Edited by Nicholas Ellison and Tina Haux
Chapter 17: India: welfaredisfare from Nehrus imagination to Modis dirigiste reforms
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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