Fiinovation Reviews India’s Migration and Malnutrition Problems

The rising disparity among the people of India is a stark reminder that growth after the liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation reforms of 1991 has not been inclusive. Although, the country developed significantly, yet the development ripples have not reached the remote villages. The initial plan of focusing on the service sector to reduce the dependency of the Indian GDP on the primary sector (Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Dairy, etc.) paid off well, but didn’t solve the problem of the rural population which is nearly 70 per cent of the total Indian population.

As the primary sector didn’t receive as much investments, there wasn’t much growth to improve the standard of living of the rural population. The problems associated with agriculture and allied sector ensured that millions had to migrate to the urban areas for employment opportunities. Migration is not a recent phenomenon, rather the pace of it has increased in recent times due to widespread distress in the rural areas. As per the Census 2011, there were about 45.36 crore migrants. In fact last year 2.06 crore people migrated looking for employment opportunities and education.

It is understandable that the impact of migration is one the entire family and it’s the children who suffer immensely. It has been observed that the rapid development which ensured India becomes the fastest growing major economy in the world is not helping to curb poverty and malnutrition. As per the global hunger index, India ranks abysmal 97 out of 118 countries which much worse that its neighbours Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and China. Fiinovation reviews that about 38 per cent children living in India are stunted or too short for their age. There seems to be a link between growing urbanisation and increase in malnutrition as it has been observed that significant proportion of children living in urban areas are stunted.

Alarmingly, it is estimated that 90 crore people will be added as urban residents in just three countries (China, India and Nigeria) by 2050. It seems that there is a paradigm shift of the burden of malnutrition from rural areas to urban areas, especially due to persistent child undernutrition. Fiinovation reviews that the problem of malnutrition is evident amongst the 6.5 crore slum dwellers in the country. Hence, the reason behind urban poverty and malnutrition is definitely India’s incapability to develop the rural areas while promoting inclusive and sustainable growth.

The road ahead will not be easy as the government plans to double the farmers’ income by 2022. Currently, there is very less industrial development in the rural areas. Agriculture in India is a seasonal activity with majority of the regions being mono-cropic, especially due to lack of irrigation facilities and dependency on the monsoon. Therefore, it is important to create livelihood opportunities and promote healthy lifestyle amongst the rural population. If the migrant population start finding employment opportunities in their inhabited regions, it will reduce migration, poverty and malnutrition significantly.

Hence, Fiinovation urges the government to implement policies which promote growth of the rural economy. Efforts to increase the farmers’ income will definitely pay huge dividends for the country. The impact of this will also be visible on the global hunger index and help the country eliminate extreme poverty as per the Sustainable Development Goals. However, this massive task cannot be done only by the government and the role of the private sector will be significant in providing resources for the development of rural infrastructure. The businesses should also contribute towards betterment of the farming community and the people residing in the rural areas through their corporate social responsibility funds. Investments in the agriculture sector by the businesses supported by agriculture credit from the government will significantly boost the primary sector thereby reducing the burden of the rural households.

Let us hope that the next two decades India grows inclusively and sustainably becoming one of the largest economies of the world with a higher human development index ranking.

 

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation

Corporate Social Responsibility – In Context of 2017

The year 2017 brings new hopes in the social development sector with more businesses contributing towards improving the standard of living of the people. With praises across the country for their contributions, the businesses are now more focused on strategising CSR rather than doing charity. However, there are several questions which are not answered as CSR projects are not good parameters for judging societal welfare. Today, it is unclear whether CSR spending by businesses have increased or not as compared to the days before the mandate, with not much available information.

However, data from the last two years suggest an increase of CSR funding with Indian businesses spending INR 9,309 crore in 2015-16. This is INR 163 crore more than what was required by the law and INR 703 crore more than 2014-15. The major focus areas for businesses have been Education and Health and they are likely to remain one of the most favoured sectors for CSR investments.

Understanding the present situation, Fiinovation, a global CSR consulting company analyses the trends in CSR for the year 2017.

