- The multiplicity of labour laws and difficulty in complying with them has always been cited as an impediment to industrial development in India. This is why labour reforms has been made and active part of the ongoing economic reform process in the country. In a major initiative for ensuring compliance and promoting ease of doing business, the government has initiated a number of labour reform measures.
- The Apprentice Act 1961 was amended in December 2014 to make it more responsive to industry and youth. The 'Apprentice Protsahan Yojana' was also launched to support MSMEs in the manufacturing sector in engaging apprentices.
- A unified labour portal scheme called Shram Suvidha Portal has been launched for timely redressal of grievances and for creating a conducive environment for industrial development.
Its main features are
(a) Unique Labour Identification Number (LIN) allotted to around 0.7 million units facilitating online registration.
(b) Filing of selfcertified, simplified single online return instead of 16 separate returns by industry.
- Under Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Project Panchdeep: Digitisation of internal and external processes to ensure efficiency in operations, especially services to employers and insured persons.
- Under Employees Provident Fund (EPF): Digitisation of complete database of 56.4 million (by March 2019) EPF subscribers and allotment of universal account number (UAN) to each member, which facilitates portability of member accounts.
- For Unorganised Workers: The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) is a scheme under the Unorganised Workers' Social Security Act 2008. National Council for Vocational^ Training-Management Information System (NCVT-MIS) portal has been developed for streamlining the functioning of Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), Apprenticeship Scheme, and assessment/certification of all NCVT training courses.
- National Career Services Portal: The National Career Service (NCS) Portal launched to provide a nationwide online platform for job seekers and employers for job matching in a dynamic, efficient and responsive manner.
- Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Act 2015: The Act passed in December 2015, has redefined the eligibility for bonus payment of the Payment of Bonus Act 1965 from ₹10,000 to ₹21,000 per month. This will not only enhance the bonus payment to the employees but make more eligible to the same.
Labour market formalisation:
- For portability of Provident Fund accounts, EPFO launched a Universal Account Number (UAN) service for contributing members.
- Government is paying 12 per cent of employer contribution to EPFO in respect of the new employees drawing salary up to '15,000 per month for the first three years of their employment, under Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY]—the scheme has ended on 31st March, 2019.
- Mandatory wage ceiling of subscription to EPS increased from '6,500 to '15,000 per month. The Code on Wages Act, 2019 put in place t© ensure minimum wages to all and timely payment of wages to all employees irrespective of the sector of employment without any wage ceiling, except MGNREGA.
- MUDRA and STAND-UP India for creating formal credit to businesses.
- The draft approach paper to the 12th Plan proposed the idea of 'universal healthcare' in 2012, for the first time. The funding situation did not seem conducive enough this is why the government did not think to launch it—falling growth rate in wake of the western recession and many domestic factors. However, providing accessible, affordable and equitable quality health care, especially to the marginalised and vulnerable sections of the population is one of the key objectives of the Government
- The National Health Policy 2017 clearly aims to go for 'universal healthcare' and mobilising the required fund (around 2.5 per cent of the GDP as was estimated by the 12th Plan) for the cause modelled on public private partnership (PPP).
- In the case of public sector, the health services are delivered through a network of health facilities
- Including ASHA (a volunteer health worker] at the community level, Health Sub-Center (HSC), Primary Health Centres (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs), District Hospitals, Government Medical College Hospitals and the state and central government assisted Employees' State Insurance (ESI) hospitals and dispensaries. Outreach and community level services are provided through coordination between ASHA, Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) and the Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM] at the HSC.
Burden of Disease
- The behavioural and metabolic risk factors associated with the rising burden of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs] have become quite prominent in India. In 2016, the dietary risks, which include diets low in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, but high in salt and fat, were India's third leading risk factor, followed closely by high blood pressure and high blood sugar
- The contribution of air pollution to disease burden remained high in India between 1990 (11.1 per cent] and 2016 (9.8 per cent], with the levels of exposure remaining among the highest in the world. It causes burden through a mix of non communicable and infectious diseases, mainly cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, and lower respiratory infections.
- Unsafe water, sanitation, and hand washing (WaSH], causing 5 per cent of health loss, was the second leading risk factor in 1990, but its ranking has dropped to seventh position in 2016.
- Neonatal disorders and nutritional deficiencies as well as diarrhoea, lower respiratory infections, and other common infections are manifestation of maternal and child malnutrition.
Health for All
Preventive Health Care
- To promote preventive healthcare, one and half lakh Ayushman Bharat-Health & Wellness Centres (AB- HWCs] are proposed to be set up by 2022. A total of 28,005 have already been set up (as on 14 Jan 2020] to deliver comprehensive Primary Health Care services with focus on universal high quality screening, prevention, control and management of common NCDs such as Hypertension, Diabetes, and the three common Cancers-Oral Cavity, Breast and Cervical Cancer, while continuing to provide services for Reproductive, Maternal, Adolescent and Child health (RMNCH+A] and for communicable diseases.
