FM Nirmala Sitharaman fights for social protection at the UN

Citing measures such as Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar biometric identification, enabled by direct transfer of benefits, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday that social protection should have digitalization of management systems public finances at the heart of the design. She also urged the UN to ensure post-pandemic policies provide adequate recognition of the mental well-being of vulnerable sections.

Speaking at the UN high-level discussion on employment and social protection for poverty eradication, Sitharaman also said insights from behavioral economics can be harnessed to integrate workers who are currently not covered by the formal safety net.

“A key principle underpinning post-pandemic recovery with policies integrating health and social protection is the institutional recognition of the mental well-being of vulnerable sections through psychosocial support. Future policies must respond adequately to this imperative,” she said in her virtual address.

The comprehensive social protection system that should be created under the proposed global accelerator for employment and social protection should have the digitization of public financial management systems at the heart of the design, she said. .

“In India, the DBT method has enabled Jandhan, Aadhar biometric identification and mobile trinity to help during the pandemic to roll out social protection measures without any delay,” she added.

Joel C. Hicks