|1st Five Year Plan||
[ Home ]
|<< Back to Index|
|| APPENDIX (CH-9)
|| APPENDIX (CH-14)
|| APPENDIX (CH-24)
|| APPENDIX (CH-29)
The social structure in India has shown strength in endurance, and a unity of basic outlook in the midst of change and vicissitude. This strength has now to be demonstrated in productive and creative endeavour ; and the unity of the people has to be deepened and harnessed for economic development and cultural achievement.
2. The object of social welfare is the attainment of social health which implies the realisation of such objectives as adequate living standards, the assurance of socia! justice, opportunities for cultural development through individual and group self-expressions, and re-adjustment ol'human relations leading to social harmony. A comprehensive concept of living standards will include the satisfaction of basic needs like food, clothing and shelter as well as normal Scitisfactions of family life, enjoyment of physical and mental health, opportunities for the expression of skills and recreational abilities, and active and pleasurable social participation. The achievement of social justice demands co-operative and concerted effort on the pan of the State and the people. These objectives are to be achieved mainly by revitalising the nation's life by creating well-organised and active regional communities in rural and urban areas to work co-opcratively for national development. Such decentralised community groups will release national energy, extend the scope for leadership, and help to create initiative and organisation extensively in the remotest parts of the country.
3. The aim of social service in the past was essentially curative, and efforts were directed towards relief for the handicapped and the uplift of the under-privileged sections of society. It is now essential to maintain vigilance over weaknesses and strains in the social structure and to provide against them by organising social services. The aim of all social work now has to be the gradual rehabilitation of all weak, handicapped and anti-social elements in society.
4. Some of the important social problems like poverty, ignorance, over-population and rural backwardness are of a general nature and, in varying degree, they are influenced by factors like squalor and bad housing, malnutrition and physical and mental ill-health, neglected childhood, family disorganisation anda low standardof living. For alongtime, society has remained apathetic to these conditions , but with the awakening of political consciousness and the enthusiasm of organisations and workers to improve social conditions, there is a possibility of developing programmes which could gradually remedy the present situation. The economic programmes of the Five Year Plan will mitigate these problems to some extent, but the gains of economic development have to be maintained and consolidated by well-conceived and organised social welfare programmes spread over the entire country. In this chapter it is proposed to consider some of the more important problems of social welfare which need the special attention of both State and private welfare agencies.
5. The principal social welfare problems relate to women, children, youth, the family, under-privileged groups and social vice. The social health of any community will depend a great deal upon the status, functions and responsibilities of the woman in the family and in the community. Social conditions should give to the woman opportunities for creative self-expression, so that she can make her full contribution towards the economic and social life of the community. Problems relating to health, maternity and child welfare, education, employment, and conditions of work are dealt with elsewhere in this report. Some problems of women have to be dealt through sodal legislation, but other problems pertaining to health, social education, vocational training, increased participation in social and cultural life, provision of shelter, and assistance to the handicapped or maladjusted call for programmes at the community level. As women have to fulfil heavy domestic and economic responsibilities, adequate attention has to be paid to the need for relaxation and recreation both in the homes as well as in the community. The welfare agencies have catered to some extent to the needs of the widow and the destitute woman, but the quality of the service rendered by them and the nature of their work needs to be surveyed.
6. Considering the numbers involved, the needs of children should receive much greater consideration than is commonly given to them. There is a growing demand for child health services and educational facilities. The standard of child welfare services in the country can be improved if the rate of increase in population is reduced. Problems relating to family planning, children's health, infant mortality, education, training and development have been discussed elsewhere in this report. Malnutrition is perhaps the major cause of ill-health and lack of proper growth of the child. The feeding of the child in the early years is the responsibility of the family, and is dependent upon economic conditions and traditional food habits. The nature and extent of malnutrition has to be determined, and resources have to be found to supplement and improve the diet of children through schools and community and child welfare agencies. The problem of children's recreation and development outside educational institutions has received some attention during recent years, but play activities of children are considerably restricted in urban areas on account of the environmental conditions, lack of adequate space, and, to some extent, neglect of this vital need of the child by the family and the community. Not enough is known about the work of private agencies for the welfare of destitute and homeless children.
7. The juvenile courts and children's aid societies have so far touched a fringe of the problem of children's welfare. Certain special aspects may be briefly mentioned. The existing facilities for handicapped and deficient children are far from adequate and suitable agencies have to be created. Hospitals provide treatment for polio, congenital deformities, fractures, bone disorders and other diseases, but there is a need to extend existing services and provide special institutions and care for disabled and crippled children. At present deficient children attend educational institutions together with normal children and seldom receive treatment and special training to enable them to overcome their handicaps. The subject needs to be studied carefully. The problem of juvenile delinquency has already received considerable attention and many of the States have special legislation. Juvenile delinquency may often be the result of poverty and many offences may be traced to the connivance or support of adults.
8. The youth constitute the most vital section of the community. In recent years, young people have had to face and have been increasingly conscious of problems such as inadequate educational facilities, unemployment, and lack of opportunity for social development, national service and leadership. The problems of health, education and employment of youth have been considered as aspects of national problems in these fields. Social welfare is primarily concerned with the improvement of services provided for the benefit of youth by welfare agencies with the object of promoting development of character and training for citizenship and for physical, intellectual and moral fitness. It is necessary to encourage initiative among youth so that through their own organisations, they can develop programmes of youth welfare and national service. Ways must also be found to give opportunities to youth for active participation in constructive activity. Such training and experience will equip them for shouldering the responsibilities of leadership in different spheres of national life.
