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1. State Of Social Safety Nets 2018


  • Recently, World Bank has released State of Social Safety Nets Report, 2018.

  • Report is part of efforts to monitor the implementation progress of the World Bank’s 2012–2022 Social Protection and Labor Strategy.

  • Report uses administrative data for 142 countries and household survey data for 96 countries from the ASPIRE database.

Highlight of the report

  • The report focuses on two special themes:

  • Adaptive Social Protection (ASP): It places an enhanced focus on better enabling social protection to address the impacts of all manner of shocks on households – including natural disasters and climate change, economic and financial crises, conflict and displacement, among others. Focus Area of ASP

  • Building Household Resilience before shocks Occur: This can be done by access to markets

  • Increasing access to financial, social, human, physical, and natural capital services.programs, including safety nets, particularly in difficult periods.needed to adapt to shocks to adapt to changing realities.

  • Increasing the Capability Of Safety Nets To Respond To shocks after they occur:

  • By adopting dynamic delivery systems to provide required flexibility and scalability in SSN program to achieve horizontal and/or vertical expansion, depending on post-shock needs.

  • Vertical expansion: It increase benefit amounts at an acute time of need to existing social protection beneficiaries

  • Horizontal expansion: It’s about increasing the coverage of the program to include those who were not included in regular program but are affected and targeted for assistance.

  • Old-Age Pensions: It provides an alternative source of income for elderly adults who are not covered by contributory schemes. (old-age pensions have helped the elderly reduce or altogether escape poverty).

1.1 Finding of report

Types of Social Safety Net Program

  • Unconditional cash transfers (UCTs): It encompass interventions such as poverty alleviation or emergency programs, guaranteed minimum income programs, and universal or poverty targeted child and family allowances.

  • Conditional cash transfers (CCTs): It aim to reduce poverty and increase human capital by requiring beneficiaries to comply with conditions such as school attendance and health checkups

  • Social pensions: It aim to overcome loss of income because of old age, disability, or death of the bread winner for individuals who do not have access to social insurance benefits.

  • Public works programs condition the transfer on participating in a community project/activity

  • Fee waivers and targeted subsidies: It subsidize services or provide access to low-priced food staples for the poor

  • School feeding programs provide meals to students generally in poor and food-insecure areas.

  • In-kind transfers consist of food rations, clothes, school supplies, shelter, fertilizers, seeds, agricultural tools or animals, and building materials, among others.

  • Increase in SSN Spending: Globally, developing and transition countries spend an average of 1.5 percent of GDP on SSN programs, where India and Bangladesh public works spending budget share is the highest in South Asia (> 25%).


Declining Poverty:

  • Safety nets help people escape extreme poverty (3 6% escaped extreme poverty), close the poverty gap by about 45%, and reduce inequality.

  • On India: Impact of Productive Inclusion Interventions (graduation models) that support sustainable exits from poverty by extension, resilience-building is increasing in India.

  • Disaster Safety: Safety nets build household resilience to respond to shocks across the life cycle, key to building human capital


Related information

  • World Bank 2012–2022 Social Protection and Labor Strategy

  • Aim: To help improve resilience, equity, and opportunity for people in both low- and middle-income countries through integrated social protection and labor systems, increasing coverage of social safety nets programs, especially in lower-income countries, and improved evidence.

  • Aspire: The Atlas of Social Protection - Indicators Of Resilience And Equity - It is the World Bank's premier compilation of Social Protection and Labor (SPL) indicators in order to analyze the distributional and poverty impact of Social Protection and Labor programs.


Social assistance/Social safety net programs

  • They are non-contributory transfers in cash or in-kind and are usually targeted at the poor and vulnerable.

  • They are focused on improving chronic poverty or providing equality of opportunity

  • They enhance household resilience in the long term by promoting human capital development and income-generating activities.

  • They lessen the need for negative coping strategies adopted by poor household after shocks, where such strategies referred to removing children from school to work for extra household income, availing high-interest loans, and selling productive assets

Factors Affecting the Impact of SSN Transfer

  • Program’s coverage: High coverage along with high benefit levels lead to higher outcomes in poverty and inequality reduction.

