The clamour for the right to social pensions is another attempt to deal with the Indian state’s inability to provide adequate social protection to its poorest citizens through targeted programmes. India’s vulnerable continue to be excluded from social safety nets. The multi-layered problems with social welfare schemes can be summarised in one word: implementation. Implementation is the Achilles’ heel of Indian social policy. But why can’t the Indian state, with its colossal welfare apparatus, prioritise the poor and implement effectively? Some believe the problem is administrative discretion, which allows bureaucrats leeway to circumvent rules, impose red tape, and make side deals with select citizens. In this view, rights-based guarantees themselves will improve implementation — the bureaucracy can be coerced into compliance.


Pritchett, Lant. "Achilles’ Heel of Social Policy." Indian Express, June 6, 2012.