Type: Research Essays
Sample donated: Christine Reynolds
Last updated: September 23, 2019
ABSTRACT:In September 2015 the GeneralAssembly of the United Nations adopted the Resolution “Transforming our World:the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.
It is the successor to theMillennium Development Goals (MDGs). 2030 Agenda presents 17 SustainableDevelopment Goals and 169 Targets a much wider scope by deliberately and morefully incorporating economic and environmental sustainability, as well as theaspiration of many countries for peaceful and inclusive societies. In this regard, the 2030 Agenda forSustainable Development is more ambitious envisaging the eradication ofpoverty, the systematic tack-ling of climate change and building peaceful,resilient, equitable and inclusive societies. India has played an importantrole in shaping the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This has meant thatthe country’s national development goals are mirrored in the SDGs.
As such, Indiahas been effectively committed to achieving the SDGs even before they werefully crystallized. There is an increasing recognition of the primary role ofsocial work is to promote sustainable development. This role is very criticalin situations of persistent poverty. Poverty has a crippling effect on thefunctioning and well-being of individuals in society. This paper focuses on Goal-1 of the SDGs:’End poverty in all its forms everywhere’.KEY WORDS: SustainableDevelopment Goals, Poverty eradication, Social work PovertyEradication and Sustainable Development Goals: Social Work ResponseIntroduction:Poverty is awidespread condition in India.
It includes not only economic instability butalso social discrimination and exclusion, lack of basic services, such aseducation, health, water and sanitation, and lack of participation in decisionmaking. In September2015, the post 2015 UN Development Agenda, comprising of 17 SustainableDevelopment Goals (SDGs) that address the key concerns of humanity and 169interlinked Targets will be adopted, replacing the Millennium Development Goals(MDGs). These ambitious and aspirational SDGs call for significant rethinkingin development processes across the world. Building on the MDGs, the SDGspropose to end poverty and deprivation in all forms, leaving no one behind,while making development economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.The Government of India has also adopted the principle of Sabka Sath, SabkaVikas (“Together with All, Development for All”), and stated that the”first claim on development belongs to the poor”.Poverty in India:Povertyis a significant issue in India. The World Bank reviewed and proposed revisionsin May 2014, to its poverty calculation methodology and purchasing power paritybasis for measuring poverty worldwide, including India. According to thisrevised methodology, the world had 872.
3 million people below the new povertyline, of which 179.6 million people lived in India. In other words, India with17.5% of total world’s population had 20.6% share of world’s poorest in 2011.
Planning Commission of India defined poverty andmeasured on calorie based both in rural and urban areas. It is defined thatbelow poverty lines (BPL) people consumed 2400 Kcal / day in rural areas and2100 Kcal/day in urban areas. SureshTendulkar Committee recommended BPL as Rs. 27 in rural areas and 33 in urbanareas report submitted in 2011-12, but former RBI Governor, C. Rangarajan Committeesubmitted a report Govt that in the year2014 that BPL as those spending Rs. 32/- per day in rural areas and Rs. 47/- inurban cities.
Majority of the rural poor in India are poor because, lack ofassets like land and unemployment. Besides this caste, race, ethnicity, genderare other dimension. Initiatives for Poverty Eradication:An important anti-poverty program has focused ongenerating employment through public works that help develop agriculturalinfrastructure, productive assets and entrepreneurship-based livelihoodopportunities. With the inspiration of free independent India, Govt. of Indiainitiated allocated lion share in the financial budgets to change the socioeconomic and political areas.
Different rural development programmes andschedules were introduced. The Community Development programme (CDP) wasintroduced on October 2nd 1952. It focuses on self-governance and developsleadership at gross root level. Some other programmes like IntensiveAgriculture Areas Development Programme, Drought prone Area Programme (DPAP),Hill Area Development Programme, command Area Development Programme andIntegrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) implemented during 1970 to 1980.National Rural Employment Programme (NREGP), Rural Labor Employment GuaranteeProgramme (RLEGP) and Jawahar Rojgar Yojana (JRM) are also some of the povertyalleviation programmes.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment GuaranteeProgramme (MGNREGP) is flagship programme that implemented in the year 2006.This programme main objective in to provide wage employment 100 days in a Calendaryear and also extended 150 days in a year in mandatory. PovertyEradication and Sustainable Development Goals:InSeptember 2015, a new set of development goals have been agreed by 193countries in a special summit at the United Nations (UN). These are calledSustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that aim to end poverty, achieve genderequality and ensure food security in every corner of the globe by 2030. Poverty eradication seems to be one of the mainpriorities of this grand framework. SDGs have marked the end of developmentas poverty eradication.
To be more specific the firsttarget of this goal that states: By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for allpeople everywhere. It also aimsto ensure social protection for the poor and vulnerable, increased access tobasic services and support people harmed by climate-related extreme events andother economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters. Ending poverty in all its forms everywhere impliesattention to both completely eliminating extreme poverty while attending toother key socio-economic, cultural, political and environmental dimensions ofpoverty, and monitoring progress in social protection and inequality.Targets:Ø By2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measuredas people living on less than $1.25 a day Ø By2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of allages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions Ø Implementnationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all,including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and thevulnerable Ø By2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable,have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services,ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance,natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, includingmicrofinance Ø By2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations andreduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events andother economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters There is compelling evidence that India has achievedfollowing the economic reforms initiated in 1991 has led to significantreduction in poverty. Poverty has fallen across all economic, social andreligious groups nationally and in all states in the post-reform era. Sustainedgrowth (6.
