Profile of pre-COVID-19 social protection system of India and Pakistan and a snapshot of their COVID-19 responses


Before elaborating a paper series on Covid-responsive Social Protection Landscapes in South Asia, the UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia and the IPC-IG have developed a paper series on Regular Social Protection Landscapes in the region. These studies have been discussed from a regional and comparative perspective in the first three rounds of the webinar series: Social Protection in South Asia - the landscape before COVID-19, a snapshot into responses to the crisis and the paths ahead. The fourth webinar of the series was dedicated to Afghanistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, and started a new phase in which we summarize the main lessons drawn from the several studies brought by these series of papers.

Now time has come for us to look a bit closer at how social protection landscapes used to be before the COVID-19 crisis, more specifically in India and Pakistan, and how they have been adapted to tackle the ongoing crisis. The fifth webinar of the series, held on the 24 September 2020, discussed a vast set of features ranging from social expenditure profiles, legal frameworks for child sensitive social protection, the actual design of flagship initiatives, and how child and gender sensitive they are. It also contextualized these features in view of findings from impact evaluations and took a glance at core COVID-19 responses from social protection.

Some core questions addressed in this webinar include:

  • What were the core features connecting legal, fiscal and programme level aspects of social protection programmes and policies in India and Pakistan previous to the COVID-19 crisis?
  • How have the COVID-19 crisis and the social protection responses deployed to mitigate its impacts altered the pre-COVID-19 landscape in India and Pakistan?
  • Which social protection agendas have gained most relevance in the transition from pre-COVID-19 to the current COVID-19 context in India and Pakistan?
  • What are the upcoming social protection agendas aimed to address both structural and conjunctural challenges faced by the social protection systems of India and Pakistan?



Fabianna Ferreira, Researcher, IPC-IG 

Yannick Markhof, Researcher, IPC-IG 

Soumen Bagchi, Social Policy Specialist (PF4C and Governance), UNICEF 

Antara Lahiri, Social Policy Specialist (social protection), UNICEF 



Pedro Arruda, Researcher, IPC-IG


This was the fifth webinar of the Series ''Social Protection in South Asia – the landscape before the Covid-19, and a snapshot into responses to the crisis and the paths ahead'', jointly organised by the IPC-IG, UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA), and Country Offices.