1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Social Policy and Development

New Social Policy Directions? Some Reflections on South Asia (Draft)



This paper responds to questions with respect to new directions in social policy from the South Asian experience. South Asia is a self-defined region which has been enjoying high GDP growth rates, and a "shining" international image. However, the majority of the population has not benefited much from economic growth. Income poverty, inequality in incomes and wealth, and social exclusion predominate. On a more positive note, the region is also characterised by emerging or re-emerging democratic processes, and a vibrant Civil Society Organisation community. These factors – persistent economic and social deprivations alongside new political dynamics - form the backdrop for a surge in social policy changes observed in all the South Asian countries, beginning visibly in India in 2004, and continuing into the early 2010s.

Gabriele Köhler ia an independent development economist, advisor and publicist, based in Munich who is currently a visiting fellow at UNRISD.