Social Issue: May 2021 Current Affair Current Affairs Notes | EduRev

Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly

UPSC : Social Issue: May 2021 Current Affair Current Affairs Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


	
59	 																																																																											
6.	SOCIAL	ISSUES	
6.1.	SOCIAL	SECURITY	FOR	INFORMAL	WORKERS	
Why in news? 
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the gaps in India’s social 
security policies, specifically towards informal workers.  
Social Security & its significance 
• According to ILO, social security is based on the recognition 
of human dignity and social justice guaranteed by law to all 
human beings who live from their own labour and who find 
themselves unable to work temporarily or permanently for 
reasons beyond their control. 
• Effective social security systems guarantee income security 
and health protection in any adverse event.  
• In India, The Code on Social Security 2020 defines social 
security as "the measures of protection afforded to 
employees, unorganised workers, gig workers and 
platform workers to ensure access to health care and to 
provide income security, particularly in cases of old age, 
unemployment, sickness, invalidity, work injury, maternity 
or loss of a breadwinner by means of rights conferred on 
them and schemes framed, under this Code.”  
 
Informality in Indian labour market and access to 
social security benefits 
• Of the total workforce in India about 90% of 
the total workforce is engaged in informal 
employment in 2018-19.  
o Moreover, 9.5% of workers had informal 
nature of jobs even though they were 
employed in the formal sector.  
• In terms of social security provisions, only 
26% were eligible for one or a combination 
of social security benefits like Provident Fund, 
healthcare benefits, maternity benefits etc. 
• Estimates suggest that up to 80% of workers 
lost their jobs during the entire COVID 
lockdown. Majority of these were informal 
and non-agricultural self- employed workers 
who had experienced difficulties in accessing 
any kind of social welfare.  
 
 
Page 2


	
59	 																																																																											
6.	SOCIAL	ISSUES	
6.1.	SOCIAL	SECURITY	FOR	INFORMAL	WORKERS	
Why in news? 
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the gaps in India’s social 
security policies, specifically towards informal workers.  
Social Security & its significance 
• According to ILO, social security is based on the recognition 
of human dignity and social justice guaranteed by law to all 
human beings who live from their own labour and who find 
themselves unable to work temporarily or permanently for 
reasons beyond their control. 
• Effective social security systems guarantee income security 
and health protection in any adverse event.  
• In India, The Code on Social Security 2020 defines social 
security as "the measures of protection afforded to 
employees, unorganised workers, gig workers and 
platform workers to ensure access to health care and to 
provide income security, particularly in cases of old age, 
unemployment, sickness, invalidity, work injury, maternity 
or loss of a breadwinner by means of rights conferred on 
them and schemes framed, under this Code.”  
 
Informality in Indian labour market and access to 
social security benefits 
• Of the total workforce in India about 90% of 
the total workforce is engaged in informal 
employment in 2018-19.  
o Moreover, 9.5% of workers had informal 
nature of jobs even though they were 
employed in the formal sector.  
• In terms of social security provisions, only 
26% were eligible for one or a combination 
of social security benefits like Provident Fund, 
healthcare benefits, maternity benefits etc. 
• Estimates suggest that up to 80% of workers 
lost their jobs during the entire COVID 
lockdown. Majority of these were informal 
and non-agricultural self- employed workers 
who had experienced difficulties in accessing 
any kind of social welfare.  
 
 
	
60	 																																																																									
Code for Social Security, 2020 
• Provisions for registration of unorganised workers, gig workers 
and platform workers. 
• It directs the Union and the state governments to consider 
designing welfare schemes to provide social security for all 
three categories of workers. 
• Stipulates the formation of national and state-level Social 
Security Boards to recommend schemes for workers.  
• Expands the definition of employees to include workers 
employed through contractors and “inter-state migrant 
workers” to include self-employed workers from another state. 
• Introduces Inspector- cum-Facilitators and a quasi-judicial 
appellate authority to adjudicate over disputes. 
• It subsumes under it schemes such as Janani Suraksha Yojana, 
Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS)and 
Aam Admi Bima Yojana (AABY). 
• Aadhaar registration is mandatory for all workers seeking 
benefit from the government in either kind or cash. 
 
