Pakistan and the vision of a welfare state | The Express Tribune (2022)

Had Pakistan been a welfare state, Karachi would not have been so badly hit by torrential rains

Pakistan and the vision of a welfare state | The Express Tribune (1)

The writer is former Dean Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Karachi and can be reached at [emailprotected]

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It is very easy to dream that Pakistan should be a welfare state but how this dream should be accomplished is the real issue. The reality on the ground is entirely different because of the lack of leadership at almost all levels which is not competent, honest and committed to strive for good governance, rule of law, justice and caring about the interests of people rather than maximising their wealth, power and comfort zones.

What is a welfare state and how is it inconsistent with the ground realities in Pakistan? What are the major requirements and impediments for establishing a welfare state in Pakistan? David Robertson in his book, A Dictionary of Modern Politics , says, “Welfare state is a term that came into general use during the Second World War coalition government in Britain, largely as a result of the influential Beveridge report of 1944. This set up a plan for a comprehensive set of services financed largely out of national insurance contributions levied both on workers and employees. The scheme was to ensure not only the previously acquired right to an old age pension, but to put unemployment pay, sickness and inquiry benefit, and a variety of other financial protections against hardship on to a regularised basis.”

While Britain is no more a welfare state in a traditional sense, only Canada and the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden to a large extent take care of unemployed and sick people. The US over the years has withdrawn most of the concessions offered under the ‘New Deal’ of former American president Franklin D Roosevelt like social security, medicare and medicaid. Even then, human and social values to protect the vulnerable segments of society in the first and some developing countries, which should have been a priority in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, are not to be seen.

A welfare state is a system where those wielding power are accountable to people and the law and where the state while collecting taxes is supposed to use such resources for the wellbeing and empowerment of the people by providing them access to basic necessities of life like clean and safe drinking water, respectable public transport, better health and educational facilities. A welfare state cannot be created by equating it with the Riyasat-e-Madina while living in comfort zones and denying people a better quality of life. Not even 1% of the conditions which existed in the world’s first welfare state in Madina are met by those who commit to transform Pakistan as a better place for the vulnerable and disempowered segments of society.

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Likewise, not even half a step has been taken by those at the helm of affairs since the creation of Pakistan till today in the direction of establishing a welfare state. When more than 25 million children are out of school, massive corruption and nepotism has taken the toll of so-called developmental programmes, and under various photo sessions the privileged class in possession of political power and confined to their comfort zones try to launch health programmes, one can only see a mockery of a welfare state.

There is no dearth of talent and human resource in Pakistan but when it comes to the implementation of various programmes aiming to augment the quality of life of people, one can witness contradiction in theory and practice. In principle, there is no disagreement in Pakistan that the country should be a welfare state but when it comes to practice the outcome is quite dismal.

One can identify three reasons why the vision to have a welfare state of Pakistan has not been transformed into reality.

First, the culture of greed, lust for power, corruption and nepotism which is a reflection of feudal mentality in Pakistan is a major impediment in the way of establishing a welfare state. Lack of ownership and using all possible means to seek ill-gotten money for maximising wealth needs to be properly addressed. When the concept of a welfare state is merely based on rhetoric and gives people false hope, how can one expect any positive change in society? Unless there is paradigm shift in Pakistan’s culture which tends to keep things as they are and the elites are least mindful of their responsibility to bring socio-economic change in society the vision of a welfare state would remain hollow and far from reality.

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Second, it is argued that there is a culture of charity in Pakistan and every year billions of rupees are donated to the poor and needy. In that case, why is the graph of poverty going up in Pakistan? Why, despite generous charity, there are millions of beggars on the streets of Pakistan? The reason for the rising poverty and beggary despite charity is the absence of the culture of philanthropy. In a welfare state it is the role of philanthropists who support projects and programmes in areas of poverty alleviation, youth empowerment through better education, and human and social development. If charity begins at home, philanthropy also becomes part of the culture. No government in Pakistan has taken the concept of welfare state seriously and has used it as a political tool in order to seek popular support in elections. A welfare state doesn’t mean that the state promotes beggary and dependence but that it ensures that the tax money is justly used to support those who are unemployed and require medical assistance. The government should have promoted the culture of philanthropy instead of charity so that the needy are provided skills to earn a livelihood instead of remaining dependent on public money or charity for generations.