9. Traditionally, the family has been left largely to its own resources to deal with most of its problems, although in some cases it may be assisted by the larger community groups (such as caste) to which a family may belong. General problems relating to health, education and employment have been considered in the relevant sections of this report. Questions relating to status and rights, property, inheritance, etc., are the subject of social legislation. The gradual break-up of the joint .family and the emergence of the small family has increased its economic problems and burdens. Family responsibilities have now to be borne at a comparatively younger age by the head of the small family than happened in the joint family. This creates the need for greater guidance and assistance in dealing with family problems. -The increasing complexity of the social situation and handicaps arising from physical disability, ailment or unemployment render it more difficult for the family to provide a sense of security to its members. This fact suggests a number of problems which, along with other problems such as divorce, desertion, and treatment of mal-adjusted members of the family, need to be studied carefully if welfare agencies are to develop suitable methods of treatment for guiding and assisting those in need.
10. There are a number of under-privileged communities such as the scheduled tribes, scheduled castes and other backward classes including criminal tribes. The problems of poverty, ill-health, and lack of opportunities for development affect them to a larger extent than many other sections of the society. The subject is considered in a separate chapter.
11. Every community has its share of those who are physically handicapped such as the blind, the deaf and dumb, and those who are crippled and infirm. Reliable statistics are not available about the extent of the population which suffers from such handicaps. A certain number of welfare agencies are already working in this field, but little information about their resources and their ability to deal with the problem is at present available.
12. The main problems to be considered under the description of social vice are prostitution, crime and delinquency, alcoholism, gambling and .beggary. These problems have existed for a long period, although necessarily their nature and extent vary according to the prevailing social and economic conditions. Some of them have to be dealt with largely by local communities, and the approach and treatment have to be varied from place to place. The character- and magnitude of these problems of social defence have to be determined carefully before the value and efficacy of the existing agencies and programmes could be assessed. Social legislation deals with many of the social evils with a view to controlling and even eradicating them, but its actual implementation needs to be watched. Among the practical problems to be resolved are the demarcation of the relative roles of State and private agencies, determination of the machinery of enforcement, estimation of the resources required, examination of methods, development of correct programmes, and creation of public opinion in favour of an objective and dispassionate approach to the problems of social vice.
13. As the social structure becomes more complex, the State is called upon to play an increasing role in providing services for the welfare of the people. The Central Government, the various State Governments and local self-governing bodies, each in its own sphere, have to ensure that they have at least the minimum administrative machinery for dealing with social "problems. What form this machinery takes will depend on their particular circumstances and requirements, but it is certain that without the necessary machinery they will not be able to pursue their programmes.
14. The functions of the social welfare machinery of the Central and State Governments may, for instance, be :
15. Local self-governing bodies can do much to co-ordinate welfare activities in their areas and promote co-operation between their departments and the work of private agencies. Local committees or councils of social service agencies could undertake activities such as the following depending upon the resources which are available or can be raised :
16. The inter-relationship between the various activities has to be emphasised and the necessary co-ordination assured both in the Central Government; and in tlie States. One aspect of this co-ordination would be to secure that legislation relating to social problems follows broadly similar principles. In cases where grants-in-aid are given by a State authority to a private agency, it is desirable to lay down general directions for improving the content of the programmes and their administration. A measure of supervision and inspection sliould also be provided in order to maintain standards of efficiency.
17. A major responsibility for organising activities in different fields of social welfare, like the welfare of women and children, social education, community organisation, etc., falls naturally on private voluntary agencies. These private agencies have for long been working in their own humble way and without adequate State aid for the achievement of their objectives with their own leadership, organisation and resources. Any plan for the social and economic regeneration of the country should take into account the service rendered by these private agencies and the State should give them the maximum co-operation in strengthening their efforts. Public co-operation, through these voluntary social service organisations, is capable of yielding valuable results in canalising private effort for the promotion of social welfare. One of the most important tasks of the State is to conduct a survey of the nature, quality and extent of service rendered by voluntary agencies in different parts of the country, to assess the extent of financial and other aid that they are in need of in order to develop their programmes of work, and to co-ordinate their activities. A sum of Rs. 4 crores has been provided as grants-in-aid to voluntary social service organisations for strengthening, improving and extending the existing activities in the field of social welfare and for developing new programmes and carrying out pilot projects. It is envisaged that this fund of Rs. 4 crores should be administered by a board to be set up by the Central Government to which a great deal of administrative authority will be devolved. The board should be predominently composed of non-officials who have actual experience of field work in promoting voluntary welfare activities.
18. It is necessary to co-ordinate the programmes of various agencies so qs to guide them into broad streams and bring added strength and intensity of purpose to welfare activities. Such co-ordination calls for a common approach and a co-operative outlook on the part of the, organisers of voluntary social work. Further, it will be necessary to induce agencies to agree to subordinate their individual interests to some extent and thus make collective effort possible not merely in the execution of programmes, but also in the economic and rational use of personnel. Such co-operation could also lead to joint effort in obtaining resources. Co-ordination need not involve on the part of the co-operating organisations loss of individua-'lity or of freedom to organise and to carry out programmes. Co-ordination will have to be of two types. In the first place, there may be functional co-ordination on the part of national organisations striving to achieve specific objectives like physical fitness, child welfare, youth welfare, social education, community organisation, etc. Secondly, there may be effective co-ordination of effort on the part of agencies functioning in the same regional area or community, so that the various agencies may serve each area through a common pool of activities.
TRAINING FOR SOCIAL WORK
19. The contribution which social services make will depend to a considerable extent upon personnel and leadership. A general understanding of the philosophy and history of social work, the structure and functions of society, the nature and extent of social problems, the methods and techniques of social work, and of the details of the programmes and how best their results may be assessed, will help improve the quality and efficacy of all services organised Vy State and private agencies. The training of social workers should of course include knowledge of conditions prevailing in fields in which they are to work, and social workers must possess the spirit of service and the character and energy to execute programmes despite handicaps and limitations and with such resources-as may be readily available.
