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Charting a Common Minimum Relief Programme

Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Charting a Common Minimum Relief Programme

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Overview of the proposed programme.

 Context: With India likely to experience an economic crisis because of lockdown, it is time for the Centre to chart a Common Minimum Relief Programme.

The economic pandemic that is likely to succeed COVID-19 threatens to be as large in scale if not larger than the public health crisis that we continue to battle.

Need of the hour:

  1. States should come up with varying measures for support and relief.
  2. Centre must lead this effort to ensure uniformity, optimisation and coordination amongst States of varying economic capability.
  3. The road map should provide forward guidance and economic clarity to the middle class, medium and small-scale enterprises and above all, to those at the very margins of society.

The focus should be mainly on:

  1. Daily wage earners, labourers and migrant workers. They are at the greatest risk of economic and social insecurity.
  2. Small and marginal farmers are in dire need of immediate support.
  3. Supply chain disruptions for fast moving consumer goods due to unavailability of labour, difficulty in transporting goods across borders during the lockdown. This is leading to a shortage of foodstuffs and other essential items.
  4. Medium and Small-Scale Enterprises. There are currently close to 4.25 crore registered MSMEs which contribute 29% to India’s GDP (or nearly 61 lakh crores) and these have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis imperilling, in turn, the livelihood of crores.
  5. Middle class for they are facing growing vulnerability.

What needs to be done?

  • There should be a uniform mechanism for the dispersal of both income support as well as essential items such as rice, wheat, millets, medicines, water and anything else that vulnerable families will require.
  • To ensure the agriculture problem doesn’t become cyclical, the government needs to make immediate arrangements for ensuring the availability of fertilisers, pesticides, other inputs (including access to lines of credit) for the planting of the next kharif crop as well.
  • For Medium and Small-Scale Enterprises, the government must lay out an action plan, including a financial package, to fortify this sector or risk see it perish.
  • NYAY(Nyunatam Aay Yojana), the Minimum Income Guarantee Programme. The Central government must devise and implement this scheme, at least as a temporary measure.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Nyay programme?
  2. How are MSMEs governed?
  3. Classification of MSMEs?

Mains Link:

Write a note on Nyay, the Minimum Income Guarantee Programme.

Sources: the Hindu.