Third, it is not only the government which needs to present a viable plan of establishing a welfare state and its proper implementation but the people should also be educated and contribute to generating resources to launch viable and corruption-free health schemes, retirement fund, housing, education and public transport facilities.

In the ultimate analysis, it is the state which is supposed to take up the responsibility of transforming Pakistan from a poor, underdeveloped and economically dependent state to a welfare state where each and every penny is judiciously used for the betterment of the people. Proper work ethics, will, determination, clarity, planning, integrity and commitment are major requirements if the leadership is to accomplish the vision of transforming Pakistan into a welfare state so that the future generations of this country do not carry the baggage of corruption, nepotism, poverty, foreign assistance, and economic and social backwardness.

Had Pakistan been a welfare state, Karachi would not have been so badly hit by torrential rains or people would not have been denied access to clean and safe drinking water, quality education, better healthcare and public transport. At the end of the day, it is the leadership which should get serious, and formulate and implement policies to ameliorate the socio-economic conditions of the people.

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Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2020.

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(Video) Transforming Pakistan into a welfare state.

FAQs

Does Pakistan have a welfare system? ›

Historically, social welfare measures in Pakistan have been fragmented and suffered from implementation and design errors (Khan & Qutub 2010) Presently, Pakistan relies on social protection programs for welfare provisioning and it does not have a social welfare state similar to high-income countries (MoF 2015).

Who gave the concept of welfare state in subcontinent? ›

Emperor Ashoka of India put forward his idea of a welfare state in the 3rd century BCE.

What are the goals of social policy? ›

The main goal of social policies is to ensure that everyone in society lives in peace and harmony away from conflicts. With social policies, it is aimed to ensure social justice, social development, social balance, social integration, and social peace.

What are 3 examples of a social policy? ›

Some examples of social policies include: government pensions, welfare for the poor, food stamps, affordable housing initiatives, health care, unemployment benefits, equal opportunity employment laws, antidiscrimination laws, and policy initiatives which are designed to benefit disadvantaged people in society.

What is the role of social welfare in Pakistan? ›

Registration, assessment, training, employment, and rehabilitation of disabled persons. Eradication of social evils. Coordination with and grant-in-aid to non-governmental organizations engaged in the field of narcotics control and rehabilitation of drug addicts. Relief during calamities and emergencies.

How many levels of education are there in Pakistan? ›

The education system in Pakistan is generally divided into six levels: preschool (for the age from 3 to 5 years), primary (years one to five), middle (years six to eight), high (years nine and ten, leading to the Secondary School Certificate or SSC), intermediate (years eleven and twelve, leading to a Higher Secondary ...

What are the three types of welfare states? ›

In this book he distinguishes three types of welfare states, namely liberal, social democratic and the conservative welfare states. Each of the welfare state types has its own characteristics (Esping-Andersen 1990).

What is the importance of welfare state? ›

A welfare state is a state that is committed to providing basic economic security for its citizens by protecting them from market risks associated with old age, unemployment, accidents, and sickness.

What are the main features of welfare state? ›

Characteristics of welfare state
  • A welfare state ensures social security. ...
  • A welfare state is socialistic in nature. ...
  • 3.It exercises control over all the economic activities. ...
  • 4.It provides even the basic facilities to its citizens. ...
  • 5.It undertakes and runs various enterprises. ...
  • 6.It ensures justice to all.
Jun 10, 2011

What are the three 3 goals of social welfare? ›

The Social Welfare Services aim to safeguard social cohesion and social solidarity; to provide social protection, achieve social inclusion and promote equal opportunities for all citizens in the Republic of Cyprus; to combat poverty and social exclusion and to promote the interests of individuals, families and ...