  • Transfer Level: Sufficient amount is necessary for sustainable and holistic development of household.

  • Beneficiary/Benefit Incidence: Coverage of scheme must include all possible vulnerable under its target to obtain desired level of poverty gap reduction.

2. Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018

2.1. Proposals of the Bill

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

  • It was constituted in 1993 as a statutory body (not constitutional) under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

  • The commission includes a chairperson and 4 members.

  • In addition to these full time members, the commission also has 4 ex-officio members i.e. Chairman of National Council of Minorities, Chairman of National Council of SCs, Chairman of National Council of ST and Chairman of National Council of Women.

  • Include “National Commission for Protection of Child Rights” as deemed member of the National Human Rights Commission

  • Add a woman member in the composition of the NHRC.

  • Enlarge the scope of eligibility and

  • scope of selection of Chairperson of NHRC, as well as of State Human Rights Commission

  • Incorporate a mechanism to look after the cases of human rights violation in the Union Territories.

  • Amend the term of office of Chairperson and Members of NHRC and State Human Rights Commission to make it in consonance with the terms of Chairperson and Members of other Commissions.

2.2. Benefits

Paris Principles

  • The Paris Principles is a set of international standards which frame and guide the work of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs).

  • According to the Paris Principles, NHRIs should be established by a statutory or constitutional provision, which sets for the tasks, composition and sphere of competence of the institution.

  • These institutions must have an autonomous and independent status not only formally, but also financially and administratively.

  • It will strengthen the Human Rights Institutions of India further for effective discharge of their mandates, roles and responsibilities.

  • The amended Act will be in sync with the agreed global standards towards ensuring the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual in the country.

  • The amendment to the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 will make National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) more compliant with the Paris Principle concerning its autonomy, independence, pluralism and wide-ranging functions in order to effectively protect and promote human rights.

3. Child Rape


  • According to the National Crime Records Bureau, in 2016, 93,344 cases of crimes against children were registered across India.

  • These many numbers of cases were recorded despite the fact that adequate provisions exist under both Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 for crimes against children.

3.1 Features of Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018

  • The Ordinance will amend Indian Penal Code, Evidence Act, the Code for Criminal Procedures and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act to introduce new provisions.

  • It proposes to: o amend Section 376 of Indian Penal Code. The amended provision proposes to increase the minimum sentence of rape from 7 to 10 years.

  • incorporate Section 376 (3) which provides that punishment for rape of girl below 16 years shall not be less than 20 years but may extend to imprisonment for life.

  • insert Section 376AB to provide that whoever commits rape of women below 12 years of age shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for life and with fine or with death.

  • punish gang rape of woman below 16 years of age with rigorous imprisonment for life and with fine.

  • punish gang rape of woman below 12 years of age with rigorous imprisonment for life and with fine or with death.

  • The ordinance also reduces the time limit of three months of investigation under CrPC to two months and also prescribes six months for disposal of appeals.

  • The Ordinance also prescribes that there will be no anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl under 16 years.

3.2. Other measures announced

  • Strengthening Courts and prosecution – o Fast track courts will be set up for speedy trial in consultation with States/UTs and High Courts.

  • Special forensic Kits will be provided to all police stations and hospitals.

  • Dedicated manpower for investigation of rape cases in time bound manner

  • Measures to be implemented in mission mode within 3 months

  • National Crime Records Bureau will maintain a national database and profile of the sexual offenders and will share it with states and UTs for tracking, monitoring and investigation.

  • The present scheme of ‘One Stop Centre’ for assistance to victim will be extended to every district in the country.


3.3. Criticism of the Ordinance

  • Presently there are a number of laws and acts in place which provide for stringent punishment in cases mentioned above such as POCSO Act, Criminal Amendment Act of 2013 etc. However, efforts should be made to implement the existing laws properly.

  • The delivery of justice for crimes reported against children needs to be expedited by placing more resources (human, budget and through the use of technology) and by making it survivor-centred, by strengthening the existing Integrated Child Protection Scheme and other support services.\

  • Presently, the massive backlog of redressal of rape cases, lack of rehabilitation support and psycho-social counselling to rape survivors -- and their family members -- is the immediate need.