20. There are several schools of social work in India and the setting up of some other institutions on similar lines is being contemplated in some of the States. There are important problems involved in these institutions which require specially qualified and experienced personnel, careful selection of candidates for training, special training for fields in which there is scope for employment, and adequate opportunities for field-work experience. Trained social workers are needed in large numbers for rural areas. It should be possible for the existing schools of social work to draw students from rural areas and to arrange for their training in the field in selected centres organised by rural welfare agencies. Universities and colleges in or near rural areas could also develop training programmes for rural welfare. Agricultural colleges could introduce intensive social welfare courses and field-work 'programmes as part of their curricula. Similar institutions with greater emphasis on social anthropology could be created in tribal' areas.
21. It is not possible for many voluntary organisations in the country to employ highly trained personnel for their ordinary programmes and activities. It is, therefore, necessary to arrange for training at the community level for field workers, instructors and supervisors. The existing schools of social work, specialised social service agencies, social welfare agencies functioning at the national and State level should provide opportunities for such training. Arrangements for ` in-service' training should also be made by the larger voluntary organfsations which have worked in the field of social welfare for many years. Further, arrangements have to te made for the training of voluntary workers who will be needed in large numbers during the coming years. It is especially desirable that voluntary administrative and field personnel should be given some elementary training in social work.
22. The emergence of State social services and of large central organisations to deal with important social problems and the lack of opportunities for higher training in the social sciences within the country indicate the need in selected cases for training and study abroad in specialised fields. It is necessary that persons who go abroad for training should first have sufficient knowledge and experience of Indian conditions and problems.
23. Scientific research into social problems and fields of social work is at present limited to a few universities and the schools of social work. A provision ofRs. 50 lakhs has been made in the Plan for research and investigations relating to social, economic and administrative problems of national development. Research studies now undertaken are not adequate or extensive enough for the purpose of getting a comprehensive knowledge of basic social problems. It is necessary to stress the need for ensuring that research personnel receive adequate training in methods and techniques. Secondly, it is important that the results of any research that is carried out should be made available to the public. The appropriate machinery for guiding research in the fields mentioned above is at present under consideration. In the field of social research, it will be necessary to give a broad direction concerning the subjects on which research should be undertaken, carry out some important research projects, directly co-ordinate the work of research agencies in so far as this may be necessary, and assist these agencies in improving the quality of their work and bringing the results of research to the attention of the public. Universities, schools of social work, social welfare agencies and special research organisations can co-operate in research projects and in field investigations which could be of practical value in dealing with social problems. Assistance cou d also be given by way of literature and equipment needed for field research.
24. The total resources of the country being limited, it is essential to ensure that funds available for social welfare programmes on the part of State agencies as well as voluntary organisations are put to the best possible use. This is .a problem to which the proposed social welfare board could give detailed attention. While the State may assist suitable voluntary agencies, the principle of self-help should be applied to social welfare, and the resources needed should, as far as possible, be obtained from the local communities. Social services. are organised to carry out specific welfare activities. The total resources required by social service agencies in the country are obtained from State grants, income from endowments, public collections and income from special activities and from membership fees. Due to the prevailing economic conditions in the country, it is sometimes true that the public response is not as effective as it should be if the various organisations were to carry out their programmes efficiently. The appeal to the public is likely to yield greater results if care is taken to observe some elementary conditions such as the following:
25. Funds available with endowments and trusts may be an important method of supplementing resources which the State and private agencies can provide. We, therefore, recommend enquiries by States into this subject which may offer a basis for legislation concerning the use for approved purposes of funds held by endowments and trusts.
26. One of the important methods of bringing about progressive social change is social legislation. A good'deal of legislation of basic importance has been enacted during recent years. The existing legislation needs to be scrutinised more intensively, especially with a view to finding out to what extent it serves the present social and economic objectives of the nation and to ascertain how far it can deal adequately with current social problems. Some machinery is needed for reviewing existing legislation and suggesting possible modifications, and if necessary, the repeal of obsolete laws in order that all existing legislation may be brought into conformity with the requirements of the Constitution, Social legislation has at times to be punitive in order to protect society from anti-social elements; but wherever possible, the legislation should be preventive and protective, and where it deals with the offender, its approach should be to rehabilitate the individual after eradicating the contributory factors to anti-social conduct.
27. Social legislation cannot by itself deal with social problems in an effective manner unless it is backed by the force of public opinion. Social legislation has also suffered owing to incomplete enforcement. This is especially due to lack of adequate machinery for enforcement, and also because of insufficient resources and personnel both with public and private agencies. Social legislation can be better enforced by associating social service agencies with agencies set up by the State. As regional communities become organised for social action, voluntary co-operation of the community based on enlightened understanding will go a long way in facilitating the enforcement of the law.
28. A critical survey of the prevailing legislation will suggest how far the legislative provisions are inadequate, to what extent enforcement must be strengthened and the directions in which new legislation is needed. The proposed social welfare board or social research organisation, or any other appropriate agency may undertake a comprehensive survey to study the problem of social legislation. Legislation relating to the prevention of child marriages and the prevention of immoral traffic, certain housing and public health laws, laws affecting tribal areas and communities as also certain criminal laws constitute examples of social legislation which needs to be revised in the light of the existing needs and conditions. Among the laws which have to be enforced more effectively than they are at present are those relating to offences on the part of children, prevention of beggary and the control of prostitution. New legislation is required for the effective operation of social services in various fields. The registration of social service agencies with a view to inspection and sanction of grants-in-aid is one of the primary needs.
