Mains Q & A 13 March 2023
Q1. To establish a welfare state, it is required by the constitution to strengthen the less powerful facets of society. In light of the aforementioned remark, is a caste census necessary to implement the necessary measures to achieve social fairness? Critical analysis (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS II Government Policies and Interventions
According to Article 38 of the Constitution, “the state shall endeavour to promote the welfare of the people by guaranteeing and defending as effectively as it can, a social order in which social, economic, and political fairness shall pervade all institutions of national life.” This sentence provides a thorough basis for establishing the welfare state.
The following actions have been performed to strengthen the society’s poorer segments:
The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, was passed to protect marginalised communities from prejudice and atrocities.
the representation of government Members of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes are entitled to seats in the House of the People and State legislatures, respectively, in accordance with Articles 330 and 332 of the Constitution.
Underrepresented group commission: One of three organisations established by the Constitution to guarantee the welfare and well-being of the weaker sections is the National Commission for Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes.
An attempt to safeguard people’s health, the Ayushman Bharat Yojana provides health insurance to Indian citizens, especially those from underprivileged socioeconomic categories.
All-inclusive housing This programme aims to provide a pucca house complete with all of the facilities needed to households residing in kutcha and dilapidated buildings, as well as those who are homeless. The beneficiaries of this initiative include all households that are homeless and those that live in zero, one, or two-room dwellings with kutcha halls and kutcha roofs, according to SECC (Socio-Economic and Caste Census) data.
Food security: The Public Distribution System (PDS) was created as a way to manage shortages by distributing food grains economically. As part of the government’s plan to oversee the country’s food sector, PDS has gained in significance.
Data from the census of caste:
From 1951 until 2011, every independent India census produced data on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, but not on other castes.
Up to 1931, caste information was a part of every Census.
While the Census provides a picture of the Indian population, the SECC is a tool to identify those receiving state aid.
All data are considered private because the Census is performed in compliance with the Census Act of 1948; nonetheless, the SECC collects personal information that can be utilised by government organisations to grant or deny benefits to families.
Why Caste censuses are required:
Using data to inform policymaking A caste census would particularly show the amount of disadvantaged or marginalised people, the kinds of occupations they are looking for, and the level of influence caste-related organisations have over them.
Enhanced programme aimed for aid Indian courts have consistently emphasised how crucial it is to have enough knowledge about the reserve. The caste census is simply the process of gathering the data necessary to create any democratic policy.
Realities of Indian society: Information on poverty, caste-based discrimination, the types of jobs that each caste seeks, etc. will all be included in this census.
Accurate information on the socioeconomic condition and educational level of distinct castes would be available from a caste census.
false assumptions regarding caste influence in states resolving caste-related problems. The Lingayat caste is said to be the biggest in Karnataka, according to rumours. As a result, the census can offer the relevant data.
Concerns relating to the caste census:
Caste fault lines and divisions: A caste census will only strengthen the notion of caste, which India is working to diminish and remove.
Credibility of the data: Because it could be very invasive, data collection creates a severe problem. Concerns exist over the political elite’s potential use of data manipulation for personal gain.
Reservation requests: Caste-based reservations can make some groups queasy and lead to demands for larger or alternative quotas. For instance, castes like the Patels, Gujjars, Jats, and others are requesting reservations. The caste census may lead to other requests of this nature in the future.
The political class may use this as an electoral strategy if there is pressure to surpass the 50% cap.
Caste identity can lead to social strife between various socioeconomic classes.
Caste and religion are given identities, therefore counting them might not be as forward-thinking as counting attained identities or capacity attributes like education and profession, as well as other concrete endowments like real estate, a home, and other consumer goods ownership.
Moving past caste connotations and taking a closer look at the flaws in rights, social programmes, and contextual disparities may be necessary in order to think about interventions and handle problems more effectively. Additionally, tying a problem to a person’s caste may, at most, help focus the intervention, but the goal should be to solve the problem regardless of identification.
Q2. The ambiguity around platform obligations and the rights of gig workers needs to be quickly resolved so that companies can treat workers like employees in terms of control while avoiding the expense of hiring and social security. Analyse. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS II Government Policies and Interventions
What are now referred to as “gig workers,” “app workers,” or “platform employees” are employed by the “informal economy.” In a typical developing country, the informal economy accounts for 30% of the GDP and 70% of employment.
The gig economy and inconsistency:
The work connection, which needs to be made clear, is the main problem with the gig economy.
Businesses frequently treat their gig workers as employees in terms of the control they have over them without spending the costs associated with recruiting employees because of the uncertainty around employee rights and platform requirements.
The ability of gig workers to influence payment proposals is lost when there is a high and more disposable labour supply, as there is for blue-collar workers, and freedom of choice is limited to a theoretical concept.
However, platform delivery personnel are not protected by labour regulations.
Due to the current legal framework, they are unable to demand better and more dependable compensation or to oversee the algorithms used to allocate duties.
The All India Gig Workers Union has attracted a sizable number of platform workers over the past six months, who are now protesting the continued salary decrease.
Employees of Swiggy, for instance, have proven crucial during the pandemic. Even after that, the remuneration for every delivery order for Swiggy employees was decreased from 35 to 10.
Platform workers are now qualified for benefits like maternity benefits, life and disability insurance, old age security, provident funds, employment accident compensation, etc. under the Code on Social Security law of 2020.
Being qualified, however, does not ensure that you will benefit from the advantages.
These have a commanding air about them.
The Code specifies that the central government, platform aggregators, and employees are all jointly responsible for providing fundamental welfare measures.
Which stakeholder is in charge of providing whatever level of benefit is unclear, though.
What should be done to address the problems:
For such talents to remain marketable and relevant, they must constantly enhance their skills.
A precise definition might guarantee that workers receive social security benefits without jeopardising the acclaimed benefits of platform work.
Nations must work together to create a framework that will give them the ability to protect the rights of employees who are employed part-time in their nation.
In addition to their tax obligations, businesses that use temporary workers should also be forced to pay into their insurance and social obligations.
Ad hoc gig economy work must be recognised socially and legally, and the State and platform businesses should share the responsibility of providing social services.
Platform workers are now covered by the Social Security Code of 2020. The political will of the federal and state governments, as well as the degree of union political influence, will determine if these gains can be realised.
In a nation with a population of over 1.3 billion people, the majority of whom are under 35, relying on the “gig economy” may be the only practical method to offer work for a significant semi-skilled and unskilled workforce. It is crucial to encourage this industry’s expansion. Clear guidelines for the sector’s operation are required in the form of policies and regulations.
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