Role of government in the society

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28 April 2016

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The role of government in our society cannot be overemphasized and the government as a seat of authority where rules and laws are established adjusted and executed has been in existence since time immemorial. In various sectors of the society, the government has an important role to play starting from the law making, education, industrialization, technology, transportation, social amenities development, job creation, health sector, etc.

Every day when we turn on the news, we discover that what it contains consists of what governments around the world are doing. It seems that if we didn’t have governments to amuse us, there would be no news at all. In fact, without the beneficence of government, life might become so boring as to not be worth living at all. Even with all this talk about government, it is amazing that the population in general does not have a clear idea of what government is and what they do. When people are asked what the purpose of government is, or what the essence of government enterprise is, they frequently shrug their shoulders.

The term government, like so many other terms we use daily, is taken for granted and is poorly defined at best. In the modern world, we can see that society is government itself and the society governs itself. The democracy form of governance which has been accepted by almost the entire world in the modern times. The first accepted form of leadership and governance was that of tribal leaders, followed by monarchy and democracy. The term society is quite a heavy, important and is almost synonymous to the terms mankind and human existence.

Agriculture is a major branch of the economy in Nigeria, providing employment for 70% of the population. The sector is being transformed by commercialization at the small, medium and large-scale enterprise levels. According to the Indian Constitution, agriculture is a state subject. However, over the years, the Central Government has started playing an important role in agricultural planning and development. Major policies,
that is, those pertaining to prices, trade and credit, are decided by the Centre.

There are a large number of Central and Centrally sponsored schemes for agricultural development. But this does not minimize the role of the state government. The policies pursued and programs sponsored by the state government can make a major difference to the income and well-being of the farmers. In small farm agriculture, as in Bihar, the role of the state is all the more important. For effectively addressing the issues of low productivity and low incomes, the state government has to play an important part in the following areas: Formulating relevant policies; Enhancing investment in agriculture; Strengthening supportive institutions; Ensuring the supply of the quality inputs; Partnering the private sector and civil society institutions. Nigeria faces serious poverty changes.

To support its agricultural development goals the federal government introduced control of food imports and continued its substantial subsidies on farm inputs, particularly fertilizers. To get the project implemented efficiently, special agencies were created. Each of the state wide and enclave projects was run by a professionally managed semi autonomous agencies, linked to a state ministry through a coordination committee representing the state governor, the major ministries and the project management.

Government help in the following ways: mechanization of agriculture1, provision of agricultural extension services2, lending loans to farmer3, providing; seedlings, fertilizers, farm implement and incentives at reduced and subsided price4, training service at reduced rate4. More so, Education is a very important tool for governments seeking to maintain the very high standard in the society. The proper role of government in education is the provision of education. Every society needs knowledge to think and food for thought is derived from this knowledge.

An essential function that is to be fulfilled by the government is providing all levels of education to the people, right from small kindergarten schools to universities. Education is a profound need of any human society as it makes mankind rational, intellectually enriched and thoughtful. Hence to complete all the elements of society, one of the most important role of government in society is providing adequate education. Also, it is generally accepted that government should control the education system. Education is today largely paid for and almost entirely administered by governmental bodies or non-profit institutions.

This situation has developed gradually and is now taken so much for granted that little explicit attention is any longer directed to the reasons for the special treatment of education even in countries that are predominantly free enterprise in organization and philosophy. The result has been an indiscriminate extension of governmental responsibility. Government can help the poor and the less privileged by reduction of school fees so that they can be able to pay at a low and subsidized rate.

Also, government can help in the adequate distribution of educational amenities and donation of text book to student to provoke the curiousity of student and reduce failure rate in the society.ICT (Information and Communication Technology) is not left out, it fosters education and learning processes. Government can help in the Employment of qualified and experienced teacher to provide quality and sound education to student.

