Highlights of the Standard Relating to Distribution of Relief for the Workers in the Informal sector and Helpless People 2020 (2076)
Amidst the chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it is undoubtedly the daily wage earners and the workers in the informal sector who account for more than 60% of the total workforce in Nepal, are affected the most by the ongoing lockdown in the country. To help these wageworkers and helpless people deal with such harsh living conditions caused by the lockdown, the meeting of council of ministers had recently announced the relief packages and for the timely and systematic implementation of providing the relief, the Ministry of Finance, Government of Nepal, has introduced a standard document for the local governments as a guide (“Standard”) to help them distribute and provide the relief packages for sustenance of the vulnerable people during the lockdown period.
The Standard has defined “informal sector workers” and “helpless people”. The definition of informal sector workers includes daily wage workers and provides for an illustrative list of people eligible for the relief package. On the other hand, the definition of helpless people includes people without anyone’s care, weak and helpless people residing in temples, hermitage, rest house, monastery, mosque, church, gurudwara, and old-age houses. a
The Standard, under section 3, requires the Ward Office of the respective local authorities to keep a written record of the following people, categorized as Informal Sector Workers, within three days:
a.Laborers carrying goods to customer’s residence,
b.Tourist porters, construction material porters, laborers carrying goods in areas having no access to transportation,
c.Laborers engaged in loading and unloading goods from trucks, tippers, and vans,
d. Agriculture hireling working on daily wage on other’s farm,
e. Laborer engaged in cleaning, taking care of an infant or elderly for other than one’s own relative,
f. Stone cutting laborer, laborer engaged in sand refining, laborers working in brick-kilns,
g. Hireling working in construction works,
h. Ones selling goods in winnowing tray, daily newspaper distributor, footpath shopkeepers, laborers selling goods in push carts and bicycles, workers working in another’s shop,
i. Travel laborers as follows:
- Driver and co-driver of a commodity-carrying vehicle and delivery vans,
- Driver of a tempo and taxi working on a daily wage or contract,
- Rickshaw and pushcart drivers,
- Mechanic and laborers working on vehicle repairing garages,
j. Ones working in other’s garment, clothing, carpet, tailoring, cushion business, or those engaged in filling embroidery and sequins in clothes, or those working on other’s cloth shops.
k. Other laborers working on a daily wage at local level.
The Standard has specified the following goods to be provided as relief to each of the family listed as above:
- 30 kgs rice,
- 3 kgs pulses,
- 2 packets of salt,
- 2 liters cooking oil,
- 4 pieces of soap,
- 2 kgs sugar.
However, for a family of two, half of the given amount shall be distributed. Those engaged in any kind of alternative means or source of income during this period shall not be eligible to receive the relief package. Also, the standard explicitly mentions that only one member of a family listed under the given category shall be provided with the goods.
Procurement and Record of Distribution
Ward committee is held liable to make the purchase of given goods as per the requirement which is to be distributed on coupon basis. The committee is mandated to keep a written record of the distribution thus made and shall publish such record on a weekly basis. One copy of the record is to be provided to the concerned local level office as well.
Inspection and Monitoring
Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration shall make an inspection on the distribution and also shall receive a report from each distribution body, in a specified format. If any ineligible family is found to have received the relief package or any eligible family is found to have received the goods twice, such amount of goods shall be recovered by the local level.