Handbook on Society and Social Policy
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Handbook on Society and Social Policy

Edited by Nicholas Ellison and Tina Haux

This comprehensive Handbook provides a unique overview of the key issues and challenges facing society and social policy in the twenty-first century, discussing how welfare is conceptualised, organised and delivered in contemporary global society. Chapters engage with specific areas of social policy as well as with the social divisions and institutional infrastructures that underpin them. The Handbook also considers how social policy should respond to the challenges posed by austerity, human migration and the climate crisis.
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Chapter 17: India: welfaredisfare from Nehrus imagination to Modis dirigiste reforms

Keerty Nakray


In his work on welfare regimes, Esping-Andersen classified advanced economies into three ideal-types of liberal, conservative-corporatist and social-democratic welfare states using a ‘decommodification index’ as the principal means of distinguishing among regime types. Since the publication of The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism, classical typology discussions have gone beyond the rich countries to include countries such as India. Kühner and colleagues classified India as an informal-insecurity regime due to the informal nature of the economy that provided little in the way of social security for workers. With a specific focus on Modi Sarkar’s dirigiste style reforms in his two regimes – ‘Modi 1’, 2014, and ‘Modi 2’, 2019, this chapter asks whether Modi’s big-bang reforms such as demonetization and the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) along with an array of other schemes have recalibrated India’s moribund welfare system – one that has always been embedded in patron–client relationships – towards a universal citizenship model grounded in a modern industrialized economy. The chapter also asks whether the Modi government has brought about a radical departure from the United Progressive Alliance governments’ (UPA 1 and 2) lacklustre approach to welfare, that looks to a strategy that uses welfare reform as a political weapon on a national scale.

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