Challenges in access to social security for informal workers 
• Gaps in the Code on Social Security, 2020: 
o Lack of a minimum benefit policy at the national level: Social security provisions currently have varying 
thresholds and depend on the wage 
earned by the worker and the total 
number of workers in the enterprise, 
among other things. For instance, 
benefits, such as pension and 
medical insurance, continue to be 
mandatory only for establishments 
with a minimum number of 
employees (such as 10 or 20 
employees). It results in exclusion of 
substantial informal workforce from 
social security net. 
o Lack of accountability: The 
registration of unorganised workers 
is the responsibility of the district 
administration, but there is no 
provision to hold them accountable 
for delayed registration. 
o Subordinate Legislation: The vital provisions of the code can be defined and reworked through the 
discretion of executive without the participation of stakeholders or democratically elected Parliament.  
o Overlapping of definitions: As per the definitions given in the code, a driver working for an app-based 
taxi aggregator is a gig worker, platform worker and unorganised worker at the same time. This might 
create confusion in application of schemes. 
• Other gaps across the schemes: 
o Fragmented administration systems:  Social security schemes are run by multiple ministries and 
departments at Union and State level. Separate beneficiary databases are maintained under each such 
Page 3


	
59	 																																																																											
6.	SOCIAL	ISSUES	
6.1.	SOCIAL	SECURITY	FOR	INFORMAL	WORKERS	
Why in news? 
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the gaps in India’s social 
security policies, specifically towards informal workers.  
Social Security & its significance 
• According to ILO, social security is based on the recognition 
of human dignity and social justice guaranteed by law to all 
human beings who live from their own labour and who find 
themselves unable to work temporarily or permanently for 
reasons beyond their control. 
• Effective social security systems guarantee income security 
and health protection in any adverse event.  
• In India, The Code on Social Security 2020 defines social 
security as "the measures of protection afforded to 
employees, unorganised workers, gig workers and 
platform workers to ensure access to health care and to 
provide income security, particularly in cases of old age, 
unemployment, sickness, invalidity, work injury, maternity 
or loss of a breadwinner by means of rights conferred on 
them and schemes framed, under this Code.”  
 
Informality in Indian labour market and access to 
social security benefits 
• Of the total workforce in India about 90% of 
the total workforce is engaged in informal 
employment in 2018-19.  
o Moreover, 9.5% of workers had informal 
nature of jobs even though they were 
employed in the formal sector.  
• In terms of social security provisions, only 
26% were eligible for one or a combination 
of social security benefits like Provident Fund, 
healthcare benefits, maternity benefits etc. 
• Estimates suggest that up to 80% of workers 
lost their jobs during the entire COVID 
lockdown. Majority of these were informal 
and non-agricultural self- employed workers 
who had experienced difficulties in accessing 
any kind of social welfare.  
 
 
	
60	 																																																																									
Code for Social Security, 2020 
• Provisions for registration of unorganised workers, gig workers 
and platform workers. 
• It directs the Union and the state governments to consider 
designing welfare schemes to provide social security for all 
three categories of workers. 
• Stipulates the formation of national and state-level Social 
Security Boards to recommend schemes for workers.  
• Expands the definition of employees to include workers 
employed through contractors and “inter-state migrant 
workers” to include self-employed workers from another state. 
• Introduces Inspector- cum-Facilitators and a quasi-judicial 
appellate authority to adjudicate over disputes. 
• It subsumes under it schemes such as Janani Suraksha Yojana, 
Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS)and 
Aam Admi Bima Yojana (AABY). 
• Aadhaar registration is mandatory for all workers seeking 
benefit from the government in either kind or cash. 
 
