Social Justice

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Unequal Life Chances: Demographic Transition in India and Equity
Harsh Mander, Astha Singla, Anirban Bhattacharya and Vivek Mishra

This volume looks closely at India’s demographic transition, specifically from the perspective of social, economic and gender equity. It argues that if a ‘youthful bulge’ is to result in high economic growth, sufficient employment opportunities accompanied by nutrition, health, education, training and morale for young people are necessary. However, the state continues to make very low public investments in these, and the market is unable to compensate for these failures. The majority of young people are therefore being excluded from economic opportunity, and condemned instead to distress migration and low-end exploitative employment. The state can reverse these trends only with high public investment – by extending universal quality nutrition, health-care, education and social protection to all its people, and ensuring significantly higher investments in agriculture, especially to protect the incomes of farm workers and small and marginal rain-fed farmers, fish-workers, forest-workers and artisans.

The Chennai Foodbank
Miriam Thangaraj

This report briefly discusses the Chennai Food Bank, started in 1993 by the Rajasthan Youth Association. Beginning with a “interest in service”, and informed with a religious ‘anna daan’ instinct; since its inception, this project has grown into the Chennai Foodbank, both in terms of the number of sponsors as well as the range of beneficiaries. By 2007, they had helped to provide over 1 crore meals to the under-privileged. This document elaborates on the model and reach of this project, and presents some recommendations for future expansion.

Inadequate Pensions Leave India’s Elderly No Choice But To Work
Kinjal Sampat and Nandini Dey
IndiaSpend, 2017

The logic behind old age pension is to enable those beyond a certain age to maintain a reasonable standard of living without having to engage in paid labour. In India, this is empirically true for people who receive assured monthly pensions following their retirement from work, but, in the non-formal sector, people do not retire from work at any stipulated age. The participation of the elderly in the workforce is all pervasive, particularly in the unorganised sector that employs the majority of Indians, without formal conditions of employment. In the absence of adequate income and social security, the elderly lack real choice in determining the extent, duration and nature of their engagement with paid work.

As India Ages, Indians Seeks Universal Pension From The Government
Kinjal Sampat and Nandini Dey
IndiaSpend, 2017

India’s 860 million-strong working population (15-64 years), the world’s largest, is beginning to age. Over the next 33 years, by 2050, 324 million Indians, or 20% of the population, will be above 60 years of age. If pension continues to cover only 35% of senior citizens as it does today, 200 million, or 61.7% of India’s elderly population, will be without any income security by 2050.

There’s Nothing Universal or Basic About Universal Basic Income in India
Kinjal Sampat and Vivek Mishra
The Wire, 2017

Universal Basic Income is only an idea in the making, but within its first year of conceptualisation, it seems like the first two terms of the acronym have already been reduced to notional ideas. The time will be ripe for discussing UBI when the state is able to assure both universality and adequacy and match it with adequate public infrastructure and safeguards from volatile market fluctuations.

Job Security in India Falls Even as GDP Continues to Rise
Vivek Mishra and Anirban Bhattacharya
The Wire, 2017

The informal sector generates around 50% of India’s GDP. It employs more than 90% of country’s workforce. The total figure for formal and informal employment in the unorganised sector is 82.7%. Of the current workforce of around 475 million, around 400 million, considerably larger than the population of the US, are employed with little job security or any formal protection of the labour law regime.

Some Paths to Forgiveness
Harsh Mander
The Hindu, 2011

Is there a way to build trust, confidence and eventually empathy between previously embroiled people? Through human history, estranged people’s have collectively sought or rediscovered ways of living together with peace, faith and goodwill. In the wake of the violence of Partition, and innumerable communal pogroms which followed, this is a path which Hindu and Muslim communities in India must still traverse.

Exclusion from Digital Infrastructure and Access
Osama Manzar, Rajat Kumar, Eshita Mukherjee and Raina Aggarwal

This chapter of the India Exclusion Report explores the digital medium as a public good, and analyses mediators of digital inclusion from an intersectional perspective. The exclusionary processes surrounding digital tools and services have long been thought of in isolation, however a more comprehensive approach is crucial. This chapter also maps exclusionary processes and the role of the state, as well as consequences and implications for social welfare.

The Long March to Eliminate Manual Scavenging
Bezwada Wilson and Bhasha Singh

This chapter of the India Exclusion Report highlights the ground reality and everyday experiences of people who are dependent on manual scavenging for their livelihood. It focuses on the extent and nature of the problem of manual scavenging and describes the struggles that have taken place against it in an attempt to ensure an ultimate goal of elimination.

School Education and Exclusion
Bhatty et. al.

The idea of school education as a public good derives from the fact that: (a) its provisioning entails positive externalities and (b) the marginal costs of extending its provisioning to others are relatively low. This chapter of the India Exclusion Report (2013-14) examines key policy documents, existing research as well as primary field studies to analyse the manner in which equity and inclusion have been conceptually approached, formally articulated and practically translated in the accompanying instruments of implementation.