uncertainties with the opening up of

Emergent Methods to Promote Farmer’s Welfare

  • For many years the key instruments of India’s agricultural development like supply of improved seeds, fertilizer subsidies, cheap energy and concessional credit and public procurement of grains at MSP addressed farm
  • Crop insurance can be a critical protection against climate The nation’s satellite and meteorological capabilities are strengthened to generate early and reliable alerts.
  • Storage and distribution systems, now facing supervisory and budgetary challenges, determine the effectiveness of government intervention to control price.Many rural development schemes now help to improve the living standards of farmers through subsidies or investments addressing livelihood (NRLM), price discovery (eNAM), social assistance (NSAP), housing (IAY), road development (PMGSY) and health (NRHM).

Concluding Remarks

  • State is the natural custodian of farmer’s social security as much as people’s food security.
  • Protecting them against natural risk, creating infrastructure and social amenities remain government’s onus, but the taxpaying citizens and private sector need to join as stake holders.
  • In the long run ahead, agriculture is envisioned to grow as an enterprise, more integrated with other growing sectors that help to ease pressure on land for livelihood.

 

Prioritising Agriculture to Nutrition Pathways

Background

  • Food security is a multidimensional process involving production, distribution, consumer choice and consumption, adequate intake of macro- and micronutrients, and their effective
  • Food policy frameworks have evolved over time keeping in mind changing needs and requirements. The same has been adopted in policy implementation across most of the countries worldwide- including the developing countries in the South Asian and African sub-continents.

The Way Forward 

  1. Diet Diversity: The government should immediately promote the consumption of a diverse diet. The Indian Food Pyramid conceptualized by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) was beyond the comprehension of the
  2. Healthy Food Habits: Importance should be paid to the culture and local food habits, and those which improve nutritional status. A top-down approach has never been successful given the diversity of food production, consumption and preparation in the
  3. Decentralization: Decentralization in food policy making may actually work with greater emphasis on governance and
  4. Revamping the Targeting Mechanism: While the ultra-poor in India still require free food grains to be distributed, the rest of the population has improved calorie intake. This is evident from decline in calorie intake in both rural and urban India overtime. While it may be quite difficult to provide subsidized food items other than cereals and pulses (distributed in select states), incentives to producers of vegetable, fruits, milk, egg, fish and meat, etc. depending on the local consumption and production patterns may be Lack of cold storage remains a problem for India, whereby consumption of a nutritious diet can be enhanced by making distribution and availability much more convenient. Provision of mid-day meals in schools should have more nutritious content, with a mix of cereals, and pulses, and eggs in some states.
  5. Updating the Food Component of the Poverty Line:
    • Both the Tendulkar and Rangarajan Committee recognized the importance of nutrients other than calories, and incorporated the same in the computation of the poverty line. What is proposed is a new measure of diet diversity called the Healthy Eating Index for India.
    • It would help identify the food poor households in terms of their consumption of a diverse basket. This index is useful for identification of those consuming a less diverse diet for not only the vegetarian but also the non-vegetarian households. It can also help to understand the extent of vulnerability of households.
  6. Digital Solutions
    • A mix of cash versus in-kind transfers depending on evidence from the ground may be proposed. Cash transfers should be implemented with caution- that the same is used for improving the food security status of households. Cash transfers may shift households’ consumption from staple food items towards a more nutritious and diverse diet.
  7. Affluence and Obesity
    • Other than malnutrition, India is also suffering from high rates of obesity and micronutrient deficiency diseases. The middle and rich are prone to the latter. The reasons are as follows: a) fast pace of urbanization b) price c) lifestyle d) easy availability of fatty and oily products and e) excessive marketing of the same Government intervention should be in the form of taxing fatty food products and supermarkets who encourage the consumption of unhealthy food items. Overall, the triple burden of malnutrition has a high economic cost on the society and the GDP.
  8. Food Safety
    • This is an issue of growing concern. While the PDS was fraught with leakages and corruption, there was enough food waste due to unavailability of cold storage facilities. Safety of food involves less usage of chemicals in production and preservation of food. We are currently far from being part of the global food system. The food policy framework should be holistic for the country to tackle the triple burden of malnutrition.

