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Yojana July Magazine is about Social Security and consist with some important article like Hand- Holding the Elderly by Sumati Kulkarni, Health for All by K Seeta Prabhu, Empowering the Differently Abled by Sandhya Limaya, Security Farmers’ Welfare: Reality to Vision by Nilabja Ghose and Special Article named Social Security: Global Scenario by Chandrakant Lahariya and one Focus article named Securing Life’s Second Innings by Badri Singh Bhandari
In this Issue
Hand-holding the Elderly Sumati Kulkarni
Focus Securing Life’s Second Innings Badri Singh Bhandari
Health for All K Seeta Prabhu
Empowering the Differently Abled Sandhya Limaye
Securing Farmer’s Welfare: Reality to Vision Nilabja Ghosh
Prioritising agriculture to nutrition pathways Mousumi Das
Special article social security: Global Scenario
Chandrakant Lahariya Nurturing a Healthy Learning Environment Kiran Bhatty
Ensuring a rising tide Urmi Goswami
Protecting the unprotected Ruma Ghosh
Systemic Reforms in MGNREGS Khyati Srivastava Vidushi Sahani
A Commitment to Support Initiatives Jatindar Singh
NPS-Lite/Swavalamban Scheme and the Atal Pension Yojana
NORTH EAST DIARY
Do you know?
A Covenant for Social Protections
There is much talk everywhere about India’s demographic dividend with debates ranging from how India’s growing young population will make India a world economic leader sooner rather than later to how the same young population may turn out to be a drag on the economy with no employment opportunities to offer them.
In all this hype on the demographic dividend , one critical fact seems to has to be kept in mind by our planners, economists and social thinkers is that India also has a rising population of the elderly. It is estimated that India’s elderly population will reach 173 million by 2026. Much of this population will consist of the poor, underprivileged and women who will need some kind of financial and psychological support. There are other vulnerable groups as well – like women, differently abled, marginalized, unorganized labour- all of whom require some kind of support from the government to sustain their lives. Social security is a covenant that promises support to these vulnerable sectors of society, a covenant that cannot and should not be broken by a democratic government. Fortunately, our constitutional framers had built in provisions for social security for various sections of the population in Article 43 of the Constitution. And, successive governments have faithfully ensured the upkeep of the spirit of the Article.
Schemes like Indira Gandhi old Age Pension Scheme and Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme ensure social security for the elderly. While pension was ensured for all government employees post retirement and was one of the key attractions of government service, the private sector had no such facility. People who retired from the private sector had to be solely dependent on savings made while in service. This meant that post retirement , if expenses like education to children or marriage of daughters was to be incurred, this made a big hole in the savings and the employee was left with very little for meeting day to day expenses, expenditure on health, etc. It was to resolve this problem that the government initiated schemes like the National Pension Scheme, Atal Pension Yojana, Swavalamban, etc to ensure steady income post-retirement.
Farming is one hazardous occupation with success or failure of the crop dependent on vagaries of the weather, availability /non-availability of water, pests, et al. Realising that the welfare of the farmer is a key to economic stability, the government introduced schemes like Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, Kisan Credit Card for facilitating funding of various agricultural activities like buying seeds, fodder for cattle, fertilizers, etc. All these schemes are expected to ensure security for the farmer in his duty of feeding the nation. Another related area is food security – i.e. ensuring food reaches the millions of population who cannot afford to buy cereals and pulses at market prices. The Public Distribution system was started to ensure that basic food products were available at subsidized prices. The PDS has now been linked to DBT to make sure that its benefits reach the genuine needy person.
Other vulnerable sections of the population like the differently abled, women, marginalized and unorganized have also been addressed in various initiatives of the government like the Inclusive India Initiative which seeks to facilitate equal opportunities for the differently abled in nation building and Nai Manzil , USTTAD and Nai Roshni for the minorities and marginalised. The government has recently proposed to bring in a Code on social security and welfare for labour which is expected to provide social security for the unorganised sector. The Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao and Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana have been introduced to provide education security to the girl child. The Maternity Benefit Programme for pregnant and lactating women has been approved by the Cabinet. Health insurance schemes have also been introduced by the government for various vulnerable groups towards health security.
It is an understood philosophy of a democratic state that it cannot ignore the problems of its population. The government of the country is duty bound to address the problems of its vulnerable sections. Social security is, therefore, one of the essential factors in good governance. As John F. Kennedy said ” “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” A government that believes in governance of the poor and for the poor has necessarily to plan and execute policies and programmes for social security of the vulnerable sections.