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The Hindu Daily Editorial Discussion 5th Feb, 2019 By Ashish Singh
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The danger of cash transfers GS PAPER 2 Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
With the general election around the corner and NSSO data revealing that the unemployment rate has hit a 45-year high, there is a spike in concern for the economic security of the people. Several recent proposals whether the Congress's pre-emptive announcement of a minimum income guarantee scheme, or the Interim Budget's promise of a range of income transfers to farmers (albeit as low as 3 per day for a family of five) and a pension scheme for workers aged over 60 years in the unorganised sector, . or the government's announcement of a 10% quota for the "economically weaker sections" in the general category - might appear promising but raise. questions about their impact on the working poor.
If uplift of the poor is a priority, why not provide decent employment opportunities, minimum wages and social security to all workers? Why not spend on universalising access to, and provision of, basic public services to all? Why, contrarily, are there periodic cuts in social sector spending, including on public education and primary health; amendments in labour laws in favour of corporates; and privatisation and contractualisation even within the public sector?
In this context, cash transfers to the "poor" - also subject to gross exclusionary errors of identification do not ensure accessibility, affordability or even sustained economic security given falling real wages. The scheme also doesn't indicate where that money would be spent by the benekcee that More importantly, the concern is that these cash transfers could replace, rather than supplement, existing schemes that provide subsidised goods and services. This would imply that citizens could be left at the mercy of private, for profit players to avail even basic services.
Case studies around Direct Benefit Transfers have shown that they play an instrumental role in dismantling existing welfare schemes and deprive ASHA and Anganwadi workers of their wages. These workers have been pillars in creating an ecosystem for ensuring nutritional security to women and children. Even in Europe, wherever guaranteed basic income has been implemented, provision of services has increasingly moved towards greater privatisation. MIN
Finally, it is surprising that the same government that earlier opposed cash transfer schemes as "doles" is now advocating them Politically the scheme seems to be the most viable option now, given the unemployment catastrophe. Hurried income transfers before the election could be considered as cash for votes', but the larger danger entails the state's diminishing accountability towards its citizens, of upholding their rights to basic entitlements and to work. litt
Wrong on the Rohingya GS Paper 2 Mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
. In Januarys, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) called for a report from India on the deportation of a group of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar in October 2018. . India's repatriation of the refugees contravenes international principles on refugee law as well as domestic constitutional rights. Refugee law is a part of international human rights law. In order to address the problem of mass inter-state influx of refugees, a Conference of Plenipotentiaries of the UN adopted the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees in 1951 . This was followed by the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees in 1967. One of the most significant features of the Convention is the principle of non refoulement. The norm requires that no contracting State shall expel or return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedonm would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion."
Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that everyone has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. . Moreover, Article 51 of the Constitution imposes an obligation on the state to endeavour to promote international peace and security. Article 51(c) talks about promotion of respect for international law and treaty obligations. Therefore, the Constitution conceives of incorporation of international law into the domestic realm. . Thus the argument that the nation has not violated international obligations during the deportation is a mistaken one.
Therefore, the discrimination that the Rohingya face is unparalleled in contemporary world politics. In National Human Rights Commission v. State of Arunachal Pradesh (1996), the Supreme Court held: "Our Constitution confers... rights on every human being and certain other rights on citizens. Every person is entitled to equality before the law and equal protection of the laws. So also, no person can be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. Thus the State is bound to protect the life and liberty of every human-being. be he a citizen or otherwise..."