1146 | Inequalities, Poverty and Legal Entitlements in India

Course Information

  • 2021-22
  • 1146
  • 5-Year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.), LL.M.
  • V
  • Nov 2021
  • Elective Course

How does this course relate to the programme curriculum: Does it develop on a prior course in the programme or is it a foundational or standalone course?

This is an elective standalone course which will be especially suitable for law students to grasp the spectrum of historical and contemporary debates on social policies in India and the genesis of justiciable legislative entitlements for economic and social rights. This is an interdisciplinary course which will draw heavily on development economics, social policy, history and other social sciences with a heavy focus on Indian and South Asian development experiences.

This course may develop and build on contemporary social policy debates from the course on ‘law, poverty and development’ which seems to have a more sociological and theoretical focus. Instead this course will concentrate more on the ground realities and the role of social movements in the genesis, advocacy and monitoring of specific rights-based legal and social protections in India and South Asia.

After seven decades of independence, India still ranks 94 out of 107 countries on the 2020 Global Hunger index, less than every other country in South Asia. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated existing inequalities of class, caste and gender in Indian society, which was already plagued by poverty, ill-health, malnutrition and illiteracy. On the other hand, India’s pioneering right-based laws for education, food, employment guarantees and other social protections have been designed specifically to reduce these vulnerabilities and protect against destitution, particularly during critical junctures. While these justiciable Indian legislations have emerged as lifelines in this pandemic, the architecture of India’s social policies remain acutely minimalistic and underfunded. In this context, this course will navigate the history of education, healthcare, food, employment, nutrition and other social policies and laws in India and based on international experiences investigate the potential for expansion.

The emphasis of this course will largely be on evaluation of the implementation of pro-poor social protection and legislative guarantees in India and beyond. Inter-sectional analysis of multi-dimensional inequalities will be embedded throughout the course.


Inequalities, Poverty and Legal Entitlements in India
Dr. Swati Narayan

Visiting Faculty