Social Policy The Oxford dictionary defined SP as ‘settled course of action followed and adopted by the government or a political party’. The word policy refers to the particular course of action followed because it happens to be useful for the time being whereas social refers to anything that got to do with the society and its betterment. SP can be defined as a series of public policies designed to promote social development, undertaken by a variety of actors through a range of instruments.
Social policy has both intrinsic and instrumental value; intrinsic in terms of creating equality of opportunity, and instrumental in terms of strengthening the legitimacy of public institutions and social integration. According to Levin (1997): SP refers to the practice of social intervention aimed at securing social change to promote the welfare and wellbeing of citizens. Social Work Dictionary (1991): SP as the activities and principles of society that guide the way it intervenes in and regulates relationships between individuals, groups, communities, and social institutions…..
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SP includes plans and programs in education, health care, crime and corrections, economic security, and social welfare made by governments, voluntary organizations, and the people in general. While summarizing the whole discussion, it can be said that social policy is a deliberate action on the part of individuals, collectivities and governments, undertaken to organize services, opportunities and social action so as to affect the life styles of people and initiate a process to prevent, postpone, initiate and manage change.
Thus SP is * A subject as well as an area of practice * An instrument (used by the govt to regulate and supplement the existing instt and structure) * Plays distributional and redistributive role * Transfer of resources from one section to the other within the society * It concern with the weaker and vulnerable section of the society, welfare in nature * Co-exist among other policies Objectives of Social Policy: Social Change (Prohibition of Dowry) * Social Integration (no caste/sex discrimination, quota system) * Improvement of the quality of life * Reduce cost of welfare (Haq, 1976: the aim of SP in the third world should be stated as the preservation of the very life itself and not as the improvement of the quality of life which presumes that the basic survival needs have been met) Assumptions: (Armitage, 1998) The govt has responsibility to meet the needs of the less fortunate members of society; * The state has a right to intervene in areas of individual freedom and economic liberty * Governmental and or public intervention is necessary when existing social institutions fail to fulfil their obligations; and * Public policies create social impacts, the consequences of which become the moral obligation of some group to act upon; Scope: By tradition, SP has been concerned with social welfare provision of the state, it address real world social problems in a prescriptive rathr than a description way.
According to Devereux and Cook (2000), the five ‘S’ are (5S): 1. Social Sectors (Health, education, water and sanitation, housing) 2. Social Insurance (pension, unemployment benefits, disability/old age/widow pensions) 3. Social Services (Care for orphans, destitute, old age home, mental asylum) 4. Social Protection (Food Subsidy, reservation system) 5. Social Rights (right of children, women, labourer) Sources of Social Policy in India: The four most important sources of social policy in India are: 1.
Constitution: The constitution of india, as a source of social policies can be divided into two viz. the fundamental rights and the directive principles. 2. Legislation: social legislation refers to laws designed to improve and protect the economic and social position of those groups in the society. To achieve the ends of social justice, social legislation is needed. 3. Ideology: Ideologies adopted by the govt will have a big impact on the kind of social policy that a govt have. A left leaning politics will mean more socialist while a right wing will be more oriented towards economic growth.
Govt used social policy to strengthen, support and execute their adopted ideology 4. Social Reforms taking place in the country also influences social policies. Reform leads to legislation which leads to policy. Most social reform aims to change the society for better, and the betterment of the society is wanted by the govt, which means it led to social legislation. 5. National Plan: In india, it is through the Five Year Plan that the govt announce the social policies objectives. Process of Social Policy Formulation: 1. Identifying problems and opportunities 2.
Defining and prioritizing issues 3. Placing issues on the public agenda 4. Defining goals and objectives and identifying alternative approaches 5. Evaluating alternative approaches 6. Selecting alternatives 7. Implementing selected alternatives; and 8. Evaluating programmes Models of Social Policy: 1. Residual Welfare Model of Social Policy: The Residual welfare concept is based on the premise that an individual needs are best met through the family and the market economy. It has in inherent mistrust in government, and sees welfare as a charity or privilege and not a right.
Eg. A day-care centre is set-up because ‘certain parents are not yet properly trained or incapable of taking care of their children as should be the norm, so a policy is formulated until those parents can fulfil their duties. Eg: Reservation system in India was supposed to be for a temporary time until the minorities can take a foot-hold. 2. Industrial Achievement- Performance Model of Social Policy: Or Institutional approach, it sees social welfarism as a normal and legitimate function of modern society.
It viewed that the family, the economy and the private sector cannot address all social welfare needs so social policy is needed to help them. Eg. A day-care centre is set-up or funded by the govt because ‘many parents will need to work and will need the day-care centre services’. 3. Developmental Model of Social Policy: Focuses on the multi-causal nature of social issues, and emphasizes multilevel intervention. It sees social policies not only as a solution to problem, but also to improve the quality of life and fulfil human development needs.
Eg: A day-care centre is set-up either by the govt or the private sector, because many people needed it for different purpose, so the govt must also address why such day-care centre are needed and utilized. For instance a working mother needed day-care service for her child because she will lose her job if she took leave to take care of the child. The govt can provide a provision for her by enabling that a baby-nursing-working-mother can take leave with or with pay for a certain length of time like a year, so that the baby is well taken care-off, and that the mother didn’t lose her job.
SOCIAL LEGISLATION As a consequence of various technological, economic, social and political factors personal and social disorganisation take place in different forms in our society. To combat the consequences of the disorganisations, these individuals, groups and institutions need special approaches, programmes and treatment and legislation is one of such approach. Legislation is an instrument to control, guide and restrain the behaviour of individuals and groups living in society. Besides social customs, traditions, religious prescription etc. legislation is one of the institutions which controls and directs individual action into desirable channels. In a broad sense, all laws are social in character, in a narrow sense only those laws that are enacted for the purpose of social welfare are categorized as social legislation. According to Fairchild, social legislation means laws designed to improve and protect the economic and social position of those groups in society which because of age, sex, race, physical or mental defect or lack of economic power cannot achieve health and decent living standards for themselves.
To sum up, social legislation can be defined as special laws which are passed with the special purposes of improving the socio-economic position of the specific groups such as women, children, elderly, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, physically and mentally challenged, unorganised workers, agricultural and landless labourers and other such vulnerable groups. Social legislation is needed for: i) to ensure social justice, ii) to bring about social reform, iii) to promote social welfare, iv) to bring about desired social change ) to protect and promote the rights of the disadvantaged groups of the society Objectives of Social Legislation: i) Removal of discrimination on the grounds of sex, religion, caste, class etc. and promotion of equality to all; ii) safeguard the rights of the weaker section such as women, children, elderly, widows, destitute and the backward classes; iii) eradication of traditional malpractices and social evils such as untouchability, dowry, child marriage, female infanticide etc. ; iv) provision of social security