 

Social Security: Global Scenario

Brief Background

  • The concept of social security has been captured in Article 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which pronounced that “Everyone, as a member of society has the right to social security through national effort and international cooperation”.
  • Germany is often considered a pioneer in social security mechanism where a series of initiatives were started during the then German Chancellor Otto von
  • The government of UK had set up the first unified social security system immediately after the World War
  • The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United Nations repeatedly promoted social security in international laws and

International Experience: Learning

  • Social security mechanisms have widely been recognized as a shock absorber and a step towards protecting people against vulnerabilities, bridging societal inequalities, ending poverty and hunger, strengthening human dignity and
  • A report published by ILO in 2014 estimated that only 27% of the world’s population has access to comprehensive social
  • There are challenges associated with social security initiatives and two such challenges are sustainability and 2)
  • Only few countries could make the schemes almost universal. The challenge is in low and middle income countries.
  • Further, the identification of the target population remains a major programmatic challenge.
  • It is imperative that there is political attention on expansion of coverage of these schemes on regular
  • As the life expectancy is increasing and the working population which would reach retirement age, the ratio of retirement costs to the GDP will continue to increase in the years ahead, which would add the cost to social security
  • Thus the national governments have to do their fiscal planning to ensure that social security measures are not adversely affected by the changing
  • It has been noted that countries with explicit mention for social security provisions in their constitution are far ahead in implementation of such measures than others. Finland is considered to have one of the most advanced and comprehensive social security systems in the world. In Finland, all residents are covered by social security schemes and the country has different systems for specific populations

A Possible Way forward

  • India is a nation of young population and a fast growing economy, largely been unaffected by global slowdown. This is the most appropriate time that the existing social security system in India is
  • The constitution of India through Article 41 and 42, discusses the security of right to work, education and assistance in case of unemployment, old age, sickness and disability.
  • In this context, India can take the following steps to increase the social securitymeasures.
  • Develop and agree on a roadmap for universalization: A roadmap for increasing such initiatives has to be available with sufficient legal

Consider establishing an autonomous national social security organisation: In India there are multiple social security provisions which are being poorly implemented. Therefore, such an autonomous agency at both national and state level would bring efficiency and implementation effectiveness.

Develop a social sector investment plan with innovative financing mechanisms: Investment in social security system could be facilitator of economic growth.

Focus on solidarity as well as public awareness and engagement: Solidarity can be brought through involvement of community through awareness generation efforts, which would contribute to increased uptake of the existing

Consider universal health coverage (UHC) as part of social security measures:

  1. In India annually an estimated 63 million people fall into poverty due to health related out of pocket expenditures (OOPE).
  2. The OOPE by people at 65% of total health expenditure is one of the highest in the world.
  3. Government needs to invest more on health and build mechanisms for social health insurance system. Investment on health contributes to high return on GDP and economic

The impact of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana has been limited. It is time that this scheme and the proposed National Health Protection Scheme are financed sufficiently to advance towards UHC.

Proactive leadership by state governments: While the financial and fiscal resources of union government would always be limited; however, implementation difference is made when top political leadership of the state show vision and

Consider legislative and legal reforms: The social security schemes need to have legislative and legal support for sustainability.

 

Nurturing a Healthy Learning Environment

Introduction

  • Social security refers to well being and the system that ensures this for all. It typically enjoins governments to provide a basic set of benefits or services that would enable its citizens to live a life of
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone as a member of society has the right to social security, through national effort and international cooperation for free development of his/her personality”.
  • Social security provisions include pensions or unemployment insurance and basic services like health and education.

Present Status

  • In India, while several social security provisions exist on paper, their performance has been highly uneven.
  • The reasons cited are: bureaucratic apathy and corruption to lack of resources.
  • The solutions include mandatory use of biometrics to reduce corruption and improve targeting of benefits.
  • The latest attempt in this direction is a recent order from the government, which states that the ‘Aadhaar’ (UID) based on biometrics is mandatory for a child to receive a mid day meal in school. The Mid-day Meal Programme.
  • Given India’s record on hunger and malnutrition, especially among children, the idea of introducing mid-day meals in schools addresses the twin objectives of improving nutrition, as well as enabling children to come to school and remain there through the day.
  • Research across the world has established that school meals reduce hunger, increase enrolment and attendance and improve learning outcomes.
  • Even today in many parts of the country, the mid day meal is the first meal of the day for a number of children.
  • There are gaps in delivery mechanism, such as:
    1. Irregularity in supply
    2. Poor hygiene and infrastructure
    3. Inadequate nutritional content of meals
  • Too much time is spent by teachers in organizing MDM taking away from their core duties of teaching and that children come to school only for food, leaving soon after it is served, thus not meeting their educational
  • There are reports of discrimination on the basis of caste – such as dalit children being asked to eat separately or not being provided sufficient quantity of food.
  • What is unclear is how using a mandatory UID for children will address any of these problems.