Challenges in access to social security for informal workers 
• Gaps in the Code on Social Security, 2020: 
o Lack of a minimum benefit policy at the national level: Social security provisions currently have varying 
thresholds and depend on the wage 
earned by the worker and the total 
number of workers in the enterprise, 
among other things. For instance, 
benefits, such as pension and 
medical insurance, continue to be 
mandatory only for establishments 
with a minimum number of 
employees (such as 10 or 20 
employees). It results in exclusion of 
substantial informal workforce from 
social security net. 
o Lack of accountability: The 
registration of unorganised workers 
is the responsibility of the district 
administration, but there is no 
provision to hold them accountable 
for delayed registration. 
o Subordinate Legislation: The vital provisions of the code can be defined and reworked through the 
discretion of executive without the participation of stakeholders or democratically elected Parliament.  
o Overlapping of definitions: As per the definitions given in the code, a driver working for an app-based 
taxi aggregator is a gig worker, platform worker and unorganised worker at the same time. This might 
create confusion in application of schemes. 
• Other gaps across the schemes: 
o Fragmented administration systems:  Social security schemes are run by multiple ministries and 
departments at Union and State level. Separate beneficiary databases are maintained under each such 
	
61	 																																																																									
scheme for which a worker has to apply for each scheme separately which makes the process 
cumbersome.  
o Exclusion errors: Introduction of Aadhaar card for authentication, digitalisation of welfare system, 
human errors in entering records and poor internet connectivity in certain areas among others led to 
exclusion of many eligible beneficiaries. A recent survey amongst Jharkhand’s particularly vulnerable 
tribal groups showed that Aadhar disrupted their PDS supply and pension payments. 
o Lack of regular revision of entitlement amounts: For example, amount provided under the IGNOAP 
scheme was revised for beneficiaries who are 80 years of age and above in 2011. For those in the age-
group of 60 to 79 years, it was last revised in 2006. Without regular revisions, the real benefits accessed 
from the schemes starts reducing.  
o Low awareness among beneficiaries: Majority of informal workers are illiterate and hence unaware 
about the social security benefits available to them. Moreover, they fail to appreciate potential benefit 
of the pension or insurance schemes which results in self-exclusion.  
• Challenges highlighted by COVID: 
o Crippled financial inclusion infrastructure: In many rural areas and remote locations, the working of 
Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) depends on Business Correspondents or Bank Mitras. However, due to 
travel restrictions during the pandemic, their functioning had been severely affected. With the reduced 
presence of Bank Mitras, it was hard for those with difficulties in travelling, such as aged people or 
persons with disabilities, to get their hands-on cash.  
o Portability of social security benefits: For provisions that prima facie incorporate migrants, such as old 
age pensions and schemes for unorganised workers, their administrative architecture does not make any 
specific provisions for migrants. Thus, in the case of inter-state migration of workers, it was unclear 
which state will be required to pay for migrant workers’ social security benefits- the ‘source’ state or the 
‘destination’ state. 
o Ensuring sustainable livelihood amid reverse migration: Many states have experienced high levels of 
reverse migration during the pandemic, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, 
Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal. Many of these states are already reeling under an agrarian 
crisis with falling productivity, water scarcity, and decreasing demand and thus are not equipped to 
sustain such a steep increase in labour force and ensuring them sustainable livelihood. 
Way forward  
Multi-pronged interventions will be important in addressing the limited reach and scope of social protection for 
informal workers in India at present. These include: 
• Ensuring a minimum social security net for all workers irrespective of wage, enterprise size, and place of 
origin: This is resonant with international norms. For example, SDG target 1.3 calls for the implementation of 
nation- wide social protection floors. Similarly, the ILO Recommendation 204 suggests the implementation 
of minimum social security guarantees to facilitate the transition from an informal to a formal economy.  
• Need for a robust monitoring and enforcement mechanism to ensure compliance to labour legislations  
• Creating a common database of informal workers: This will not only help in optimum provisioning of 
benefits, but also streamline identification of potential beneficiaries for different schemes.  
• Streamlining registration process of informal workers: A decentralised system of registration and service-
delivery can improve the enrolment of eligible beneficiaries in different social protection schemes. 
• Creating awareness about entitlements: The labour unions and other civil society organisations can play an 
important role in this process by leveraging their networks.  
• Moving beyond the traditional conceptions of work which rely on stable employee-employer associations. 
For example, in the case of street vendors, since there is no employer that controls their labour market 
transactions and space of work, functional substitutes such as municipality where they work, can be a 
potential replacement.  
6.2.	MID-DAY	MEAL	(MDM)	SCHEME		
Why in news? 
Recently, Government decided to transfer its share of the cooking cost component in the Mid-Day Meal 
(MDM) scheme for students of classes 1 to 8 directly into their bank accounts as a one-time COVID-19 relief. 
Page 4


