York academic delivers opening address at inaugural event

Posted on 23 April 2014

Dr Stefan Kühner presented at the first Indian Social Policy Association event at O.P. Jindal Global University, India.

Dr Stefan Kühner presents at the inaugural event for the Indian Social Policy Association

On March 24th-25th, the inaugural workshop of the Indian Social Policy Association was held at O.P. Jindal Global University in Sonipat, Haryana, India. The workshop brought together over 20 students, practitioners and government officials working on emerging social policy issues in India and the UK.

Co-hosted by the UK Social Policy Association, the Development Studies Association and the Indian Social Policy Association, with support of O.P Jindal Global University and the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York, the main questions addressed in the workshop were 'What is Social Policy?' and 'How Can it Be Used for International Development Research?' in middle and low income contexts, specifically India.

Social Policy between development and growth in India?

The keynote addresses and invited speakers covered emerging social issues in India, considered newly emerging poverty reduction and welfare programmes, such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Act, the National Rural Health Mission, National Rural Livelihood Mission and Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme, and whether these have been able to facilitate inclusive and sustainable growth as promoted in the Asian Development Bank's 2020 strategy. Special attention was also dedicated to the politics of social policy implementation, not least since India, the world's largest democracy was about to head to the polling booth shortly after the workshop.

A new social and economic development discourse is emerging in India that attributes a key role to social protection programmes led by government at the federal and/or state level. At the same time, and not unlike other parts of the middle and low income world, there is an increased consensus emphasising the role of the third sector and civil society more generally to push political elites towards extending social legislation to benefit the majority of Indian citizens who are either socially excluded and/or working in the large informal economy with little protection against common risks and contingencies such as unemployment, sickness and old age.

Further events

SPSW, together with the UK Social Policy Association and its partners in Asia, aims to build on this initial event of the Indian Social Policy Association: a symposium 'Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion in a Changing India – Social Policy between Development and Growth?' at the 2014 Social Policy Association Conference 'Social Policy Confronting Change: Resistance, Resilience and Radicalism', University of Sheffield, UK, July 14th-16th 2014 will be co-hosted by the Indian Social Policy Association and members of SPSW.

There will also be a subsequent training workshop on 'Child Poverty and Child Well-being', which will be held at the Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad, India in September 2014.

To keep updated on events and for more details about the work of the Indian Social Policy Association please follow ISPA's JISCMail list SOCIAL-POLICY-INDIA and Twitter feed @socialpolicyind. For direct inquiries about the collaboration between SPSW, the UK Social Policy Association and ISPA please contact stefan.kuehner@york.ac.uk.