2% from 1993- 94 to 2003-04 and 8.3% from 2004-05 to 2011-12) hascreated gainful employment and helped raise wages thereby directly empoweringthe poor. It has also brought the government an increased volume of revenuesenabling it to sustain a high level of social spending and, thus, doubling thedirect effect of growth on poverty. Several large-scale anti-poverty programmeshave been implemented. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment GuaranteeAct, for instance, has generated over 2 billion person-days of employmentduring 2016-17 alone, largely for the disadvantaged sections of society.Additionally, initiatives have been launched for providing pension andinsurance to workers in the unorganised sector, widows and the differentlyabled. Over 130 million people have accessed life and accident insurance underthese programmes.
Further, efforts are underway to universalize access tobasic services. In order to achieve the goal of housing for all by 2022, directfinancial assistance is being extended to poor households. Nearly 3.21 millionhouses were constructed last year as part of this initiative in rural areas.Programmes are also being implemented for ensuring access to education, healthand nutrition security, with a special focus on vulnerable groups such as womenand children. Other priority areas are drinking water and sanitation.Currently, nearly 77.
5% of rural habitations are being provided with 40 litresof drinking water per capita on a daily basis. Another 18.9% habitations havebeen covered partially thus far. Over 63.
7% of households in rural areas hadaccess to an improved sanitation facility in 2016-17 as compared to 29.1% in2005-06. With respect to clean sources of cooking fuel, over 22 millionfamilies have been provided with Liquefied Petroleum Gas connections under thePradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. Between 2005-06 and 2015-16, households havingaccess to clean fuel have increased from 25.
5% to 43.8%. Social work response for poverty eradication:Social work directly addressed many of the factorsassociated with poverty at the individual, household, and communitylevels. It includes Ø Encouraging and supporting individuals and households tostart income-generating activities (IGAs): This activity targeted the underlying problem of lack of employment orunder-employment, and the resultant lack of incomes or low incomes. Thisstrategy targeted entire communities and also vulnerable groups like women, youths,the elderly, refugees, and orphans and other vulnerable children.
Some of theIGAs introduced and taken up by individuals, households and social groupsincluded animal husbandry of piggery, chicken, goats, as well as startingsmall-scale businesses.Ø Support ofeducation at primary and secondary education: This enables children who otherwisewould not get an opportunity to live decent lives in the future. This strategyalso reduces on the burden of care and expenditures of poor families, thus freeingthe limited resources to meet their basic needs.Ø Resource mobilization and provision: This involved two distinct approaches, namely: remedialapproach and the more developmental approach. The former involves giving reliefassistance in form of food, accommodation and medical care to some socialgroups such as refugees. The latter involves some agencies providing grants,improved seeds, and animals.
Other agencies encouraged people to save andaccess microfinance loans for investment in productive ventures.Ø Brokering role:Social workers play a brokering role by linking people to resources andtechnical services such as those of extension workers within their communities andoutside. Linking farmers to markets makes social workers assume other roles ofcommunity organizers and empowerment agents.Ø Capacity-building:This addresses the underlying problem of limited practical knowledge and skillsin production processes, as well as powerlessness. It largely involves trainingand providing information to entire communities and vulnerable social groupssuch as farmers, women, orphans and vulnerable children, youths, the elderlyand community leaders.
Ø Community organization and counseling: This involves mobilizing people with the same problemor concern to form groups purposely for pooling ideas, resources and powertogether for problem-solving and development. Groups were perceived a potentforce for pulling people out of poverty as they would support each other andget linked to government programmes and non-governmental organisations moreeasily than if they worked alone.Ø Promotion of positive attitudes and work ethics amongcommunity members: The majortechnique used was discouraging certain practices such as thriftiness in spendingand instead encouraging savings and hard work. In other words, social workersinculcated work ethics in the communities for poverty reduction. They alsohandle domestic violence, gender inequalities and injustices which disintegratefamilies – making it difficult for individuals to commit them to production forself-sufficiency.
Ø Prevention andpromotion of good health: Social workers largely reported providingeducation on health issues to communities and specific groups of youths on HIV/AIDS. Social workers also worked on other preventive health programmes likethose for prevention of blindness, water and sanitation as well as HIV control.Social workers sensitised people about existing services and opportunities(such as reproductive health services) and encouraged the people to use theservices. Social workers also encourage people to create their own services ona self-help basis. This implies another role of community organisers.Ø Advocacy and mediation: These are roles that respond to poverty as a function of abuse of rights,marginalisation and exclusion.
Social workers mediate to secure resources andopportunities for marginalised groups such as poor women, persons withdisability and persons living with HIV/AIDS.Ø Research and advice on policy: This role was undertaken by social workers workinglargely in consultancy firms and the research department of parliament. Thelatter had an edge over advising on policy to members of parliament since theyare near each other socially and physically.
Less than 10% of the socialworkers were engaged in this role.Conclusion:India has, over the past years, directed its developmentpathway to meet its priorities of employment, economic growth, food, water andenergy security, disaster resilience and poverty alleviation. Achieving theSDGs in a country as diverse as India will definitely be a Herculean task, butnot unachievable. We need to clearly identify priorities, have locally relevantand people-centric development policies, and build strong partnerships. Thegovernment also needs to have a focused plan for tracking and evaluating impactand scaling up successful interventions.
The SDGs are a direction and a visionfor India to ensure prosperity and growth both social and economic. Social work recognizes its core contribution in addressingsocial issues from a human rights perspective and targeting vulnerable groups.