With the impressive array of social security programmes in India, the country is ideally poised to move to Social Protection Floor (SPF), International Labour Organization (ILO) has said.
SPF is a set of four basic social security guarantees that ensure basic income security for all and access to universal essential health care. SPF is a joint UN campaign, and is anchored by ILO.
"The recent announcements of the three-tier contributory social security schemes by the central government –- Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, Atal Pension Yojana, and Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana –- is a positive step towards universal coverage of some aspects of social protection provisions.
"Though theses social security schemes aim to cover all, the focus is essentially on poor and vulnerable people," said Ranjit Prakash, the National Coordinator of SPF (ILO-India) in a release.
Highlighting the need for income security and its universal coverage, Prakash pointed to a World Bank report -- The State of Social Safety Nets, 2015 -- which hailed India's Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) with 182 million beneficiaries as world’s largest social safety programmes.
India’s mid-day meal programme, which has been one of the significant contributors in increasing enrollment in public schools across the country, is an exemplary in ensuring universal social security to the children.
"While these are surely remarkable, India still ranks 135 on Human Development Index, along with medium developed countries like Egypt, South Africa, Mongolia, Philippines and Indonesia. Also with about 30 per cent population below poverty line, India’s record of poverty is relatively worse.
"There are many who struggle to meet their daily needs and this dramatically increases their vulnerabilities in dealing with life’s risks," said Navneet Anand, President of development forum Fijeeha, which is collaborating with ILO on an awareness campaign on SPF.