India’s Social Safety Net 


    Syllabus :GS 2/Governance 

    • According to the ILO’s World Social Protection Report, 2022, India spends too little on social protection. 
    • Social security is a human right, according to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. The ILO’s Recommendation of 2012 has called for all nations to institute a “social protection floor”.
    • It is the protection that a society provides to individuals and households to ensure access to health care and to guarantee income security, particularly in cases of old age, unemployment, sickness, invalidity, work injury, maternity or loss of a breadwinner. 
    • Social security is a human right, according to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. 
    • The ILO’s Recommendation of 2012 has called for all nations to institute a “social protection floor”. 
    • Social security has a powerful impact at all levels of society.
    •  It provides workers and their families with access to health care and with protection against loss of income, whether it is for short periods of unemployment or sickness or maternity or for a longer time due to invalidity or employment injury. 
    • It provides older people with income security in their retirement years.
    •  Children benefit from social security programmes designed to help their families cope with the cost of education
    • For employers and enterprises, social security helps maintain stable labour relations and a productive workforce.
    • Social security can contribute to social cohesion and to a country’s overall growth and development by bolstering living standards, cushioning the effects of structural and technological change on people and thereby providing the basis for a more positive approach toward globalisation.
    • Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan Yojana (PM-SYM) (Old Age Protection)   :Voluntary and contributory pension schemes
      • Under this schemes, 50% monthly contribution is payable by the beneficiary and equal matching contribution is paid by the Central Government
    • Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY): Those living in scheduled caste and scheduled tribe households.
      • Families with no male members aged 16 to 59 years.
      • Beggars and those surviving on alms
      • Health coverage of Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization free of cost.
    • Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G): the Ministry of Rural Development is implementing PMAY-G with effect from 1st April 2016 to provide assistance to eligible rural households with an overall target to construct 2.95 crore pucca houses with basic amenities by March, 2024.
      • Assistance provided to the Beneficiary to the tune of 1.2 Lakhs in plain areas and 1.3 Lakhs in Hilly Areas.
    • PDS: 35 kg of rice or wheat every month, while a household above the poverty line is entitled to 15 kg of food grain on a monthly basis.
      • Being implemented as ONORC to enable migrant workers to receive the food grains wherever they are working.
    • Atal Pension Yojana : The contributor on his choice, can attain a pension of 1000-5000 rupees, or he can also get an accumulated sum of the pension after his death.
    • Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) : The risk coverage under the scheme is Rs. 2 lakh for accidental death and full disability and Rs. 1 lakh for partial disability. Premium @ 20/- year
    • Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana (PMJJBY) : Rs.2 lakh on death due to any cause Premium @ Rs.436/- year
    • Women have come to occupy centrestage in the emerging social protection architecture.
      •  Schemes covering education expenses, free public transport, subsidised LPG, and cash transfers have been floated. 
      • The Centre made a beginning by launching the Ujjwala scheme in 2016, providing subsidised LPG gas cylinders to poor women. 
    • Mahatma Gandhi NREGA: Government of India has allocated Rs.60, 000 crore in Budget Estimate 2023-24 under Mahatma Gandhi NREGA.
      • Recently the Government notified new wage rates for unskilled manual workers under MGNREGA for the financial year 2024-2025, with Goa seeing the maximum hike of 10.56% over the current wage rate, and Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand recording the lowest raise of 3.04% each.
    • According to the ILO’s World Social Protection Report, 2022, India spends too little on social protection. 
    • India’s policymakers have largely ignored social security. While policies are often announced, budgetary allocation has always been limited and utilisation even less so. 
    • Approximately 91% (or around 475 million) of India’s workforce works in the informal sector.
      • It lacks access to social security. 
    • In two decades, India will be an ageing society — for such workers with limited savings, there will be no significant social protection. 
    • While the Code on Social Security (2020) merged existing social security legislation, it dealt fundamentally with formal enterprises and did not cover informal ones.
      • It  remains unimplemented even today.
    • The existing social security framework for unorganised workers has become complex, with overlapping areas of authority between the State and Centre, and confusing definitions being used such as between a platform worker, an unorganised worker and someone who is self-employed.
    • The lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has inflicted a heavy cost on India’s poor. 
    • India should aspire to provide social security to all of its workforce, in a manner that is fiscally and administratively feasible.
    • Greater support is required for financing social security for the majority of India’s labour force, moving beyond construction and gig workers.
    • Special attention is required for domestic workers (usually female), who are never sure when their employment may be terminated. 
    • Migrant workers often face discrimination and suspicion from authorities in their working area so coverage of social services such as child care can be expanded.
    • We need a more significant push to raise awareness about social security to ensure that more workers are aware of the available benefits.
    • The time has come for India to consolidate its existing social security schemes/ad hoc measures and provide universal social security to its entire labour workforce.
    Mains Practice Question 
    [Q] Discuss the Social Security Measures in India and Related Challenges . Do higher levels of social spending necessarily lead to a lower level of poverty?