Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Poverty Alleviation, Employment Generation and Social Protection

    The universally accepted standard way of measuring growth is the Human Development Index. As per the latest Human Development Report from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), HDI for India is 0.554 and it ranks 136 out of 187 countries. As we know, HDI is being measured on the basis of capabilities like *to live long healthy life, *to be knowledgeable, *to enjoy decent economic standard of life. Here, if we focus on the aspect of decent economic standard of life, it is necessary to have a decent income to achieve it.

    From HDR 2010, poverty has been measured in terms of Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) which measures intensity of deprivation in terms of living standards, health and education. India has an unfavorable MPI of 0.296. If we use this indicator instead of national poverty line then the population below poverty line widens substantially.

    Apart from Human Development and Poverty, we have our labour force also increasing which means that pace of job/livelihood creation must be accelerated. During 2010, only 15.6% of total workforce were in organised sector whereas 33.5% were casual workers and 51% were self-employed. This means that majority of workforce is in unorganised sector. To achieve inclusive development, several programmes on poverty alleviation and employment generation are being implemented by Government of India. Some of them are,

  2. Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY)
  3. Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana

And also some of the social protection schemes are,

  1. Aam Admi Bima Yojana (AABY)
  2. National Social Security Fund
  3. Bilateral Social Security Agreements
    It is a livelihood security enhancing programme which provides 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household where an adult member of the family volunteer to do unskilled manual work. The objective of the programme is to augment wage employment and also focusing on the works that address drought, deforestation and soil erosion. Initially, in 2006 it was started at 200 districts and then expanded to further 130 districts. And also the wage under this programme was increased from Rs. 65 to Rs. 120 in 2011-12.

   This has led to increase in purchasing power of the people, decrease in distress immigration and also increased bargaining power of the agricultural labourers. Anyway, the implementation could have been better with focused planning and capacity building of Panchayat Raj Institutions.

   This programme also sought for 1/3 participation of women. But the share of women in generated person-days is 48%, i.e., more than expected.

    Some major initiatives for the effective implementation of this programme being, 1. Service delivery framework using ICT for better transparency and accountability. 2. Providing wage rate of Rs. 100 per day as an entitlement and developing an index for fixing wage rate and its periodic revision.

Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana:
    This is a self-employment programme to help poor families to cross the poverty line by providing bank credit and government subsidy, so that they can involve in income generating activities. It is envisaged that 50% of this programme should go to SC/ST and 40% to women. Under this programme each district of the country to have Rural Self Employment Training Institute for basic skill development.

   Now this programme has been restructured as NRLM (National Rural Livelihood Mission) and its salient features are,
  • At least one member of the family (preferably a woman) to be brought under SHG network.
  • By setting up strong SHGs, reducing their external dependencies.
  • Continuous capacity building of the stakeholders (SHG, NGOs...)
  • Subsidies to be available in terms of funds and capital subsidies to cover their long term credit needs and short term consumption needs.
  • Universal financial inclusion - in case head of the family or earning member natural death 30,000/- accidental death 75,000/- for total permanent disability 75,000/- and for partial disability 37,500/- .
Janashree Bima Yojana:
    Launched in 2000, for rural, urban persons living below poverty line, (18-59 years of age) and 45 identified occupations. This scheme provides cover in case of natural death 30,000/- accidental death 75,000/- for total permanent disability 75,000/- and for partial disability 37,500/- .

Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY):
    Launched in 2007, this scheme provides smart card based, cashless healthcare of 30,000/- per family (5) per annum. The state center sharing will be 75:25 except kashmir and north-east (90:10).

Unorganised Workers Social Security Act 2008:
    Launched in 2009, Providing social security to unorganised workers.

Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana:
    Launched in 1997, to provide gainful employment to urban unemployed and under employed by encouraging them to setup self-employment ventures or provision for wage employment. This scheme subsumed earlier ones like Urban Self Employment Programme (USEP), Urban Woman Self-help Programme (UWSP), Skill Training for Employment Promotion amongst Urban Poor (STEP UP), Urban Wage Employment Programme (UWEP) and Urban Community Development Network (UCDN).

Social Protection
    As we stated earlier, the share of informal workforce is high. The following programmes are focusing on providing social security to them.

Aam Admi Bima Yoajana (AABY):
    Launched in 2007, provides natural as well as accidental cover. Security Board was setup in 2009 and it has recommended the schemes like RSBY , JBY and Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS for old age pensions) to be extended to construction workers, MGNREGA workers, Asha workers...etc.

National Social Security Fund:
    For the unorganized sector workers.

Bilateral Social Security Agreements:
    In case of posting in any third country, the workers will be exempted from social security contribution, totalisation of contribution period and exportability of pension in case od relocation to home country. Currently this agreement has been made with Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark and Norway.


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