Question 6. Importance of having social security nets during a national crisis. (PART- 1&2)

6. Write an essay of about 500 words on any one of the following topics:
      i.) Governments should invest substantial amounts on Health Infrastructure
       Answer: Yes, After the covid-19 Pandemic the Government has been contemplating on infusing more investments prioritising growth of infra and health sectors to streamline the economy.It has now become clear that the COVID 19 pandemic is going to put significant stress on our already limited healthcare resource. An initial study concerning the infectivity of coronavirus has reported that an infected patient will infect the other two-person during the early phase of the epidemic . It is very difficult to predict the exact number of populations that will be affected in the near future. According to the world health organization, COVID- 19 took nearly 67 days to infect the first one lakh population while the next one lakh was added in 12 days. The next one lakh contracted the infection in just 4 days. Now the number of confirmed cases is around 41.7 lakh globally showing exponential growth 

Following a global trend, we can easily say that healthcare needs created by the coronavirus pandemic will go beyond our capacity. India has 1154686 registered doctors in the specialty of modern medicine. At present single Government Allopathic doctors cater to the need of 10926 persons. Currently, 60% of the total of India's population lives in rural India. To provide healthcare facilities to the people living in rural India, the government has established 25743 Primary Health Centers, 158417 Sub Centers, and 5624 Community Health Centers.   

ii. Importance of having social security nets during a national crisis.
Answer: Social safety nets have played a major role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the last three months. According to an effort by Ugo Gentilini of the World Bank to track social protection responses during the crisis, 190 countries have implemented, adapted or planned over 900 social protection measures during the crisis, often in the form of cash transfers. This response has included an expansion in the number of social protection beneficiaries by roughly 15% in South Asia and East Asia and the Pacific, but by only 2% in the Africa region. Several countries have offered a temporary sharp increase in the benefit amount for current beneficiaries.
Three factors explain why social safety nets have been central to the COVID-19 response. First, two decades of extensive, rigorous research on social protection programs has documented their effectiveness at protecting food security, assets and human capital, including in a crisis. Safety nets can also improve health, including for newborns, and through improved nutrition when combined with complementary nutrition programs, a high policy priority during the pandemic. Second, large scale transfers help to replace lost income for credit-constrained poor households and counter the economic drag of the pandemic by providing a fiscal stimulus that, under certain conditions, may generate positive multiplier effects during the recovery. A temporary increase in cash transfers during the pandemic can also make moral and political sense, protecting those most in need and building trust in government. Third, the infrastructure of a social safety net was already in place, to varying degrees, in most countries. Over the last two decades, social protection, and particularly social assistance, has grown in popularity as a leading response to poverty. Many poor countries developed targeted in-kind and cash transfer programs, expanding their roles and improving their efficiency. Many safety net programs are designed to be “shock responsive”: During a 2011 drought, Ethiopia increased benefits for 85% of the 7.6 million beneficiaries in the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) and provided temporary benefits to an additional 3.1 million people. As the COVID-19 pandemic hit earlier this year, many countries had the payment mechanisms, poverty registries, and local selection committees in place to quickly expand benefits and renew program targeting. Challenges ahead For countries that have had initial successes using social safety nets to respond to the pandemic, significant challenges remain. For most, the fiscal cost is the greatest of these; continuing transfers beyond a few months will be difficult. Yet the pandemic and its economic consequences may drag on, or return later this year after a failed reopening. Social distancing measures pose obstacles to targeting new beneficiaries, as this typically involves in-person interviews or local committees meeting to screen applicants. As they try to contain the pandemic, countries must also confront a rise in extreme poverty and the suffering that goes along with it. But they have many tools to combat this problem. Extensive research on social assistance programs provides a firm foundation for approaches to strengthen safety net designs and adapt responses to fit changing circumstances. These actions can improve social safety nets and help to counter some of the worst effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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