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The reach of social policy in India has expanded significantly in recent years. Facilities such as schools and anganwadis (child care centres) have become an accepted norm for every village; health centres are more accessible and better equipped; nutrition programmes, public works and social security pensions are reaching larger numbers of people than before. Some of these benefits now take the form of enforceable legal entitlements.
Yet the performance of these social programmes is far from ideal. Most Indian states still have a long way to go in putting in place effective social policies that directly address the interests, demands and rights of the unprivileged.
Social Policy is a collection of essays, previously published in the Economic and Political Weekly, on these and related issues. The 24 chapters have been clustered around six major themes: ‘health’, ‘education’, ‘food security’, ‘employment guarantee’, ‘pensions and cash transfers’ and ‘inequality and social exclusion’. For the first time, wide-ranging analyses of these critical issues by distinguished scholars are brought together in a single volume. The wealth of data presented in these studies will be invaluable to researchers in this field.
With an introduction by Jean Drèze, Social Policy will be an indispensible read for students and scholars of sociology, economics, political science and development studies.
1. Public Health in India: Dangerous Neglect
2. Healthcare Delivery in Rural Rajasthan
3. Strained Mercy: The Quality of Medical Care in Delhi
4. Revealed Preference for Open Defecation: Evidence from a New Survey in Rural North India
5. Can Information Campaigns Raise Awareness 99and Local Participation in Primary Education?
6. Does School Choice Help Rural Children 118from Disadvantaged Sections?: Evidence from Longitudinal Research in Andhra Pradesh
7. Para-Teachers in India: Status and Impact
8. What It Means to Be a Dalit or Tribal Child in Our Schools: A Synthesis of a Six-State Qualitative Study
9. Democracy and Right to Food
10. Rethinking ICDS: A Rights Based Perspective
11. Mid-Day Meals: Looking Ahead
12. The Revival of the Public Distribution System: Evidence and Explanations
13. Does India’s Employment Guarantee Scheme 255Guarantee Employment?
14. Heterogeneous Pro-Poor Targeting in 280the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
15. Women Workers and Perceptions of 300the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act
16. MGNREGA Works and their Impacts: A Study of Maharashtra
Social Security Pensions and Cash Transfers
17. Social Security Pensions in India: An Assessment
18. From Policy to Practice: How Should Social Pensions Be Scaled Up?
19. Pro-poor Maternity Benefit Schemes and Rural Women: Findings from Tamil Nadu
20. A Case for Reframing the Cash Transfer Debate in India
Inequality and Social Exclusion
21. Why Worry about Inequality in the Booming Indian Economy?
22. Caste Discrimination and Food Security Programmes
23. Mapping the Adverse Consequences of Sex Selection 441and Gender Imbalance in India and China
24. Adivasis, Naxalites and Indian Democracy
Notes on the Authors
Jean Drèze is Visiting Professor at the Department of Economics, Ranchi University.