29. In order that the woman may be allowed to fulfil her legitimate role in the family and the community, adequate services need to be promoted for her welfare. The position and functions of the woman differ to a great extent in different communities, and, therefore, community welfare agencies will have to workout their programmes and activities according to the specific requirments of the areas in which they work. Important problems relating to the status and rights of woman have to be dealt with by legislation. Special organisations on the part of the Central or State Governments for promoting the welfare of women have not yet been developed to any great extent. Well-organised social service departments are needed in the States if they are to initiate more comprehensive programmes of woman and child welfare and achieve better co-ordination between the efforts of public and private agencies. The major burden of organising activities for the benefit of the vast female population has to be borne by private agencies which have already done considerable work for the promotion of women's welfare. The All-India Women's Conference has 37 branches and about 300 'sub-branches' in the country. The National Council of Women in India has 12 major branches, and the Girl Guides Association, the National Y.W.C.A., the Association for Moral and Social Hygiene, and the Trained Nurses Association in India, are affiliated to it. The Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust does extensive work for the welfare of women and children in rural areas and has representatives to carry out activities in eighteen States. There are numerous small organisations all over the country which have done valuable work for women. These organisations provide dispensaries and maternity centres, homes for destitute children and shelter homes for women. They also organise programmes for education, recreation and training in handicrafts.
30. Organised efforts are needed to stimulate activities at the community level, both in rural and urban areas. This should be done by community centres, social education agencies, and agencies working for the welfare of under-employed groups, by organising groups of women who could come together for activities such as recreation, education, arts and crafts-, and co-operative participation in social and economic activities of the whole country. Groups could also be organised as " mothers' clubs or unions " in all ante-natal and post-natal clinics, milk centres, co-operatives, and as a part of trade union activities. Such groups could especially be organised in slum areas and backward areas and amongst working women and women of backward classes in general. A large number of voluntary workers will be required for such groups, and these could be recruited by women's welfare organisations. Girl guides and girl students in high schools and universities could assist in these activities as part of a programme organised on a national basis. The existing women's organisations in the country could be strengthened if their membership and activities are extended, and if they organise programmes for creating women's organisations in towns and in the larger villages. Such local organisations need trained workers, guidance and assistance which could be given by leading women's organisations through travelling workers, training camps, instructional manuals, and other literature.
31. For various reasons the available statistics on commercial vice are limited and unreliable. India is a signatory to the international agreement for the suppression of traffic in persons and of prostitution which was reached in 1950. However, clandestine prostitution and even brothels continue t& exist in the country together with tolerated areas in some of the cities. Clandestine prostitution exists in many forms and the danger of the evil is augmented when the woman is not assured economic security by the family or the community, or when she is psychologically maladjusted in terms of her sexual and material desires, or when her economic activities do not permit a normal family life. This kind of prostitution is further promoted by activities of persons who organise traffic in women and children. Immoral trafficking sometimes takes place as between backward and poor rural areas on the one hand, and the more prosperous urban areas on the other. Inter-provincial trafficking is also npt unknown.
32. Certain social evils are products of inherent maladjustments in the social order and their complete eradication needs basic social adjustments. It is realised that such adjustments are only possible when social justice is more effective, there are reduced opportunities for concentration of wealth, exploitation is eradicated, economic conditions are improved, and social morality is established by well-adjusted patterns of common behaviour at the basic community level. The following measures are suggested for dealing with the problem :
33. The child, being always dependent, has to be provided for by its parents and the family, the community and-the State. Considering the size of the population involved and the nature and complexity of the problem, the total responsibility of welfare has to be borne cumulatively by the family, the regional community, and the State at three different levels. The problem of survival and the high incidence of infant mortality and birthrate has been dealt with in the chapter on Health. The problem of education is dealt with likewise in another chapter. However, certain aspects of the problem of health, growth and care of the child need the attention of social welfare agencies.
34. In a country where poverty is extensive, there is need to supplement the diet of children. Effective ways have to be devised by the State and private agencies to see that the necessary nourishment is received at least by under-nourished children in schools and in established institutions. To augment State resources, an effort should be made by each local community to assist educational institutions and child welfare organisations in supplementing the diet of the child in some way. At present, skimmed milk powder, cases of baby foods, semolina, vitamin tablets, pabulum cereals, codliver oil, etc., are received as gifts from various sources. Efforts to organise collections in kind at the community level could be supplemented by grants-in-aid from charity trusts and local self-governing bodies. It is desirable that State organisations, the Red Cross, the Indian Council of Child Welfare and other important national and State organisations for child welfare should co-ordinate their effortS both for the collection and distribution of supplementary foods for children. The five most suitable agencies for the distribution of free foods to children at the community level are (i) milk centres (2) maternity and child welfare centres (3) community centres (4) day nurseries and schools, and (5) play centres.
35. Feeble-mindednessThe attention of the educational authorities is naturally concentrated in the early stages on formal education. The problem of feeble-mindedness is gradually beginning to receive the attention of psychologists and educationists in the country. Uptil now there are no adequate institutions in the country for the care and treatment of feeble-minded children. A beginning has been made in dealing with this problem by the Society for the care, treatment, and training of children in need of special care. A few pilot projects in selected areas could be developed by specialised agencies for child welfare. One of the major handicaps in this respect is the absence of a sufficient number of trained psychologists and psychiatrists and teachers specially trained to deal with mentally backward children. Provision should be made for training personnel as early as possible.
36. Child guidance clinicsThe first child guidance clinic was organised in India in 1936. Since then a small number of child guidance clinics have been brought into existence in some of the larger cities. It is desirable that at least one child guidance clinic should be brought into existence in every State and, wherever possible, such clinics should be organised by municipalities. The organisation of this important service is also likely to be handicapped due to want of psychiatrists and child psychologists. It is essential to train a numberof psychologists and case workers in the schools of social work in order to provide trained personnel for dealing with problem children.
