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Updated by Aidi Hu , valérie schmitt on 21.04.2017

In recent years, the issue of social protection extension has assumed a lot of importance in India, in particular with regards to the positive role social protection can play to alleviate the adverse effects of the global and domestic economic crises, and to strengthen the social dimension of globalization. Important social security, poverty alleviation and social welfare measures are being implemented by various ministries, along with federal and individual state departments and civil society.

Such measures include Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), India's national-level health insurance scheme and one of the main elements of India's social protection floor; the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) adopted in 2005; pension schemes for the elderly, the disabled and widows living below the poverty line (the Indira Ghandi schemes); and a variety of other programmes ensuring, amongst other, access to education, nutrition, housing and water for the poor and disadvantaged groups.

Despite these efforts, many are still excluded from social protection services. Today, around 94% of India's total labour force, i.e. around 370 million workers, are part of the informal economy. Providing this group and their dependents with the social protection they need is one of the major challenges India faces in extending social protection to all.