	
59	 																																																																											
6.	SOCIAL	ISSUES	
6.1.	SOCIAL	SECURITY	FOR	INFORMAL	WORKERS	
Why in news? 
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the gaps in India’s social 
security policies, specifically towards informal workers.  
Social Security & its significance 
• According to ILO, social security is based on the recognition 
of human dignity and social justice guaranteed by law to all 
human beings who live from their own labour and who find 
themselves unable to work temporarily or permanently for 
reasons beyond their control. 
• Effective social security systems guarantee income security 
and health protection in any adverse event.  
• In India, The Code on Social Security 2020 defines social 
security as "the measures of protection afforded to 
employees, unorganised workers, gig workers and 
platform workers to ensure access to health care and to 
provide income security, particularly in cases of old age, 
unemployment, sickness, invalidity, work injury, maternity 
or loss of a breadwinner by means of rights conferred on 
them and schemes framed, under this Code.”  
 
Informality in Indian labour market and access to 
social security benefits 
• Of the total workforce in India about 90% of 
the total workforce is engaged in informal 
employment in 2018-19.  
o Moreover, 9.5% of workers had informal 
nature of jobs even though they were 
employed in the formal sector.  
• In terms of social security provisions, only 
26% were eligible for one or a combination 
of social security benefits like Provident Fund, 
healthcare benefits, maternity benefits etc. 
• Estimates suggest that up to 80% of workers 
lost their jobs during the entire COVID 
lockdown. Majority of these were informal 
and non-agricultural self- employed workers 
who had experienced difficulties in accessing 
any kind of social welfare.  
 
 
	
60	 																																																																									
Code for Social Security, 2020 
• Provisions for registration of unorganised workers, gig workers 
and platform workers. 
• It directs the Union and the state governments to consider 
designing welfare schemes to provide social security for all 
three categories of workers. 
• Stipulates the formation of national and state-level Social 
Security Boards to recommend schemes for workers.  
• Expands the definition of employees to include workers 
employed through contractors and “inter-state migrant 
workers” to include self-employed workers from another state. 
• Introduces Inspector- cum-Facilitators and a quasi-judicial 
appellate authority to adjudicate over disputes. 
• It subsumes under it schemes such as Janani Suraksha Yojana, 
Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS)and 
Aam Admi Bima Yojana (AABY). 
• Aadhaar registration is mandatory for all workers seeking 
benefit from the government in either kind or cash. 
 
Challenges in access to social security for informal workers 
• Gaps in the Code on Social Security, 2020: 
o Lack of a minimum benefit policy at the national level: Social security provisions currently have varying 
thresholds and depend on the wage 
earned by the worker and the total 
number of workers in the enterprise, 
among other things. For instance, 
benefits, such as pension and 
medical insurance, continue to be 
mandatory only for establishments 
with a minimum number of 
employees (such as 10 or 20 
employees). It results in exclusion of 
substantial informal workforce from 
social security net. 
o Lack of accountability: The 
registration of unorganised workers 
is the responsibility of the district 
administration, but there is no 
provision to hold them accountable 
for delayed registration. 
o Subordinate Legislation: The vital provisions of the code can be defined and reworked through the 
discretion of executive without the participation of stakeholders or democratically elected Parliament.  
o Overlapping of definitions: As per the definitions given in the code, a driver working for an app-based 
taxi aggregator is a gig worker, platform worker and unorganised worker at the same time. This might 
create confusion in application of schemes. 
• Other gaps across the schemes: 
o Fragmented administration systems:  Social security schemes are run by multiple ministries and 
departments at Union and State level. Separate beneficiary databases are maintained under each such 
	