Employing Biometrics 

  • Since there are several gaps in the allocation of the UID with scores of children without an Aadhaar card, this implies limiting children to access MDMs, rather than improve access.
  • It does not affect the irregularities in supply, poor hygiene, and irregular nutritional content of meals.
  • It might affect the children who are supposedly double enrolled – i.e, attending private schools, while registered in government school.
  • The effective means to reduce corruption and increase accountability in MDM is through community monitoring, social audits, decentralised grievance redress systems, public display of information on beneficiaries and menus, etc.

 

Ensuring a Rising Tide

Background

  • A rising tide is necessary to lift all Traditionally the focus of social security measures has been on targeted programmes that address certain communities or regions. This approach has not yielded the requisite results.
  • That is why the focus must be on ensuring a rising tide; reach out to those who need some more help to ensure their boats remain afloat with the rising
  • Education, healthcare, skills that open up opportunities for improving livelihoods are interventions that will ensure a rising tide.
  • Both the general and targeted efforts to ameliorate economic and social backwardness need to be undertaken simultaneously.
  • Social reformers in the past like Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and Vivekanada all stressed on the need to educate and improve the standing of women as the first step to improve the conditions of a community.
  • We have seen how microfinance targeted at women helped for socio-economic change in many rural communities.

Government Programmes

  • The government’s Ujjwala scheme to provide clean cooking fuel has enormous implications for health and cognitive development. As a result, children from these homes are in a better position to learn, the families expenditure on health is down, and immunity has improved. This provides a pathway out of poverty.
  • Jan Dhan Yojana made it possible for poor people to open a zero balance bank account. It allows for government benefits like subsidies to be directly transferred to the beneficiaries.
  • The government’s focus on women through schemes like Nai Roshni, focused on leadership training for women is an important step.
  • Manas – upgrading entrepreneurship skills of the

Concluding Remarks

  • Social security and welfare schemes that are targeted at specific groups, such as minorities must be tailored to the particular conditions of those communities.
  • Social security and welfare schemes must focus on overcoming social barriers that prevent the economics and social mobility of their members.
  • Education is the only silver bullet that can change a person’s life and open up the opportunities for social and economic advancement.
  • There has to be greater effort to reach children from marginalised and poor communities.
  • The government must invest more in schools and teachers in these communities.
  • It must equip these schools with facilities, from the very basics like toilets and drinking water to the other end of the spectrum like libraries.
  • It must also augment scholarship assistance to children from these communities so that many more can make the transition to higher education.
  • Investing in education and in opportunities for the future are the most important social security investments that any government can make.

 

Protecting the Unprotected

Background

Social security is a prerequisite for a just and equitable society. The right to social security is a human right and according to Universal Declaration of Human Rights, access to social security is a basic

India is a founding member of the ILO and has ratified several ILO as well as UN human rights instruments.

Unorganised sector in India

  • Major part of the unorganised sector is left uncovered by social security system.
  • As per the estimates of the 68th round of NSSO, about 84% of the workers are in unorganised sector.
  • A large majority of workforce in this sector is devoid of any formal social security protection for ill-health, accidents/death and old age.
  • Therefore, inclusive growth cannot have much meaning without some minimum safety net for the workers in unorganised sector.
  • The current social security administration in the country faces challenges of:
    1. Multiplicity of policies, schemes and agencies
    2. Poor coverage and outreach
    3. Inadequate benefits
    4. Fragmentation
    5. Poor quality of selection and implementation
    6. High costs
    7. Exclusion of large sections, particularly unorganized sector workers

The Ministry of Labour and Employment in line with the recommendations of the 2nd National Commission on Labour, has taken steps for simplification, amalgamation and rationalization of central labour laws on social security.

