Express View on Rajashthan’s Minimum Income Guarantee: Limits of welfare

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Source– The post is based on the article “Express View on Rajashthan’s Minimum Income Guarantee: Limits of welfare” published in “The Indian Express” on 22nd July 2023.

Syllabus: GS1- Social empowerment. GS2- Government policies and interventions. GS3- Inclusive growth

Relevance: Government welfarism

News- The Rajasthan government has proposed Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill 2023.

What are the main proposals of the Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill 2023?

The Act provides a rights-based approach towards building a social security net.

The focus of the Act is on three areas: (1) The right to minimum guaranteed income. (2) Right to guaranteed employment. (3) Right to guaranteed social security pension.

A Gig Workers Welfare Act is proposed. Gig workers welfare and development funds would be set up under this Act.

The Rajasthan state government plans to implement a scheme. It will ensure a minimum income and employment for eligible individuals in both rural and urban areas through various employment guarantee programs.

The government aims to offer 125 days of work in each region. There are special provisions for those who cannot participate in the workforce, such as the specially disabled, widows, and elders. The government intends to provide a pension as part of this initiative.

What are issues related to the scheme?

The approach of implementing it through an urban employment guarantee scheme is not the most suitable method. It could encounter several challenges.

Unlike the rural areas served by MGNREGA, the demand for work in urban regions is not seasonal. It makes the scheme’s design more complex.

There are concerns regarding the availability of suitable public works projects in urban areas. Urban bodies have capacity limitations to manage such initiatives effectively.

Moreover, there are fiscal constraints in executing this plan. Rajasthan has a high debt burden. The state tends to allocate less towards more productive forms of expenditure.

A report by the RBI revealed that in 2022-23, the state announced freebies equivalent to 8.6 percent of its own tax revenue.

Way forward-

Greater employment opportunities at the low end of the skill spectrum.

Access to health and education and provide paths for upward mobility.

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