Social welfare: Casting a Security Net

The Journey So Far

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, criminalising triple talaq, passed

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act, 2019, passed, with amendments, including death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children and stringent punishments for other crimes against minors

Merged four codes-on wages; industrial relations; social security and occupational safety; health and working conditions-into Code on Wages, 2019, to simplify, rationalise and amalgamate various labour laws. Critics, however, claim the act is biased in favour of employers.

Passed Consumer Protection Bill, 2019, which proposes, among other things, the setting up of a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers as a class

Is It Enough?

Though the allocation for social welfare improved from Rs 46,492 crore estimated in the interim budget in February to Rs 50,850 crore in the July budget, it was just 1.8 per cent of total budgetary allocation. While all parties supported the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act, the criminalisation of triple talaq was construed as interference in the religious practices of Muslims on the pretext of protecting their women. To prove its intent on women’s welfare, the government would do well to introduce the Women’s Reservation Bill, enabling 33 per cent reservation for women in legislatures.

The Unfinished Agenda

Implement stringent laws across the country against mob lynching

Protect rape victims from administrative apathy and harassment by accused

Introduce laws against hooliganism in the name of protection of culture

Ensure property rights of destitute widows across religious groups

Pass the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019

Amend Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act to make it more stringent

Amend Maintenance & Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens Act, 2007, for social and economic security of elderly


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