The Un-reach People in the Local Social System Safety Net

According to data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the Income of Indonesia’s people in 2019 is Rp. 56,000,000 per year or about Rp 4,250,000/month/person. The figure was obtained from the distribution of the amount of GDP/Gross Domestic Product divided by the population of Indonesia. But in reality, more Indonesians have income below that. How about Bali? Based on data from BPS the percentage of poor people in Bali in March 2019 was recorded at 3.79 percent so the number of poor people in Bali in March 2019 was recorded at 163.85 thousand people.

The poor are defined as residents with per capita expenditure below or lower than the amount of the poverty line. Bali’s Poverty Line in September 2019 was recorded at Rp 412,906 per capita per month, said Head of BPS Bali, Adi Nugroho at the press conference at the BPS Office, Bali, Wednesday (1/15/2020) as published in BPS official site. Adi said if an average of one household in Indonesia had 4 to 5 family members, the national average of the poverty line would be Rp 1,990,170 per household per month. This means that if there is one household that has an income below that, it falls into the poor category.

In a situation like today where the Covid-19 outbreak caused a halt to tourism activities which in 2019 (9/24) contributed 50.02 percent, of course, the wheels of the Balinese economy were hit hard and caused many residents to lose their livelihoods. The first one to be affected is certainly those belonging to the category of poor people who earn less than Rp. 2 million/family/month because most of them are from the daily worker group who do not have savings because their income is generally only enough to buy their basic daily needs. Next are informal/freelance workers who earn a fair amount when tourism continues as usual. Even small, medium and large entrepreneurs, including craftsmen, food stall/restaurant owners, tour and travel services, drivers and others are also severely affected. Then in an income situation of Rp 0, – like now, how do they survive ?!

In Indonesia, especially in Bali, there are several social safety nets, both independent and related to formal and informal institutions. The kinship system of the Indonesian people including Bali is still going well. Relationships with extended families are maintained so well that in certain circumstances, for example in a state of distress/disaster and in other emergencies, the family can be one of the sources that will provide assistance/support. Someone who has many friends and has a reputation is certainly not difficult to borrow money from friends who are more wealthy. Institutionally, almost all Balinese are members of the banjar or desa adat / customary village. This traditional village institution functions like togetherness either in a joyful and in a sorrowful situation.

In the case of a pandemic region such as Covid-19 where a situation occurs that causes many people to lose income and find it difficult to provide food for their families, some alternative solutions commonly practiced by local communities are as follows:

(1) For individuals who have good friendships, they can help each other by providing temporary loans, for example.
(2) The wealthy family/relatives may help their unlucky relative’s members.
(3) The village institution can help its residents. However as the financial situation of each village in Bali is not the same, some villages have substantial income so that they have abundant funds, i.e. villages that have tourism objects/destinations and are the center of tourist visits with many hotels and restaurants located in their areas. While some other villages do not have the potential to make money so that their finances are very minimal, however, for the Bali region, the government allocates funding for all villages in Bali, both rich and minimal villages. For this year, a grant from the government of Bali for all villages in Bali is Rp. 300 billion / year. Apart from the Balinese government, each village also received funding from the central government of 1 – 1.3 billion for every village per year. Some customary villages give aid and distributed to its citizens, but specifically, the aid from traditional villages, usually aimed at those who are only members of the adat/customary village. Those who are not indigenous villagers did not receive this assistance. Keep in mind, not all of the people living in Bali are members of traditional villages. Membership of the customary village is exclusive because it is related to rights and obligations, especially in matters related to religious activities because one of the obligations of members of the customary village is to take an active role in religious rituals carried out in the village including spending energy and money together to carry out a ritual religious. so for residents who have different beliefs, they certainly will not be included.

Even though there are a number of social safety networks, however still there are people who are un-reach of the existing social safety net.  Due to certain circumstances, even though the number may not be many, those who are born and raised in Bali, do not include the members of customary villages. For example, a divorced woman, her social status couldn’t be a part of the customary village. The membership of a custom village is based on the man in the family. A Balinese married man in the community (if he is a Hindu follower) definitely becomes a member of a custom village from the village where they born and live. If a husband divorces his wife, her membership in the custom village is canceled because Bali adheres to the patrilineal principle. A divorced woman has no obligation to her husband’s customary village. Because he has no obligations, he also does not have the same rights as other villagers (a member of the community.

So in a situation like this (unable to work because all economic activity is almost stopped), a poor woman who has divorced from her husband will be facing a big problem making ends meet. They often not included in the list of people who will receive aid from the official institutions. Hopefully, those who intend to help can find their whereabouts so they can get the help they need.

Even though the government attempt to create a layered social safety net, however, there is always someone missed from the list. The government has data of the poor people, even though the data is not really accurate, so they are on the list who will get an aid but in this situation, those who were not listed as a poor family such as informal daily workers, or the workers with minimum wage without any saving, small enterprises, etc. they can suddenly become people with zero income as the business in Bali mostly stopped for a while during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Let’s hope for the best and we all can pass this situation without to much pain.

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