Functions of Welfare State

Functions of Welfare State

A government places a welfare program to make sure there is a certain standard and quality of living for everyone in a country. It would primarily focus on children, making sure their parents will be able to and clothe feed them properly. Other things it covers are day care assistance, food stamps and unemployment.

Welfare State undertakes numerous functions which are divided into :

A.      Regulative

B.       Protective and

C.      Welfare functions

A. Regulative Functions

These include: (i) maintaining law and order, (ii)PROMOTING peace (iii) curbing anti-social elements and their activities, (iv) putting down 

communal, caste and class clashes, (v) checking exploitation of labourers by passing necessary legislation etc.

B. Protective Functions

These include: (i) maintenance of internal ORDER, (ii) protecting territorial integrity, (iii) maintenance of basic institutions, (iv) maintenance of sound net-work of postal system, transport and communication systems (v) regulation of trade, markets, weights and measures, (vi) prevention of theft, decoity and other criminal activities, (vii) conducting foreign relations with other countries, (viii) administering justice and punishing criminals, and (ix) safeguarding the country‘s territories sovereignty and independence against external attacks and invasions etc.

C. Welfare Functions

These include: (i) eradicating the spread of contagious diseases like malaria, cholera etc. (ii) eradicating illiteracy by establishing educational institutions (iii) reducing the economic inequalities by taking steps for distribution of national income, (iv) providing employment opportunities to all qualified persons (v) improving the working conditions of the workers by fixing hours of work, compensation etc. (vi) creating healthy atmosphere in and outside industries. (vii) providing adequate social services such as unemployment benefits, disability benefits, maternity benefits etc. (vii) introducing jail reforms for speedy disposal of cases and reducing the cost of judicial litigation, (ix) introducing land reforms, (x) encouraging cottage and small-scale industries, (xi) undertaking Community Development Programmes, and (xii) checking social evils etc. In BRIEF Welfare State provides full employment, social security, housing, health and education for all people.

There are More Other Functions
(1) Maintenance of Peace and ORDER:

The welfare state ensures internal peace and order and provides security to its citizens. It efficiently guards its territory against external aggressions or threats. It maintains law and order and establishes political stability. This reduces constant tension and anxiety for its people.

(2) Protects People’s Rights and Provides Justice:

The welfare state assures for its people the inalienable fundamental rights. It assures right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, equality, property, freedom of thought and expression. It provides justice to all irrespective of class, colour, creed, caste, religion or region.

(3) Conservation of NATURAL  Resources:

In the general interest of the community the welfare state tries to conserve its natural resources against the competitive private interests. It prevents the wasteful consumption of the community’s resources, its forests, fisheries, wild life, minerals, art treasures, etc.

(4) Provision of Education:

The welfare state gives high priority for education. It creates op­portunities for the individuals to develop their personality. It encourages more the weaker SECTIONS of the society to come up educationally and economically. Some states like India have introduced free but compulsory education at primary and secondary levels. The welfare state on its own pro­vides for primary and secondary schools, colleges, universities, research centres, libraries, art classes, technical schools and institutes, medical and agricultural institutes, etc.

(5) Arrangement of Public Utility Services:

The modern welfare states construct roads, rail­ways and provide for irrigation, water-supply and electric works. It provides for post and telegraph, radio, television, TELEPHONE and other services. It makes arrangement for transport such as buses, railways, aero planes and ships.

(6) Encouragement of Trade, Industry, Commerce and Agriculture:

The welfare state on its own establishes some big industries to PROMOTE industrial advancement and also to avoid exploita­tion. Iron and steel, locomotives, aircraft and other heavy industries, big dams, multi-purpose projects, major transport and communication-lines, etc., are often controlled by the states.

Certain industries are nationalised in the interests of the people. Still the welfare state gives enough scope for the private parties and individuals to establish factories and start business to promote initial growth. The state also encourages cottage or household industries and agriculture.

(7) Organisation of Labour:

The welfare state gives SPECIAL attention to needs of the working class. It makes appropriate labour legislations and prevents their exploitation. It promotes their wel­fare in various ways. It gives them freedom to organise labour unions to protect their rights. It tries to better the living conditions of the people also.