What does welfare state mean? ›

welfare state, concept of government in which the state or a well-established network of social institutions plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of citizens.

What are the characteristics of social welfare policies? ›

These welfare measures include the well-being and interests of large number of people which comprises their physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and economic needs of the family members. Welfare measures have the intention of strengthening the individual's capacity to cope with his life situation.

Does welfare help poverty? ›

Welfare does not reduce poverty; it may actually increase it. The Census Bureau determines the poverty status of a family by comparing the family's pre-tax cash income with a poverty threshold that depends on family size and composition.

Is welfare a social policy? ›

Important areas of social policy are wellbeing and welfare, poverty reduction, social security, justice, unemployment insurance, living conditions, animal rights, pensions, health care, social housing, family policy, social care, child protection, social exclusion, education policy, crime and criminal justice, urban ...

What are the benefits of social policies? ›

The main reason is that social policies are meant to meet the needs of people in various ways: providing cash benefits to offset poverty; health services to maintain physical and mental well-being; housing services to provide shelter; education and training to enable people to live independently and participate fully ...

What is social welfare? ›

Social welfare includes healthcare, empowerment, housing and other programs geared towards assisting the poor, unemployed and marginalized in society. Such programs include Medicaid, AFDC (Aid for families with dependent children), WIC (women, infants and children) programs, veteran programs and others.

What are the duties of a social welfare officer? ›

One of the most common uses of the term concerns social welfare; officers in these settings often advocate for underprivileged families, individuals, and communities, and work to provide things like affordable shelter, food, and employment opportunities.

What is 13th class called in Pakistan? ›

A student studying under level of Bachelors is called undergraduate in Pakistan. You can say, if you are studying in 13th or 14th year of education, you are an undergraduate. Pakistani Postgraduate: A student studying, over level of Bachelors is called postgraduate in Pakistan.

Which city is most educated in Pakistan? ›

Top 10 Districts in the 2017 Middle School education Score Index
RankDistrictProvince/region
1HunzaGilgit-Baltistan
2SwatKhyber Pakhtunkhwa
3IslamabadIslamabad Capital Territory
4PeshawarKhyber Pakhtunkhwa
6 more rows

Where does Pakistan rank in education? ›

The World Economic Forum calculates 130 countries in the world for human capital report 2017. In that list Pakistan stands 125th worse Education system. From south Asian countries only Sri Lanka comes in top 100 list, and the number of sri lanka is 70th and nepal rank stands 98 and India is on 103 rank.

What is an example of a welfare state? ›

Countries that use the welfare state concept include: the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Findland, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Austria, Greece, Japan, Netherlands, Switzerland, Iceland, Kuwait, Israel, Slovenia, Australia, South Korea, Estonia, Latvia, Israel, Canada, New Zealand, and the United ...

What are the four types of welfare? ›

Housing, food, medical care, and financial assistance for daily life are all provided by different social welfare programs.

What are the types of welfare? ›

Definition and Examples of Welfare Programs
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Medicaid.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP or "food stamps")
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
  • Housing assistance.

Where was the first welfare state? ›

The first welfare state was Imperial Germany (1871–1918), where the Bismarck government introduced social security in 1889.

What is the most important function of a welfare state? ›

The primary functions of a welfare state are : i) To afford equality of opportunity; ii) To afford basic standards of living; in keeping with human dignity to all; Whatever their station in life and the social system, and within a democratic framework and within a world at peace.

What are the two main principles of the welfare state? ›

1 A welfare state is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions of a good life.

When did the welfare state start? ›

Histories of the welfare state usually begin around 1945.

Who started welfare? ›

Although President Franklin D. Roosevelt focused mainly on creating jobs for the masses of unemployed workers, he also backed the idea of federal aid for poor children and other dependent persons. By 1935, a national welfare system had been established for the first time in American history.