37. CrechesAn important service which has already made considerable headway in India for the welfare of children is the organisation of creches, day nurseries and other types of pre-schools. In large factories in major cities, already a number of creches are organised wkh a reasonable standard of efficiency in the interest for children whose mothers work in the factories. In 1950, Bombay had 177 creches with about 3,000 children, Madras had 93 with about 2,334 children, Bihar had 26 with 796 children, Madhya Pradesh had 16 with 360 children and Uttar Pradesh had 7 with 126 children. These figures reveal that only a very small percentage of children of working mothers take advantage of these creches, specially because it is the tradition in India for children to be looked after by other women memb< rs of the family. As it is now compulsory under the FactorieS Act of 1948 to provide a crecne in factories employing 250 or more women special efforts may be made by factory owni. rs to induce mothers to send their children to <-hs creches.
38. Play activitiesPlay is a vital need in the life of the child ; and its playlife in the home, school and community environments consists of playthings, companionship, and playground activities. LocaLself-governing bodies as well as the community should provide play-space for children either as a reserved part of a community playground, or as a separate playground equipped with suitable accessories for play. Only a small number of fairly well-equipped playgrounds are in existence in the country ; and their number needs to be very considerably increased in urban as well as rural areas. Proper maintenance and management of playgrounds are essential in order to provide necessary guidance, supervision, and protection to children during play hours. Such a playground service could be provided by voluntary welfare agencies and youth and students' organisations.
39. Children's centreIn order to extend the scope of children's recreations, the programmes for children's centres arc now being expanded so that they can be equipped with playgrounds, indoor space for a children's library, a dramatic hall, and facilities for developing child arts and handicrafts. Such centres may also provide a case work service where it is not possible to organise a child guidance clinic.
40. Handicapped childrenOne of the most difficult problems which deserves urgent consideration is the problem of lone, orphaned, neglected, deserted and destitute children. It is necessary to develop special institutions, children's villages, boys' towns and similar organisations where a large number of such children could be given protection, shelter, care, education and training till they are rehabilitated and can function in a normal way. At present, such institutions are mainly organised by private agencies, and especially by children's aid societies. Most of these institutions deal with a very small number of children, and it is desirable to initiate a number of pilot projects where a large number of children could be brought together under the care of specialised social welfare agencies in the various States.
41. The practice of adoption has existed in India for centuries. Such religious adoptions are not legally controlled. Besides, this benefit is invariably given to the boy. In some Cdses the orphaned child is institutionalised, or becomes a beggar, or becomes a victim of illegal trafficking and exploitation. Orphanages exist all over the country, both in urban and rural areas. The need to ensure registration, supervision and control of these institutions is now realised, and legislation and machinery of enforcement have to be devised to protect children in institutions organised by private agencies. Such institutions, with the support of the Government, should be able to provide a reasonable opportunity for growth, development and rehabilitation of all the inmates.
42. Juvenile delinquencyThe complexities of the problem of delinquency and the inadequacy of resources, institutions, and personnel have come in the way of a study of the nature and extent of the problem. At present, only a small number of delinquent children are dealt with, and the treatment given to them does not provide for full rehabilitation. The problem of delinquency is extensive because of the prevailing general conditions in which children are brought up. Poverty, neglect, slum life and frustration may lead to acts of delinquency. Case treatment often reveals the delinquency of the parent, experience of cruelty at home, and encouragement of delinquent acts by elders.
43. In some States progressive legislation for dealing with delinquency already exists ; in others, no legislation has yet been enacted. The Ministry of Education has drafted model legislation for the guidance of States. Most of the Children's Acts deal with neglected, dependent and destitute children, difficult, uncontrollable and delinquent children and victimised and exploited children. In some cases the provisions of the Children's Act are in conflict with Wards and Guardians Acts. All existing legislation and treatment should be reviewed from the standpoint of a more comprehensive approach towards the problem.
44. The weakest link in the treatment of the problem is the absence of one suitable agency for the enforcement of the legislation, the absence of an adequate police force, and inadequacy of court facilities, children's institutions, and probation officers. It is necessary to set up juvenile aid committees in cities, consisting of a small number of selected and specially trained police officials who will examine cases of delinquents, and deal with cases of minor delinquencies without reference to courts. The inadequacy of existing certified schools-and fit-persons institutions is well known, and in order to provide the right conditions, a beginning has been made in some States to create children's villages, boys' towns and other institutions with proper conditions of rehabilitation. Pilot projects for this purpose are contemplated in certain States where the incidence of delinquency, is high. Institutions like juvenile reformatories exist in the country, and these need to be adapted and re-organised to suit the present objectives. The practice of providing even temporary habitation and shelter to juveniles in correctional institutions where adult under-trials and prisoners live should be discontinued.
45. The general improvement of child welfare services in India requires greater coordination and better leadership for the several hundred child welfare organisations that exist in India. The child welfare movement, under the guidance of the Indian Council for Child Welfare needs to be encouraged and strengthened ; and it should be made more representative of children's organisations in the country. There should be a strong national headquarters to carry out the objectives of the movement, and maintain and improve standards of child welfare. It is proposed to create a national centre of child welfare in a central place, with similar organisations in some of the States. The national centre will become the experimental station, training centre, seat of pilot projects and clearing house for information and material on child welfare.
