In addition, people’s initiatives in the form of non-governmental organisations, self-help groups are gathering momentum, and putting pressure on both the state and private sectors to deliver the goals. The characteristics of the state have been in process of evolution ever since its Hobbesian conception. From Liberal to Marxian to Neo-liberal, the state has displayed different characteristics.
Some of the characteristics of Modern State. These are: i. It comprises certain representative as well as bureaucratic institutions. It has other informal institutions also such as people’s groups, community- based organisations etc. For example, a Resident Welfare Association, which looks into the needs of people residing in a particular area, is an informal institution. ii. These institutions of the state operate within a defined area. iii.
The government is a major institution functioning at various levels. For instance in India, there is government functioning at central, state and local levels. iv. It pursues several social and welfare policies. v. It provides opportunities to citizens to participate in political life and gives them the necessary rights and responsibilities.
Government is one of the key institutions of the state and society. It provides necessary direction to the collective activities of individuals. The government is entrusted with: vi. Providing basic goods and services including education, health, and social welfare. vii. Ensuring equity through policies aimed at reducing inequalities in income and wealth between citizens. viii.
Formulating appropriate tax and monetary policies to provide stability in the economy. ix. Producing essential goods and services. For instance, in many countries it has been the government’s responsibility to provide for power generation, transportation etc. In India, the railways are owned solely by the government. x.
Regulating the activities of private sector. In any country, along with the government, there is a strong presence of a private sector for providing goods and services. But it has to be regulated to protect the interests of common citizens. Here, the government plays the role of a regulator to ensure that the activities of private sector are within a proper legal framework. For example, the packaged foods manufactured by private sector need to adhere to certain prescribed minimum standards which are laid down by the government. Anderson identifies seven basic functions of government.
These include: i. Provision of economic infrastructure; ii. Provision of various collective goods and services; iii. Resolution and adjustment of group conflicts; iv. Maintenance of competition; v. Protection of natural resources; vi.
Provision for minimum access by individuals to the goods and services of the economy; and vii. Stabilisation of the economy. Difference between “State” and “Government”After having discussed the characteristics of state and government, let us now bring out the major differences between the state and government: i. The state is broader in nature and it includes all the institutions which are public in nature and also the private sector and citizens’ organisations, while government is a part of the state. ii. The state is a permanent institution.
The government is temporary as it is constituted, reconstituted and can also collapse at times. It is brought to power by the people. You can see how people exercise their right to vote in general elections and bring into office the governments of their choice. iii.
The stale’s authority is exercised through the government. The policies and programmes of the state are implemented by the government. iv. The state, in general, is said to represent the common interests of the society while the government can at times represent the interests of party in power. Thus, it is clear that it is the government which plays a major role in providing direction to the state. The government is involved in the task of administration through various institutions.
Administration in simple terms means putting into action or implementing the policies and programmes laid down by the government. Therefore, the state encompasses government as one of the “components and government on the other hand takes recourse to administration for smooth functioning of its activities and achievement of goals.