Poverty is a widespread condition in India.
It includes not only economic insecurity but also social discrimination and
exclusion, lack of basic services, such as education, health, water and
sanitation, and lack of contribution in decision making. In September 2015, the
post 2015 UN Development Agenda, comprising of 17 Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs) that address the key concerns of humanity and 169 interlinked Targets
will be adopted, replacing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These striving
and aspirational SDGs call for significant rethinking in development processes
across the world. Building on the MDGs, the SDGs suggest to end poverty and withdrawal
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, Sabka Vikas (“Together with All,
Development for All”), and stated that the “first maintain on development
belongs to the poor”.
Poverty in India:
Poverty is an important issue in India. The
World Bank reviewed and planned revisions in May 2014, to its poverty
calculation methodology and purchasing power uniformity basis for measuring
poverty worldwide, including India. According to this revised methodology, the
world had 872.3 million people below the new poverty line, of which 179.6
million people lived in India. In other words, India with 17.5% of total
world’s population had 20.6% share of world’s poorest in 2011. Planning Commission of
India defined poverty and measured on calorie based both in rural and urban
areas. It is distinct that below poverty lines (BPL) people consumed 2400 Kcal
/ day in rural areas and 2100 Kcal/day in urban areas. Suresh Tendulkar
Committee recommended BPL as Rs. 27 in rural areas and 33 in urban areas information
submitted in 2011-12, but former RBI Governor, C. Rangarajan Committee
submitted a report Govt that in the year
2014 that BPL as those spending Rs. 32/- per day in rural areas and Rs. 47/- in
urban cities. greater part of the rural poor in India are poor because, lack of
assets like land and joblessness. Besides this caste, race, ethnicity, gender
are other aspect.
Initiatives for Poverty Eradication:
Initiative for poverty eradication is play significant
role in anti-poverty program has focused on generating employment through
public works that assist to develop agricultural infrastructure, productive
assets and entrepreneurship-based livelihood opportunities. With the
inspiration of free independent India, Govt. of India initiated allocated lion
share in the financial budgets to change the socio economic and political
areas. Different rural development programmes and schedules were introduced.
The Community Development programme (CDP) was introduced on October 2nd 1952.
It focuses on self-governance and develops leadership at gross root level. Some
other programmes like concentrated on Agriculture Areas Development Programme,
Drought prone Area Programme (DPAP), Hill Area Development Programme, command
Area Development Programme and Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) effectively
implemented during 1970 to 1980. National Rural Employment Programme (NREGP),
Rural Labor Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP) and Jawahar Rojgar Yojana
(JRM) are also enlargly released for the poverty alleviation programmes.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (MGNREGP) is
flagship programme that implemented in the year 2006. This programme main
objective is to provide wage employment to unemployed people in rural sector it
is concerned of 100 days in a Calendar year and also extended 150 days in a
year in mandatory.
Poverty Eradication and Sustainable
In the year of September 2015, a new set of
development goals have been strongly agreed by 193 countries in a special
summit at the United Nations (UN). These are called Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs) having high motto of aim to end poverty, its strong recommendation
to achieve gender equality and ensure food security in every corner of the
globe by 2030. To be in Development era Poverty eradication seems to be one of the main
priorities of this grand framework. In this regard SDGs have marked the end
of development as poverty eradication.
To be more exact the first target of this goal that states: By 2030, eradicate
extreme poverty for all people everywhere. It also aims to make sure social safeguard for the poor
and vulnerable, increased access to basic services and support people injured
by climate-related extreme measures and other economic, social and
environmental shocks and disasters. Ending the poverty in all forms everywhere
implies attention to both completely eliminating extreme poverty while
attending to other key socio-economic, cultural, political and environmental
dimensions of poverty eradication, and monitoring progress in social protection
2030, eradication of extreme poverty for
all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a
2030, decrease at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of
all ages living in poverty in all its proportions according to national
definitions of poverty.
Implementation of national appropriate social protection systems and measures
for all, including floors, and by 2030 to achieve substantial coverage of the
poor and the vulnerable groups.
2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable,
people have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to required basic
services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property,
inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial
services, including microfinance
2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and
reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and
other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters.
There is compelling
evidence that India has achieved following the economic reforms initiated from
1991 has led to significant reduction in poverty. Poverty has fallen across all
economic, social and religious groups in worldwide and the post-reform era.
Sustained growth has been increased (6.2% from 1993- 94 to 2003-04 and 8.3%
from 2004-05 to 2011-12) has created gainful employment opportunities and
helped to raise wages thereby directly empowering the poor. It has also brought
the government an increased volume of revenues enabling it to sustain a high
level of social spending and, thus, doubling the direct effect of growth on
poverty. Several large-scale anti-poverty programmes have been implemented. The
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, for occurrence, has
generated over 2 billion person-days of employment during 2016-17 alone, huge
number of the disadvantaged sections of society.
