Wednesday, August 17, 2011


                                          FUNCTIONS OF A MODERN STATE


            The functions of a state          are as comprehensive as its rights. Among them some functions are compulsory while others are voluntary.  The major ones in the compulsory category are:


Compulsory functions of a state


            1. Defence against foreign attack: The most urgent function of a state is defence of the country against foreign attack.  It has to make adequate preparations in the form of weapons and land, sea and air forces.  It has to take special notice of things which can create the danger of attack from other countries.


            2. Internal peace and security: The policy of a state at home is quite as important as is its foreign policy.  It is the prime duty of the state to maintain internal peace and security. An increase in communal riots, thefts, cases of dacoity and rebellion can endanger the existence of the state itself.  The state maintains peace and order through police and army.


            3. Protection of the rights of citizens: In every state the citizens possess certain rights like rights of life, property, freedom of thought etc.  It is incumbent upon the state to protect these rights, or which it has to formulate essential laws, arrange for proper administration and organise justice.


            4. Justice: In this way justice is a compulsory function of the state.  This provides for obedience of laws in the state, maintains order and protects the rights of everyone.


            Besides these compulsory functions of state, the following are its voluntary functions:


Voluntary functions of the State

            1. Education: In the modern age, all states consider it their duty to make adequate arrangement for the education of their citizens.  A state of uneducated citizens can never progress. Thus the state makes arrangements for primary schools and colleges and universities so that higher education in sciences agriculture and the humanities may become possible.  Arrangements are made for adjoining research centres, libraries, zoos, store houses and art classes etc.  Efforts are made to provide free primary education.  Capable students are awarded scholarships by the state.  But the state should avoid unnecessary interference in educational centres.


            2. Health: Along with education, modern states try to provide for the protection of health.  Provision is made for sanitation, hospitals, free medicine, vaccination and essential energizing foods for the poor. Medical colleges are opened to end the dearth of capable doctors. Government research centres and training schools for nurses are opened.


            3. Protection of the old,poor and invalid: Modern states have also begun making arrangements for the old, impecunious unemployed and invalid citizens.  They are given financial aid. The old people are given pension  The facility of insurance insures the security of everyone.  Orphanages and homes for destitute are created.


            4. Arrangement of Public Welfare services: The state organizes the railways, postal and telegraphic facilities, wireless, etc. it is the duty of the state to make arrangements for means of transportation such as buses, railways, aeroplanes and ships etc.


            5. Social and Economic improvement: Another of the state;'s duties is effecting social and economic improvement. The state lays down laws against harmful customs and makes necessary arrangements for their enforcement.


            6. Encouraging trade and industry; It is also the duty of the state to encourage trade and industry and to develop it as well. Almost everywhere in the world, it is the state which controls economic system and the mint.  It is the state which standardizes the standards of measurement and weighing.  The country cannot benefit by international trade if it does not make the proper law for import and export.  The state should establish factories of the key industries in order to implement and initiate other industries in the country.  The state should also encourage cottage industries.


            7. Organization of labour: The state should direct its efforts to the improvement of conditions of labourers and lay down rules to obviate the probability of their exploitation.  It is the responsibility of the state to make efforts towards labour welfare.


            8. Proper use of natural resources of the country: A country can become powerful by land, forests, rivers, minerals and agricultural products.  Maximum benefit should be extracted from them.  On this subject, the state should direct the necessary precautionary measures, research and search for new mineral products and lay down laws for the utilization of forests, mines, land etc.


            9. Arrangement of recreation: In order to maintain the novelty and excitement in the life of the public the state should provide means for recreation.  For this film industry, dramatic societies, etc. ought to be encouraged.


            Actually the function of a modern state is not merely administration but an integral welfare and development of its subjects.  Thus, its functions have been aggrandized.  The turbulence of local situations does make an appreciable though slight alteration in them, while different political schools of thought have recognized different functions of the state.  Thus nothing final can be said upon this subject.  The only theory which can be universally acceptable is that the state should functioning a manner calculated to add to pubic welfare but the scholars differ in their opinions about that in which lies this public welfare.  It is here that the guidance of ethics is needed. Ethics is to determine the supreme and ultimate objective of the individual.  The state shall collect the means to the attainment of this ideal.  As an example the supreme ideal of an individual is self realization or an integral development.  Thus, it is for the state to utilize the means to his physical, mental and spiritual development.


Dr. Saju Chackalackal CMI (
Dean, Faculty of Philosophy, Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram (
HoD, Department of Philosophy, Christ University (
Director, India ( (
  Dharmaram College
  Dairy Circle, Hosur Road
  Bangalore 560029, INDIA
Tel: +91-80-41116263
Mobile: +91-94800 22339
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