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Recent Social Security Initiatives in India

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  • Drèze, Jean
  • Khera, Reetika

Abstract

There has been a major expansion of social security programs in India during the last 15years or so, along with wider recognition of economic and social rights. This paper discusses five programs that can be seen as partial foundations of a possible social security system for India: school meals, child care services, employment guarantee, food subsidies, and social security pensions. The record of these programs varies a great deal between Indian states, but there is growing evidence that they make an important contribution to human well-being, and also that the achievements of the leading states are gradually spreading to other states as well. Much scope remains for extending these efforts: despite the recent expansion, India’s social security system is still very limited in international perspective. The paper also discusses some general issues of social policy in India, such as the arguments for universalization versus targeting and the value of a rights approach to social security.

Suggested Citation

  • Drèze, Jean & Khera, Reetika, 2017. "Recent Social Security Initiatives in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 555-572.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:555-572
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2017.05.035
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    2. Megan Reed, 2020. "The labor force participation of Indian women before and after widowhood," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 43(24), pages 673-706.
    3. Asri, Viola, 2019. "Targeting of social transfers: Are India’s poor older people left behind?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 46-63.
    4. Robert Holzmann & Jacques Wels, 2020. "The cross‐border portability of social security benefits: Status and progress?," International Social Security Review, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 73(1), pages 65-97, January.
    5. Drèze, Jean & Khera, Reetika & Somanchi, Anmol, 2021. "Maternity Entitlements in India: Women's Rights Derailed," SocArXiv v5mc6, Center for Open Science.
    6. Suman Chakrabarti & Samuel P. Scott & Harold Alderman & Purnima Menon & Daniel O. Gilligan, 2021. "Intergenerational nutrition benefits of India’s national school feeding program," Nature Communications, Nature, vol. 12(1), pages 1-10, December.
    7. Chhotray, Vasudha & Adhikari, Anindita & Bahuguna, Vidushi, 2020. "The political prioritization of welfare in India: Comparing the public distribution system in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 128(C).
    8. Vikram, Kriti & Chindarkar, Namrata, 2020. "Bridging the gaps in cognitive achievement in India: The crucial role of the integrated child development services in early childhood," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 127(C).

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