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Importance Of Social Work In India, Being A Torch Bearer

In this age, where more and more people are chasing the glittering corporate world, we are experiencing a contrasting world with a vision of working for society to change. It is possible to work for humanity in various ways, but the aim remains the same, affecting people's lives directly or indirectly. Social work has its impact on multiple areas of development of a country.

It also includes; the essential ideals of social work, including compassionate service to others, encouraging equality for all individuals, social justice, and strengthening human connections. The basic principles alone demonstrate the importance of social work today since social workers' values impact people, families, and culture.

Social work has established itself as a significant full-fledged occupation with every other profession in today's world. As the world is gradually becoming increasingly materialistic, devoid of human feelings and emotions, with individuals becoming more and more self-centred, yet another global trend is becoming the evident desire of the youth who want to do something for the welfare of the society.

Individuals and communities benefit from social work as a job because it encourages social transformation, growth, solidarity, and community empowerment. Understanding human growth, attitudes, social, economic, and cultural systems and personal experiences are required for social work practice. Professionals in social work working with families and institutions have helped to provide for and advance the following social impacts:

  • Civil Rights
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Disability Pay
  • Worker's Compensation Insurance
  • Less stigma attached to mental illness
  • Medical Assistance Programs (Medicaid and Medicare)
  • Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect

Social work ideals are based on respect for all people's equality, worth, and dignity, and they arose from humanitarian and democratic beliefs. Social work has centred on meeting human needs and enhancing human capabilities since its start over a century ago. The inspiration and rationale for social work involvement are human rights and social justice.

This profession aspires to decrease injustice and free impoverished and oppressed individuals in solidarity with all those who are marginalized to promote social equality. The field of social work is concerned with societal problems, inequity, and injustice. Its goal is to help people attain their most significant potential, improve their lives, and break free from dysfunction. The purpose of professional social work is to solve and improve issues. As a result, social workers influence the culture and lives of the people, families, and communities they serve.

It responds to catastrophes and emergencies, as well as personal and societal challenges, daily. To handle persons and their problems holistically, social workers use a variety of skills, approaches, and activities. Social work interventions are diverse, from essentially person-centred psychological processes to social policy, planning, and development engagement. The agency's management and the community

Interventions also entail organizing and participating in civic and political action to impact social policies and progress. The broad scope of social work is universal, but the goals of social work practice vary from nation to country and across time, depending on cultural, historical, and socioeconomic factors.

What Is Social Worker And What Do They Do, And What Are Their Various Fields:

  1. Social workers are specialists who help individuals satisfy their fundamental and diverse needs to improve their overall well-being. Social workers deal with a wide range of individuals and organizations, focusing on those who are marginalized, oppressed, or living in poverty. A social worker may be requested to engage in legislative procedures that typically conclude in social policy formulation, depending on their profession, job title, and place of employment. To carry out their work, they rely on social work ideals and principles and academic research. Societal workers have been educated and taught to confront social inequity and challenges to the well-being of their customers.
  2. These social workers also assist clients and families suffering from impairments, substance misuse disorders, or relationship issues. Social workers also fine-tune their work by focusing on the level of intervention and the demographics they wish to represent. Social workers strive to reduce suffering and sorrow. They must create and administer suitable programs and contribute to social planning to assist individuals, families, organizations, and communities. They aid people in overcoming personal and social challenges and getting required resources and services by working with, on behalf of, or in their best interests. Their work includes interpersonal practice, group work, community work, social development, social action, policy creation, research, social work education, and supervisory and administrative responsibilities in various sectors. Experienced social workers' field of practice is expanding all the time.
  3. There are three primary stages of intervention for social service workers. The first is "macro" social work, in which the entire society or community is involved. This type of social work practice will be essential for policy formation and lobbying on a national or global scale. The second level of intervention is known as "Mezzo" social work practice. Working with agencies, small associations, and other small groups will be part of this level. This activity may be necessary for policy development within a social work department or community planning services. Micro is the ultimate level, which comprises serving people and families.
  4. Women, Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Girls, the Elderly, Disabled, Poor Migrants, People Living with HIV/AIDS, and Sexual Minorities are India's most vulnerable populations. Because of their disparate identities, each group frequently encounters several obstacles.

  • Children:
    In India, the vulnerabilities of children and their exposure to abuses of their rights of protection remain prevalent and numerous. These abuses take innumerable forms, including child labour, child trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, and harassment and violence. India, for example, has the world's most enormous population of child labourers under the age of 14, with an estimated 12.6 million youngsters working in hazardous jobs. Child labour accounts for 80% of child labour in India and 70% of working children globally in the agricultural sector (Jaswal, Patro, et al., 2006).

    In Sivakasi, the child labour force is over 1,25,000 youngsters, accounting for 30% of the total workforce. Children working in brick kilns, stone quarries, mines, carpet mills, and the zari sector suffer from occupational ailments. However, there is a significant vacuum in industry-specific and exposure-specific epidemiological research in India. The majority of the studies are small-scale and community-based. Some groups, such as street children and children of sex workers, are among children facing additional forms of discrimination. In addition, opportunities for rehabilitation remain scarce for children who have been trafficked and rescued, and the reintegration process is complex.
  • Elderly:
    The senior population in India is quickly increasing, and it is becoming a significant source of worry for the government and policymakers. According to data on India's population age, there are slightly more than 76.6 million persons over 60 years old, or 7.2 per cent of the population, according the 2001 Census. In 1991, the country's population of individuals over 60 years old accounted for 6.8% of the total. The elderly are vulnerable not just because of an increased frequency of disease and incapacity but also because of their economic reliance on their wives, children, and other younger family members.

