Concept of Social Planning , Policy and Objectives


Planning is the process of preparing a blueprint of actions to attain stated objectives within a time frame. The determination of objectives, the specifications of targets, the strategy for mobilization of resources, the allocation of outlays to different development sectors, the blueprint of actions (including their operationalization in the shape of policies, programmes and their delivery system) are aspects which have to be considered in any planning exercise.

What is Planning 

M. Webber defines 
Panning as the process of making rational decisions about future goals and future courses of action, which relies upon explicit tracing of repercussions and the value implications associated with alternative courses of action and in turn requires explicit evaluation and choice among the alternative matching goal- action sets. 

Alfred J. Kahn defines 

Planning is policy choice and programming in the light of facts, projections and application of values.

Planning is essential because it enables us to formulate with some precision what we intend to achieve within a given time frame. Prioritization among various objectives enables us to demarcate the more important objectives from those, which are less so. Once this is done one can decide what is feasible considering the resources at hand and how additional resources can be mobilized. Therefore, planning is a more scientific path towards achieving development objectives, and for bringing about economic and social transformation in a systematic manner .

Perhaps, the most important reason, which comes to your mind, may be that you are faced with a severe shortage of certain resources/factors. Given the fact that each of these may also have different uses, you may be unable to decide how to utilizes these resources. It is in such a situation that planning becomes extremely important.

Concept of Policy 

Broadly speaking, the term ‘policy’ refers to the general guidelines or principles, which give direction to a particular course of action by the government or by an organization. It also refers to, in a very specific sense, an intended or executed course of action.

Social policy can be referred to both in the plural and singular case.. When referred to in the plural, it denotes comprehensive and integrated set of policies in the social sectors such as health, social welfare, education, social security etc., when used in singular the term social policy refers to a specific governmental policy such as the policy towards the SCs and STs, the policy for providing universal education etc. 

An attempt to define social policy is beset with many practical difficulties. Is there one social policy with capital S and P or are there multiple social policies with small s and small p? This question is relevant because we have social policies compartmentalized into a policy for scheduled castes, a policy for backward classes, a policy for weaker sections, a policy for women, a policy for children and so on. 

Does an addition of these policies make up a “whole” social policy? We have Directive Principles of State Policy, the Fundamental Rights and the preamble to the constitution. Do these make up a social policy? In the light of the above dilemmas, in the following section, we attempt to define social policy: 

Definition of Social Policy   

According to Kulkarni 
“Social policy is the strategy of action indicating means and methods to be followed in successive phases to achieve the declared social objectives.”

Marshall states 

Social policy refers to the policy of governments with regard to action having a direct impact on the welfare of citizens, by providing them with services or income.”

According to Prof.

 Titmuss, social policy represents a summation of acts of government, deliberately designed to improve the welfare of people.

Meaning of the definition  

While summarizing the whole discussion, it can be said that social policy is a deliberate action on the part of individuals, collectivities and governments, undertaken to organize services, opportunities and social action so as to affect the life styles of people and initiate a process to prevent, postpone, initiate and manage change.

Objectives of Social Policy.

1-Social policies aim to bring about social change. In the final analysis all social policies are government policies as stated by Marshall and Boulding. As part of the operation of the government, social policy cannot hope to introduce fundamental changes in society, which would mean undermining the status quo on which government rests. Whether in the socialist countries or in the capitalist countries, the social policy cannot usher in the fundamental structural change.

2- Pinker has argued that objective of social policy is minimization of sufferings and maximization of welfare.
3-Another objective of social policy is improvement of quality of life of people. It is necessary to ask whose quality of life that we want to improve? This is a pertinent question in developing countries like India where majority of the population live in conditions of serious deprivation, without being able to get even the basic necessities for survival.



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