ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Case for Functional Social Protection Portability to Address Vulnerabilities of Migration-affected Children

Children from low-income migrant households are invisible in migration discourses. Despite existing provisions under various policies and schemes, access to social protection for migrant children has been fragile. Disruptions in education and inconsistent access to nutrition and primary healthcare sets them back further than non-migrant children from similarly disadvantaged backgrounds. COVID-19 has underscored that groups like migrants who face specific vulnerabilities are in acute need of tailored social protection programmes/measures. Functional portability measures that make opportune use of existing provisions in schemes are the first step towards this. Building on existing initiatives, policy frameworks must support adaptive social protection responses for this important segment of India’s population.

Weather Woes: Climate Communication and Social Protection in the Indian Heat Wave

Excess heat emerged as an influential element in recent weather communication about India. Drawing insight from scholars, who have expressed the need to examine the commodification and communication of scientific research, we argue that ‘heatwave’ reportage derived from ‘fast event attribution’ seek to make climate science, usable for businesses and public policy making. We show that central to recent policy documents, that focus on heat, is advocacy for the structural transformation of national economies by shifting labour from agriculture and construction to services. The classification of labour as ‘outdoor’ and ‘indoor’, in heat-policy, reduce the responsibilities of governments from providing comprehensive social protection to disadvantaged working population to: warnings and advisories and bio-surveillance of working and migrant populations. Climate knowledge produced and disseminated in this form individualizes risk and diminishes public responsibility towards the protection of least advantaged groups. Such translations raise concerns for climate justice as they displace enriched understandings of human-environment relationships that should underpin environmental governance and social policy.

Adequacy of Social Assistance Schemes during the COVID-19 Lockdown

Multiple social assistance schemes were launched during the first lockdown to help the poor in India, but not all eligible households took advantage of them. Studying slum households in Delhi to evaluate the efficacy of nine central and state government schemes show that the average gain was only `992 per household for a month. If all eligible households had received benefits, this figure would have been `1,956 per household, making the distribution much fairer. The schemes decreased the indebtedness of households by an average of 12.24%, but this would have been 24% if all eligible households had been covered.


On the Question of Access to Welfare and Health for Women During the Initial Phase of the Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, women migrant workers were placed at a distinct disadvantage. Millions of women workers in labour-intensive occupations, from domestic work to construction lost their jobs, while also shouldering the responsibility of caregiving. This study draws on in-depth interviews with women workers in Delhi to document their life and experiences in the aftermath of the national lockdown in 2020. It brings to light a range of challenges around food security, caregiving, income security, and social protection. It documents the impact of existing inequalities of gender, migration status, and class on access to support, which has implications on the long-term repercussions of the current economic crisis.

Public Provisioning for Social Protection and Its Implications for Food Security

Persistent hunger and pervasive malnutrition are serious problems in the developing world. Recent literature suggests that well-designed public policies towards provisioning of social protection/security and strengthening of support measures to smallholder agriculture appear to be effective in reducing hunger and malnutrition. An investigation of the role of public provisioning on social protection in combating hunger using the recent evidence for 64 countries in the global South makes a strong case for a substantial push in public provisioning in favour of social protection, which, along with other policy measures, could play a vital role in strengthening national food security. Further, low levels of per capita income must not become an excuse for addressing the most basic human needs, as adequate fiscal space can be created even at low levels of income.

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