(8) Protection of Old, Poor and the Handicapped:

The modern welfare states have taken it for granted as their main canon to protect the interests of the old, poor, and the invalid. The old and the retired people are given pension, the unemployed and the handicapped are given maintenance allow­ance. Various social security measures are undertaken in ORDER to give the needed protection to all the needy people of the state.

(9) Maintenance of Public Health:

The welfare state provides many preventive and curative medical facilities to safeguard the public health. It makes provision for sanitation, hospitals, free medicine, vaccination and essential energising foods for the poor and so on. It arranges to control deadly diseases like malaria, cholera, small pox, plague, T.B., venereal diseases, skin-diseases, lep­rosy, etc. It runs medical colleges, research centres, training schools for nurses, etc.

(10) Arrangement of Recreation:

The state provides for various means of recreation to its citizens, like films, drama, music, exhibitions, fairs, etc. It also establishes public parks, museums, libraries, playgrounds, conducts competitions to encourage merit, gives awards to the talented per­sons.
(11) Maintains Social Harmony:

The welfare state lays down laws against evil and harmful customs and practices. By various means it tries to bring people with different socio-religious back­ground nearer. It strives to PROMOTE social harmony by creating better understanding among people.

(12) Prevents Disorganisation:

The welfare state also tries to prevent or check the process of socio-economic disorganisation. By making use of various means it tries to solve such socio-economic problems like crime, juvenile delinquency, prostitution, untouchability, population problem, poverty, beggary and so on. The efficiency of a welfare state can be measured by its successful attempts in removing these problems.

(13) Protection of life and property:

The first and the most IMPORTANT duty of the State are to protect the life and property of its people. Some writers are of the opinion that the State came into existence for this very purpose. The State makes laws regarding life and property. It checks others from interfering into the affairs of the individual. If any individual violates the law of the State, he is punished. The State regulates social life of the individual through laws.

(14) Protection form external invasion or defense:

External security means security from external danger either of a military invasion or of encroachment upon international rights. The State should, therefore, be in a fit condition to defend itself against foreign attacks. For this purpose, it maintains a standing army, a navy and to fight in defense of the State. In times of peace too, the State has to DEAL  with foreign powers and looks after its international interest. It also maintains diplomatic relations with other countries.

(15) Dispensing justice:

It is an important function of the State that it should organize an independent and powerful judiciary. In the absence of an independent judiciary, people cannot have justice. The State must maintain civil and criminal courts to administer justice. No liberty is possible without rule of law. Those who violate law should be punished. The State should regulate the conduct and activities of individual in the interests of all.

(16) Physical welfare:

Physical welfare of citizens is considered as an optional function of modern State. It is achieved by providing medical facilities, sanitation and conservancy system. Most of the modern States perform these functions. Public health and hygiene of the people are important in every State.

(17) Regulation of import and export:

No State is self-sufficient today. It has to IMPORT certain goods from other countries and export certain goods to other countries. The State is to frame laws relating to import and export policies. The people cannot be given complete freedom to import and export goods.

Those goods should be imported from other countries, which are essential, and those goods should be exported to other countries, which are surplus. If the State does not regulate import export, the people's plight will be quite miserable and there will be imbalance of trade.

(18) Social and economic security:

The State is morally bound to remove poverty and unemployment. It should, therefore, provide protection against old age. Unemployment, etc. It can be done by introducing insurance schemes against accident, old age etc.

Thus, it is clear now that the function of the welfare state is not merely administration, but an integral welfare and development of its subjects. In fact, there is no limit to what the welfare state can do for the service of the community. The popular statement state help kills self-help is not always true. Still, the Welfare State is not all in all.

The state cannot interfere in all kinds of human activities in the name of welfare. It cannot prescribe morality, cannot dictate opinion, cannot proclaim new customs and FASHIONS , cannot create a new culture and also cannot advocate new religious doctrines of universal application. The state should know its limitations. It should not venture to do a task for which it is unqualified.
Too much interference of the state in the life of the people would destroy the very spirit of freedom. It was the veteran Indian Sarvodaya leader Late Sri Jayaprakash Narayan, who said in unmistakable terms that “in the present world the state, not only in its totalitarian form but also in its welfare variety, is assuming larger and larger power and responsibility. The welfare state in the name of welfare threatens as much to enslave man to the state as the totalitarian. The people must cry halt to this creeping paralysis…”

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