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World Bank released State of Safety Nets 2015 report

Jul 9, 2015 12:02 IST

The World Bank on 7 July 2015 released the State of Safety Nets 2015 report.  It aggregated spending on social safety net programs and beneficiaries in 157 countries, economies and territories and presented a comparative analysis of those programmes.

As per the report, only 1/3rd of the world's poor are covered by safety nets program with largest gaps in Sub-saharan Africa and South Asia.

Key findings

• More than 1.9 billion people in 136 low- and middle-income countries benefit from social safety net programs.
• The combined spending on social safety nets amounted to about 329 US billion dollars between 2010 and 2014.
• Some 718 million people are enrolled in cash transfer programs, including public works, and constitute 36 percent of social safety net globally.
• Cash transfers constitute the highest share of spending in all regions except in Sub-Saharan Africa, where food and other in-kind transfers dominate.
• On average, developing countries spend 1.6 percent of their GDP on social safety nets. This is low compared to other public policy measures such as fuel subsidies.
• The world’s five largest social safety net programs are all in middle-income countries and reach over 526 million.

• In low-income and lower-middle-income countries, social safety nets cover only 25 percent of the poor, compared to 64 percent in upper-middle-income countries.
• In Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where most of the global poor live, social safety nets cover one-tenth and one-fifth of the poorest 20 percent, respectively.
• The coverage of the poor living in urban areas is lower than in rural settings. The difference amounts to about 8.5 percentage points in low-income countries.
• Safety net programs on average help reduce the poverty headcount rate by 8 percent.
• Safety nets reduce the poverty gap (how far the poor are from the poverty line) by 15 percent on average of the poverty gap without safety nets.
• Cash transfer programs have positive spillover effects on the local economy, with total income multiplier ranging from 1.08 US dollars to 2.52 US dollars for each dollar transferred.

Report on India

Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) is the largest in Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT) category with 78 million beneficiaries.
Mid Day Meal programme is the largest in the School feeding category with 105 million beneficiaries.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGs) is the largest in the Public Works Programme (PWP) category with 182 million beneficiaries.
Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) is the second largest in the Unconditional Cash Transfers (UCT) category with 21 million beneficiaries.
• Spending on public distribution system (PDS) accounts for 0.6 percent of GDP.
• Total spending on social safety nets is 0.72 of GDP with 0.09 percent of GDP in Unconditional Cash Transfer schemes, 0.11 percent in school feeding, 0.29 in public works and 0.23 percent in fee waivers.

About the report

Social safety net programs include cash and in-kind transfers targeted to poor and vulnerable households with the goal of protecting families from the impact of economic shocks, natural disasters, and other crises.

It also includes spending on children to ensure they grow up healthy, well-fed, and can stay in school and learn, empowering women and girls and creating jobs.

In order to assess the impact of social safety nets, the report relied on Household Surveys in 105 Countries, Economies, and Territories. In case of India the results of National Sample Survey 2009–10 (66th round) was taken into consideration.

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