New Delhi [India], March 4 (ANI/Connect360 PR): In the midst of uncertain times, with the future outlook of social protection raising many questions, Indus Action releases it's third annual The Bright Spots Report 2020. In addition to the data and insights, this year's report provides a special focus on entitled social protection for the vulnerable groups in India, through the lens of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
In the three years since the launch of our inaugural Bright Spots Report, the year 2020 has caused not only the largest health crisis of the 21st century but has delivered a heavy blow to the socio-economic status of society, employment rates and various other poverty alleviation programmes whose future remain uncertain.
During the pandemic, Indus Action along with five partners Aajeevika Bureau, Azim Premji University, Dalberg, Dvara Research, EPoD India, UNDP looked at social security nets and various interventions governments, nationally and internationally, have adopted in order to ensure protection to their citizens.
Special focus on the case studies such as Progressa and Bolsa Familia from Latin America and the Targeted Poverty Alleviation Program from China presented for its relevance for social security systems in the Indian context.
"The time I have spent in trying to understand the ground realities of social protection have deepened my belief in the importance and necessity for a robust social security net for the most vulnerable people. This report, 'The Bright Spot Report 2020', focuses on inclusion through the lens of social protection and does a credible job of offering solutions to policy-makers", Dr P.V. Ramesh, Former Additional Chief Secretary to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.
The report highlights:
*In India, out of the 122 million jobs that were lost in April, 90 million had come back in June. The recovery rate is highest among daily wage-workers with a 44.5 million increase from before, 11.8 million among farmers, and 10.5 million among business persons.
* On June 21, unemployment fell from the all-time high of 23.5 per cent to pre-lockdown levels of 8.5 per cent (CMIE), which might be due to increased spending on MGNREGA by the central government.
* The COVID financial assistance introduced by the Government of Rajasthan saw a quick response in delivering three instalments of Rs 1000 (April), Rs 1,500 (June) and Rs 1000 ( July) due to the availability of a database of vulnerable families under the Bhamashah Scheme.
*The Azim Premji University Covid Livelihoods survey of 5000 workers revealed that, overall, 89 per cent of the sample were able to access rations during the lockdown, with 9 out of 10 people in rural areas having a ration card.
* The Dalberg study conducted across fifteen states and 47000 households found that 87 per cent of low-income households were covered under the PDS* 85 per cent of vulnerable rural beneficiaries and 79 per cent for vulnerable urban beneficiaries received the first tranche of cash transfers under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
* UNDP assisted the UP government to set up the Uttar Pradesh Labour (Employment Exchange and Job) Commission and the creation of Pravasi Rahat Mitra App, which collected data (skill set) on 35.23 lakh returnee migrant workers. Of these, 10, 48,166 received a cash transfer of INR1000 from the UP government as an unconditional transfer.
* Aajeevika Bureau set up a Labour line (helpline) for labour which facilitated the distribution of food and ration to 93839 workers where they were stranded and ensured direct cash transfers of nearly Rs 11,02,800 to 1,528 workers in distress.
A theme common to the entire report is that of convergence. Looking at the numerous DBTs/ CCTs that India has to offer (over 400), the idea of converging schemes and databases. Therefore, the report looks at social protection with a holistic lens instead of it being dissected into programmes & departments and promotes it as a strong recommendation.
Tarun Cherukuri, CEO at Indus Action says, "Covid shock in 2020, according to World Bank estimates, will push 70-100 million people back into extreme poverty. Social protection architecture in countries becomes critical to provide safety nets for all populations in extreme and sustenance poverty categories.
Every third poor person in the world is in India, and hence building a robust social protection system is an important focus of Sustainable Development Goals. As India's growth trajectory to a $ 5 trillion economy evolves in this decade, our safety nets need to converge around the family from ~500 schemes to < 10 consolidated schemes. We cover similar trajectories taken by Brazil, China, Indonesia and design choices made in their convergence journey In our 2 020 version of Bright Spots Report.
Our intention through the report is to spark conversations and bright spot solutions in improving safety nets for 900 million vulnerable citizens in India."
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