Welfare

Reviewed by Annapoorna | Updated on Aug 27, 2020

What is Welfare?

Welfare refers to assistance programs sponsored by governments for needy individuals and families, including schemes, such as food stamps, health care assistance, and unemployment compensation. These welfare schemes are typically financed through taxation.

Accordingly, welfare denotes the range of government programs providing financial or other assistance to individuals or societal groups who cannot support themselves. Qualification for benefits depends upon several factors, including family size and income levels.

Welfare programs are usually funded by the taxpayers and enable people to overcome financial stress during the rough periods of their lives. Mostly, people using welfare will get a biweekly or monthly payment. The goals of welfare can be promoting work, education, or providing a better standard of living.

How Does Welfare Work?

The perks available to an individual differ from state to state. The eligibility can be determined based on the factors surrounding the financial status and its relation to the minimum acceptable levels for a particular state. The factors included can be the size of the family unit, assessed disability, or the current income levels.

In every state, social welfare systems may be called in different names, but they usually cater to similar functions. This can create anomaly when trying to compare one state's program with another. Moreover, the conditions to qualify also differ depending upon the poverty line in a particular state.

The flexibility provides for adjustments keeping certain metrics into consideration, such as the cost of living is not standardized across the nation.

Public Welfare in India

The welfare expenditures by the Central Government of India are a substantial portion of the sanctioned union budget. Also, the state and local governments play important roles in promoting and executing welfare policies.

Part IV of the Indian Constitution dictates the Directive Principles of State Policy reflecting India as a 'welfare state'. It involves the reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in government jobs, educational institutions, Lok Sabha, and Vidhan Sabha.

The government has also passed laws for eradicating untouchability, forced labour, and Zamindari. From a long time now, the government has opened up fair price shops, where essential commodities are sold at a reasonable price to the poor and backward sections of the society.

The union and state governments keep reserved seats in political parties and educational institutions for lower castes and indigenous persons proportionate to the percentage of their population. Governments have produced development programs often at state or local levels for the social and economic development of women and lower castes.