Administration for Welfare. Issues of Areas in Indian Administration

Administration for Welfare

In early times, social welfare functions were performed by a few individuals or groups of individuals motivated by compassion and concern for the poor, the needy and the destitute. These people were laymen, embodied with the qualities of humanism and selfless service to the community. But in modern times, most of the countries have adopted the concept of a welfare state instead of a police state. The Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences describes a welfare state as a state which takes up the responsibility to provide a minimum standard of subsistence to its citizens. Prof. Kent remarked that by a welfare state we mean a state which provides extensive services to the people. Thus, in a welfare state, the administration enters into economic, political, social and educational life of individuals. And it provides services to individuals, right from an individual’s birth to death. The state is to serve the old, sick, orphans, widows, helpless, oppressed and the disabled people whenever they are in need of services.

To achieve the aims and objectives of social welfare, the government formulates social policies and programmes and in pursuance thereof enacts social legislation, allocates financial assistance and provides organisational and administrative linkages in the form of ministries and departments. It also seeks the partnership of non-governmental organisations for the effective implementation of various social welfare programmes. Administration of all these activities being undertaken in the sphere of social services and social welfare is considered as falling in the realm of social welfare administration.

Social welfare is an organised system of social services and institutions, designed to aid individuals and groups, to attain satisfying standards of life and health. Social welfare therefore, aims at providing services to weaker sections of the population who because of various handicaps such as physical, mental, economic and social, are unable to make use of social services provided by society or have been traditionally deprived of these services.

Social welfare administration is a process through which social policy is transformed into social services. It involves the administration of public and private agencies. The following definitions are given to elaborate the meaning of social welfare administration.

Features of Social Welfare Administration

Although the concept of administration is applicable in a broader sense to areas including social welfare, business and government, there are certain distinctive features of social welfare administration. A summary of features highlighting distinctiveness of social welfare administration is given below:

  • It is concerned with social agencies and helps them to achieve their objectives within target community. It is specifically concerned with identification of social objectives and formulation/ implementation of programmes.
  • Despite variations in size, scope, structure and type of programmes, every agency has a governing board as an apex body for final decision making. The board is generally represented by the community it intends to serve.
  • Social welfare administration requires optimum utilization of its available resources together with active community participation, so that the ultimate goal of programmes can be achieved properly.
  • Social welfare agencies have to earmark certain portion of their resources for survival. But this should not limit their capacity to achieve in quantitative and qualitative terms.
  • Social welfare agencies generally function in a co-operative manner and ensure participation of all the members in administration of their activities.

History of Social Welfare Administration In India

Mutual aid has been part of every society. The desire to help one’s fellowmen has been in existence from time immemorial but the forms and methods of help have been varying from society to society, depending upon the social, economic and political factors.

Indian traditional view of social welfare is based on daya, dana, dakshina, bhiksha, samya-bhava, swadharma and tyaga, the essence of which are selfdiscipline, self-sacrifice and consideration for others. Well-being of all depend on these values upheld by people individually and through community action. All the religions enjoined upon their devotees to put aside a portion of their income to be utilised for charitable purposes as that would grant them happiness in this world and salvation in the next world. The rulers of those days extended help to the afflicted part of the population during emergencies like floods, earthquakes, fires, droughts and other natural calamities etc.

From the administrative angle, in India, the reigns of king Ashoka, Harsha, Chandra Gupta Maurya, Akbar, Sher Shah Suri and Feroze Tuglak, are the landmarks of administration who took care of the social needs of the people. The British Government also established an administrative set-up intended mainly for maintaining law and order. Some social reform measures were taken up by banning Sati and permitting widow remarriage by Acts passed in 1829 and 1856 respectively.

After independence, the old administrative pattern was more or less continued with necessary changes to suit the social, political and economic set-up evolved. In the field of social welfare, during the First Five Year Plan, government of India created a unique administrative machinery consisting of an autonomous board named CSWB (Central Social Welfare Board) in August 1953. Similarly, Social Welfare Advisory Boards were established at state level. The main purpose of the Board (CSWB) has been to provide financial and technical assistance to voluntary organisations working in the field of social welfare.

If we look at the history of administrative organisation, we find that before 1964 social welfare programmes were being managed by different ministries such as education, home, industries, health, labour etc. The Renuka Ray Committee in its report submitted in 1960, recommended the establishment of the Department of Social Security. Under the Prime Ministership of Lal Bahadur Shastri, a Social Security Department was established and located in the Ministry of Law on 14th June 1964. Subjects, namely, social security, social welfare, backward classes and khadi and handicrafts were allocated to the Department of Social Security. In 1966, it was renamed as Social Welfare Department. It was located in the Ministry of Education and Social Welfare created in 1971. Its status was raised to a ministry in the year 1979. Its name was further changed to the Ministry of Social and Women Welfare in 1984. With the creation of a separate Department of Women and Child Development in the Ministry of Human Resource Development, it was reorganised and its nomenclature was changed to the Ministry of Welfare in 1985 and subsequently it was renamed as the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Thus, the Central government has set up a fullfledged ministry and organisations subordinate to it, like National Commission for Scheduled Castes/ Tribes, Minorities Commission, National Institute of Social Defence, National Institute for the Handicapped, Department of Women and Child Development, Central Social Welfare Board, National Institute of Public Co-operation and Child Development etc. under its administrative control.

