“Respect” as Income Support? The Case of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi

The Kisan Long March of 2018 brought the grave situation of agrarian distress to the fore and built a consensus demanding policy intervention. Thus, the announcement of the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme (PM- KISAN) came as a form of confirmation of the ongoing agrarian crisis. The sixth installment of the scheme was rolled out by the Government from 1st August 2020. This Central scheme was announced in 2018 to benefit 14 crore small and marginal farmers with direct cash transfers of more than 75,000 crore rupees. Under this scheme, small and marginal farmers holding not more than 2 hectares of land are entitled to receive Rs 6,000 a year in 3 installments. After 2 cycles of the scheme being complete, it is important to look into its success and what it has been able to achieve in real terms.  (more…)

Need for Modifications in the provisions of The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020

Information on the Issue

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 was introduced in the Parliament on 17th September 2020 by the Minister of Agriculture and Farmers welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar and signed by President Ram Nath Kovind on 27th September 2020. The Act is meant to provide a national framework for agreements concerned with farming and protect farmers in their agreements with companies, retailers, and wholesalers. The Act is also meant to help the farmers with the sale of their produce at a mutually agreed remunerative price in a fair and transparent manner. An important provision in the Act is the promotion and facilitation of direct and online trade of farmers’ produce. (more…)

Need for modifications in the provisions of the Code on Social Security, 2020

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The Code on Social Security, 2020, widens the ambit of social security policies by including employees and workers of both organised and unorganised sectors, which is a crucial step in the right direction for ensuring social security for all. The Code promises to pioneer the rights of employees in a sector agnostic manner by extending effective policies for guaranteeing social security. While it has paved the way for affecting the much needed change in India’s social security policies, there is scope for improving the language of the provisions of the Code for ensuring that it achieves the desired results. In the absence of such modifications in the specific provisions, it runs the risk of misinterpretation which can adversely impact the same rights that the Code otherwise sets out to reinforce. (more…)

Need for modifications in the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020

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The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 was promulgated on June 5th 2020 (as an ordinance), along with two other Bills together constituting the three agricultural laws passed by the government. This law amended the existing Act by removing and deregulating commodities like potatoes, onions, edible oilseeds, cereals, pulses and oils from the list of essential commodities. As an outcome, their supply will now be regulated by the Central Government only under extraordinary circumstances and stock limits will be imposed only in case of 100% and 50% increase in rates of horticultural products and non-perishable agricultural products respectively. The subsequent Bill was cleared in the Rajya Sabha on 19the September, 2020 to become an Act.  (more…)

A much needed rehaul for India’s Agricultural Policies?

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On 27th September 2020, the Government of India brought in the Farmers’ Produce and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 (hereinafter, referred to as the Act) which introduced a pivotal change in India’s agricultural policies. The Act, essentially, aims to provide freedom of choice to the farmers and traders in selling and purchasing farmers’ produce through alternative trading channels and increasing competition in the market. Thus, it allows for barrier-free trade of farmers’ produce outside the physical premises of the markets notified under the various State Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee laws (APMC laws).  (more…)

The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019: Dodged prerogatives or short-sighted policies?

Introduced in July 2019 in the Lok Sabha as one of the four Codes aimed at labour reforms, the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code embodies an amalgam of provisions relating to safety, health, welfare and working conditions of workers by a merger of thirteen major Central laws. Abiding by the constitutional guarantees under Articles 24, 39 (e & f) and 42 and in the wake of the fatalities caused by industrial accidents and inhumane work conditions, this Code assumes great significance in laying down duties and rights of employees and their employers.  (more…)

The Hour of the Basic Income

The spread of COVID-19 has exposed the inadequacy of measures nations claimed they had, to deal with a crisis. A microorganism succeeded in locking down nations, disrupting markets, and exposing loopholes in the existing policies and welfare systems.  As India wades through the stormy seas of averting a health crisis, millions are left bereft of livelihoods and safety nets. The plight of migrant workers has brought to light the true state of our social infrastructure as they were denied basic services to even get back home. 

Thomas More in his 16th century book titled Utopia wrote …provide everyone with some means of livelihood, so that nobody’s under the frightful necessity of becoming, first a thief, and then a corpse’. Since then, several humanist thinkers, politicians, billionaires and social activists have lent their support to Universal Basic Income (UBI). The Economic Survey of 2016-17 had designated UBI as a powerful idea to be deliberated upon but not yet ripe for implementation. As the Coronavirus pandemic lingers and experts are left in a dilemma in predicting a definite last date to the war against the virus, there can be no better opportunity than now to analyze the idea of UBI and evolve an appropriate mechanism. (more…)

Social Security Policies for Migrant Labour: Struggles of Data Deficiency

Coronavirus outbreak and the consequent nationwide lockdown has impacted nearly 40 million internal migrants, as per the World Bank, because of the uncertainty of their living conditions and their excludability in any specific demographic. The current pandemic saw an exodus of migrant workers, which made everybody unsure of the actual number of people who work in the informal economy. More than 90-92% of the workforce in India is informal, which directly means that they have no social and employment security.

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The Draft Social Security Code, 2019: Illusion of Benefits for India’s Workforce?

By Abhiudaya Verma, Research Associate, Policy

With layoffs and pay-cuts starting in various firms all over the world, most economists are of the view that the economic crisis due to corona could be as bad as the 2008 financial crisis and that recession is inevitable. Experts also urged various Indian companies to avoid layoffs and pay cuts on humanitarian grounds and to provide a sense of security to their employees. But the neo-liberal world has imperilled the Welfare State values and in a pro-market economy it seems highly unlikely that firms would adopt the humane approach and face greater losses. In such times, it is the labour and social security laws that provide relief to the workforce of the country. The Government of India aims to bring a new labour legislation that would merge 44 labour laws under four categories– wages, social security, industrial safety & welfare, and industrial relations. The recent Social Security Code Bill, 2019 is one among the four consolidated laws.  (more…)

An Insight into India’s Wage Policies

The government’s intent to strengthen the minimum wage policies through the “Codes on Wages”, 2019 is noteworthy, but it fails to uplift the lives of the workforce as desired. Through the analysis of various wage policies of India, we can point out two major drawbacks in our present policies. One, lack of coordination among State and Central Government and two, lack of rigour on enforcement. Resolving these issues is imperative for the workforce to reap the benefits of India’s growing economy. For efficient enforcement, structural reforms in each sector are necessary as it will help employers to adapt to the changes in minimum wage policies.

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