Planning for Welfare in Post-Liberalisation India The Challenges of Building Human Capital

Saumya Tewari


This article is a commentary on linkages between poverty, undernourishment, education and skill attainment. India has a young population at a median age of 27.6 years with a literacy levels and health indicators that are poorer than countries with similar demographics.  A large part of the population in the working-age remain unskilled and excluded from job opportunities. As a result, the largest anti-poverty scheme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) was implemented for the benefit of the poor and unskilled workforce in rural India. While it is an important and timely intervention by the Indian State to get millions of people out of extreme poverty and deprivation, MGNREGA does not address the question of the quality of human capital for India. This paper attempts to highlight how India’s the poor quality of human capital interferes with agency as citizens are reduced to beneficiaries under welfare schemes.

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