An inclusive welfare programme is a pathway to good governance and achieving security in 2047

Kautilya’s timeless wisdom in the Arthashastra, encapsulated by the adage “in the happiness of his people lies king’s happiness,” remarkably parallels today’s concept of “good governance.” In India, the significance of good governance and security cannot be overstated. An exploration of this nexus in a survey conducted by Primus Partners, an Indian management consultancy firm, in their report “India’s turn to lead by 2047” reveals that inclusive welfare programmes are indispensable pathways to realising the objectives of good governance and security, in India’s journey towards 2047.

In the current landscape of India, numerous challenges loom, from effectively addressing population explosion to tackling healthcare disparities, economic inequality and social instability. The survey reveals that 58 per cent are still navigating the quest for basic needs- education, shelter, healthcare and meaningful employment.

The effectiveness of current welfare programmes in resolving these issues remains uncertain. Bridging the gap between addressing past problems like food security or universal healthcare and embracing future challenges such as nutrition for all or sustainable living is essential. Governance and security challenges persist, particularly for the marginalised. The interconnectedness of these challenges underscores the need for an inclusive welfare programme that not only addresses immediate needs but also serves as a pathway and bridging the gaps.

Good governance

Good governance isn’t merely a theoretical concept but a fundamental driver of progress and security. Characterised by transparency, accountability, and participatory decision-making, it is paramount for India’s development trajectory, ensuring efficient utilisation of resources, and facilitating equitable distribution of benefits.

In a nation as diverse as India, good governance promotes social cohesion by addressing the needs of the vulnerable by fostering stability and establishing a framework of rules that safeguard against arbitrariness. For thriving economic growth, good governance fosters investments and promotes sustainable development initiatives.

The buzzword “inclusivity” holds immense potential in modern India’s progress towards 2047, aiming to address systemic inequalities and promote social well-being. The survey reveals that 21 per cent of the surveyed population speaks of the significance of social welfare, encompassing inclusive policies, women empowerment, gender equality, wealth disparity reduction, and awareness among economically marginalised sections among other critical factors. This goes beyond traditional approaches, emphasising accessibility and equity.

Prime examples

Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Norway serve as prime examples, showcasing how robust welfare policies can alleviate social unrest and enhance overall security. Furthermore, investments in inclusive programmes yield long-term economic and social benefits, including a more productive workforce, reduced healthcare expenditures, and greater societal cohesion. Amidst this, effective governance is pivotal in implementing and sustaining these programmes, ensuring efficient resource allocation, transparency, and accountability, thereby reinforcing the vital nexus between welfare initiatives and good governance for a secure future in 2047.

Inclusive welfare programme also enhances security in multiple dimensions contributing significantly to national security by reducing vulnerabilities and enhancing resilience. The Primus survey explores the aspirations of Indians to advocate for citizen-centric and effective law enforcement. India can learn a lot from countries like Norway and Finland, where welfare programmes have bolstered security by prioritising social protection and healthcare. Norway’s universal healthcare system ensures equitable access, contributing to trust in government.

NREGA

In India, initiatives like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) have significantly enhanced household consumption and augmented non-financial assets. Poverty reduction efforts have gained success, particularly through successful Public Distribution Schemes (PDS), bolstering labour earnings. With over 206 million individuals enrolled, India’s Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) stands as the world’s largest Covid-related cash transfer scheme.

Moreover, biometric identity cards through Aaadhaar have revolutionised anti-poverty initiatives, replacing inefficient distribution methods with the streamlined Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) programme. Such success stories underscore the transformative potential of inclusive welfare programmes in fostering good governance and security, offering valuable lessons for replication and scale-up.

Implementing such a robust network of strong welfare programmes presents its challenges and the need of the hour is to mediate public value in citizen-centric governance to ensure effective welfare delivery. Despite increased social welfare spending, the hurdle of last-mile delivery persists due to departmental inefficiencies.

Cooperative federalism

Addressing this requires the establishment of a common database of potential beneficiaries for targeted benefit delivery, learning from global examples like Brazil and the Philippines. India is moving towards family-based data repositories for better policy interventions. However, managing such repositories requires stringent safeguards for data privacy and security. Ultimately, these repositories will play a vital role in India’s inclusive growth journey, aiding efficient budgetary planning for social welfare spend and uplifting the poorest of the poor.

In the survey, 35 per cent cited the creation of robust frameworks to combat corruption and the promotion of transparent public institutions as a key priority. Furthermore, innovative financing mechanisms, capacity-building initiatives, and strong monitoring systems are vital, alongside the efforts in education, awareness and the spread of civic sense. Cooperative federalism and participative decision-making are indispensable for effective implementation, ensuring that the aspirations of all are met on India’s road to Viksit Bharat.



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