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India’s Journey towards SDG 01: Eradicating Poverty through CSR and Education

Eradicating Poverty through CSR and Education

Eradicating Poverty through CSR and Education

Poverty has been a significant challenge for humanity throughout history. As the world becomes more interconnected, the call to eradicate poverty in all its forms has never been more imperative.

The United Nations introduced the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to address various global issues. The first goal, SDG 01 – No Poverty, aims to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. SDG 01 is not just about eradicating extreme poverty; it encompasses a broader range of targets, such as ensuring social protection, equal access to economic resources, and building resilience against climate-related events and other economic, social, and environmental shocks. According to the World Bank, extreme poverty is defined as living on less than $1.90 (INR 155) per day. In India, the poverty line is around INR 35 per day in rural areas and INR 42 per day in urban areas.

The SDG 01 targets include –

  • Reducing poverty rates.
  • Implementing social protection systems.
  • Increasing access to essential services such as healthcare and education.

India has achieved these targets, with poverty rates declining from 21.9% in 2011-12 to 7.6% in 2021-22.

However, achieving the desired targets requires a comprehensive approach focusing on inclusive growth, social protection, and sustainable development. India, as the world’s most populous country, has a vital role to play in achieving this goal.


Indian Initiatives for Eradicating Poverty

The role of CSR in poverty alleviation is significant, as organisations can contribute to sustainable development by investing in education, healthcare, and social welfare initiatives. By doing so, they can improve the quality of life for impoverished communities and help reduce poverty in the long run.

The Indian government has implemented various CSR initiatives for poverty alleviation, including the following flagship programs –

  • The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) provides job opportunities to rural households. The program has generated more than 2.9 billion person-days of employment and has benefited over 67 million households.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) program provides the unbanked population access to financial services such as banking, insurance, and pension schemes. According to the 2023 budget, around 47 crore accounts have been opened under this scheme.
  • The National Food Security Act (NFSA) aims to eradicate poverty and ensuring food security for the citizens. So far, NFSA has provided free food grains to 81.35 crore beneficiaries.


How Education Reduces Poverty

Education is a powerful tool for society to grow, and the role of education in eliminating poverty is paramount. A well-educated population is better equipped to find stable employment, contribute to economic growth, and break the cycle of poverty. Education can provide individuals with the skills and knowledge required to access better job opportunities and improve their standard of living.

In India, the government has implemented various initiatives to improve access to education, including the Right to Education Act that guarantees free and compulsory education for children aged 6-14. Still, significant challenges remain in terms of access, quality, and retention.


Strategies for Alleviating Poverty

Alleviating poverty requires a multi-dimensional approach and the role of CSR in poverty alleviation is unparalleled. Some key areas of CSR to fight poverty include:

  • Ensuring economic growth benefits all segments of society, including the poor and marginalized.
  • Expanding access to social services, such as healthcare, education, and housing, to reduce vulnerability and build resilience.
  • Encouraging entrepreneurship, skill development, and investment in sectors with high employment potential.
  • Addressing environmental challenges and promoting sustainable use of resources to reduce poverty and improve living standards.
  • Promoting inclusive growth can involve creating job opportunities, increasing credit access, and supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises.
  • Investing in roads, electricity, and water infrastructure can improve living conditions and promote economic growth.

India’s journey towards achieving SDG 01 is filled with challenges and opportunities. The country has made significant strides in reducing poverty through concerted efforts by the government, the private sector, and civil society by implementing CSR initiatives for poverty alleviation. However, much work remains to ensure no one is left behind. By adopting a comprehensive and inclusive approach, India can continue progressing towards the “No Poverty” goal and contribute to a more equitable and sustainable world.


Read More: UN Report Urges Universal Social Protection for Children to Combat Poverty and Inequality

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