‘Jobless allowance’ removed from draftThe revised draft of the new constitution has removed the provision of providing ‘unemployment allowance’ amid concerns that it would overburden the state.
The revised draft of the new constitution has removed the provision of providing ‘unemployment allowance’ amid concerns that it would overburden the state. Although the new provision has not completely negated the option of providing unemployment allowance, it is unclear about providing such allowance.
The new provision states each citizen will have right to employment. The condition of employment, its state and unemployment benefit would be based on federal laws. The initial draft had mentioned that unemployed people would be entitled to unemployment allowance until they find another gainful employment.
The new constitution has, however, only mentioned the right to employment under the fundamental right. “The state is already under enormous burden as allocation for pension of government employees and allowance to elderly, widowed and disadvantaged group,” said Jagadish Chandra Pokharel, former vice-chairman of the National Planning Comission (NPC). “The state is not in a position to bear the burden of unemployment allowance until the economy grows.”
The state should not take responsibility that it cannot bear, he warns. “Crisis in Greece is a prime example of what happens when the government takes burden beyond its means,” Pokharel added.
Given a large number of unemployed youths moving out to various Gulf countries and Malaysia in search of job, the government could be in a position where it will have to allocate huge amount in unemployment allowances if the initial provision had been endorsed. Nepal’s investment in social security spending stands at just over Rs30 billion, while the government has allocated Rs 47 billion for retirement benefits, including pension.
Hari Roka, former lawmaker and political analyst, said that making provisions in the constitution would not have made any difference as long as the nation is not economically strong.
“The real issue here is how to create more employment opportunities instead of allowing them to remain idle. If the state designs a policy that ensures job guarantees to more people, it should not provide unemployment allowance,” Roka said, emphasising that the state should adopt a policy that ensures more job opportunities in construction projects.
Meanwhile, the provision of ensuring participation of workers in the management has also been revised following pressure from the business community on the political parties and the government.
Roka said that the provision of workers’ participation in management would make business transactions transparent and inculcate trust between the employer and the employee. The new draft has also defined the labourer as being someone who is employed to do physical and intellectual work. The revised draft has mentioned that participation of workers in management would be encouraged.