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[Answered] In the recent event of coronavirus epidemics, there is an urgent need for effective social security measures in place. Discuss.

 

Demand of the question

Introduction. Contextual introduction.

Body. Discuss why there is an urgent need for effective social security measures in place.

Conclusion. Way forward.

 

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), Social Security is defined as the protection which society provides for its members through a series of public measures against the economic and social distress as the world is witnessing today due to the coronavirus pandemic. Recent events of coronavirus demand an urgent need for effective social security measures from the government.

Need for effective social security measures:

  1. Physical risks: Due to sickness especially old age maternity, there is an urgent required for social security measures especially related to health.
  2. Loss of jobs: Unemployment is on the rise due to the economic impact of the epidemic. It has caused a lockdown and closure of many industrial units leading to loss of jobs.
  3. Poverty: India is home to millions of poor. An epidemic poses more risk to poor who lack resources for hospitalisation and lack money to buy nutritious food. Poor people cannot afford to stay idle at home. If they are asked to stay home, they will need help.
  4. Malnutrition: Indians are suffering from malnutrition and undernutrition leading to weak immune systems, thus making it more vulnerable to epidemics.
  5. Women status: Women are being discriminated against in India especially in rural areas. They are first to be fired from jobs in wake of economic losses. Any epidemic poses high risk to them and to their health, demanding measures for their wellness.
  6. Migrants: Mass lay-offs have forced migrant workers to rush home, some without being paid, thereby needing social security measures in place.

Way forward:

  1. Using existing social-security schemes: First step is to make good use of existing social-security schemes to support poor people pensions, the Public Distribution System (PDS), midday meals, and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), among others.
  2. Continuing basic services: Services that help poor people in their hour of need without creating a major health hazard should continue to function as far as possible.
  3. Universal basic income: A minimum amount of universal income should be provided to the poor, to ensure a basic
  4. Ensuring labour welfare: It must be ensured that welfare of labour should not be impacted and no one should lose unnecessary jobs due to the epidemic.
  5. Capping prices: Prices of basic goods, food should be capped. Any hoarder should be punished according to laws.

We are dealing not only with a health crisis but also with an economic crisis. Even if discontinuing public services helps to contain the health crisis, the economic consequences need to be considered. A social security measure needs to be put in place.

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