Social Protection broadly refers to a set of policies and programmes aimed at protecting people against poverty, vulnerability, and social exclusion throughout their life.
Over the last 15 years, India has witnessed a growth in rights-based entitlements and systemic reforms to build a more inclusive Social Protection system (India Development Review, 2021). However, legal identity documents emerge as a prerequisite to accessing any form of social protection or entitlement linked to food, livelihood and healthcare. In the midst of the lockdowns, disasters or crisis like situations, lack of access to these often results in exclusion from relief measures, during a period where the ability to earn gets severely limited (YUVA, 2020).
The COVID-19 pandemic has particularly created the need to revisit and expand social protection beyond its target population, revisit implementation, and extend it to a number of vulnerable groups beyond traditional definitions and notions of vulnerability. There is also a need to promote social protection grounded in the values of social justice and human rights, sustainability and adopting employment intensive approaches benefitting the most vulnerable and excluded populations.