Social Protection, Rights and Entitlements

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. 

Within the given context, a focus on enabling social protection as part of a basket of rights and entitlements is critical toward ensuring long-term resilience of marginalised and vulnerable populations. Hence the Thematic 2 on Social Protection, Rights and Entitlements has been designed to strategically intervene in the following sub areas:

  • Food and Public Distribution System
  • Supplementary and complementary nutrition
  • Direct Cash Transfers
  • Protection Issues and Trafficking
  • Public Health Infrastructure and Service Continuity (both as a right and as an entitlement)
  • Education Infrastructure and Service Continuity (both as a right and as an entitlement)

Furthermore, within each sub group, targeted interventions, research and advocacy campaigns can be initiated in order to further the overall thematic agenda. Some of the examples of activities and the targeted population groups include:

  • Facilitating access to social protection schemes, policies and entitlements (urban & rural poor, women, elderly, transgender, children, tribals, PwDs etc.)
  • Access to documentation of vulnerable groups (ration cards, pan cards, aadhar cards, bank accounts etc.)
  • Enabling right to food through PDS, MDM, ICDS and other related programmes
  • Improving nutrition (children, pregnant and lactating mothers, elderly, vulnerable groups)
  • Cash Transfers 
  • Welfare board registrations and/or licensing for informal workers (construction workers, domestic workers, sanitation workers, rickshaw drivers etc.)
  • Addressing trafficking and working with Commercial Sex Workers (CSWs)
  • Enabling education for all under RTE (including aspects like: access, quality education, educational content/technology, virtual schooling, vocational training, open schooling, scholarships, access for PwD’s)
  • Affordable and accessible healthcare for all (health related services, health entitlements, supporting public healthcare, patients rights)  
  • Research and advocacy for social protection and entitlements, and/or human rights (informal sector workers, PwDs, women, transgender, children, youth, elderly, CSWs etc.)

Thematic Partners

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