'Immediate need to boost social protection scheme'

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI: A majority of workers want provision of minimum wage and insurance for all frontline health workers, showed a pre-budget survey by Fight Inequality Alliance India — a group of NGOs, rights’ groups and campaigners.

As a part of the survey, 1,451 people from 24 states, and across genders, social groups, religions and income classes were interviewed. 27 per cent of the sample comprised individuals who earned less than Rs 10,000 per month. The FIA includes National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, Oxfam India, Water Aid, and Alliance for Right to Early Childhood Development, among others.

The survey findings showed the need for strengthening the social protection schemes across the country. 95 per cent wanted provision of minimum wages and insurance for anganwadi and ASHA workers, the survey showed. While 87 per cent wanted free COVID vaccine for all, the figures rises to 93 per cent for respondents from scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. 88 per cent of interviewees expressed the need for urban employment guarantee scheme. Among urban Muslims, the support for such a demand was 96 per cent.

The need for food security was expressed by significant number of respondents with 87 per cent saying there was a need for universalisation of the public distribution system for adequate free rations up to June 2021. For individuals whose household income was less than Rs 20,000 per month, the figure was 94 per cent.

Around 95 per cent of respondents want universal minimum social security including health and maternity benefits, accident insurance, life insurance and pension to be provided to all unorganised workers, and 97 per cent wanted additional funding to ensure that all schools provide additional academic support to students who experienced learning loss and have adequate sanitation and handwashing facilities for safe reopening.