Eradicating poverty in all its forms remains one of the greatest challenges facing humanity across the world particularly in developing economy like India. That’s Why, ‘No poverty’ is among the top most agenda of of United Nations (UN) reflected in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
No doubt, the pace of reduction of poverty in India has been geared up in recent years but still there is a long way to go. A UN report said that India lifted 27.1 Crore people out of poverty between 2006 and 2016. Alleviation of rural poverty is the top agenda of all institutions no matter whether it Govt., private or public.
In India, the poverty line is based on certain normative levels of adequate nourishment, clothing, house rent, conveyance and education, and a behaviourally determined level of other non-food expenses. There are a number of ways to define and measure poverty.
The World Bank defines absolute poverty as living on less than $1.25 a day. Addressing economic inequality is a huge challenge before Government. Poor people are a burden to any society, government or nation, and thereby a threat to the stability of the economy and democratic system.
Poverty can be both a cause and a result of human rights violations at the same time poverty itself can increase human rights violations and injustice. In a democracy like India, every Government has legal obligations towards people living in poverty; all these obligations come from the socio- economic, cultural, civil and political rights which citizens have.
The SDGs are a brave commitment to find a new way to end poverty in all forms and dimensions by 2030. This involves targeting the most vulnerable, increasing basic resources and services, and supporting communities affected by conflict and climate-related disasters. Like a tree, poverty has many roots.
The biggest cause of poverty in India is lack of education. Poverty creates poverty, inequality and injustice. Poverty repeats itself. Education can break the cycle of poverty. Education is a fundamental need in eradicating poverty in all its forms. Education is one of the best long-term investments to fight poverty.
With the help of education, poor children and adults can develop competencies necessary to lift themselves out of poverty. Poverty is a key hurdle in channelizing human potentials towards progress of the nation. Children suffer the most in poverty.
Certainly, poverty affects education. Education is directly related to many solutions to poverty and we need to realise the potential of education in fighting poverty. Education supports the development of knowledge and abilities of humans.
Living in poverty with no education facilities may lead to hunger and malnutrition, lower health that finally affect children’s ability to concentrate at school and education. Deprivation of education and inadequate food further deepen poverty.
Serving the need of ‘the poorest of the poor’ should be prime focus and priority of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Business can only be growing and flourishing in progressive and prosperous society.
Poverty is the biggest barrier of progress of business sector. Business needs people equipped with knowledge and society that values education. Every business through its CSR programme must have a long term goal to address the issues related to poverty and education where they operate business or run CSR programmes.
India CSR Leadership Summit 2020, recognised SDGs’s#1 ‘No poverty’ and SDG#4 ‘Quality Education’, as an important agenda for discussions. It will have dedicated dedicated to these SDGs. Please join us to further the CSR and global agenda for Sustainable Development.
(Rusen Kumar is the founder of India CSR Network)