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Lighthouse Webinars | Cyclones, COVID-19 and Crises - Where does India's Social Protection Architecture Go from Here?

July 17, 2020

New Delhi


How can social protection help India’s poor and vulnerable cope with the unprecedented crisis of COVID-19? Find out how India is gearing up to deliver a social protection architecture to help households tackle future shocks.

As India enters a critical phase of its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for a decentralized, portable, dynamic and coordinated social protection architecture has become an urgent priority. During times of crisis, the poor and vulnerable must be able to fall back upon robust and reliable safety nets. These safety nets are critical not only to buffer impacts from COVID-19, but also to help households tackle future shocks. There are several challenging institutional dimensions and design principles related to building such an architecture.

While India’s social protection eco-system has strong anti-poverty programs in rural areas, portable social insurance and income support for the large urban unorganized sector are not sufficiently integrated and need bolstering. Strengthening social protection in India will require rethinking centre-state relations in the context of centrally-sponsored schemes, triggering disaster responsive social protection systems, building inclusive and citizen-friendly technology-enabled platforms for dynamic targeting and delivery of cash, fostering the design of unemployment-support and incentivizing an increased take-up of insurance benefits.

  • Over the past decade, the World Bank has partnered with various technology providers, foundations, think-tanks and national/state government agencies in India to support the design and development of systems for social protection through ongoing development policy loans, projects and technical assistance activities. These partnerships hold important insights for shaping the ‘nuts and bolts’ of India’s social protection response to COVID-19 and any future crisis. To foster a community of practice on such issues, the World Bank’s Social Protection and Jobs Practice is launching a series of thematic conversations on the social protection architecture of India, with a range of academics, thought-leaders, administrators and community-based organizations. The aim is to take stock of the current landscape and identify a path which links immediate responses to tackle COVID-19 with broader social protection reform in India.  These conversations will aim at exchanging practical lessons and enhancing learning on how India can build a modern and capable social protection system at the national and state level.

  • Conversation #1

    Cyclones, COVID-19 and Crises: Where does India’s Social Protection Architecture Go from Here?




  • Prof. Abhijit Banerjee

    Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics 2019, Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-founder of Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)

    Dr. Junaid Ahmad

    Country Director, India, World Bank

    Michal Rutkowski

    Global Director, Social Protection and Jobs Practice, World Bank

    Shrayana Bhattacharya

    Senior Social Protection Economist, World Bank