(Sample Material) Gist of IIPA Journal: Welfare Administration in India: A Critical Evaluation R.K. Barik

(Sample Material) Gist of Important Articles from IIPA Journal

Topic: Welfare Administration in India: A Critical Evaluation R.K. Barik


Necessity of State Intervention

Every economy faces a cycle of growth and a period of crisis. In a period of crisis, unemployment grows with a fall in real wage. Real income of workers start falling because of a high rate of inflation. State intervention is necessary to create additional income for these labouring families which can not protect themselves from the ravages of market. In the beginning, social services were delivered on a selective basis. With the pressures of the democratic intelligentsia, the State accepted the principle of universalism which is not discriminatory. Even Marshall pleaded for social citizenship which reflects the philosophy of the welfare states. Today, after half a century, the State is on a retreat. Democratic politics has pushed the State into the vortex of class politics. The capitalist state accepted the pressures of the labouring masses. It created some space for each class which resulted in developed welfare system. Today, the State is withdrawing from the arena of welfare activities in the name of creating social infrastructure. Private and state investment is necessary in the area of health and education for creating these social infrastructures. The concept of welfare is replaced with the new concept of social infrastructure which itself is a concept related to the market. Ramesh Mishra is right in stating that “pre-eminence of the economic sphere means that not only full employment but also universality can no longer be seen as sacrosanct in the modem world. Once we bid farewell to full employment as well as to universality, the Welfare State as a distinct phase in the evolution of social policy in the West will have come to an end.”

Indian Model of Welfare State

The scholars on social policy have developed a taxonomy of Welfare State on a global scale. There are three kinds of welfare states within the capitalist world: the liberal, the conservative and the social democratic; and three kinds of regimes with Anglo-Saxon protestantism, Continental European Catholicism and Nordic Secularism respectively. The fourth type is known as the Confucian Welfare State belonging to South East Asian countries. According to these scholars, the Indian state does not fit in any model. All these States function within a definite religious-ethical framework. Both Catholicism and Protestantism support the welfarism of the Western and American states. Confucianism generates familism as the basis of welfarism of Japanese and Korean states where low investment in social sector goes well with the high rate of growth in economy. The Indian system of welfarism is much nearer to the Confucian model as family is the basis of Indian society. Hinduism creates an ethical moral world which is beyond family and kinship network. It creates a strong group identity in terms of caste and community. The Joint Family System provides some space for the old as well as the child. The caste system provides an institutional arrangement for helping their caste getting educational services. Both the caste and family system do not create any provision for the poor and destitute not belonging to their own caste. These arrangements are very selective and have no universal appeal. Modernisation has brought radical changes in the social structure of the Indian society. The Joint Family System is in process the of disintegration. The caste system has been poIiticised to such an extent that it has shifted into an arena of power politics from social sphere. Islam and Christianity are two important religions dominating Indian society. Both of these religions have their own cosmology. Both are ridden with the caste systems, and have a community identity which cuts across all castes. In Islam, the rich is supposed to pay a share of its wealth for the welfare of the poor. In Christianity, the element of pity guides the rich to give philianthropic help to the poor. In Hinduism, the concept of Daridranarayan guides the rich to help the poor. The concept was made very popular in Hinduism by Gandhiji during the national movement. Gandhiji’s concept of trusteeship has a religious content. The rich are the trustees of the wealth where the poor has a right to have a small share. Gentle influence of Gandhism on the rich has got diluted. Very few industrialists have kept that value now.

Impact of Liberalisation on our Model

Today Iiberalisation and globalisation has made industrialists more hungry for profit. Whatever demands they are putting forth before the Government, the Government is conceding it. Their demand for lowest taxation has been accepted. Nowhere in the world such a low taxation rate has been accepted. Any Welfare State demands on collection of taxes from the rich. In our country, the rich avoids paying taxes. Moreover, the tax administration is not so efficient in collecting taxes. It seems that the rich in India lacks commitment to the Welfare State. Influence of Gandhism and religious values are not able to pursuade them to pay their dues to the State. It is difficult to expect any other help from them for the poor on voluntary basis. On the contrary, they are the people responsible for commercialising education and health services in a big way. That has already affected the efficiency of public health system and educational system of India. Privatisation of health services and educational services has created a havoc for the poor.

Any welfare system has to provide these services free of cost. This is the constitutional obligation of the Indian State towards its citizens. The Constitution of India clearly states that within ten years of its enactment, the State can provide free and compulsory education to all the children up to 14 years of age. The Articles regarding education and health are a part of Chapter IV of the Constitution.

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