- Under Mission Indradhanush, 3.39 crore children and 87.18 lakh pregnant women in 680 districts across the country (including Gram Swaraj Abhiyan & extended GSA] have been vaccinated.
- Apart from the above, recognizing the need for addressing the social determinants of
- Health, the government has adopted a multi-sectoral approach and is increasingly synergizing its efforts with other Mission Mode initiatives of the Government such as Eat Right & Eat Safe, Fit India, Anaemia Mukt Bharat, Poshan Abhiyan and Swacch Bharat Abhiyan etc.
Health Care Affordability
- As per the latest National Health Accounts (NHA] 2016-17, the out of pocket expenditure (OoPE] as a percentage of total health expenditure has declined from 64.2 per cent in 2013-14 to 58.7 per cent in 2016-17. This shows improvement in affordability.
- Free Drugs Service, Free Diagnostics Service, Free Laboratory Services, Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP] and Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme (PMNDP] are some important initiatives launched to address the high OoPE.
- Primary healthcare accounts for 52.1 per cent of India's current public expenditure on health as per the National Health Estimates, 2016-17. The National Health Policy, 2017 recommended to spend at least two third of Government's health expenditure on primary healthcare.
- The doctor-population ratio in India is 1:1456 (population estimated to be 1.35 billion) against the WHO recommendation of 1:1000. To address the shortage of doctors, the government has embarked on an ambitious programme for upgradation of district hospitals into medical colleges. In last 5 years, government has sanctioned 141 new medical colleges.
- The norms for graduate and post graduate seats in medical colleges have also been revised. The maximum intake capacity at MBBS level has been increased from 150 to 250 and the norms for setting up of Medical colleges in terms of requirement of land, faculty, staff-bed strength etc. have also been rationalized.
- The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) was launched to augment the tertiary healthcare capacity in clinical care, medical education and research in underserved areas of the country, under which AIIMS like institutions are built and Government Medical Colleges are upgraded by settingup 'Super Speciality' Blocks.
- National Medical Commission Act, 2019 was promulgated to enable constitution of 'National Medical Commission'. Reforms have also been brought about with the introduction of a common entrance test NEET-UG for admission to all MBBS courses including AIIMS and JIPMER
Mission Mode Interventions: Mission mode interventions aim to deal with maternal health, child health and combat communicable and non-communicable diseases—with the Government now focused on addressing this epidemiological transition from communicable diseases [CDs] to non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Drinking Water & Sanitation
The Ministry of Jal Shakti launched the '10 Year Rural Sanitation Strategy (2019-2029)', which focus on sustaining the sanitation behaviour change that has been achieved under the Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G), ensuring that no one is left behind, and increasing access to solid and liquid waste management.
HOUSING FOR ALL
'Housing for All' is the slogan of the Government for which the cut off year is 2022. Two schemes, Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G) and Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U) are being run to achieve the objective. The recent NSO survey on 'Drinking Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Housing Condition in India 2018'
SOCIAL SECTOR EXPENDITURE
- India's expenditure on social sectors has not reflected a major increasing trend during the past few years (2008-2019), an increase in expenditure per-se may not always guarantee appropriate outcomes and achievements.
- The efficiency of expenditure incurred so far can be assessed by the performance of social sectors through various social indicators.
- An overall assessment of social sector expenditures in terms of achievements shows that wide gaps still exist in educational and health outcomes and there is need for substantial improvement and the need to remove inequalities in the country.
- As the number of the beneficiaries under the newly launched Ayushman Bharat increases, the General Government expenditures on health is estimated to touch around 2.5 per cent (which earmarked for providing 'universal healthcare') of the GDP by 2023-24
- Social infrastructure has positive externalities. It has a significant role in the economic development and welfare of a country. It is empirically proven and widely recognised that education and health impact the growth of an economy.
- Investing in human capital by way of education, skill development, training and provision of health care facilities enhances the productivity of the workforce and welfare of the population.
- The idea of technology-enabled Direct Benefits Transfers (DBT), namely the JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) number trinity solution, introduced by the Gol in this regard is believed to be a game-changing move.
- There is a need of integrating the social sector initiatives of the Centre, states and the local bodies. The new 'think tank' NITI Aayog can play a suitable platform in this regard.
- Aimed to bridge the gap of information divide the use of information and communication technology (ICT) needs to be encouraged at mass scale.
- Need of sensitising all stakeholders about the ensuing dangers of climate change and promoting sustainable behaviour for promoting and sustaining inclusive growth.