61	 																																																																									
scheme for which a worker has to apply for each scheme separately which makes the process 
cumbersome.  
o Exclusion errors: Introduction of Aadhaar card for authentication, digitalisation of welfare system, 
human errors in entering records and poor internet connectivity in certain areas among others led to 
exclusion of many eligible beneficiaries. A recent survey amongst Jharkhand’s particularly vulnerable 
tribal groups showed that Aadhar disrupted their PDS supply and pension payments. 
o Lack of regular revision of entitlement amounts: For example, amount provided under the IGNOAP 
scheme was revised for beneficiaries who are 80 years of age and above in 2011. For those in the age-
group of 60 to 79 years, it was last revised in 2006. Without regular revisions, the real benefits accessed 
from the schemes starts reducing.  
o Low awareness among beneficiaries: Majority of informal workers are illiterate and hence unaware 
about the social security benefits available to them. Moreover, they fail to appreciate potential benefit 
of the pension or insurance schemes which results in self-exclusion.  
• Challenges highlighted by COVID: 
o Crippled financial inclusion infrastructure: In many rural areas and remote locations, the working of 
Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) depends on Business Correspondents or Bank Mitras. However, due to 
travel restrictions during the pandemic, their functioning had been severely affected. With the reduced 
presence of Bank Mitras, it was hard for those with difficulties in travelling, such as aged people or 
persons with disabilities, to get their hands-on cash.  
o Portability of social security benefits: For provisions that prima facie incorporate migrants, such as old 
age pensions and schemes for unorganised workers, their administrative architecture does not make any 
specific provisions for migrants. Thus, in the case of inter-state migration of workers, it was unclear 
which state will be required to pay for migrant workers’ social security benefits- the ‘source’ state or the 
‘destination’ state. 
o Ensuring sustainable livelihood amid reverse migration: Many states have experienced high levels of 
reverse migration during the pandemic, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, 
Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal. Many of these states are already reeling under an agrarian 
crisis with falling productivity, water scarcity, and decreasing demand and thus are not equipped to 
sustain such a steep increase in labour force and ensuring them sustainable livelihood. 
Way forward  
Multi-pronged interventions will be important in addressing the limited reach and scope of social protection for 
informal workers in India at present. These include: 
• Ensuring a minimum social security net for all workers irrespective of wage, enterprise size, and place of 
origin: This is resonant with international norms. For example, SDG target 1.3 calls for the implementation of 
nation- wide social protection floors. Similarly, the ILO Recommendation 204 suggests the implementation 
of minimum social security guarantees to facilitate the transition from an informal to a formal economy.  
• Need for a robust monitoring and enforcement mechanism to ensure compliance to labour legislations  
• Creating a common database of informal workers: This will not only help in optimum provisioning of 
benefits, but also streamline identification of potential beneficiaries for different schemes.  
• Streamlining registration process of informal workers: A decentralised system of registration and service-
delivery can improve the enrolment of eligible beneficiaries in different social protection schemes. 
• Creating awareness about entitlements: The labour unions and other civil society organisations can play an 
important role in this process by leveraging their networks.  
• Moving beyond the traditional conceptions of work which rely on stable employee-employer associations. 
For example, in the case of street vendors, since there is no employer that controls their labour market 
transactions and space of work, functional substitutes such as municipality where they work, can be a 
potential replacement.  
6.2.	MID-DAY	MEAL	(MDM)	SCHEME		
Why in news? 
Recently, Government decided to transfer its share of the cooking cost component in the Mid-Day Meal 
(MDM) scheme for students of classes 1 to 8 directly into their bank accounts as a one-time COVID-19 relief. 
	
62	 																																																																										
More about news 
• Due to COVID-19, several governments run and government aided schools across the country have remained 
closed for the last several months denying children their daily hot-cooked meals as provided under the 
MDM scheme. 
• This decision will help safeguard the nutritional levels of children and aid in protecting their immunity 
during the challenging pandemic times. 
• Around 118 million children will be eligible to get the one-time relief, which will cost the Centre around Rs 
1,200 crore.  
o This is in addition to the Government of India’s announcement of distribution of free-of-cost food grains 
@ 5 Kg per person per month to nearly 80 crore beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna 
Yojana (PM-GKAY). 
	
