Our Constitution-makers laid down certain guidelines in the Constitution to be followed by the governments while administering the state. These guidelines are contained in Section IV of the Constitution and are known as the Directive Principles of State Policy.
Object of Directive Principles:
The directive principles constitute a restatement of the ideals mentioned in the Preamble. They are guidelines or instructions to the government to be kept in mind while formulating various policies.
They are essential in the governance of the country and it is the duty of the State to apply these in making laws. They help in bringing about-all-round development of the citizens of the century and help in establishing a welfare state where equal opportunities are granted to all in the social, economic and educational spheres. The directive principles also serve as a yardstick to measure or assess the performance of a government.
Following are some of the directive principles of the state policy that are included in our Constitution:
A. Principles related to the establishment of a welfare state (Economic Equality):
1. The State shall provide adequate means of live hood, both to men and women;
2. Distribution of the ownership of material resources should be done in such a way that it is not concentrated in the hands of only a few people but used in such a way that is in the best interests of the masses;
3. The state shall ensure equal pay for equal work for both men and women;
4. It shall secure suitable employment, which shall not undermine the health of men, women and children;
5. Moral and material exploitation of women and children should be stopped;
6. The state shall improve the working conditions and secure for all workers reasonable wages to help them lead decent lives; and
7. It should do its best to raise the standard of living and to improve public health.
B. Principles related to social and educational upliftment :
1. The State makes arrangements to provide free and compulsory education to children between 6 and 10 years of age within 10 years from the commencement of the Constitution;
2. The State shall put an end to the exploitation of the scheduled tribes and scheduled castes and the socially and economically backward classes;
3. The State shall consider its primary duty to stop the use of intoxicating drinks; and
4. The State shall, as far as possible, devise a uniform code of conduct for all sections of the society.
C. Directive Principles pertaining to administrative matters:
1. The State shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive.
2. The State shall take steps to organize village panchayats as units of rural self-government; and
3. The State shall protect historical monuments from destruction and disfigurement.
D. Directive Principles for international Peace:
1. Secure international peace and security;
2. Maintain good relations between nations;
3. Respect international laws and treaties; and
4. Solve disputes through peaceful means.
Thus, we see that the directive principles of the state policy are important for the establishment of a welfare state. Although they are not binding on any government, they have a moral value. With the help of these principles, the government can bring about more improvements in the condition of the people.