 

Systematic Reforms in MGNREGA

Background 

  • India is at a very crucial phase of developmental process, between growth and prosperity on one hand and social welfare on the other.
  • MGNREGA has been a veritable platform providing social protection to rural populace in terms of livelihood. The programme aims at contributing to rural infrastructure development and other land works in the rural areas.

Resolving Agricultural Distress

  • The government has strategically shifted its focus on leveraging MGNREGA’s potential in effectively addressing agrarian crises and farmer distress.
  • Emphasis on works related to drought proofing, flood control, micro irrigation, water conservation and renovation of traditional water resources.

Convergence for Agricultural Productivity

  • Rural development ministry has largely worked upon converging Natural Resource Management (NRM) related works under MGNREGA along with Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) and Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP).
  • Mihir Shah Committee in 2013 mentioned inclusion of new works under MGNREGA for better agricultural productivity and sustainable asset creation.

Capacity Building

  • The government has initiated several schemes to impart skills to workers both in agriculture related activities and other fields.
  • Project-LIFE under MGNREGA was mooted by the government to develop skills among the workers and their families.
  • There is significant thrust on Agri related skills and the youth have shown preference for agriculture related works in comparison to other fields.

Financial Streamlining

  • The DBT platform, combined with the biometric-based UID program Aadhaar, effectively combats financial leakages through middlemen and also eliminates the possibility of duplicity in records.
  • This is a positive development towards greater transparency as it would ensure that the payments reach the rightful beneficiaries.

Impact Assessment Framework

  • The impact assessment framework implemented from 2015-16 records expected outcomes and actual outcomes of works undertaken.
  • The practice is aimed at improving the quality and productivity of assets created and to also create an accountability structure.

 

A Commitment to Support Initiatives

 Background

  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) encourages organisations to protect the interests of communities by taking responsibility for the impact they are creating on people, planet and profits.
  • India has become the maiden country in the world with legislated CSR provisions.
  • With increased GDP and subsequently increased profits, this mandatory spending will increase.

CSR- the Harbinger for Empowerment

  • Empowerment of the marginalised is the key responsibility of the government, but corporate sector initiatives are required for scale, speed and creating best practices for others to emulate.
  • Businesses concentrate on a particular community where they are located, so it is easier for them to understand the issues, challenges, and opportunities for the marginalized that can be garnered through CSR projects.
  • The inclusive growth mantra – Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas can be realized only by creating linkages in the development models of private and public sector.
  • The state budget for people’s welfare is insufficient to meet the increasing demands. Private sector participation is essential to meet the developmental goals of the marginalised.
  • Government flagship programmes like Make in India, Start-up India, Skill India and Digital India can be promoted by the CSR projects as these interventions make marginalised more educated and skilful and generate massive job opportunities.

CSR Activities for Marginalized Sections: 

Skilling and Livelihood opportunities for the Differently Abled:

  1. Persons with disability are more vulnerable to exclusions from the socio-economic domains as they have poor access to infrastructure, education and skill development.
  2. Projects like providing literacy, vocational education and employability are the strategic CSR projects for persons with disability.

Self Help Groups and Micro Enterprises:

  1. CSR projects facilitate livelihoods in rural areas by creating job opportunities without migration through SHGs and micro enterprises.
  2. E-commerce ventures can provide market linkages to producers and artisans for online selling of their products.
  3. Innovative CSR models in skills intervention for SHGs can increase their efficiency and outcomes.

Elderly Population:

  1. The poor civic infrastructure poses a challenge for their healthcare, well being and housing needs.
  2. The new CSR amendment suggests setting up old age homes, day care centres and such other facilities for senior citizens.
  3. The inclusion of the CSR activities in the Schedule VII supplements the government’s efforts.

Slum Development

  • Inclusion of slum development in CSR activities is supplementing government’s efforts to make cities slum free.

Concluding Remarks

  • Innovative CSR projects are needed that are economically viable, scalable, and replicable in demographic context.
  • What is required is tapping of enormous resource pool and the organisational capacity of the corporate sector to design viable and innovative CSR projects.
  • Strategic CSR projects for the marginalised sections can assume much significant role in their social development.