About Mid-Day Meal Scheme 
(MDMS) 
• National Programme of 
Mid-Day Meals in School 
(MDM) is a Centrally 
Sponsored Scheme (CSS) of 
the Ministry of Education 
aimed at providing school 
meals to students with a 
view to enhance 
enrolment, retention, and 
attendance of children 
while simultaneously 
improving nutrition  at all 
levels.  
o It is world's largest 
school feeding 
programme. 
• The children covered under 
MDM Scheme are entitled 
to meals under National 
Food Security Act, 2013.  
• Under the MDM scheme, 
both the Centre and State 
government share the 
cooking cost for daily meals 
in the ratio of 60:40 for 
non-North eastern states 
(NER) and UTs with 
legislatures except Jammu 
and Kashmir and in the 
ratio of 90:10 for all others.  
Page 5


	
59	 																																																																											
6.	SOCIAL	ISSUES	
6.1.	SOCIAL	SECURITY	FOR	INFORMAL	WORKERS	
Why in news? 
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the gaps in India’s social 
security policies, specifically towards informal workers.  
Social Security & its significance 
• According to ILO, social security is based on the recognition 
of human dignity and social justice guaranteed by law to all 
human beings who live from their own labour and who find 
themselves unable to work temporarily or permanently for 
reasons beyond their control. 
• Effective social security systems guarantee income security 
and health protection in any adverse event.  
• In India, The Code on Social Security 2020 defines social 
security as "the measures of protection afforded to 
employees, unorganised workers, gig workers and 
platform workers to ensure access to health care and to 
provide income security, particularly in cases of old age, 
unemployment, sickness, invalidity, work injury, maternity 
or loss of a breadwinner by means of rights conferred on 
them and schemes framed, under this Code.”  
 
Informality in Indian labour market and access to 
social security benefits 
• Of the total workforce in India about 90% of 
the total workforce is engaged in informal 
employment in 2018-19.  
o Moreover, 9.5% of workers had informal 
nature of jobs even though they were 
employed in the formal sector.  
• In terms of social security provisions, only 
26% were eligible for one or a combination 
of social security benefits like Provident Fund, 
healthcare benefits, maternity benefits etc. 
• Estimates suggest that up to 80% of workers 
lost their jobs during the entire COVID 
lockdown. Majority of these were informal 
and non-agricultural self- employed workers 
who had experienced difficulties in accessing 
any kind of social welfare.  
 
 
	
60	 																																																																									
Code for Social Security, 2020 
• Provisions for registration of unorganised workers, gig workers 
and platform workers. 
• It directs the Union and the state governments to consider 
designing welfare schemes to provide social security for all 
three categories of workers. 
• Stipulates the formation of national and state-level Social 
Security Boards to recommend schemes for workers.  
• Expands the definition of employees to include workers 
employed through contractors and “inter-state migrant 
workers” to include self-employed workers from another state. 
• Introduces Inspector- cum-Facilitators and a quasi-judicial 
appellate authority to adjudicate over disputes. 
• It subsumes under it schemes such as Janani Suraksha Yojana, 
Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS)and 
Aam Admi Bima Yojana (AABY). 
• Aadhaar registration is mandatory for all workers seeking 
benefit from the government in either kind or cash. 
 
