Rights Based approach to social policy


  • Rights based approach can be defined as the treatment of various basic minimum needs such as education, health and social services for the citizens as essential and absolutely necessary for their development. The government must view such rights as its obligation to be provided to citizens.


  • Rights based approach has made governance more people centric.


  • It allows people to demand their rights to various services and ensure that their delivery is done in an effective and efficient manner as well.


  • It ensures accountability and transparency of services available to the citizens.


  • It ensures that institutions are run for the people and people are not harassed by institutions in demanding their entitlements.


For example:


  • The United Nations has declared the MDGs and now the SDGs keeping in mind the basic rights of all the people to some basic services such as health, education, social safety nets etc.
  • Similarly, the Supreme Court has interpreted the Article 21, Right to Life in a variety of broad ways to include Right to clean environment, Right to privacy, Right to life with dignity and so on.
  • Examples: Constitutional Status to PRIs, Adoption of RTI, Right to Education, Right to Food, Formulation of Right to UHC, Social Audits etc.

The rights are “Basic Minimum” to ensure a particular standard of living, and they are no more state patronage but they are regarded as state duties towards its citizens.