They can also develop local library to encourage student to study well. Furthermore, Civic Amenities: The second most important role of government in society is the provision of civic amenities. Human habitation of a particular area or land requires some basic amenities such as sanitation, hygiene and a secure environment to live in. Let’s take sanitation for example, to the best of my knowledge, in some of the states in eastern region of Nigeria, where the government will bring a day out as the sanitation day and will even go to the media to put it in air and this motion if followed by the citizens of that state of that geographical area will always keep the environment clean.

These would reduce the rate at which people get ill and the rate at which diseases are spread. Health care provision in Nigeria is a concurrent responsibility of the three tiers of government in the country. However, because Nigeria operates a mixed economy, private providers of health care have a visible role to play in health care delivery.

The federal government role is mostly limited to coordinating the affairs of the university teaching hospital, federal medical center ( tertiary health care) and the local government focus on dispensary(primary health care),(which are regulated by the federal government through NPHCDA) .Government play various roles such as : free health care services, free health education, immunization, use of advance technology in the hospital (ICT), provision on so safety materials (like mosquito net, help conduct free health test).

The Administrative for Children and Families (ACF): is a federal agency funding state, territory, local, and tribal organizations to provide family assistance (welfare), child support, child care, head start, child welfare, and other programs relating to children and families1. Agency for Health Care Research And Quality (AGRQ):the mission of the Agency for Health care Research and Quality(AGRQ): is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease registry serves the public by using the best sign, taking responsive public health actions, and providing trusted health information to prevent harmful exposure and diseases related to toxic substances3.

Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) is to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury and disability4. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – the mission is to protect human health and the environment. Regulation and enforcement in public health-A good system of regulation is fundamental to successful public health outcomes. It reduces exposure to disease through enforcement of sanitary codes, e.g., water quality monitoring, slaughterhouse hygiene and food safety. Wide gaps exist in the enforcement, monitoring and evaluation, resulting in a weak public health system.

This is partly due to poor financing for public health, lack of leadership and commitment of public health functionaries and lack of community involvement. Revival of public health regulation through concerted efforts by the government is possible through updating and implementation of public health laws, consulting stakeholders and increasing public awareness of existing laws and their enforcement procedures. Health promotion-Stopping the spread of STDs and HIV/AIDS, helping youth recognize the dangers of tobacco smoking and promoting physical activity. These are a few examples of behavior change communication that focus on ways that encourage people to make healthy choices.

Development of community-wide education programs and other health promotion activities need to be strengthened. Much can be done to improve the effectiveness of health promotion by extending it to rural areas as well; observing days like “Diabetes day” and “Heart day” even in villages will help create awareness at the grass root level. Industrial relations-The topic description provided by the organizers wishes the discussions to be “centered on how the government can assist in providing more efficient welfare for labor which will essentially reduce the possible sources of friction between labor and management.”

The “new” approach suggests to achieve industrial peace through social protection and promotion of social welfare of labor. It means that, aside from acting as the arbiter of social conflict, the government should take a proactive role in reducing social and industrial conflicts by acting on its source, that is, by improving the institutional arrangements to welfare of labor and its share in the wealth of the nation, The FFW has a list of proposals in this respect contained in its most recent Policy and Program of Action, which it offers as a basis for entering into a social dialogue with the social partners. Two concepts may be useful in discussing this objective.

The first refers to the framework of “decent work”; the other to the principle of subsidiary. The framework of decent work defines what should be done to promote the welfare of labor. The principle of subsidiary shows how and what can be done by the social partners for the same purpose. The concept of decent work is now adopted by the ILO (International Labor Organization) as the main guiding principle of its action. According to the ILO (international labor organization), decent work has four main pillars.

These are promoting respect core international labor standards; generating decent and productive employment; improving social protection and encouraging social dialogue. In the Philippines, the ILO in cooperation with the social partners is set to launch a country program that will attempt to demonstrate how to address the country’s deficit in decent work. MTPDP (Medium Term Philippine Development Plan.) elevated employment as a chapter, ensconced decent work as a framework and defines it as a condition where “rights of work are protected, adequate income is generated, social protection is provided and democratic processes are guaranteed through tripartism and social dialogue.

