By Archana Anand
Social Justice simply means access of every citizen of the World to all the existing resources, comforts and complete development of an individual that is physically, mentally, psychologically, socially, intellectually and spiritually without any discrimination of caste, class, creed, gender, race, age and religion. By keeping this concept in mind World Social Justice Day observed on 20th February every year.
The main objective behind observing world social justice day is to promote social integration, equal opportunities of employment and eradication of poverty. Social Justice is essential for sustainable development, peace and prosperity of the country and worldwide as well.
In this 21th century where the world has made enormous progress in the fields of science, technology, space, corporate sectors etc. but still the whole world is suffering from the basic problems like inability to provide food, shelter, security, employment, unequal distribution of health services etc. to each and every citizen of the world. The Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2020 shows that while the world has made gradual progress in reducing hunger on a global scale since 2000, this progress has been too slow. Hunger persists in many countries, and in some instances, progress is even being reversed. The global level of hunger and undernutrition is at a moderate level. It has fallen from a GHI score of 29.0 points in 2000 to 18.2 points in 2020. It significantly implies that it will still take time, where there will be no need for any citizen of the world who has to sleep without food. The global multidimensional poverty index across 107 developing countries, 1.3 billion people that is 22 percent live in multidimensional poverty. Homelessness is a mark of failure for communities in providing basic security. Based on national reports, about 2 percent (140 million) of the world’s population may be homeless. Another 20 percent lacks adequate housing. In December 2017 according to a report from the World Bank and WHO shows that at least half of the world’s population cannot obtain essential health services. There are certain others problems which are directly or indirectly associated with the social justice like gender discrimination, caste and class differences, low socio economic status, unequal opportunities to achieve education, employment and health services etc. It is the harsh reality of the world that no country and world can make progress if even a certain class of people will remain behind in the race of development.
Our beloved country India or Bharat have already been blessed with an incredible amalgam of unique diversity. Right from the preamble of India…we THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political itself signifies the importance of social justice. Further, LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation. These are inherent values of our preamble which tends to provide social justice in all terms to citizens of India. Indian constitution comprises of various fundamental rights to its citizens without any discrimination on the grounds of age, caste, gender, class, religion etc.
Our constitution tends to provide a level playing field to its citizens for their success and development.
Although India has made remarkable progress and development in all spheres as it has become the third largest economy of the world, still there is great need to focus on social justice in India.
Indian is still suffering from poverty, lack of shelter to all, hunger, inequitable distribution of health services especially in far flung areas, unemployment, preferences to male genders etc. There are certain indices which signify need for social justice in India. In 2020 global hunger index Indian ranks 94th out 107 countries which is very alarming. According to the homeless world cup there were about 1.8million homeless individuals living in India as of 2019. According to the Brookings report India had 53.5 million people living in extreme poverty which makes up 4% of its total population. There are some regional problems like the dowry system, low aspirations related to girl education and employment; early marriages etc. One more sensitive issue in a country is discrimination on the basis of caste and class as they are still unable to get equal place in the society.
According to the 2011 census, The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes comprise about 16.6% and 8.6%, respectively, of India’s population. Instead of so many initiatives by the central and state governments to provide equal opportunity for the upliftment of schedule castes and tribal people, it is really very sorrowful that if discrimination in its visible and invisible form will remain continuously on its increase, a day will not be very far away where these people will definitely remain behind in the race of development which is really a matter of concern for the society and country.
Nowadays there is one more delicate matter in the country related to security of old age people. A country where parents get equal place to god and mother is considered as next to god, in such a country when silent voices of elder abuse comes it impregnates the eyes with a hidden sea of tears.
Undoubtedly there are endless governmental schemes like schemes for social empowerment, economic development, free coaching for SC and OBC, to help old age India etc. for upliftment of the citizens of India there by decreasing economical gaps, securing safety and maintaining dignity of all its citizens without any discrimination on the basis of age, gender, caste, creed, class religion etc. but equally it is also the responsibility of all the citizens of India as well as world to grab all the existing opportunities for development and prosperity. It can never be an individual responsibility of the department of social justice and empowerment only but it certainly demands equal participation of all citizens.
India is dreaming about “ATMNIRBHAR BHARATA” can only be fulfilled by applying the concept of Social justice to every citizen of the country.
(Author is Nursing Officer at Medical College in Shimla. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)