Challenges in access to social security for informal workers 
• Gaps in the Code on Social Security, 2020: 
o Lack of a minimum benefit policy at the national level: Social security provisions currently have varying 
thresholds and depend on the wage 
earned by the worker and the total 
number of workers in the enterprise, 
among other things. For instance, 
benefits, such as pension and 
medical insurance, continue to be 
mandatory only for establishments 
with a minimum number of 
employees (such as 10 or 20 
employees). It results in exclusion of 
substantial informal workforce from 
social security net. 
o Lack of accountability: The 
registration of unorganised workers 
is the responsibility of the district 
administration, but there is no 
provision to hold them accountable 
for delayed registration. 
o Subordinate Legislation: The vital provisions of the code can be defined and reworked through the 
discretion of executive without the participation of stakeholders or democratically elected Parliament.  
o Overlapping of definitions: As per the definitions given in the code, a driver working for an app-based 
taxi aggregator is a gig worker, platform worker and unorganised worker at the same time. This might 
create confusion in application of schemes. 
• Other gaps across the schemes: 
o Fragmented administration systems:  Social security schemes are run by multiple ministries and 
departments at Union and State level. Separate beneficiary databases are maintained under each such 
	
61	 																																																																									
scheme for which a worker has to apply for each scheme separately which makes the process 
cumbersome.  
o Exclusion errors: Introduction of Aadhaar card for authentication, digitalisation of welfare system, 
human errors in entering records and poor internet connectivity in certain areas among others led to 
exclusion of many eligible beneficiaries. A recent survey amongst Jharkhand’s particularly vulnerable 
tribal groups showed that Aadhar disrupted their PDS supply and pension payments. 
o Lack of regular revision of entitlement amounts: For example, amount provided under the IGNOAP 
scheme was revised for beneficiaries who are 80 years of age and above in 2011. For those in the age-
group of 60 to 79 years, it was last revised in 2006. Without regular revisions, the real benefits accessed 
from the schemes starts reducing.  
o Low awareness among beneficiaries: Majority of informal workers are illiterate and hence unaware 
about the social security benefits available to them. Moreover, they fail to appreciate potential benefit 
of the pension or insurance schemes which results in self-exclusion.  
• Challenges highlighted by COVID: 
o Crippled financial inclusion infrastructure: In many rural areas and remote locations, the working of 
Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) depends on Business Correspondents or Bank Mitras. However, due to 
travel restrictions during the pandemic, their functioning had been severely affected. With the reduced 
presence of Bank Mitras, it was hard for those with difficulties in travelling, such as aged people or 
persons with disabilities, to get their hands-on cash.  
o Portability of social security benefits: For provisions that prima facie incorporate migrants, such as old 
age pensions and schemes for unorganised workers, their administrative architecture does not make any 
specific provisions for migrants. Thus, in the case of inter-state migration of workers, it was unclear 
which state will be required to pay for migrant workers’ social security benefits- the ‘source’ state or the 
‘destination’ state. 
o Ensuring sustainable livelihood amid reverse migration: Many states have experienced high levels of 
reverse migration during the pandemic, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, 
Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal. Many of these states are already reeling under an agrarian 
crisis with falling productivity, water scarcity, and decreasing demand and thus are not equipped to 
sustain such a steep increase in labour force and ensuring them sustainable livelihood. 
Way forward  
Multi-pronged interventions will be important in addressing the limited reach and scope of social protection for 
informal workers in India at present. These include: 
• Ensuring a minimum social security net for all workers irrespective of wage, enterprise size, and place of 
origin: This is resonant with international norms. For example, SDG target 1.3 calls for the implementation of 
nation- wide social protection floors. Similarly, the ILO Recommendation 204 suggests the implementation 
of minimum social security guarantees to facilitate the transition from an informal to a formal economy.  
• Need for a robust monitoring and enforcement mechanism to ensure compliance to labour legislations  
• Creating a common database of informal workers: This will not only help in optimum provisioning of 
benefits, but also streamline identification of potential beneficiaries for different schemes.  
• Streamlining registration process of informal workers: A decentralised system of registration and service-
delivery can improve the enrolment of eligible beneficiaries in different social protection schemes. 
• Creating awareness about entitlements: The labour unions and other civil society organisations can play an 
important role in this process by leveraging their networks.  
• Moving beyond the traditional conceptions of work which rely on stable employee-employer associations. 
For example, in the case of street vendors, since there is no employer that controls their labour market 
transactions and space of work, functional substitutes such as municipality where they work, can be a 
potential replacement.  
6.2.	MID-DAY	MEAL	(MDM)	SCHEME		
Why in news? 
Recently, Government decided to transfer its share of the cooking cost component in the Mid-Day Meal 
(MDM) scheme for students of classes 1 to 8 directly into their bank accounts as a one-time COVID-19 relief. 
	