Additionally, initiatives have been launched for providing pension and
insurance to workers in the most disadvantaged people in unorganized sector,
widows and the differently abled. Over 130 million people have accessed life
and accident insurance under these programmes its shows the effectiveness of
Further, hard work are
underway to universalize access to basic services. In order to achieve the goal
of housing for all by 2022, direct financial assistance is being extended to
poor households. Nearly 3.21 million houses were constructed last year as part
of this initiative in rural areas. Programmes are also being implemented for
ensuring access to education, health and nutrition security, with a special
focus on vulnerable groups such as women and children. Other priority areas are
drinking water and sanitation facility. Currently, nearly 77.5% of rural
habitations are being provided with 40 litres of drinking water per capita on a
daily basis. Another 18.9% habitations have been covered partially thus far.
Over 63.7% of households in rural areas had access to an enhanced sanitation
facility in 2016-17 as compared to 29.1% in 2005-06. With value to clean
sources of cooking fuel, over 22 million families have been provided with
Liquefied Petroleum Gas connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.
Between 2005-06 and 2015-16, households having access to clean fuel have
increased from 25.5% to 43.8%.All above discussed programmes effectiveness has
significant result in reducing poverty.
Social work response for
Social work directly
addressed many of the factors associated with poverty at the individual,
household, and community levels. It
Encouraging and supporting individuals and households to
start income-generating activities (IGAs): This activity targeted the
underlying problem of lack of employment or under-employment, and the resultant
lack of incomes or low incomes. This strategy targeted entire communities and
also vulnerable groups like women, youths, the elderly, refugees, and orphans
and other vulnerable children. Some of the IGAs introduced and taken up by
individuals, households and social groups included animal husbandry of piggery,
chicken, goats, as well as starting small-scale businesses.
education at primary and secondary education: This enables children who otherwise
would not get an opportunity to live decent lives in the future. This strategy
also reduces on the burden of care and expenditures of poor families, thus freeing
the limited resources to meet their basic needs.
Resource mobilization and provision: This involved two distinct
approaches, namely: remedial approach and the more developmental approach. The
former involves giving relief assistance in form of food, accommodation and
medical care to some social groups such as refugees. The latter involves some
agencies providing grants, improved seeds, and animals. Other agencies encouraged
people to save and access microfinance loans for investment in productive
Brokering role: Social workers play a brokering role by linking
people to resources and technical services such as those of extension workers
within their communities and outside. Linking farmers to markets makes social workers
assume other roles of community organizers and empowerment agents.
Capacity-building: This addresses the underlying problem of limited
practical knowledge and skills in production processes, as well as
powerlessness. It largely involves training and providing information to entire
communities and vulnerable social groups such as farmers, women, orphans and
vulnerable children, youths, the elderly and community leaders.
Community organization and counseling: This involves mobilizing
people with the same problem or concern to form groups purposely for pooling
ideas, resources and power together for problem-solving and development. Groups
were perceived a potent force for pulling people out of poverty as they would
support each other and get linked to government programmes and non-governmental
organisations more easily than if they worked alone.
Promotion of positive attitudes and work ethics among
community members: The major technique used was discouraging certain
practices such as thriftiness in spending and instead encouraging savings and
hard work. In other words, social workers inculcated work ethics in the
communities for poverty reduction. They also handle domestic violence, gender
inequalities and injustices which disintegrate families – making it difficult
for individuals to commit them to production for self-sufficiency.
promotion of good health: Social workers largely reported providing
education on health issues to communities and specific groups of youths on HIV/
AIDS. Social workers also worked on other preventive health programmes like
those 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 the
services. Social workers also encourage people to create their own services on
a self-help basis. This implies another role of community organisers.
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 and opportunities for marginalised groups such as
poor women, persons with disability and persons living with HIV/AIDS.
Research and advice on policy: This role was
undertaken by social workers working largely in consultancy firms and the research
department of parliament. The latter had an edge over advising on policy to
members of parliament since they are near each other socially and physically.
Less than 10% of the social workers were engaged in this role.
India has, over the past
years, directed its development pathway to meet its priorities of employment,
economic growth, all basic need of food, water and energy security, disaster
resilience and poverty alleviation. Achieving the SDGs in a country as diverse
as India will definitely be a Herculean task, but not unachievable. We need to
clearly identify priorities, have locally relevant and people-centric
development policies, and build strong partnerships. The government also needs
to have a focused plan for tracking and evaluating impact and scaling up
successful interventions. The SDGs are a direction and a vision for India to
ensure prosperity and growth both social and economic. Social work recognizes its core contribution in addressing
social issues from a human rights perspective and targeting vulnerable groups.