This week I have digressed a bit from my usual weekly reflections, simply because there has been so much going on. I ran across this from a speech by the Indian Finance Minister. Will we have the bold vision to follow suit?
"India must shine for all, not just a select few."
-- India Finance Minister P Chidambaram, speaking on the government's plan to offer health, life and disability insurance to some 400 million working poor as it tries to deliver on its promise of a "New Deal" for rural India. A pension scheme for people over 65 living below the poverty line is expected to be launched next month. The efforts are meant to help 10 million families living below the poverty line and working in India's "unorganized sector." Only about 3 percent of India's workforce is employed by the organized sector, which offers formal jobs with benefits. "With the economy likely to grow at over 9 percent, the government is in a position to reach out to the poor and bring about social justice," Chidambaram said, as quoted by The Times of India. The Congress party-led government has pledged to spend USD 187 million next fiscal year as it implements the program over five years. The scheme was a model of insurance for disability-cum-death, whereby the dependents or the disabled person would not be rendered financially distressed, he said.