Social policy therefore can be said to have three main characteristics- Page 4 a) It aims to be beneficent by directing welfare for its citizens. b) It includes economic as well as non-economic objectives. c) It involves some level of progressive redistribution in the command over resources from the rich to the poor.
Modern government is grounded on the social contract between citizens and the
State wherein the terms and conditions have been mutually decided for the wellbeing of the nation. This conscious effort has been done between the two entities,
that is, the State and citizens’ for two reasons: firstly, citizens agree to support
the State either to pay taxes and remittances or adhering to government order or
subscribing to the higher ideals like equality, equity, fraternity etc. Secondly, the
State in reciprocation secures legitimacy to govern the country by protecting
people’s rights and evolving appropriate social policies for the common good.
Modern governments especially in the developing countries have been giving
adequate importance to social policies to overcome social problems, such as,
illiteracy, alcohol and drug abuse, ill-health, elderly abuse, and social injustice to
the deprived communities. According to the Russian Nobel laureate Aleksandr
Solzhenitsyn, “If state and social policy will not be based on morality, then
mankind has no future to speak of….” This statement reinforces that any policy
must be evolved for sustained human development and effective social policies
could lead to two consequences: legitimisation of State and citizen well-being
With increasing number of social policies, the domain of social policy, as an
academic discipline started widening its boundaries by taking insights from other
social science disciplines like sociology, economics, politics, history, law etc.
In this Unit, we shall discuss about the concept of social policy, characteristics,
goals, scope, functions, principles, and models.