(3) The work of welfare state in economic, social and political spheres
(4) Need of welfare state for India
(5) Social welfare
In the old days the duty of state was to give law and order to the people. The state generally followed the policy of non-interference in the work of others. The result was that rich became richer and the poor went on becoming poorer. Many social evils cropped up and became deep rooted in the structure of society.
Dissatisfaction among the people became prevalent. All this led to violence and uprisings against the government. Strikes and lockouts became the order of the day. Ultimately the production of the country suffered a lot. Now it has been clearly realized that the state does no exist mainly for the sake of law and order, but also for the welfare of the people.
Many democratic countries have adopted the ideal of a welfare state. Its chief aim is to ensure minimum standard of economic and social security for the citizens. Its motto is service and not command or exploitation. A welfare state is quite different from a totalitarian state. Totalitarian state also works for the well-being of the people, but it does rot give maximum number of rights of the people which a welfare state does.
The functions of a welfare state He chiefly in three spheres—(1) In the political sphere it gives maximum number of rights to its people and gives them equality of status, (ii) In the economic field a welfare state tries to improve the financial conditions and to narrow down the difference between the rich and the poor, and (iii) The most important function of welfare state is in social sphere.
It tries to make society happy and give it a firm and sure footing. It roots out social evils like prostitution, begging and harsh treatment towards the workers. It spreads education, liberal, technical and professional. It introduces social security measures such as old age pension, insurance against accident and unemployment and also ensures minimum wages for people. Full attention is paid to health of the people and hospitals are established to give medicines free of cost to the people. A welfare state attends to the labour problems with all attention and it also controls and regulates the essential services of public utility like electricity, transport and communication.
That India needs a welfare state goes without saying. A long continued foreign rule has left people in a miserable condition in every walk of life. As far as rights are concerned, they have been granted to the people in our constitution.
Our government has accepted the goal of a welfare state. It has started Five year Plans in order to improve economic condition of the people and to raise the standard of living to make it suitable for the people of a free country. The aim of these plans is setting up of socialist pattern of society according to the ideals of socialism. India’s Five Year Plans aim at narrowing down disparities in time to come.
Much attention is also being paid to social welfare. Under the first Five Year Plan the Government of India set-up a Social Welfare Board. In order to execute the programmes set by Central Welfare Board the state set-up Social Welfare Advisory Boards. There could not be done any significant work during the first and second plans owing to certain defects in the schemes. These defects were removed in the Third Five Year Plan. A sum of twenty-five thousand crores of rupees had been set apart for social welfare in the Third Five Year Plan. Nearly six thousand welfare centres were set-up, the number of which increased greatly by the end of the Third Five Year Plan.
Government allotted a sufficient amount of money in the fourth and fifth plans. Government has also paid attention to the problems of tribal people, scheduled castes and other backward communities. Chief welfare is also receiving proper attention at the hands of government.
Even then our country has not travelled halfway to become a welfare state. Much still needs to be done. Education should be made free for ail upto senior secondary standard and people should get the facilities of free medical help.
India is a country of villages and many of these villages do not enjoy any privilege. There is provision for the benefits of a welfare state in our constitution and the government of this country aims at carrying it out. But simply provision and intentions are not sufficient. We need concrete steps for relief for the sufferer masses of India, and hard work and sincere efforts to make these steps effective.