1. Environment – After the successive droughts that nearly crippled the rural economy, it is expected that businesses will look to invest their CSR funds in projects that mitigate the climate change risks. Keeping focus on water, businesses will look to implement CSR projects for natural resource conservation, rain water harvesting, safe drinking water, watershed development and irrigation. Organic agriculture, climate smart agriculture, grain production with new innovative methods, etc. will also receive adequate focus. Several companies are looking to reduce their harmful environmental impacts.

2. Education – Several businesses will rather not look to diversify and stick to their CSR projects in education. It is expected to remain the favourite sector when it comes to CSR expenditures. Although, there might be a shift towards digital literacy, digital education and higher education to meet the current demands of the nation.

3. Health – Similar to Education, investments in health projects is likely to continue even this year. Focus will be on preventive healthcare along with healthcare infrastructure facilities including ambulances, digital check ups, diagonistic centers etc. Several businesses will also look to invest in public health in a public-private partnership model working in tandem with the government initiatives.

4. Skill Development – The Indian Government is currently committed towards providing skill development trainings to the youth. The government also provides additional support for entrepreneurship of the SC, ST and women. The government has also urged the businesses to contribute their CSR funds towards skill development trainings to ensure that the emerging workforce is formally skilled. It is expected that businesses will also look to boost infrastructure in the ITIs and Training Institutes to support the government. There are several businesses who are also investing in Sustainable Agriculture projects by providing trainings to the farmers.

5. Other Sectors – It is also expected that several other sectors will receive CSR funding but not at a very large scale. Swachh Bharat, Clean Ganga, Digital Literacy, renewable energy, etc. are some areas which will receive contributions.

The impact of the CSR law can be better understood after the end of this year, when experts review the first three years after the enforcement of the law.

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation

Fiinovation – How MNC’s are Contributing Towards Women Empowerment in India?

In the last two decades, their has been significant emergence of MNCs. The fast food outlets such as Mc Donald’s, KFC, Dominos, Pizza Hut, Burger King, etc. are now present even in smaller cities. Their emergence has led to an unique method of empowering women of the country.

For these MNCs, recruitment of women is almost necessary as they don’t want to run their businesses with only men. In this regard, they hire women to maintain a gender balance among the employees. Although, the plan seems to be good, but in a country like India, it is not that easy to find good women employees. It is a nation where women are not encouraged much to work outside their homes. Therefore, several MNCs are going off track to attract women employees by providing them with activities which ultimately helps them to get empowered.

The difference can be witnessed easily. A visit to the Delhi’s malls will make you witness women workforce in the outlets, whereas in a market place the women’s clothing stores are manned by men. Ironically, we do not observe women at these stores. Despite years of progress, India still has a skewed sex ratio and its tough place to be a women. There is a vast difference in the way things use to be and specially now after the emergence of MNCs.

Understanding the situation, the American food chains are doing a bit more than expected to ensure that they are able to employ more women. From allowing their parents to see the workplace to even taste the new burger about to be launched, these companies are doing a lot to attract women employees. Fiinovation, a global CSR consulting company understands that people around the world would be unaware about the hardship that these companies are putting in to cultivate female employees.

Fiinovation believes, going off track food chains such as Burger King teaches self defense to its women employees. Similarly, Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell run a mentorship program to help the women employees. Even Mc Donald’s appoints a “Female Confidant” at every outlet to ensure the women talk more freely about their lives and family problems. Apart from these, steps are even taken to give mothers flexible working hours.

These things are changing the way businesses operate in India. With more females joining the workforce, the societal hurdles are bound to reduce in the coming years. Fiinovation also believes that these affirmative action initiatives by the MNCs is a significant step towards empowerment of women in this country. With India being a prominent member of G20, it should lead by example for other emerging economies to follow.

Therefore, let us hope that in future, other businesses will implement similar initiatives that will help the country grow inclusively.

