Nepal has made strides in creating a robust social security framework through the contribution-based Social Security Fund Act, incorporating the formal and informal sector workers and self-employed individuals.
This move signifies a broader societal commitment to ensure the welfare of its citizens and a base of social equity and justice. On Monday, while addressing the 6th Social Security Day Programme- 2080, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dhahal Prachanda said that social justice held significant importance in realising the country’s socialism-oriented system as spelled out in the constitution.
The social security programme carries the motto of “social security for all” that seeks to involve the informal and migrant works into the scheme. As a result, half a million migrant workers have already enrolled in Social Security Fund (SSF). Social justice is also the extension of healthcare benefits to cover not only contributors but also their families. Despite these positive steps, there are challenges in implementing the programme.
While collaboration is seen as a solution, the specifics of how employers will be encouraged and regulated to participate are unclear. Success of the scheme depends not only on enrolment but also on addressing potential issues proactively.
Raising awareness of the benefits of the social security plan is crucial. Partnering with the media, influencers and community leaders can help spread information and clear up misconceptions. To involve employers, the government could offer tax incentives or financial benefits to companies actively engaged in the programme. Recognising socially responsible businesses would encourage compliance and build a positive public image.
Reforming administrative processes through digital integration could improve the efficiency of the social security fund. User-friendly online platforms for contributions, claims, and information dissemination would simplify interactions for both contributors and administrators. While challenges persist, Prime Minister Prachanda's pledge to support managerial capacities offers hope. A bottom-up approach, fostering active participation at the local level, is vital for success.
The inclusive stance of incorporating informal sector workers within a comprehensive legal framework signals a commitment to equity. The government's steadfast support for the SSF is commendable, and citizens must not merely enrol but actively engage and support initiatives for the programme's efficacy.
Undoubtedly, the collection of Rs. 51.29 billion from the SSF for medical treatment and other amenities for contributors reflects a positive step. However, the important concern is that whether these funds are effectively utilised in the productive sector. In realising the vision of "social security for all," collaboration, innovation, and a united commitment to social justice are essential.
Inclusive social welfare programmes must address the needs of marginalised groups, with a particular emphasis on the informal sector. A concerted effort to address the root causes of exclusion and implement equitable policies is a must for establishing a just society.
Government bodies and social welfare organisations require not just commitment but also credibility and funding to bridge resource gaps. A robust social security system is indispensable for individuals facing economic or social hardships.
The government's promise to include everyone can make a big difference. This commitment can bring long-lasting changes that make sure everyone in the country is taken care of with social justice. It's all about making sure every citizen feels secure and nobody feels he or she is left in the lurch.