Shrayana Bhattacharya
World Bank
Sutirtha Sinha Roy
World Bank
World Bank Social Protection and Jobs Working Paper, Jun 2021, 2107
JEL Codes:
H53, H55, H75, I30, I38
● Intent to Implementation : Tracking India's Social Protection Response to COVID-19
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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 Coronavirus (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 a robust, nationally representative and panel survey of households from Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) to better quantify the coverage and targeting parameters. Results find that nearly eighty percent of all households received at least one social protection benefit from government programs. Relief measures have been pro-poor and broad-based. 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.

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