46. Children's organisationsThough comparatively small in size, organisations for children have come into existence in different parts of India for providing recreation for children. The Balkan-ji-Bari is a developing organisation and its main value lies in bringing together children from all over India in camps and national festivals. The Bachon-ki-Biradari and Kishore Dal are similar organisations in the north. Such organisations deserve the support of local self-governing bodies and child welfare agencies. The junior sections of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides organisations have been long engaged in giving valuable training to children outside the educational institutions. These organisations help to develop children for a fitting role in the youth movement.
47. There are a few agencies dealing exclusively with the problems of the family in India, and they cater mainly to local needs. Sectional groups assist their members with small doles and provide help in education, medical assistance and housing accommodation. Recently, some family welfare agencies have come into existence in Madras, Bombay and other places. The case work method is being used to assist families in rural as well as urban slum areas. This is a small beginning which shows a new approach to family problems. The organisations of extensive community welfare programmes in urban and rural areas creates the possibility of organising family 'welfare services on a small scale, including especially a family counselling service. As more case workers become trained in the various schools of social work, it will be possible to undertake a survey of family taal-adjustments and handicaps in selected community areas and to assist families in dealing with their economic and pathological problems.
48. The programme of social education ought to* make a valuable contribution towards the promotion of family welfare. There is need to give general information to adults about subjects like family relationships, family planning, marital hygiene, domestic economy, mother-craft and homecraft. This information could be supplemented by a programme of audiovisual aids dealing with all aspects of family life. Family welfare agencies should be able to publish literature giving specific information about the treatment of family problems.
The Central as well as State Governments may assist private organisations, trusts and funds in creating and running institutions or centres for the development of small-scale industries, crafts and handicrafts. Such institutions will provide avenues of employment and training and help families in avo idng destitution Or in supplementing small family incomes.
49. Youth is the stage in life when, through training and development, immaturity approaches maturity for work, marriage, social participation and cultural attainment. The period of youth should stand for growth, development, preparation, action and leadership. Youth matures quickly in an atmosphere in which there is freedom, activity, recognition and opportunity. The life of youth should not be over-occupied with training and education, but there should be opportunity for self-expression, comradeship, community life, and national service.
50. The youth movement includes two kinds of organisations, namely, those which work for the welfare of youth, and those composed of the youth themselves. In varying degrees, youth organisations are interested in or are influenced by political emphasis. In order that youth organisations should grow and make an effective and continuing contribution to national life, their endeavour should be to give their main attention to activities which would promote youth welfare. Besides, the strength of the national youth movement can only be built up as a result of unity in action and comradeship amongst those who work for youth welfare in any of its aspects.
51. The objectives of the youth movement may be classified to cover two separate aspects of the movement : (i) those that contribute towards self-preparation, personality development, character formation and citizenship ; and (2) those that lead to organised action in the service of the community and the nation. Youth has with courage opposed conventionalism and unhelpful traditions, but the immediate task before youth in India is to organise and work hard to carry out constructive tasks in the national programme. There is need to coordinate the work of all youth organisations into a single powerful youth movement, functioning through a national council of affiliated youth organisations. Such an organisation, whilst permitting its'members to work for their own objectives and carry out their programme independently, will work to build up the individual and collective strength of all youth organisations. The national youth movement has to create a national headquarters with young men and women of vision and ability who should be trained youth organisers, aware of the problems of youth, and trained to develop group work, recreational activities and nationa'. service programmes which can be quickly canalised into various fields of service. Assistance may be given by the State to the existing youth and other organisations to create and strengthen the youth movement.
52. Special measures are needed to strengthen the scout movement. The Bharat Scouts and Guides organisation had 1,73,902 cubs, 2,65,296 scouts and about 50,000 bulbuls and guides on its rolls in 1951. The movement has 21,393 trained and warranted scouters and 3,997 helpers. The scout movement has to play a vital role in serving the younger generation and in organising them for the active service of the country. Not only has the movement to be extended to villages, but the quality of its service has to be developed. For this purpose the national as well as State headquarters have to be strengthened and adequately equipped for creating and training a larger number of scouters and promote efficient guidance and supervision to its units. The scout movement should receive the support of the States, the local self-governing bodies as well as the community. There should also be co-ordination of activities between the scout movement and the other youth and children's organisations. The youth and student organisations should be able to provide an increasing number of scouters who will be required to extend the work of the movement in the near future. The National Cadet Corps is another movement for youth which functions in the universities for the promotion of physical fitness, discipline, character and the general fitness of youth for defence, national service and personal welfare. The membership of the National Cadet Corps is voluntary, but universities and educational authorities should encourage youth to take advantage of this organisation, and membership of the National Cadet Corps should be considered an added qualification for the purpose of employment.
53. Youth needs guidance, advice and help with regard to personality problems, sex difficulties, and situations in home and community life. The organisation of community centres in urban and rural areas will make " youth counselling " possible, provided there are mature persons who are given a brief training on youth problems, and who are willing to undertake counselling on a voluntary basis. It is possible to introduce " youth counselling " as one of the activities in educational institutions as well as in youth organisations and trade unions, and it could also form part of the labour welfare progress in factories.
54. Opportunity for physical activities, group companionship, arts, hobbies, and contact with Nature can be given through organised programmes of local boys' and girls' clubs, inventors' clubs, young farmers' clubs, hobby clubs, etc. These do not require large resources, and the younger folk themselves can contribute and find the necessary funds to run their own organisations as independent programmes or as part of community centres or as extra-curricular activities in educational institutions. An important contribution towards the development of youth is made by youth camping and travelling programmes. A beginning has been made in India with a Youth Hostels Association, which is part of an international organisation. The movement needs organisers, and houses with caretakers, which could be used as hostels. University hostels, dharamshalas, houses which can be spared, hutments on camp sites, and houses near holiday resorts should be made available to youth travellers with minimum equipment and boarding and lodging facilities at lowest cost. The Government can help the youth movement by allowing special reduced rates on railways, steamships, and State and municipal motor services to members of approved youth organisations. Whenever merit awards are given to youth in universities, and sports, cultural and other organisations, it should be possible to give travel prizes and journey scholarships.
