Sunday 10 April 2016

Give all Indians the right to social security

It is the sum of all government regulations and provisions that aim at enhancing the people’s living conditions, including legislations, acts, laws, regulations and planning in the fields of old age, wage, unemployment, and social exclusion, sickness and health care, and income security measures such as food security, employment, education and health, housing, social insurance, and social assistance.
In the Indian context, the State bears the primary responsibility for developing appropriate systems for providing social protection and assistance to its workforce. The matters relating to Social Security are listed in the Directive Principles of State Policy and the subjects in the Concurrent List of the Constitution of India.

There are four types of social security programs in India like contributory schemes, welfare schemes, social assistance and promotional social security. Accident insurance, medical facilities, old age pension, gratuity, provident fund, maternity benefits, income security, and unemployment allowances are some of the statutory schemes administered by the government. Many of these are operated by boards at the state level. The central government imposes a cess on employers for workers engaged in, for example, lime-stone, dolomite, iron ore, manganese, chrome, and mica mines, the beedi industry, the film making and the theatre industry. 

Centrally sponsored schemes are the National Social Assistance Programme with its three components of old age pension scheme, national family benefit scheme, and national maternity benefit scheme. Nationwide programmes are the public distribution system, the Integrated Child Development Programme, the Mid Day Meal programme in primary schools, the supplementary Nutrition Programmes, the rural employment programmes (National Rural Livelihood Mission), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

In India, the organized sector accounts for about 6 percent of the total work force, benefit from a fair minimum standard of social security. The principal social security laws enacted in India for organised sector workforce are:
  Employees State Insurance Act, 1948,
  Employees Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952,
  Employees Compensation Act, 1923,
  Maternity Benefits Act, 1961 and
  Payment of Gratuity Act,1972.

However, there are many challenges to the social security schemes like Funding of social security measures and the unavailability of reliable data. There is lack of involvement of the people in designing the packages of the diverse schemes. The schemes are poorly designed and executed at household targeting mechanism. Lack of coordination and overlap in delivery of programs reduces accountability of those responsible for social security delivery. Thus the right to social security to each and every Indian is far from reality and needs to be put a check on.

Shruti Sinha
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)

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