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Mapping Social Protection in South Asia

Where does it stand and where could it go?

Social protection has become a key area of policy interest on the international development agenda. Developing countries and donors alike are promoting social protection as a prominent policy intervention. And indeed, if social protection complements policies directed at increasing and improving employment and decent work, and at sustaining and improving the delivery of social services, notably health and education, it can be an enabler for development. This additionality is prerequisite to the arguments put forward in this note. By Gabriele Köhler


Social protection, defined as comprising contributory social security and tax-financed social protection (figure) has a long history in South Asia. In the formal sector, all countries have well-established social security systems, often introduced at the time of independence or even before. There is also a plethora of social assistance initiatives...

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