Re-Election Bid Possibly Prompts Welfare Plan for 0.5 Billion Indians
With 2019 not very far away, Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to be staking his claim to a return to the post. As 2018 reaches its midpoint, and with campaigning and other political visibility activities that are scheduled to take place, Modi has added to his “Modicare” plan for healthcare to cover 100 million poor families with a Welfare Plan to include 500 million Indians. This is seen as a great political move to establish his intentions to return for a subsequent term, in order to be able to implement his vision for the benefit of the nation. However, many have warned that India is not in a position to make this kind of financial commitment to its people, due to lack of funds to do so, and the growing fiscal deficit.
There will be three programs in the initial stage of this plan: old age pension, life insurance and maternity benefits. These are areas that have long needed some focus to be better equipped to handle the changing face of the Indian workforce in recent decades. With specific reference to the first of these, India’s current working population will soon age and retire en masse in a couple of decades, putting severe stress on an economy that is not prepared to handle this demographic and its needs within the larger ecosystem of human welfare. Furthermore, as the nation continues to spend less than two percent of its GDP on existing forms of social security, the need for a stronger focus has become increasingly urgent nowadays.
As things stand, to embark on such a welfare program will have to be carried out in full measure, anything short leading to an ineffective program that could do more harm than good in the long run. On the other hand, full measure will take its pound of flesh from the burgeoning fiscal deficit, posing its own set of nightmares for the nation.