  • POCSO and RTE should also be extended to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

  • The focus instead should be on quicker investigation and conviction which is one of the stated objectives of the new law through fast track courts but this was also there in the Act of 2013.

  • New penalty will affect the reporting of cases because family members would not like their own relatives, who are often the culprit, to be hanged, putting them in jail for ten years or 20 years was a different proposition.

4. NIRF India Rankings 2018


  • National Institute Ranking Framework was launched in 2015 to rank institutions across the country and promote quality in education and encourage competition to perform better.

  • The framework follows India-centric parameters like diversity and inclusiveness apart from excellence in teaching, learning and research

4.1. About NIRF India Rankings 2018

  • NIRF 2018 gave rankings for 9 different categories of institutions including 3 new categories - Medical, Architecture and Law. Also dental colleges have been added for the first time.

  • It ranked institutions on following five parameters:- o Teaching, Learning and Resources- These lay emphasis on measuring numbers and quality of faculty, library and lab resources and general facilities for development of young persons.

  • Research and Professional Practices - These measure the quantity and quality of research output as seen through international data bases, IPR generation and interface with industry and fellow professionals.

  • Graduation outcomes- This measures the student graduation rate and their success in finding placement in industry and Government or taking up higher studies.

  • Outreach and Inclusivity- It lays emphasis on representation of women and socially challenged persons in student or faculty populations, and also on outreach activities of the institution.

  • Perception of the institutes by its stakeholders.

  • NIRF 2018 included new criteria such as total budget and its utilisation, combined metric for quality of publications, university examinations and how many graduating students admitted into top institutions.

  • The rankings assume significance as performance of institutions has been linked with “Institutions of Eminence” scheme.

5. Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan 2.0

5.1 Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan 2.0

  • It is phase 2 of Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan where students of premier institutions will help in solving the problems faced by rural population across the country.

  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan was launched by govt. of india with objective of Building institutional capacity in Institutes of higher education in research & training relevant to the needs of rural India and providing rural India with professional resource support from these institutions.

5.2. Under the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0

  • The institutions have been selected on a Challenge Mode.

  • The scheme has been extended to 750 reputed Higher Educational Institutes (both public and private) of the country.

  • IIT Delhi has been designated to function as the National Coordinating Institute for this programme.

  • Each selected institute would adopt a cluster of villages / panchayats and gradually expand the outreach over a period of time.

  • Institutes through their faculty and students, will carry out studies of living conditions in the adopted villages. The focus will be on:

  • assess the local problems and needs

  • workout the possibilities of leveraging the technological interventions in implementation of various government schemes

  • prepare workable action plans for the selected villages.

  • These studies will help in augmenting the implementation of the development programmes in rural areas.

  • The Institutes will work in close coordination with the district administration, elected public representatives of panchayat / villages and other stakeholders.

  • Also, scope for providing Subject Expert Groups and Regional Coordinating Institutes to handhold and guide the participating institutions has been strengthened.

  • In this process, faculty and students of such institutes would be re-oriented and connected to the rural realities so that their learning and research work also becomes more relevant to the society.



  • Minor Forest Produce (MFP) is a major source of livelihood for tribals living in forest areas.

  • Around 100 million forest dwellers depend on MFPs for food, shelter, medicines and cash income.

  • Tribals derive 20-40% of their annual income from MFP and activity has strong linkage to women’s financial empowerment as most of the MFPs are collected and used/sold by women.

  • MFP sector has the potential to create about 10 million workdays annually in the country.

  • The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, defines a Minor Forest Produce (MFP) as all non-timber forest produce of plant origin and includes bamboo, brushwood, stumps, canes, Tusser, cocoon, honey, waxes, Lac, tendu/kendu leaves, medicinal plants and herbs, roots, tuber and the like.

  • Government had earlier launched a scheme named “Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Minor Forest Produces (MFP) scheme for safeguarding the remuneration of tribal population.

  • However, most of the trade related to the MFPs remained unorganized in nature, which has led to low returns to the gatherers and high wastages due to limited value addition. Thus, a more holistic approach with robust institutional mechanisms is required for strengthening the backward and forward linkages of MFP supply chain.

