Photo of Deepta Chopra, IDS Governance and Gender / Sexuality Research Fellow

Deepta Chopra - Research Fellow

Governance; Gender and Sexuality
T: +44 (0)1273 915808


Lina Forgeaux

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Deepta is a social policy researcher with a focus on rights based policies and programming. She has extensive experience in policy analysis from a political economy perspective, mainly around the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and the Food Rights Act in India.

Deepta leads the gender work in IDS on women's and girls' empowerment, with her research interests focusing on gendered political economy analysis of policies for the empowerment of women and girls, and its core links with unpaid care work. She works closely with state and non-state partners in South Asia, and has designed, managed and implemented several research projects on social protection and economic empowerment.

Deepta is a core group member of the Centre for Social Protection at IDS, and has recently published an edited book, Development and Welfare States in South Asia. She has expertise on qualitative research methodologies, issues of power and participation, citizen engagement and governance and accountability issues.

Deepta is co-convenor of the IDS PhD Programme. She currently supervises four PhD students on various topics. Applications are invited from scholars wishing to pursue a PhD in any of the following subject areas:

  • Gender relations, specifically women’s economic empowerment; or the Balance between paid work and unpaid care work
  • Political economy aspects of policy formulation and implementation, specifically related to rights based policies and programming
  • Social Protection and Welfare states in South Asia


It is widely understood that poverty undermines early childhood development (ECD). In turn, poor ECD reinforces intergenerational transmission of poverty. Economic strengthening through comprehensive social protection may offer a 'double boon': it can improve ECD in the short-term and reduce poverty in the long-run.

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The 'Balancing unpaid care work and paid work: successes, challenges and lessons for women's economic empowerment programmes and policies' project aims to create knowledge about how women's economic empowerment (WEE) policy and programming can generate paid work that empowers women and provides more support for their unpaid care work responsibilities.

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The next World Social Science Report due to be published in 2016 will focus on the critical contemporary issues of inequalities and justice.

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Trade and investment linkages between India and the African continent have been growing rapidly, and recently, its role providing foreign assistance has become more prominent. The Rising Powers in International Development Programme is looking at the growing role of India in the field of international development cooperation.

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This is a three year project explores why unpaid care work is merited little attention in development policy and programming. We are taking an action learning approach to engaging policy actors on unpaid care, tracking the effects, successes and failures of our policy influencing activities.

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The IDS led strand of the project will address the role of state capacity and elite commitment in explaining NREGS implementation through qualitative methods at two different levels of analysis.

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The Development Studies Learning Partnership was created under the BRICS Initiative in 2011, and enables collaborative learning between traditional and emerging actors in development, be they academics, researchers, practitioners or policy-makers.

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This is the front cover to IDS Bulletin 47 1A, 'Connecting Perspectives on Women’s Empowerment'.

Connecting Perspectives on Women’s Empowerment

IDS Bulletin 47.1A (2016)

This IDS Bulletin makes a timely contribution to our understanding of how ideas around empowerment have evolved and how we can move forward to expand women’s opportunities and choices and realise women’s empowerment in a meaningful way. More details


Balancing Paid Work and Unpaid Care Work to Achieve Women’s Economic Empowerment

IDS Policy Briefing 83 (2015)

It is widely known that women’s economic empowerment can lead to economic growth. However, it is important to understand women’s economic empowerment as not simply about labour force participation, but also about the choice to work, the choice of sector, location and working hours. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Political Commitment in India’s social policy implementation: shaping performance of the MGNREGA

ESID Working Paper 50 (2015)

Taking the case of the landmark policy, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the paper analyses in-depth qualitative information from four states – Chhatisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Assam. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, India: Examining Pathways towards Establishing Rights-Based Social Contracts

European Journal of Development Research 26.3 (2014)

This article aims to assess the type of social contracts that led to the passage of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) by analysing the debates prevalent during the Act’s formulation, and the underlying beliefs about the existing social contract. More details

This is the front cover for IDS Policy Briefing 85.

Investing in the Future: Reforming Public Policy to End Undernutrition in India

IDS Policy Briefing 85 (2015)

Despite substantial economic growth, India still has one of the highest undernutrition rates in the world. Because of its large population, India is home to almost 40 per cent of the world’s stunted children. To date extensive public policy initiatives such as the Integrated Child Development Services and the Public Distribution System together with the considerable improvements in their implemen More details