Besides the execution of social welfare projects, schemes and programmes sponsored and financed wholly or partly by the Central government; the state governments and union territory administrations formulate and implement welfare service programmes on their own in their respective jurisdictions. The state government/union territories administrations carry out their welfare obligations and programmes mainly through their Department of Social Welfare and voluntary organisations. In most of the states there is now either a full-time Secretary for social welfare or it is one of the main portfolios of a secretary. Thus social welfare schemes are still spread over more than one department/directorate. The pattern of implementation of some of the schemes, like old age pension, widow pension, and supplementary nutrition programmes also varies from state to state. Though most of the states now have district social welfare officers, there is no social welfare functionary at block level.

Issues in Indian Administration

Administrative culture in India

The seeds of the term “Administrative Culture” were sown in 1963 when Gabriel Almond and Sydney Verba published their path-breaking work, “The Civic Culture”. Culture refers to norms, attitudes, values, perceptions, interpretation and behaviour of an individual. Similarly, administrative culture comprises values, beliefs, attitudes, etc., concerning administrative action and behaviour. It connotes the mode and style of functioning of officials. Administration is culture-bound. It is shaped by the setting or the environment in which it operates. It develops specific features in different environments. A study of structures and functions of Public Administration in different countries reveals that there exists similarity in formal organizations but their informal and behavioural patterns possess considerable diversities. On account of these diversities, Fred W. Riggs classified social structures into three types viz., fused, prismatic and diffracted and outlined specific features of administration in each of these categories. In his analysis of prismatic society, the major focus is upon the impact of environment on administrative structures.

In India public service is generally viewed as a high and a noble calling. It is service in the cause of the nation and there can be no service higher than that of the sovereign state. People who join it do not anticipate becoming rich and famous, but majority of them feel a basic commitment to the values of public service; others develop such a commitment after working in the government for some time. No administrator functions in a vacuum.

Administration and Political Environment

Administration is most immediately influenced by the political system. The nature of political system determines the nature of administrative system. For example, during British regime, Indian political system was centralized, exploitative, repressive and authoritarian. Therefore, administration too, was of that kind. But after independence political system became decentralized, democratic, developmental, people and welfare-oriented. Therefore, administration also became like that. Thus, political system impacts administrative system. Similarly, administration also impacts political system. It helps formulate governmental programmes and policies. The administrators provide different types of data, information, expertise, suggestions, feedback etc., to the ministers on the basis of which realistic.

Administration and Economic Environment

Administration is influenced by the economic set-up . For example, in a country with limited economic resources administrators are not in a position to implement governmental programmes and policies successfully. But administration of a developed country can successfully implement programmes and policies because of abundance of resources. Further, in a country with closed economy the scope of administration will be more whereas in an open economy administration will have less scope as here private parties are the key players. Thus, economic environment impacts administration.

Administration and Socio-Cultural Environment

Socio-cultural environment affects the administration. There exists casteism, nepotism, favouritism, corruption and other ills in the society. Hence, these ailments are also found in administrators. It is mainly because of the fact that the administrators have to operate in the society. Therefore, they get affected with all these social maladies. Similarly, administration can also influence social environment by contributing to the formulation of policies for mitigating social evils. Thus, administration and social environment impact each other. The preceding discussion makes it amply clear that the administration is influenced by the environment in which it operates and in turn, it also influences the environment.

It became omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. It became part of a system aptly termed as “New Despotism” by Justice Hewart. In short, it became a victim of various administrative ills some of which can be discussed as follows:


Bureaucracy remains unresponsive to popular demands, desires and aspirations. It tends to regard itself as the self-appointed guardian and interpreter of public interests. Its members feel that they are doing a favour by providing a service to them, even though they are paid from public exchequer to do so. The experience over the years shows that it has behaved more as a ruling class than a serving one as it is clear from its very functioning in India which is, by and large, aristocratic, authoritarian, arrogant and oppressive.

Red Tapism

It refers to undue formalism. It puts too much emphasis on “Procedure through proper channel” and precedents. Left to itself, it tends to multiply the red tape till it almost smothers itself. Bureaucracy seems to forget that the community does not exist for the purpose of filling up forms or obeying regulations, but that forms and regulations exist for the service of the community.


Bureaucracy has become a victim of Parkinson’s Law or the Rising Pyramid of bureaucrats. Parkinson’s Law refers to a situation wherein staff in an organization outnumbers the volume of work. In other words, bureaucracy is self- perpetuating in the sense that the civil servants have a tendency to increase day by day in number, irrespective of workload.


Bureaucrats are supposed to be the servants of the people in a democratic set-up. But in reality, they have become their masters. Instead of serving the community the average bureaucrats are engaged in fulfilling their own desires and aspirations. They disregard people’s interests and opinions. They maintain distance from the masses. In the name of people and community they are involved in self- seeking, nepotism and favouritis.


Bureaucrats are alleged to have been indulged in corrupt practices. Corruption has become all-pervasive. It is the greatest hindrance to excellence in public service. It flows from top to bottom like water. Political corruption is considered fountainhead / gangotri of all types of corruption in India. Hence, political corruption needs to be curbed if administrative corruption has to be checked. Corruption today has become so much pervasive that it seems that honesty is the lack of opportunity of corruption.

Lack of neutrality

The administrators are supposed to be politically neutral. They should not be committed to any party, leader or ideology. Their commitment must be towards Constitution, people and development. They have to be politically unbiased. Whichever party or leader comes to power, they have to serve with same zeal and enthusiasm. However, in actual practice, such things appear to be missing.

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