JAIPUR: In a groundbreaking move, Rajasthan has taken the lead as the first state in India to pass the Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill for the year 2023. This visionary legislation ensures that families living in both rural and urban areas of the state are entitled to 125 days of employment as a legal right.
The State Assembly voiced its support for the bill, leading to its successful passage on Friday.
Moreover, the bill extends the provision of social pensions as a legal right to various categories of individuals.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot conveyed the significance of this milestone, highlighting that Rajasthan is now the pioneer in the nation to implement a minimum guaranteed income law. Drawing parallels with past acts, he mentioned that this legislation is as momentous as the Right to Information Act, Right to Education Act, Right to Food Act, and MGNREGA, all enacted during the tenure of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
As part of this transformative bill, a minimum pension of Rs 1000 will be granted to elderly citizens, specially-abled individuals, widows, and single women under the umbrella of social security pension schemes.
However, Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore remains skeptical, dismissing the bill as mere window dressing. He raised concerns over the vast population of Rajasthan, projected to be over 8 crore, with well over a crore living Below the Poverty Line (BPL). Rathore questioned the adequacy of a mere provision of Rs 2,500 crore under the Bill to ensure a minimum income for such a significant population. He argued that the government's announcements lack financial feasibility, pointing out that approximately Rs 45,000 crores are needed to effectively implement the government's flagship schemes. Additionally, he noted that per person debt in Rajasthan was Rs 38,782 in 2019, escalating to Rs 70,848 in 2022-23.
Rajasthan's pioneering Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill represents a crucial step forward in addressing economic disparities and social security for the people of the state.