GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the Protection and Betterment of these Vulnerable Sections
Context: The Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill 2023 has been recently tabled by the Rajasthan government.
About the Bill:
Objective: In order to provide individuals or households with a minimal additional guaranteed income in the form of a guaranteed wage/pension, the bill would establish entitlement-based social security.
- Minimum guaranteed income:
- Each adult citizen of the state has been guaranteed a minimum income for 125 days a year.
- This will be provided through two schemes,
- In the urban areas through the Rajasthan government’s flagship Indira Gandhi Shahri Rozgar Guarantee Yojana.
- In the rural areas through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
- Guaranteed employment:
- The minimum wages should be paid weekly or in any case not later than a fortnight to ensure the right to employment.
- The Program Officers (BDO in rural and an Executive Officer of the local body in urban areas) shall ensure that the work site is within a radius of 5 Km of where the job card is registered.
- The applicant is entitled to an unemployment allowance if the program officer fails to offer work within 15 days of receiving the application.
- Guaranteed social security pension: The government will provide eligible categories (aged, disabled, widows, and single women) with a minimum pension of Rs 1,000, which will be increased at the rate of 15% each year.
Significance of the Bill:
- The Bill contains many firsts in the country. For example, guaranteeing minimum employment and pensions by law distinguishes it from cash transfer schemes.
- The Bill is part of a bouquet of schemes and measures undertaken by the Rajasthan government to combat inflation with an eye on the polls later this year.
Challenges towards implementation:
- Identification of eligible beneficiaries with minimum inclusion and exclusion errors.
- Financial burden, as the government anticipates an additional expenditure of Rs 2,500 crore per year, which may increase with time.
- The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members (Gandhiji).
- It is therefore a moral responsibility of every government to ensure the welfare of vulnerable/ disadvantaged people.
The Universal Basic Income, the implementation of which has repeatedly been debated in India, seeks to alleviate poverty. Critically discuss the possibility of UBI in India. (15M)