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India - Social welfare & inclusion overview

Country profile

Policies and Initiatives


In India, both the union and the state governments are responsible for the social welfare of the people. While the central government carves out key welfare policies and provides funds to states, state governments also adopt various policies to meet the needs of their respective states. The union Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is responsible for welfare, social justice and empowerment of disadvantaged and marginalised sections of society. The ministry has two departments: (i) Department of Social Justice and Empowerment (Samajik Nyaya and Adhikarita Vibhag) (ii) Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan). There are other ministries that play an integral role in ensuring social welfare and inclusion, these include the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Ministry of Women & Child Development and the Ministry of Minority Affairs. The Scheduled Castes Development (SCD) Bureau aims to promote the welfare of Scheduled Castes through their educational, economic and social empowerment. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes provides safeguards against the exploitation of Scheduled Castes and Anglo Indian communities to promote and protect their social, educational, economic and cultural interests, special provisions were made in the Constitution. Similarly, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes provides safeguards against the exploitation of Scheduled Tribes to promote and protect their social, educational, economic and cultural interests, special provisions were made in the Constitution. The National Commission for Women was set up as statutory body in 1992 to review the Constitutional and legal safeguards for women; recommend remedial legislative measures, facilitate redressal of grievances and advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women.

Social welfare & inclusion is a broad and diverse area of study across India and Australia. The opportunity for cross-disciplinary studies makes this an area with many opportunities for researchers.

Australia - Social welfare & inclusion overview

Country profile

Policies and Initiatives


The Australian Government Department of Social Services is responsible for a diverse range of policies, payments, programs and services that improve the lifetime wellbeing of people and families in Australia. The department works in partnership with other government and non-government organisations to ensure the effective development, management and delivery of these initiatives. The Australian Human Rights Commission is Australia’s national human rights institution and has a range of duties, functions and powers with respect to human rights, including undertaking inquiries, intervening in court proceedings, examining enactments and conducting educational programs and public awareness campaigns. The National Indigenous Australians Agency is committed to implementing the Government’s policies and programs to improve the lives of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The agency works directly under and supports the Minister for Indigenous Australians. It also liaises closely with state and territory governments to ensure that Indigenous programs and services are delivering for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as intended. The Office for Women works across government to deliver policies and programs to advance gender equality and improve the lives of Australian women. The Department of Health develops and delivers policies and programs and advises the Australian Government on health, aged care and sport and ensures better health for all Australians. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is an independent statutory agency which produces authoritative and accessible information and statistics to inform and support better policy and service delivery decisions, leading to better health and wellbeing for all Australians.

Related articles

Read the latest 'Social welfare & inclusion' research articles covering Australia and India - or submit your own

Successful collaborations

Recent ARC grants have supported the following research projects relating to social welfare and inclusion:

  1. In 2018, Griffith University undertook a discovery project themed ‘Accountability for past human rights violations in South Asia’ which included country specific study of India.
  2. In 2021, University of Sydney undertook a research project themed ‘Migrant Worlds: Labouring Lives and Worker Consciousness in Global Cities’ included country specific study of India.
  3. In 2017, University of Melbourne undertook a research project on the theme 'Ethics and Equity: Implications for health systems research priority-setting' included country specific study of India.
  4. In 2017, University of Queensland undertook a research project on the theme 'Consequences of inequality on social behaviour and political attitudes' included country specific study of India.
  5. In 2019, La Trobe University undertook a research project on the theme 'Adult drinking and child maltreatment in families, communities and societies' included country specific study of India.
Associate Professor Adrian Athique, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Queensland. A/Prof Athique has fostered a number of deep and lasting relationships with Indian colleagues across multiple institutions.

Bilateral Frameworks for Cooperation

Trade and investment opportunity

  • The India Economic Strategy to 2035: Navigating from Potential to Delivery, a report to the Australian Government by Peter Varghese OA, recommends Australian advocacy and business engagement initiatives in India across priority sectors must be cognisant of growing attention in India’s public and private sectors to the economic benefits of workplace diversity and women’s workforce participation and must emphasise gender equity and inclusiveness.The principles of gender equality, inclusion, diversity and equity are integrated into the updated five-year plan of action.
  • India’s New Education Policy 2020 (NEP) acknowledges the importance of the humanities and social sciences to address societal issues, climate concerns and to graduate well-rounded citizens. The NEP calls for high-quality interdisciplinary research across fields rooted in a deep understanding of the social sciences and humanities.  
  • The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has set up a sectoral Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion for steering its agenda towards enabling Diversity and inclusion work policies across India.

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