 Van Dhan Scheme

  • Under the scheme 10 Self Help Groups of 30 Tribal gatherers (Van Dhan Vikas Samuh) will be constituted. They will then be provided with working capital to add value to the products collected from the jungle.

  • A cluster of ten such SHGs within the same village shall form a Van Dhan Vikas Kendra.

  • Van Dhan Vikas Kendra are multi-purpose establishments for providing skill upgradation, capacity building training and setting up of primary processing and value addition facility.

  • The stock after primary processing shall be supplied by these SHGs to the State Implementing Agencies or direct tie up for supply to corporate secondary processor.

  • For creation of secondary level value addition facility at district level and tertiary level value addition facility at State level, Big Corporates shall be involved under PPP model.

  • The scheme will be implemented through Ministry of Tribal Affairs as Nodal Department at the Central Level and TRIFED as Nodal Agency at the National Level.

  • At State level, the State Nodal Agency for MFPs and the District collectors are envisaged to play a pivot role in scheme implementation at grassroot level.

  • The First model Van Dhan Vikas Kendra is being set up in Bijapur District of Chattisgarh which will train 300 beneficiaries.

7. Gram Swaraj Abhiyan

7.1 About Gram Swaraj Abhiyan

  • This Abhiyan (campaign) is being undertaken for reaching out to poor households, spreading awareness about government welfare schemes and other people centric initiatives.

  • The campaign is undertaken under the name of “Sabka Sath, Sabka Gaon, Sabka Vikas”.

  • During the Abhiyan, universal coverage under following seven welfare programmes in 21058 identified villages, with large number of underprivileged households across the country, has been contemplated.

  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana

  • Saubhagya

  • Ujala scheme

  • Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana

  • Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana

  • Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana

  • Mission Indradhanush.

7.2. Swachh Bharat Mission – Gramin

  • SBM was launched in 2014 with an objective to accelerate the efforts to achieve universal sanitation.

  • It is being implemented by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and has two Sub- Missions SBM- Urban and SBM- Gramin.

  • SBM- Gramin as a sub mission has following objectives –

  • Bring improvement in the general quality of life by promoting cleanliness, hygiene and eliminating open defecation.

  • Accelerate sanitation coverage in rural areas to achieve Swachh Bharat Vision by 2019.

  • Motivate communities and Panchayati Raj Institutions to adopt sustainable sanitation practices and facilities through awareness creation and health education.

  • Encourage cost effective technology

  • Develop community managed sanitation systems focusing on scientific solid waste management.

8. National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey (Narss)

8.1. About NARSS

  • The Survey was conducted by an Independent Verification Agency – Kantar Public- between mid-November 2017 and mid-March 2018 to establish the baseline with respect to the Disbursemment Linked Indicators for the World bank project support to the Swacch Bharat Mission (Gramin).

  • NARSS annually measures the three World Bank Disbursement Linked Indicators – o Reduction in prevalence of open defecation

  • Sustain ODF status in villages

  • Increase in population with solid and liquid waste management practices.

Findings of NARSS, 2017

  • An ODF verified village is confirmed to be ODF if:

  • No visible faeces was found in the environment or village.

  • Every household as well as public/community institutions was found to be using safe technology option for disposal of faeces.

  • 95.6% of Open Defecation Free (ODF) verified villages have been confirmed ODF.

  • Remaining 4.4% villages could not be confirmed due to reasons such as – o Lower than 100% access to toilets in villages o Presence of an unhygienic/defunct/ unsafe toilets in any household in the village

  • Non-usage of a toilet

  • Absence of toilets in schools or anganwadi

  • Presence of visible faecal matter in village.

  • 77% of the households found to have access to toilets

  • 93.4% of the people who had access to toilets used them regularly

  • 70% of the villages were found to have minimal litter and stagnant water.

  • Among the states, Kerala and Mizoram have achieved 100% Open Defecation Free status while Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are the bottom ranking with less than 44% of such households.

  • However, the findings have been have been criticised for using a small sample size which is not enough to have a holistic view of sanitation status.

April Indian Society and Issues

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