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World Social Protection Report 2017-19

Context:

  • Recently the World Social Protection Report 2017-19 has been published by the International Labour Organization.
  • It can be viewed as a blueprint for action by political parties of the mainstream.

What is Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights is drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world.
  • The Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations.
  • It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages.

What is social security?

  • Social securityis “any government system that provides monetary assistance to people with an inadequate or no income.”
  • Social security is enshrined in Article 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 22 states that:

  • Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

What is the need for social security?

  • Universal social protection is essential for:
  • Realizing the human right to social security for all,
  • Advancing social justice and promoting inclusive growth, and
  • Accelerating progress towards achieving the globally agreed 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

What is the World Social Protection Report of the International Labour Organization?

  • The International Labour Organization’s flagship report, “World Social Protection Report” of the International Labour Organization provides a global overview on recent trends in social protection systems, including social protection floors.

Salient features of the World Social Protection Report:

  • Based on new data, it offers a broad range of global, regional and country data on social protection coverage, benefits and public expenditures on social protection.
  • The report follows a life-cycle approach, starting with social protection for children, followed by schemes for women and men in working age, including protection in case of maternity, unemployment, employment injury and disability, and those for older persons, including pensions.
  • It also assesses progress towards universal coverage in health.
  • It calls for greater attention towards the extension of coverage, adequate financing and strengthening national social protection systems, with a particular focus on achieving the SDGs.

What are the major findings of the World Social Protection Report 2017-19?

The major findings of the World Social Protection Report 2017-19 are as follows:

Majority without safeguard:

  • A vast majority of people (4 billion) live without any safeguard against the normal contingencies of life.

No major increase in coverage:

  • There has been a 2% increase in coverage in the last two years — a sign that the commitment is woefully inadequate given the magnitude of the challenge.

Limited access to social protection:

  • Less than half (45.2%) have guaranteed access to only one social protection benefit in the face of a whole of risks such as ill health, unemployment, occupational injuries, disability, and old age.

Underinvestment in social protection:

  • Coverage gaps are associated with a significant underinvestment in social protection, particularly in Africa, Asia and the Arab States (figure 2).

Inadequate coverage of health programmes:

  • More than half the population in rural areas is not covered by universal health programmes, as compared to less than a quarter in urban locations.

Inadequate coverage of child and mother protection programs:

  • Nearly two-thirds of children are not covered by any form of social protection, meaning that their education is unlikely to rank as a priority among households.
  • Furthermore, 41% of mothers of newborns receive no maternity benefits.

Inadequate coverage of severe disabilities:

  • Only 27.8% of persons with severe disabilities worldwide receive appropriate support, says the report.

Inadequate support for old-age pensions:

  • The expansion of old-age pensions to include 68% of people in the retirement age is a move in the right direction.
  • The levels of support are not adequate enough even to lift people out of poverty.

What are the measures to be taken?

The immediate measures to be taken are as follows:

  • Assistance is to be provided to destitute, especially elderly, handicapped and sick by providing a pension, linked to some price index.
  • Provision of an employment guarantee for the able bodied to do at least casual labour and earn a living in times of distress.
  • Programmes for self-employment of the poor are to be implemented by providing financial support and technical assistance.
  • Programmes are to be implemented to improve nutritional status of the vulnerable groups like children and women by providing supplementary nutrition and noon-meals.
  • A comprehensive legislation is to be enacted for providing minimum social security to the workforce in the unorganized sector.

Long run measures:

  • With a view of development, social security should have holistic features combining social structures, institutional resources, family bonds, community organizations and resources so as to create an environment of strong relationships, which provide safety nets at all levels.
  • There is a need for a few but focused social security schemes covering both basic social security needs and contingent needs.
  • States should get more flexibility in formulating poverty alleviation schemes according to regional specifications.

What are the different schemes for Social Security in India?

  • In order to achieve the objective of social security for common man, the Government of India has launched many schemes.
  • These Social Security Schemes have been launched with the objective of providing insurance services to the economically weaker section of society. 
  • Keeping in mind the lower income group, premium of these schemes has been kept fairly low, so that the benefit of these schemes can reach far and wide to the unreached.
  • The schemes can be availed via bank accounts only.
  • Some of the important Social Security Schemes in India are as follows:

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY):

  • Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) is National Mission for Financial Inclusion to ensure access to financial services, namely, Banking/ Savings & Deposit Accounts, Remittance, Credit, Insurance, Pension in an affordable manner.
  • Account can be opened in any bank branch or Business Correspondent (Bank Mitr) outlet. Accounts opened under PMJDY are being opened with Zero balance.

Pradhan Mantri Surksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY):

  • Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojanais a government-backed accident insurance scheme in India.
  • It is available to people between 18 and 70 years of age with bank accounts.

Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojna (PMJJBY)

  • Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojna (PMJJBY) is a one year Life Insurance Scheme, which is annually renewable.
  • It provides coverage of Rs. 2 lakh in case of death due to any reason.
  • The scheme is available to people in the age group of 18 to 50 years at the annual premium of Rs. 330.

Pradhan Mantri Surksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY)

  • Pradhan Mantri Surksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) is one year Personal Accident Insurance Scheme.
  • It is annually renewable at a premium of Rs. 12 only.
  • The policy offers coverage of Rs.2 lakh in case of death or permanent total disability and Rs. one lakh for permanent partial disability due to an accident.
  • It is available to the people in the age group of 18 to 70 years.

Atal PensionYojna (APY):

  • The Atal PensionYojna (APY) provides income security, for old people.
  • Under this Scheme, the Government guarantees minimum monthly pension ranging from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 5,000 from 60 years onwards to the subscriber.
  • After subscriber’s death, pension would go to his/her spouse for life and thereafter, the pension corpus as at the age of 60 years of subscriber, is returned to the nominee.
  • It is specifically focused on all the citizens in the unorganized sector.

Conclusion:

  • A highlight of the World Social Protection Report 2017-19 is the practical tools and guidance on calculating the cost of different social benefits.
  • It thus dispels the notion that universal coverage is beyond the reach of poor countries.
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