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  • A Mirage of Welfare: How the Social Question in India Got Aborted

    Jan Breman

    Chapter from the book: Breman, J et al. 2019. The Social Question in the Twenty-First Century: A Global View.


    The chapter presents an overview of the exclusionary policies and politics in post-Independence India which have failed to emancipate people at the bottom of economy and society from their ingrained poverty and inequality. Most of them used to live in villages and to work in agriculture. In a much-awaited shift to industry, the land-poor and landless-classes were supposed to change their habitat and employ from rural to urban ones. Announced as a development trajectory, this transformation has only haltingly taken place as the promised industries did not materialize. In the new economy which arose labor is kept casual, underemployed, underpaid and without social security and protection against adversity. Driven to self-employment, self-provisioning and self-representation, the country’s half a billion workforce remains stuck in a weak bargaining position. Having become redundant in agriculture, large chunks are disembedded where they come from but unable to establish a foothold where they go, resulting in widespread immiserization.

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    Breman, J. 2019. A Mirage of Welfare: How the Social Question in India Got Aborted. In: Breman, J et al (eds.), The Social Question in the Twenty-First Century. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.74.g

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    Published on July 30, 2019