The Indian welfare state system

With special reference to social policy and the burden of disease

Authored by: Christian Aspalter

The Routledge International Handbook to Welfare State Systems

Print publication date:  January  2017
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9781472449306
eBook ISBN: 9781315613758
Adobe ISBN: 9781317041085


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Yes, that’s right, India has a welfare state system, but India does not have a welfare state in the European sense (Vivekanandan, 2001). The Indian welfare state system is small and caters mainly to a small segment of society, but it is still relatively huge in absolute terms. When I visited Professor B. Vivekanandan at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi in the summer of 2001, he, being an expert on European social democracy and European welfare states himself, told me this. It was an eye-opening conversation, which led me to change my forthcoming publications from then on, by many times using the term “welfare state systems,” not “welfare states.” Besides when looking at welfare state systems, we can without a doubt also look at lesser developed, and even barely developed, welfare state systems, without having to ask the question: “when is a welfare state a welfare state?” That is, how much social spending or how many social security columns there need to be to qualify for “a welfare state” (in the European sense).

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