Rajasthan Govt Pioneers Powerful Minimum Income Guarantee Bill!

Under the provisions of the Bill, every family residing in the state, regardless of their urban or rural location, will be entitled to avail of an employment guarantee for 125 days annually. Additionally, aged, disabled, or single women, among others, will be eligible to receive a minimum monthly pension of Rs 1,000.

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Landmark Bill Passed in Rajasthan Assembly: 125 Days of Work and Minimum Pension Guaranteed for All Families

In a significant move to strengthen social security and ensure the welfare of its residents, the Rajasthan Assembly passed the groundbreaking Minimum Income Guarantee Bill, 2023. The historic legislation guarantees 125 days of work annually for all families in the state. Additionally, it secures a minimum pension of Rs 1,000 per month for vulnerable sections, including the elderly, specially-abled individuals, widows, and single women. Notably, the pension amount will increase by 15% each year, providing crucial financial support to those in need.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot spearheaded the bill, aiming to create an extensive social security net that uplifts the lives of every citizen. Drawing inspiration from the Congress’ successful implementation of five guarantees in Karnataka earlier this year, which included free electricity and monthly assistance to female heads of families, Mr. Gehlot sought to replicate this transformative approach in Rajasthan.

The Rajasthan Platform-based Gig Workers (Registration and Welfare) Bill, 2023, was also introduced during the session, with the objective of providing social security to gig workers. The proposed bill aims to create a dedicated Rs 200-crore fund for this purpose, signaling the state’s commitment to safeguarding the welfare of all workers.

Addressing criticism of “freebies” from the centre, Chief Minister Gehlot emphasized that social security is a fundamental right for all individuals, not merely a favor bestowed by the government. He asserted that in a democracy, every administration holds the responsibility to provide social security measures for its citizens. The Chief Minister also invoked the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY), a prominent feature of the Congress manifesto during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which intended to provide Rs 6,000 per month to the bottom 20% of the population.

The Minimum Income Guarantee Bill consolidates the rural employment guarantee scheme, urban employment guarantee scheme, and pension scheme under an umbrella legislation, to be known as the Mahatma Gandhi Minimum Income Guarantee Scheme. The bill received unanimous support and was passed by voice vote in the assembly.

Taking a pointed stance at the center’s accusations against opposition-led state governments for providing ‘freebies’, Mr. Gehlot asserted, “Social security is an inherent right of every individual in our state and nation. We are not bestowing favors upon anyone. In a democracy, it is the duty of every government to ensure social security for its residents. This very principle underlines the core of my initiative.”

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Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Kumar Dhariwal provided crucial insights during the bill’s discussion in the assembly. Once enacted into law, rural families will receive an additional 25 days of employment through the Mukhyamantri Gramin Rozgar Guarantee Yojana, following the completion of 100 days of employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Similarly, urban families will be guaranteed 125 days of employment through the Indira Gandhi Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme.

The bill ensures that regardless of the political dispensation that emerges after the upcoming elections in Rajasthan, these welfare measures will be firmly in place and challenging to dismantle once they become part of an Act. This move signifies the state’s unwavering commitment to the well-being and prosperity of its citizens.

Today, the Minimum Income Guarantee Bill was approved in Rajasthan Assembly through a voice vote, unifying the urban employment guarantee scheme, rural employment guarantee scheme, and pension scheme under a comprehensive umbrella legislation. The overarching framework, named the Mahatma Gandhi Minimum Income Guarantee Scheme, will facilitate the implementation of these integrated initiatives.

With the Minimum Income Guarantee Bill paving the way for a stronger social safety net, Rajasthan takes a significant stride toward empowering its residents and building a more equitable and prosperous society.

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