Decent employment also entails the continuous improvement of workers’ personal capabilities through a build-up in competitive skills and positive work ethics.” Principle of subsidiary-This is where the principle of subsidiary becomes a useful concept. This principle states that each or a combination of the social partners should be doing what best they do. For example, determining what firms and industries can afford in terms of labor welfare and social protection can best be left to collective bargaining between employers and trade unions.

The role of government is to see to it that the two social partners do not destroy the common good or go out of bounds of commonly agreed policies or, even more precisely, to promote an environment where free collective bargaining can operate. However, what government desires as expressed in policies are not often what it can do or what it should do.

Government play has important role to play in law making. Legislatures all over the world have the power to make statutes. This is their main role in the process of government. They examine and discuss in details bills on various subjects that are brought before them. They can repeal, alter or add to the provisions of existing laws and make them applicable to changing conditions. Justice and Administration- In order to prevent haywire and chaotic functioning in the society, it is essential to have some simple mechanisms and laws. Such laws may include, small unspoken norms such as standing in a line for the bus or can be of complex nature and may include complex tax laws.

This function which is also known as judicial function, basically helps the society to function smoothly. This judicial function also includes the role of government in business as in the modern era, as the growing volume of economic activity needs good mercantile laws for governance. The economic activities also need some infrastructure and support such as banks and foreign trade, which further increases the importance of the role of government in economy.

The principle of the rule of law was propounded by Prof. A .V. Dicey in 1885 in his book, “The Law of the Constitution”. He is of the idea or view that the law of a state is supreme. It entails that everybody is a subject to ordinary law of the land, no exception. What is done to an official whether police, army, prisons etc. will be extended to ordinary civilian. Also, the term, “rule of law” means that the law is supreme, superior and generally acceptable as the only mode of determining and dispensing justice in a given state.

Again, the rule of law entails the recognition of the supremacy of the law of the land, legal equality, impartiality and individual liberty. It also includes the right or equal opportunities given to individuals to satisfy their socio-economic needs. Transportation-Government plays a very important and crucial role in the transportation business or system. They provide basic infrastructure to the nation like roads, railway tracks, ports, container yards, cranes at ports, public warehouses etc. Government is conducting an inspection, verification of goods and other storage by establishing customs authority.

However government can also charge a tax on the goods and services provided by distributer, They charged various taxes like road tax, other duties such as customs, export trade, excise tax, sales tax whether it is state or central, then VAT that is value added tax, service tax etc. If someone is shirking or avoiding their taxes then the government would take decision to frame a procedure for the payment of that taxes and duties with the penalties for that person.

Government can give restriction or prohibitions regarding the carrying of goods and services in specific modes of transport like Inflammable products such as petrol, diesel etc. Government is licensing the transporters and provides a commission. That is they permit the transporters to make trade on a law basis. Government can fix or charge the freight rates for the government vehicle or carrier like trains, buses etc.

From the above areas in which government have important role to play for the development of the society, we can find out that the relevance of the government in the society cannot be over emphasized. In various sectors of the society, the government have an important role to play starting from the law making, education, industrialization, technology, transportation, social amenities development, job creation, health sector, etc, all these are necessary for the development and the advancement of the society.

1. Dewey, John (1916/1944). Democracy and Education. The Free Press. pp. 1–4. ISBN 0-684-83631-9. 2. educate. Retrieved on 2011-10-21.
3. “Examples of subjects”. Retrieved 2009-04-20. 4. Eric A. Hanushek (2005). Economic outcomes and school quality. International Institute for Educational Planning. ISBN 978-92-803-1279-9. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 5. Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson, and James A. Robinson (2001). “The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation”. American Economic Review 91 (5):
1369–1401. doi:10.2139/ssrn.244582. JSTOR 2677930 6. 6.Samuel Bowles; Herbert Gintis (18 October 2011). Schooling In Capitalist America: Educational Reform and the Contradictions of Economic Life. Haymarket Books. ISBN 978-1-60846-131-8. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 7.

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