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation

Fiinovation Observes – International Volunteer Day

Across the globe, several initiatives are being implemented to solve prevalent issues of the society. The International Volunteer Day or International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development provides an opportunity for volunteers (both individuals as well as institutions) to contribute at local, national and international levels towards achievement of the socio-economic and environmental goals.

The day was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly through a resolution on 17th December, 1985. Every year on 5th December, the day provides opportunities to volunteers for causes such as eradication of poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, degradation of the environment, discrimination against women, etc. Over the years, the International Volunteers Day has been utilised strategically by governments and corporations to encourage volunteerism aligning them with the Millennium Development Goals.

Fiinovation, with its vast experience in social development initiatives, has been encouraging corporations to urge their employees to volunteer for social causes. Although, cost involved in volunteerism doesn’t fall under the CSR rules in India, yet it is definitely a positive process to engage with the local communities. It is observed that volunteers around the world work tirelessly to craft a better future for everyone, especially during crisis situations. On this day, Fiinovation acknowledges the efforts of more than 6700 UN volunteers, 12,000 UN online volunteers and 1 billion community volunteers for their selfless contribution in the upliftment of society.

Understanding the prevalent crisis situations such as in the middle-east, Africa and other parts of the world, volunteers have risen up and provided shelter and requisite support to millions of refugees who have been forced to flee from their homes. The floods in Haiti and malaria outbreak in Sri Lanka are examples in the recent months where volunteering has helped in saving thousands of lives. “Founded on the values of solidarity and mutual trust, volunteerism transcends all cultural, linguistic and geographic boundaries. By giving their time and skills without expecting any material reward, volunteers themselves are uplifted by a singular sense of purpose,” was the message from UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. In his message he pressed on the need to lend a hand and applauded volunteers for their commitment towards building a peaceful, prosperous and a dignified future for all.

Fiinovation believes that the role of volunteers will be crucial in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Therefore, let us all increase the awareness of voluntary contributions, thereby motivating more people from different walks of life to offer their services as volunteers.

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation

FIINOVATION OBSERVES – WORLD AIDS DAY

Every year, 1st December is observed as the WORLD AIDS DAY to raise awareness about the AIDS pandemic caused due to HIV infection. The day also pays tribute to those who have succumbed to death due to the disease. It is one of the eight global public health campaigns recognized by World Health Organization (WHO) including World Health Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Malaria Day etc.

The idea to reserve the day was first initiated in August 1987 by the two public information officers for the Global Programme on AIDS at WHO (World Health Organization), James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter. The idea was further approved by the Director of Global Programme, Dr. Mann in December 1988.

The figure estimates that till 2015, AIDS has taken 36 million lives and almost equal are suffering from the HIV infection. Since the start of the epidemic, 78 million people have become infected with HIV. More than 18 million people suffering from the disease are receiving life-saving HIV treatment to eliminated HIV and stop the mother to child infection. Although, medical progression has made the HIV treatment possible but still every year thousands of people are diagonised with HIV infection. The antiretroviral treatment which is now available to cure the disease is yet to be accessible around the world. The poor and marginalised section of the society is often unable to access the treatment and claims estimated 2 million lives each year, comprising 270,000 children.

Worldwide, India has the third largest number of HIV cases and estimated 2.1 million people are known to be infected by the virus. The Lance Study reveals that in 2015, 196,000 new cases of HIV have been registered and around 130,000 people have died due to the complications related to AIDS.

Every year the World AIDS Day is observed around a specific theme. The theme for year 2016 is centered around Hands up for #HIVprevention, focused on raising awareness about the preventive measures of HIV infection.

Under the Sustainable Development goals, it is targeted to eliminate AIDS epidemic by 2030. However, the coinfections from diseases such as tuberculosis (TB), cervical cancer and hepatitis C is creating hindrance in achieving this target.

Fiinovation feels, that better access to treatment, preventive measures, elimination of stigma and taboo attached with the disease, and spreading awareness about the disease will help in fighting the disease and achieve the sustainable development goals. Together, we should stand united to fight against the disease.

