Publication: Intent to Implementation: Tracking India's Social Protection Response to COVID-19

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Bhattacharya, Shrayana
Sinha Roy, Sutirtha
The article takes stock of the social protection measures implemented through the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) to respond to the livelihoods impact of COVID-19 in India. The paper reports the share of households that received food, cash transfers and both forms of assistance under the PMGKY program at the national and state level. While a few surveys have reported coverage and benefit receipt information related to PMGKY, the current analysis draws on one of India’s largest panel survey of households from CMIE to better quantify the coverage and targeting parameters. Results find that nearly 80 percent of all households received at least one social protection benefit from government programs. Approximately 40 percent of all poor households reported receiving both food and cash assistance. While subsequent versions of the paper shall attempt to unpack quantum of assistance, the first round of results on receipt of any transfers suggest that relief measures have been pro-poor and broad-based in outreach. However, there are state level variations in benefit delivery. Urban areas have lagged in coverage and cash transfers reached fewer shares of households relative to food distribution through the Public Distribution System (PDS). Furthermore, analysis highlights the need to bolster benefit levels for any future relief measures. Drawing on lessons from PMGKY implementation, the article concludes with suggestions on designing a decentralized and adaptive social protection system in India to protect the poor and vulnerable against impacts from the second wave of the pandemic and any future crises.
Bhattacharya, Shrayana; Sinha Roy, Sutirtha. 2021. Intent to Implementation : Tracking India's Social Protection Response to COVID-19. Social Protection and Jobs Discussion Paper;No. 2107. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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