62	 																																																																										
More about news 
• Due to COVID-19, several governments run and government aided schools across the country have remained 
closed for the last several months denying children their daily hot-cooked meals as provided under the 
MDM scheme. 
• This decision will help safeguard the nutritional levels of children and aid in protecting their immunity 
during the challenging pandemic times. 
• Around 118 million children will be eligible to get the one-time relief, which will cost the Centre around Rs 
1,200 crore.  
o This is in addition to the Government of India’s announcement of distribution of free-of-cost food grains 
@ 5 Kg per person per month to nearly 80 crore beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna 
Yojana (PM-GKAY). 
	
About Mid-Day Meal Scheme 
(MDMS) 
• National Programme of 
Mid-Day Meals in School 
(MDM) is a Centrally 
Sponsored Scheme (CSS) of 
the Ministry of Education 
aimed at providing school 
meals to students with a 
view to enhance 
enrolment, retention, and 
attendance of children 
while simultaneously 
improving nutrition  at all 
levels.  
o It is world's largest 
school feeding 
programme. 
• The children covered under 
MDM Scheme are entitled 
to meals under National 
Food Security Act, 2013.  
• Under the MDM scheme, 
both the Centre and State 
government share the 
cooking cost for daily meals 
in the ratio of 60:40 for 
non-North eastern states 
(NER) and UTs with 
legislatures except Jammu 
and Kashmir and in the 
ratio of 90:10 for all others.  
	
63	 																																																																								
 
Challenges  
• Poor Infrastructure: MDM is suffering with respect to the quality of food or inadequate nutrition content, 
poor infrastructure, and lack of community ownership in the community.  
• Social Discrimination: Study by the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies (IIDS) in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West 
Bengal etc. found that Dalit children were being given less amount of food compared to upper caste 
children, not allowed to serve food to upper caste children and have been served food at other places.  
• Quality of food: It is reported that mid-day meals 
have been of inferior quality and have led to food 
poisoning further leading to death of children. 
There have been reports that children were fed 
substandard or adulterated food.   
• Improper Monetary Mechanism: There are 
provisions for regular social audit, field visits and 
inspections but these are seldom carried out. 
Even if there are committees at some places, they 
are not functional.   
• Corruption and leakages: Corruption is involved in the delivery system. Fake enrolments are being done to 
embezzle money.  Also, the sanctioned amount for meals has not been completely utilized.   
• Meager allocation of Resources: Experts believe that direct cash transfer amount is too meager and at 
current rate it translates into a one-time direct transfer of just Rs 100 per child.  
Way Forward  
• Community Participation: The best way to ensure effective implementation of MDM is through community 
participation and vigilance along with sustained government efforts. Involving the parents and local 
community in the process of serving mid-day meals will improve its implementation.  
o The people need to ask the school authorities about the food being served, funds received and the 
quantity and quality of food grains procured for MDM. 
• Creation of Awareness: Experts suggest awareness building among all stakeholders in the scheme on 
nutrition, health, hygiene and safety of food.  
• Efficient Delivery: Experts highlight that increasing the staff involved in delivering the scheme on the 
ground and maintaining the quality of food served will bring about positive impact. The Government could 
strive to provide food supplements during statutory holidays and vacation periods by not just restricting to 
drought- affected areas.  
• Data collection: There is need for building proper data systems to track the scheme well. Better data 
keeping of the number of meals served per day along with other details like items served and quality. 
 
 
Best Practices  
• Andhra Pradesh: 82 per cent of children are availing 
MDM. It provides eggs/bananas to children twice a 
week using the state’s own resources.  
• Maharashtra with 82 per cent of MDM coverage has 
a unique practice of serving ‘Sneh-Bhojan’ (special 
treats which comprise sweets and snacks) to 
children on occasion of birthdays of eminent people 
of the state. 
Read More
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