HIV doesn’t make people dangerous to know. You can shake hands and give them a hug. Heaven knows they need it – Princess Diana

By Manisha Bhatia, Media & Communications, Fiinovation

Fiinovation Observes – International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Despite increased participation of women in world politics, it still remains a male dominated world. The consequences of the same is widespread violence and atrocities that women and girls face across the globe, especially in the underdeveloped countries. Ironically, India got their first women Prime Minister in the year 1966, while United States is yet have a woman President. But, having women leaders doesn’t mean that society has become safe and secure for women.

Globally, 35 per cent of women have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives. As per the National Crime Records Bureau, 2015 saw the registration of 3,27,394 cases under the head of Crimes against Women in India. Overall, the national capital has the highest rate of crimes against women. With 17,104 cases, Delhi recorded a crime rate of 184.3 per 1 lakh female population. The north eastern state, Assam is second with 23,258 cases and a rate of 148.2 suggesting widespread violence across the length and breadth of the country.

Working in the social development sector, especially on the projects related to women empowerment, Fiinovation strongly believes that violence against women is a human rights violation. Women comprises of 49 per cent of the Indian population, despite that they are subject to violence (both domestic and external), discrimination and injustices. Ironically, one of the largest democracies of the world doesn’t have any law for marital rapes. It is understandable that being a patriarchal society, violence against women and girls is a consequence of discrimination. This discrimination can be observed in law and also in practice highlighting the persistent inequalities plaguing the Indian society.

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Fiinovation analyses that challenges to efforts to prevent and end violence against women is mostly related to funding shortfall. As violence against women impact progress in many areas such as poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, peace and security, etc. therefore, the UN General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women, inviting all stakeholders to engage in activities that create public awareness. Today, there is a global recognition that violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, public health pandemic and significant challenge to the sustainable development goals. Yet, such violence is being witnessed every day around the world.

The ongoing theme “Orange The World” calls for global action to eliminate violence, increase resources and promote solutions. Fiinovation believes that on this day, the world will be lit in orange, symbolizing a bright future for women and girls.

Let us dedicate our lives to keep the orange lights shining, upholding the human rights while eliminating all instances of violence against women and girls.

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation

Fiinovation Observes International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Fiinovation Observes International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Fiinovation Observes International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Right after the World War II , on 24th October 1945 the United Nations, with 51 members states, was formed to ensure peace, prosperity and a poverty free world. In the year 2000, the world got down to finalise the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as part of the Millennium Summit to ensure the world progresses, addressing social challenges that prioritised reducing poverty by half among others. Since then the world has worked together in achieving the goals and setting up better standard of living for the people of the world.

Today, as the world comes to an end of the MDGs, poverty has been reduced by half of what it was back in 1990. Approximately, 700 million people have been uplifted out of poverty. This tremendous success has been mostly accredited towards concrete efforts by China, India and other developing nations. However, the world has not been able to eradicate poverty till now with millions dying of hunger every year.

This year, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has its own significance as the world has now adopted the Sustainable Development Goals which will begin from 2016 and end by 2030. One of the major goals among the 17 goals is eradication of poverty which all the 193 member states have taken up as a challenge.

The task ahead would be to work together in a new framework and ensure that poverty is eradicated in all forms and dimensions. It is time for us to recommit ourselves to think, decide and act together for inclusive development and against extreme poverty. Both the developing and the developed countries need to dream of world where no-one is left behind ensuring prosperity for all and not only just a few.

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been observed on 17th October since 1993, when the UNGA passed a resolution to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all the nations across the world. Combating poverty has been one of the core agenda of the United Nations as nearly 1.2 billion people are still reeling under poverty and approximately 2.4 billion people lead their life on less than $2 a day. The day has been observed with various themes since 1993 and this year it is “Building a sustainable future: Coming together to end poverty and discrimination.”

Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd. has been one of the prime crusader of eradication of poverty from India. With its social development initiatives and partnerships with corporations and civil society, it has been engaging with the marginalised communities to uplift and ensure a better standard of living for them.

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