Safety Net Needed!

Safety Net Needed!
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Income volatility and variability is a fact of life for many, if not most people in Kashmir. Except for that segment of society whose income stays guaranteed because of employment in the administration, there are innumerable people here who do not know how much or if at all they will earn anything tomorrow. Life, for them, then is a constant struggle for making ends meet. If and when then calamity or misfortune hits them, it constitutes a double whammy for them in terms of their life chances. (It must be pointed here that it is mostly religious faith and the Munificence of the Almighty thereof that keeps people who are vulnerable going against great odds and all pervasive uncertainty). The sad irony is that society, as whole, and especially those who have been bestowed with resources and wealth turns a blind eye to the deprived segments of society. In a region, where there are already scarce resource and the nature and quantum of trading and thereby economic activity is limited and where there is uncertainty, it is in the nature of a moral imperative upon those who have resources and dispensable income to actually see to it that the deprived segments do not suffer. While what follows does not constitute a case for redistribution, but one way that the poor, like the reddiwallahs, foot path traders and small store owners can be assisted is that the economically well off reorient some of their consumption patterns toward these. If people buy more from these small or micro businesses, then obviously there will be an increase in their incomes, even though tangentially. But, this approach would not obviate the quotidian income variability and volatility of the vulnerable, because of obvious reasons. What would is collective action by society of a nature that actually is of substantive scale and scope to help a large volume of people. In this regard, society can pool its resources and put these in a fund which can be monitored and operated by persons of eminence, repute and integrity and then assist financially those who are in distress. (Even a 10 rupee contribution by each one of us can be substantive if the scale is large). The poor are poor not because of choice but because of reasons that are extraneous to them. It is, therefore, incumbent upon the rest of society to recognize their vulnerability and do the needful.