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.
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.
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 –
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.
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:
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.