The social Welfare Services of the Government of India are intended to carter to the special needs of persons and groups who, by reason of some handicap, social, economic, physicals or mental are unable to avail themselves of the amenities and services provided by the community. These weaker sections include women, children, handicapped, aged and infirm, Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes etc.
Social welfare activities in the country find their inspiration in constitution which postulates the goal of welfare state. Article 38 of the Constitution enjoying that the steps shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may, a social order in which, social, economic and political shall in form all the institutions of the national life.
They also encourage the states to ensure that the health and strength of wonders, men and women and the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age and strength, and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.
The Social Welfare Services in almost four decades of planning having sought to serve the development and rehabilitation needs of the weaker sections of the society.
The programmes of Social Welfare have been included in various Five Year Plans.
1) Women Welfare:
It was realised that the regeneration of women should be intrinsically bound up with the regeneration of the entire nation. Hence it was considered necessary to initiate specific measure for the welfare of women. Further, the benefits, of general welfare programmes reach women and children indirectly. It was not adequate for the need of women. Therefore, specific programmes have been initiated for the welfare of women.
These programmes include prohibition of dowry, functional literacy for adult women, working women’s hostels and Mahila Mandals etc. Besides socio economic programmes have been undertaken the Government to provide needy women and destitute with work and wage to supplement the meager income of their families. Learning from the shortcoming of the past and the tardy progress have made in the development of women.
The nation has now taken women’s development seriously particularly women in rural areas. The Development of Women and Children and Rural Areas (DWCAR) is one such effort in this direction and this was introduced in the year 1982-83. This scheme has been extended to all the districts of the country. The basic idea behind DWCRA is to mobilise all avenues of development efforts to support women in order to improve their status. This development scheme is managed by only women functionaries.
2) Child Welfare:
No programme of social welfare can afford to ignore the child. Therefore, various services have been provided to the children at district from general social services. These include establishment of Balwadis, grants for organising holidays groups for school going children of low income families, establishment of Ashram schools, rehabilitation of handicapped children, probation, services, care and protection for children, provision for both institutional and non institutional services which include establishment of postal schools, children’s home to tackle the problem of juvenile delinquency.
In the Fifth Plan highest priority had been accorded to child welfare programmes. The most important scheme in this field was the integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) for the children in the age group of 0 to 6 years. Under the scheme a package of services consisting of supplementary nutrition, immunisation, health check up referral services, health education is delivered. Further child referral services, health education is delivered. Further child development and welfare have been integrated into the DWCRA Scheme.
3) Welfare of physically handicapped:
Programmes are being implemented for the education, training and rehabilitation of four categories of handicapped persons, namely, the blind, the deaf, the orthopedically handicapped and mentally retarded. The Union Ministry of Social Welfare awards scholarship to blind, deaf and orthopedically handicapped students for general education and for technical and professional training. The national centre for the blind, DehraDun, provides integrated services.
The National centre for deaf at Hyderabad has a training centre for the adult deaf and a school for deaf children. The training centre imparts training in tailoring, carpentry, electrical wireman ship, gas welding and photography etc. The Government of India has taken steps for rehabilitation of handicapped persons. One such step is that pilot projects (DEC) are working in our country for rehabilitation of handicapped. Assistance is also given to voluntary organisation serving the handicapped.
4) Welfare of Scheduled Castes:
The Welfare of Scheduled Caste and Tribes is given special attention by both the Central and State Governments, Special Programmes for their welfare have been undertaken in the successive Five year Plans. Programmes for the welfare and development of Scheduled Castes and tribes are conceived of as being supplement to general developmental programmes in different sectors. Special provisions have been made for them so as to generate larger support from general schemes of development.
Welfare schemes for Scheduled Castes includes Commission for Harijan where, free education, free books and stationery, scholarship reservation in service, educational institutions, legislature and Panchayats and creation of economic opportunities for the economic development of the Harijans. Government is doing every possible effort to improve their housing conditions.
New colonies are being constructed for them. The constitution of India has provided certain safeguards to all Harijan Communities. Accordingly the Central Government passed an Act the Untouchability Offences Act, 1955 which forbids the practice of untouchabilty in any form.
5) Tribal Welfare:
The Indian Constitution has made important provision for the welfare of tribal people. The Government has given special attention to their education and economic development. In free India the state and Central Govt. Have made incessant efforts in the direction of tribal welfare. Special programmes for their welfare have been undertaken in the successive Five Year Plan. The main programmes are reservation in the services and legislatures, post metric scholarship, girls, hostel, overseas scholarship by central Government.
The state Sector Programme for which central assistance is given can be divided into three main groups, namely education, economic upliftment and health. The services provide to tribal’s under these programmes are free education, provision for educational equipments; setting up of Ashram School, supply of bullocks, seeds and manure, development of cottage industries and communications supply of sheep’s, pigs and goats medical facilities and drinking water provision of houses and house sites and provision of legal aid.