Day 50 – Q 3.What are the initiatives meant for addressing the vulnerabilities of rural landless labourers? Examine their efficacy and limitations.
3. What are the initiatives meant for addressing the vulnerabilities of rural landless labourers? Examine their efficacy and limitations.
ग्रामीण भूमिहीन मजदूरों की कमजोरियों को दूर करने के लिए क्या पहल की गई है? उनकी प्रभावकारिता और सीमाओं की जांच करें।
As per census of 2011, proportion of landless people in rural India had reached around 55%. The essence of the problem lies in the growth of the landless in our rural society from 28.1% in 1951 to 37.8% in 1971, from 40.3% in 1991 to less than 55% in 2011. It is estimated that around 30 lakh farmers lose their land each year because of debt, uncertain weather conditions and fluctuating prices of crops.
Some of the factors of vulnerability for rural landless farmers are poverty, lack of tenure for landless farmers, absence of documents and non-inclusion in government programs, no or inadequate credit facility and debt trap among others.
Initiatives meant for addressing the vulnerabilities of rural landless labourers and their efficacy and limitations
- Land Consolidation Act, 1961 – define the size of land that an individual/family can own. But the ceiling limits varied from state to state. There has been circumvention of this act. According to the census of India, 47.3% of the farmers in the country are landless tillers.
- The initiatives in the form of Acts such as the Workmen’s Compensation Act (1923), the Industrial Disputes Act (1947), the Employees State Insurance Act (1948), the Minimum Wages Act (1948), the Coal Mines Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act (1948), The Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act (1952), the Maternity Benefit Act (1961), the Seamen’s Provident Fund Act (1966), the Contract Labour Act (1970).
- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MNREGA) scheme – As per the memorandum submitted by All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) to the Prime Minister, Labour Minister and Rural Development Minister. Instead of 100 days work the figures are only 37 days per family. The wages of labour under MNREGA are less than the minimum wages declared by different states and often thousands of crores of dues have not been paid for work done as a result of not receiving central funds in time.
- Unorganized Sectors’ Social Security Act (2008) – The Act provides for constitution of National Social Security Board to recommend social security schemes viz. life and disability cover, health maternity benefits, old age protection and any other benefit as may be determined by the Government for unorganized workers. However the act is non-binding and there is no concrete provision for an unorganized worker in this Act.
- Aam Admi Bima Yojana – providing for death and disability cover to rural landless households between the age group of the 18 to 59 years.
- Rashtriya Bima Yojana for BPL families (a unit of five) in unorganized sector. The scheme providing for smart card based cashless health insurance cover of Rs. 30,000/- per family per annum on a family floater basis.
- Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme provides for old age pension of Rs. 200/- per month to persons above the age of 60 years and for the persons above the age of 80 years the amount of pension has been raised to Rs. 500/- per month.
- Minimum pension of Rs. 3000 every month for old and destitute agricultural labourers.
- There was more than enough ceiling-surplus land vested in gram panchayats, along with waste and forest land that has been inhabited for generations by Adivasis without pattas. Tilling rights can be given for such lands to landless labors.
- In case of land acquisitions, agricultural labourers losing their jobs should be compensated adequately.
- Universal basic income for bare minimum living standard.
Landless labour is a vital factor of agricultural production; their productivity and earnings being an important determinant of the level of economic prosperity. Despite their indispensability, they continue to suffer silently, leading a life of poverty and pauperisation.
A comprehensive Act, catering to the security needs of the unorganized sector such as Food, Nutrition, Health, Housing, Employment, Income, Life and accident, and old age is need of the time.