Social Policy In India

Social Policy In India

According to concise oxford dictionary policy is a settled course of action adopted and followed by a Government. The term ‘policy’ is sometimes also used as a paraphrase of the concept of strategy as adopted from the defense science. There is a specific goal to be achieved or reached and the strategist is expected to assess the resources he has at command.

According to professor Titmus, “Social policy represents a summation of facts of Government deliberately designed to improve the welfare of the people”. According to Kulkarni, “Social policy is the strategy of action indicating the means and methods to be followed in successive phases to achieve the declared objectives.” Marshall states that “The term social policy refers to the policy of Government with regards to action having a direct impact on the welfare of the citizen by providing them with services of income.”

From the above definitions Social policies could be understood as principles or course of action designed to influence:
  • The overall quality of life of the society
  • The circumstances of living of individual and groups in the society; and
  • The nature of intra-societal relationships among individuals, groups, and society as a whole.

Characteristics of Social Policy

  • Social policy refers to the general guidelines or principles which give direction to a particular course of action by the Government or by the organization.
  • The main trait of social policy is its distributive or re-distributive character.
  • Social policy is the unilateral transfer of resources from one section of the society to another section.

Objectives of social policy

  • Social policy aims to bring social change
  • Social policy aims social integration
  • Social policy aims to improve quality of life
  • Social policy aims to promote equality and social justice by redistributing resources
  • Social policy aims to alleviate the harsh consequences of poverty and control the conditions that are responsible for creating the problem of mass poverty in the long run.
  • Social Policy and Economic Policy

    • Titmus stated that social policy operates in the social market unlike the economic policy which is concerned with the economic market, which is characterized by exchange.
    • Barker says that social policy tends to concerned with collective provisions and organization and economies with market.
    • Economic policy designed in terms of economic objectives like raising the national income, per capita income and sophistication and diversification of science and technology in order to make the economy modern and prosperous.
    • Economic policies are considered in purely material terms relying on the input output equations of material resources.
    • Both economic and social policy aims to bring social change in the society. Economic policy can bring economic progress, equality of opportunities and narrowing the difference of wealth and income, both could supplementary and complimentary to each other. To bring development any society needs economic growth with social change.

    Scope of Social Policy and Social Welfare

    It is important to distinguish between social policy and social welfare policy. The scope of social policy covers at least four elements as follows:

    • Social objectives of national development plans;
    • Social service programs in successive five year plans;
    • Concerned for the promotion and protection of the interests of the weaker sections of the population; and
    • Peoples own involvement in the formulation and implementation of policies and plans at various levels.

    Social welfare policy covers those purposeful and organized interventions that are necessary to protect and rehabilitate such segments of population which are unable to with the demands of life on their own. They are the people who need purposefully well organized interventions by the state to provide need based care. Thus, the underlying principle of social policy is social justice while the principle behind social welfare policy is to provide enabling measures for those who are unable on account of social disability.

    Constitutional base of Social Policy

    The broad areas of social policy have been expressed in the constitution under the Directive Principles of State Policy. This part forth of the Constitution is usually cited as the main source of the Indian social policy. Specifically Article 38 and 46 are often considered as relevant source of social policy.

    The Weaker Section and Social Policy

    The most important single element of social policy relates to the specific constitutional safeguards and provisions made for the protection and promotion of the interests of those segments of the population which are traditionally suffered from discrimination, isolation and alienation.

    Evolution of Social Policy as a Field of Study

    The emergence of social policy as a field of study and an academic department in universities is essentially a British product. In Britain, social policy was originally taught in the department of Social Administration in the London School of Economics, at the London University and later it began to be taught in the other British universities. Social policy in India has come a long way during the last 67 years since the attainment of political independence. The Directive Principles of State Policy are cited as the fountain spring of all national policies; more particularly of the social policy of the country.