The following is an essay submitted by one of our students.
A government has a responsibility to its citizens to ensure their safety. Therefore, some people think that the government should increase spending on defense but spend less on social benefits.
To what extent do you agree?
Band 8 essay sample
Defending and assuring the safety of its citizens is the prime responsibility of any government. Therefore, many people believe that the state needs to focus more on defence expenditure than on social benefits. In my opinion, although spending on defence is imperative, citizens should not be deprived of the benefits of social schemes which are equally important for the people.
Protecting its people at all times from external aggression is paramount to the sovereignty of any state. In other words, attempts by neighbouring countries or terrorist organisations to attack the security forces or civilians can cause huge loss to public life and damage to property. This can be because of certain unsettled border disputes or political activism against democratic ideologies or any other geopolitical tensions caused by terrorism activities. For instance, the separatist movement backed by Pakistan in the Indian region of Kashmir has caused tremendous irreparable damage to public property and claimed thousands of innocent lives in the last 20 years. As a result, government has to deploy a large number of military personnel in these border areas at the cost of billions of dollars. By contrast, if there was peace on all borders, the government can allocate sufficient funds for social schemes.
However, the government should refrain from going overboard and ensure that excessive defence spending is not at the cost of social spending. That is to say, citizens, especially from the poor and lower-income class depend largely on assistance from the state in areas of healthcare and education. The government needs to subsidise these activities for the upliftment of the weaker sections of the society. This is vital to narrow the inequality gap between the rich and the poor in the society. This is also equally as important as defence budget because ignoring the people from the lowest strata of society can cause imbalance and chaos in the country due to the stark inequality in people’s living standards. For overall development of the nation, it is the administration’s duty to provide the social benefits to the poorest of the poor. For example, the recent PAHAL scheme by the central government in India to distribute free LPG connections to the poorest in villages has yielded favourable results by helping them use clean cooking gas.
In conclusion, I believe that defence spending to thwart the aggression of unfriendly neighbours is as important as providing assistance to poor citizens through various social benefit schemes.