55. Youth and national serviceYouth have made a vital contribution to the struggle for freedom, and they must be given the opportunity to give their contributions to constructive activities and programmes of economic development and social welfare. Reference has been made in the chapter on ' Education ' to the contribution students will be called upon to make towards national service. An amount of Rs. one crore has been provided for a comprehensive programme of youth camps, labour service for students, etc. The programme will have to be worked out in collaboration with universities and other educational institutions as well as youth and student organisations. Youth participation in constructive activities should be based on personal inclination and interests, and youth should be encouraged to become members of organisations that carry out specific activities amongst the people or there could be special youth groups for carrying out specific programmes. It is also possible for educational institutions to organise " service clubs " as one of the extra curricular activities. The enthusiastic participation of youth is required in programmes and activities for promoting physical fitness and community recreation, social education, child welfare and youth organisation. Youth could also render valuable help to institutes organised to render different types of service to the needy, handicapped and mal-adjusted members of society.
NATIONAL PHYSICAL FITNESS
56. The chapter on Health has dealt with the problems of ill health and disease in India. The subject of national fitness deals with the maintenance and improvement of health of every citizen in order to develop efficiency. In the absence of legislation in the form of a National Fitness Act, it is necessary that physical fitness programmes are promoted by the States, as well as by the community.
It is possible for a nation to attain by organised effort and education certain physical qualities, abilities and skills so as to be able to perform the normal functions of life, be prepared for the protection of home and nation in times of external agression and danger, and contribute towards national efficiency for economic production. A physical fitness standard for the individual should include the three factors of agility, strength and endurance which are the basis of all physical qualities and skills. In order to achieve the above, a national standard of physical achievement for all adults has to be laid down.
57. In a country like India, with numerous climatic, regional and racial differences, a universally applicable national standard may be difficult to attain and allowance will have to be made for sex differences, the racial factor, types of physical region, climatic conditions, standard and content of nutrition, and prevailing averages of height and weight for specific racial groups. The standards to be achieved may be laid down by a committee of health and education experts and other social scientists afterconsulting authorities and ascertaining conditions in different parts of the country. It is possible for every individual to strive to attain this standard individually ; but the State, educational authorities and private social welfare and especially physical welfare agencies should attempt to provide facilities and opportunities to assist the individual to attain this standard. The community project authorities, the Bharat SewaK Samaj, all sports and play-ground organisations and universities should aim at reaching the proposed national standards.
58. The maintenance and promotion of national physical fitness requires the proper management of housing and sanitation, the care of diet, the need for relaxation and rest, the promotion of play-ground, sports, physical culture and camping movements, execution of intensive programmes of child welfare, the protection of the health of working men and women, and the adoption of preventive measures against diseases and psychological disorders like neurosis.
59. Play-ground programmes are naturally spread over in different areas. Regional co-ordination of all agencies and activities will promote the growth of leadership, the training of personnel and the development as well as the economic use of resources. National organisations for physical education, sports, recreations, etc., should be strengthened, so that they can guide and assist the building up of play-ground activities, athletics, community recreation and yogic exercises. As play-ground activities are to be developed through community programmes, and as youth activities are also to be promoted extensively, there will be increasing demand for leadership in these fields. It is suggested that one of the existing training institutes for physical education should be converted into a national institute.
60. As national fitness programmes involve activities for large numbers of persons, the problem of resources becomes the greatest handicap in the promotion of the movement. It is imperative that some kind of play-ground should be available for the use of every community centre, school and youth organisation. Equipment is also needed for physical fitness programmes. When developing play-ground programmes, it is necessary to keep in view the four important objectives of recreation, education, leadership training, and social participation. India has yet to make much headway in the field of sports and steady support and encouragement are needed.
61. India has a rich gamelore with a variety of games adapted to age and sex groups and to local physical conditions and cultural patterns. There is need to survey play activities in different areas, prepare a manual of instructions for specially selected games, and enrich the gamelore of the whole country by organised publicity through documentary films demonstrating each game. Indian gymnastic programmes have considerable appeal in urban as well as rural areas. Community programmes should help the revival and extension of such activities in every part of the country.
CRIME AND CORRECTIONAL ADMINISTRATION
62. Research in the problem of crime in India has not yet made sufficient advance. The immediate task is to change or modify existing policies and programmes in order to adjust them to new objectives which seek to protect the interest of society and achieve a total rehabilitation of the offender. Crime is stimulated by conditions prevailing in society and it is due to personal and psychological factors. Economic conditions have always been a factor contributing to crime. Intensive surveys to study the causes, nature and extent of crime should be undertaken by research organisations, universities and other private agencies. The treatment of the crime, problem is intimately related to the nature of legislation, and the approach of the judiciary to crime. So far there has been no basic approach towards the various problems of correctional administration, but a number of useful steps have been recently taken by States and there is growing interest in the reform of penal administration.
63. The problem of correctional administration has to be dealt with in three stages : the pre-committal stage ; the administration of correctional institutions ; and probation and after-care. The principle that no person should be considered an offender till he is proved guilty should govern the treatment of accused and under-trial persons. The administration of police lock-ups and jails needs to be reviewed in the interest of the proper treatment of the inmates of the lock-ups. Special care must be taken when first offenders are committed to jails, so that no serious psychological harm is done to them. The administration of correctional institutions is governed by jail manuals. A recent conference of State Inspectors-General of Prisons has proposed the appointment of a committee to suggest the basis on which jail manuals may be revised to suit the new objectives, methods and programmes of correctional institutions, remove the inflexibility of rules, and permit greater freedom to the authorities on the spot to interpret sympathetically the rules so as to serve the objects of rehabilitation. Changes in the jail manuals will naturally require a revision of the Prison and Prisoners' Act which would need to be modified to meet changes in correctional administration.
