Chapter 7: Social protection in India: current approaches and issues
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India is one of the most plural societies in the world, with people belonging to different religions, ethnic groups, language groups and living in regions with diverse cultures. But it has also been a historically hierarchical society, which is reflected in a complex social structure and social inequalities. India is the largest democracy in the world in terms of its population and in recent years it has emerged as one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world. However, it also has one of the largest numbers of people in poverty in the world and contemporary Indian society is characterized by the presence of vast socio-economic disparities. Current issues of social protection in India may need to be understood in this wider context of development. This chapter seeks to provide an overview of the current issues and approaches relating to social protection in India and is organized as follows. Section 2 outlines a brief profile of economic growth, poverty and inequality in India, which provides the context for understanding issues of social protection. Section 3 discusses the key features and issues relating to legislation for the right to work and the right to food in India. Section 4 focuses on social protection issues of informal workers and old-age social security in India. Section 5 concludes the chapter.

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