What is the nature of social welfare? ›

Social Welfare pertains to the efforts made by the government and voluntary organisations to help families living below the poverty line by providing them with medical care , public health services, looking after their household needs , helping in social adjustments etc.

What is another name for welfare state? ›

government taking social responsibility (noun)

Social Services, welfare statism, social democracy.

What is welfare in Islam? ›

The Islamic concept of welfare encompasses all the welfare services which are known in the West as social services - education, health, rural development, agriculture, public health, sanitation, income maintenance, child welfare, law and order and any other aspect of material and social well-being.

What are the characteristics of Pakistani society? ›

11 Key Traits of Pakistani Culture
  • Religious Uniformity. Pakistan came into existence to provide its people with a system based on Islam. ...
  • Language. A number of languages are spoken in Pakistan. ...
  • Literature and Poetry. ...
  • Dress and Diet. ...
  • Mixed Culture. ...
  • Male Dominated Society. ...
  • Arts and Architecture. ...
  • Handicrafts.
Mar 25, 2014

What is social welfare? ›

Social welfare includes healthcare, empowerment, housing and other programs geared towards assisting the poor, unemployed and marginalized in society. Such programs include Medicaid, AFDC (Aid for families with dependent children), WIC (women, infants and children) programs, veteran programs and others.

What is the scope of social welfare? ›

The scope of social welfare administration is quite diverse in nature. With the emergence of new social problems of entirely different nature, a new strategy needs to be evolved for their solution. It may require optimum utilisation of available resources e.g. human, institutional, financial, technological etc.

What does welfare state mean? ›

welfare state, concept of government in which the state or a well-established network of social institutions plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of citizens.

What is the modern welfare state? ›

Modern Welfare State

The Welfare state is based on the principle of equal opportunity, equitable distribution of resources, and public participation for all. It involves the utilization of funds from the government or state to the service provided including education, healthcare, and pension plan.

What is the important factor in Islamic welfare state? ›

Besides the protection of life , property and honour of its citizens, it is the obligation of an Islamic state to provide them with food, shelter, clothing and other basic necessities of life and to ensure a respectable standard of living for every individual , who is unable or made unable to take care of his own needs ...

What is important in Pakistani culture? ›

Pakistani Culture is very unique in terms of its social values revolving around the religion of Islam. The region has formed a distinct cultural unit within the main cultural complex of South Asia, Middle East and Central Asia with an integration of elements from various invading cultures from the earliest of times.

What are the values of Pakistani culture? ›

Pakistan has a collectivist culture in the sense that people are deeply interdependent and loyal to those who are in their inner circle. Social connections are essential to daily life, as citizens have often had to rely on themselves instead of their government for support and opportunities.

Is Pakistan a poor country? ›

Pakistan is among the poorest nations in the world.

What are the two types of welfare? ›

There are two major types of public assistance programs; social welfare programs and social insurance programs.

Why is welfare important? ›

Social welfare policy — which guides the government programs that assist people in need — builds on the idea that a government has a responsibility to protect its citizens from harm. According to the principle, a society can thrive only when it provides safeguards for those who face risks to their well-being.

Who started welfare? ›

Although President Franklin D. Roosevelt focused mainly on creating jobs for the masses of unemployed workers, he also backed the idea of federal aid for poor children and other dependent persons. By 1935, a national welfare system had been established for the first time in American history.

What are the characteristics of social welfare? ›

A social welfare system offers assistance to individuals and families in need, with such programs as health care assistance, food stamps, and unemployment compensation. Lesser known parts of a social welfare system include disaster relief and educational assistance.

What is the nature of social welfare? ›

Social Welfare pertains to the efforts made by the government and voluntary organisations to help families living below the poverty line by providing them with medical care , public health services, looking after their household needs , helping in social adjustments etc.

What is the history of social welfare? ›

The history of social welfare is an interdisciplinary study of the evolution of charitable works, organized activities related to social reform movements and non-profit or public social services designed to protect or benefit individuals, families and citizens of the larger society.

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