Experts discuss social security scheme draft law

Observer Report

Draft law to make social security scheme universal was discussed in a consultative meeting organized by Home-based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) at a local hotel.

Noted economist Dr Kaiser Bengali gave a detailed presentation on the draft law of social security scheme, said a statement issued here on Sunday.

He said that there was a difference between social security and social safety net and the later one was a capitalistic welfare concept, adding market economies create distributions of income such that some persons are benefited more than others and some persons are left out altogether.

He said that those left out were then provided a safety net to save them from crashing down the income ladder and on the other hand, social security was a socialistic rights-based concept, which was a right of every citizen in need to get support.

He said that social security was a universal concept by definition and the concept of social protection was enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and also recognized in UN instruments and ILO conventions as a basic human right.

The definition of labour has changed over time because of structural changes including change in the technology-induced production regime, and change in the labor market regime, he told.

He said the discussion only covers the emergency health insurance, while other two components would be tackled in later stages and added that 10 chronic medical conditions were included in the proposed program.

They include maternity, cardiovascular diseases, organ failure management, oncological diseases, neurosurgical diseases, stroke, third-degree burns, blindness, serious accident injury and major organ transplant. More chronic diseases could be added to this list, he added.

Dr Kaiser Bengali said that families covered under this program would pay an annual premium for a maximum coverage amount.

He said expenses exceeding the maximum coverage would have to be paid by the concerned families.

Taking part in discussion, the participants appreciated the draft law and suggested to amend it by adding more chronic diseases like mental ailments.

They said that the procedures should be made simpler so that maximum number of the citizens could be benefited from the proposed universal security scheme.

Karmat Ali, from PILER, said that after the COVID-19, we need to go towards universal social security schemes including jobless allowances, as joblessness is a major post-Covid economy issue.

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