Welfare schemes and social protection in India

Author name: 
Raghbendra Jha

This paper provides a broad overview of welfare schemes in India and their impact on social protection during a period of high economic growth. It summarizes India’s performance with respect to select economic and social indicators relative to select low and middle income countries in the Asia Pacific region. It further overviews trends in some key select economic and social indicators for India and discusses India’s attainment in Social Protection relative to an index of such protection provided by the Asian Development Bank. The basic messages of this paper are as follows. (i) When compared to low and middle income countries in the Asia Pacific India’s economic performance has outstripped its performance in social and welfare indicators. (ii) Despite this India is spending less on social welfare programs and other welfare schemes than many countries in the Asia Pacific, including some of those whose economic performance has been less impressive than India’s. (iii) Finally, the paper argues that the efficiency and effectiveness of key welfare programs in India need to be substantially improved. Particular attention needs to be paid to female participation in and their access to social welfare programs.

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