Caring and sharing
Workers and other weaker segments of society are the most vulnerable in situations like the present one
Never before was there the need for ensuring basic necessities to all so pressing as it is now because of the coronavirus pandemic. In view of the pandemic and the consequent lockdown put in place to prevent the spread of the deadly virus, organisations representing the working class have asked the government to ensure the provision of social security to all, especially the workers and other vulnerable sections. Workers and other weaker segments of society are the most vulnerable in situations like the present one. They have asked the government to make necessary amendments to the Constitution to provide social security to all and declare it a fundamental right. These are hard times for us all and call for collective efforts. According to these organisations, a mere 5% of workers are benefiting from the Employees Old Age Benefits Act and the Employees Social Security Act due to the absence of a universal social security scheme.
The workers’ organisations say that most industries and commercial establishments have been closed for around a month and this is resulting in unprecedented hardships for workers. The federal and provincial governments have introduced programmes to provide food rations and cash grants to workers and the poverty-stricken, but not all are benefiting from these schemes due to various reasons. They have stressed the need for an all-encompassing social security scheme that should take care of the needs of all those unable to work and who are out of work as a result of conditions similar to the present situation. They want the scheme to provide for unemployment allowance, sickness allowance and old age and disability benefits.
There are instances from recent history when society’s failure to act collectively had resulted in a massive loss of human life. In the great Bengal famine of 1943, around three million people had perished mainly because food grain had been diverted to warfronts during the Second World War.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2020.
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