64. The need to utilise-prisons as agencies for the rehabilitation of prisoners is generally accepted. Modem principles of penology require that each prisoner is to be dealt with as an individual, and corrective handling should be so devised as to be in consonance with his abilities, aptitudes, back-ground and also with the paramount purpose of enabling him to earn his living honestly as a law-abiding member of society. While this must be the ideal and all plans must: be directed to this end, the possibility of utilising the manpower resources represented by prisoners on projects of socially constructive character should be fully explored. Central prisons and district jails should receive the assistance of Departments such as those concerned with industries, agriculture and irrigation, so that the maximum advantage can be taken of the labour available in correctional institutions. A probation and after-care service is likely to minimise the cost of maintenance, as prisoners will not be called upon to serve long sentences during which they will be maintained by State Governments. As life in prison has to be organised so that the inmates live as a community and as the method of case work is to be increasingly used to deal with individual cases in correctional institutions, welfare officers should be progressively employed in central prisons and first grade district jails. Officials of correctional institutions should be given special training both before employment and during service.
65. Prisons and jails may need to be reconditioned so as to provide arrangements to suit different classes of prisoners. Separate correctional institutions may be provided for female convicts. It should also be possible to develop open and close farm workshop prisons, agricultural colonies, and work camps at important work projects. The provision for Borstals, both open and closed, will also need to he expanded. It will be necessary to bring about greater uniformity in legislation applicable to first offenders and others charged more than once for minor offences. The appointment of probation officers and the release of prisoners on parole should remove a great deal of congestion from correctional institutions, reduce the cost of prison administration, and enable many prisoners to live as normal citizens after they have served their sentences. The work of private agencies like prisoners' aid societies and district probation and after-care associations has suffered on account of limited resources. It is desirable to entrust after-care work to probation officers, and a beginning may be made by organising after-care departments in central prisons and first grade district jails to deal with problems relating to work and employment, housing, health and family relationship. New developments in the administration and programmes of correctional institutions require the guidance and advice of experienced personnel working together in a central organisation. Such an organisation can assist programmes in the States, undertake experimental work and pilot projects, and function as a centre of information and publicity on aU matters relating to correctional administration. Recognising the need for such a central organisation, the recent conference of Inspectors-General of Prisons recommended that a national bureau of correctional institutions may be established in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
WELFARE OF PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED
66. The physically handicapped person, if he is not able to receive medical attention, or when such attention is found to be of no avail, has to depend upon his family for maintenance and shelter. Absence of family support leads to beggary, or dependence upon public charity. Inadequate medical treatment, absence of vocational training, and lack of opportunities for social adjustment of the persons to the environment has contributed to the sufferings of a large number of persons who ought to receive the intelligent assistance of the community, and if possible an effective assistance from the State. Physically handicapped persons are classified as (i) those lacking in one or more physical senses, i.e., blindness and deafness, or combinations ; (2) those suffering from movement difficulties ; i.e., orthopedic, malnutrities ahd cardiacs ; and (3) lepers, epileptics, rachitics, and dumb persons. The total number of afflicted persons in India has hardly ever been correctly estimated. This is due to defective enumeration, lack of definitions, and the desire of persons to avoid publicity to their handicaps. To obtain better estimates of afflicted persons, sample surveys in selected urban and rural areas are needed. Some provision for physically handicapped persons exists in several States. Voluntary associations which are already working the welfare programmes for this class of persons need to be encouraged and assisted.
COMMUNITY APPROACH IN SOCIAL WELFARE
67. The field of social welfare will expand in the measure in which local communities accept responsibility for solving their own problems. The State has undoubtedly a vital role to play and, as its functions develop, an increasing field of social work becomes linked in one way or the other with programmes initiated or supported on behalf of the State. Community welfare programmes embody four inter-linked ideas, namely (i) self-help and mutual service, (2) maximum use and development of local resources through organised community life, (3) economic betterment and cultural development through social participation in co-operative effort, and (4) achievement of community objectives through the minimum amount of assistance from the State.
68. These ideas are applied in different fields of social welfare. According to its circumstances and problems and its size and resources, each community sets before itself its principal objectives and organises the effort for their achievement. The community approach finds perhaps its most striking sphere of action in the community development programme included in the Five Year Plan. This programme is mainly rural at present but in some States it has a large urban component as well. The rural community development programme has already been described in an earlier chapter. The programme concentrates on certain strategic features of village life, but has within it the element of growth, so that its essential aim is to transform not only the technical environment in the village, but also the social and economic relations and attitudes within the village community. There is no section of the community which stands outside the influence of the programme.
69. Community programmes hold high promise in urban areas as well. Cities and towns have to be divided into manageable units and the more backward areas, in particular, the slum areas, selected for intensive social work. Urban life tends to shift the emphasis from the community to the individual with all the consequences that this implies. There is, therefore, considerable need to establish community centres which will foster a sense of community responsibility, civic pride and a feeling that the interests and welfare of individual members are realised best through community action. Through community centres established in the main through their own effort, local urban groups can survey their own urgent social and economic needs and seek solutions through co-operative effort. Innumerable problems, touching upon every aspect of the life of the community and more especially affecting its weaker members, at present remain negleced and unattended. Organised community action on the part of local urban groups in the cultural field no less than in solving common problems can make a vital contribution towards raising the level and enriching the content of urban life.
|[ Home ]||
|<< Back to Index|