    According to the 2001 census, 33.1 per cent of India's elderly are divorced. Widowers account for 14.9 per cent of older males, compared to 50.1 per cent among older women. Women made up 71.1 per cent of widows among the elderly (aged 80 and over), while men made up just 28.9%. Vulnerability among the elderly is also influenced by their living arrangements since, in comparison to younger people, the old are less capable of caring for themselves and require the assistance and support of others in a variety of ways:
    About 2.9 per cent of India's elderly live alone.

    Compared to senior males, a higher percentage of older adults (4.1%) live alone (1.8 per cent). The importance of the living arrangement between the elderly becomes apparent when seen in the context of their level of economic dependency. Their lack of financial dependence hampers their access to food, clothes, and healthcare. Medicine is the most unmet demand among the elderly's essential requirements.
  • Disabled:
    Disabled Disability provides more problems in obtaining the appropriate variety of services. Disabled persons are subjected to various types of discrimination and have limited access to education and other socioeconomic possibilities. In India, the number of people with disabilities is on the rise. The number of people with disabilities in India is estimated to be 21.9 million. The handicapped population accounts for around 2.13 per cent of the overall population.

    There are two types of disabilities: acquired and congenital. Acquired disability refers to impairment that has existed since birth due to accidents or medical conditions. Approximately one-third of the disabled population has been disabled since inception, according to the National Sample Survey Organisation Report[1].
  • Migrant Workers:
    India's internal migration of impoverished employees is also rising. Poor migrants frequently wind up as casual employees in the informal economy. According to the 2001 census, 14.4 million individuals in India have moved to cities or places inside the country with higher predicted economic advantages for employment purposes. In agriculture and plantations, brick kilns, quarries, building sites and fish processing, large numbers of migrants are employed.[2].

    Large numbers of migrants labour as casual labourers, head loaders, rickshaw pullers, and hawkers in the city's informal production, service, and transportation sectors. Because of the relaxed nature of their jobs, they cannot receive preventative care, and their working conditions prohibit them from receiving proper curative treatment under the city's informal labour arrangements.
  • Sexual Minorities:
    Some attitudes and beliefs regarding specific illnesses and sexual orientations lead to discrimination towards people and groups. Patients with HIV/AIDS and sexual minorities People living with HIV/AIDS have their rights infringed when they are refused access to health, education, and services. When their personal or extended family and friends fail to offer the support they require, they suffer.

    According to the Indian National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), India had 5,206 million HIV infections in 2005, with women accounting for 38.4 per cent of conditions and rural areas accounting for 57 per cent. The origins of AIDS, the means of transmission, and the level of public awareness about the disease are all highly regarded.

    These issues are exacerbated by marginalization and stigmatization based on characteristics that might be considered risk factors for HIV infection, such as gender, immigrant status, or behaviour. Women whose husbands have died of AIDS, for example, are ostracized by their own and husbands' families, and their husbands' property inheritance is denied.
  • Sexual Minorities:
    This is another group that faces stigma and prejudice. Those identifying as gay, homosexual, transgender, bisexual, Kothi, and hijra face numerous social and health system discrimination. Because of the superiority of heteronomous sexual relations.

People classified as having same-sex sexual orientation are mocked and ostracised by their own families as the only type of normal appropriate relationships within society and are left with very local support systems and community networks that provide them with conditions of care and support. Their interests and concerns are removed from the numerous policies and programmes relating to health. In recognizing 'extreme risk behaviour,' only the National AIDS Prevention and Control Program acknowledges sexual minorities and homosexuals.

However, omnipresent prejudice by health care providers slows or deters their promotion of health. Therefore, they are exempt from the mechanism of government monitoring carried out in the sense of HIV/AIDS among the high-risk population. Surveillance is typically carried out by NGOs and by 'support groups' among 'MSM' or men who have sex with men, i.e. among men who are open to NGOs and willing to identify with categories such as Kothi, around which support groups are organized. [3]. They also face a large amount of psychological stress.

Social Work Profession In India:

  1. In India, social work has progressed from its infancy to become one of the most in-demand professions in recent decades. In India, a person with a Bachelor's degree in Social Work (BSW) is regarded as a professional social worker. In the Indian context, qualified social workers can be found working in administrative, managerial, and policy planning jobs in various government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government ministries. If you are ready to work hard and under any circumstances, both government and non-government organizations (NGOs) have a lot to offer.
  2. India is placed 134th on the Human Development Index. Although the substantial rise in India's per capita GDP, social and economic analysts have noted that the country's progress in human development has been uneven. Inequalities between various population sectors are widening, and employment has risen, primarily in the informal sector, which has long been associated with a complete absence of social protection and poor wages. The country also needs long-term, inclusive growth. Progress must be manifested on the ground to reduce poverty, starvation, and deprivation significantly.
  3. According to some experts and scholars, the consumerist views of Indian upper and medium-income groups resulted in less contact between rural classes and less concern on the side of rural elites for the lower parts, which used to characterize the more paternalistic relationships of the past. This has severe social and political ramifications for those who are marginalized. These repercussions are exacerbated by cultural factors that appear to be dominant and increasingly determine the objectives of young people in particular. This has resulted in emotions of community and hostility. As a result, the Indian state's ability to manage social tensions has become increasingly challenging due to economic growth and the inadequacy of present social policies to alleviate or minimize the consequent inequities.
  4. As a result, India continues to lack essential services, particularly those mandated by law, such as education. India's private health spending (78 per cent) is one of the highest globally, reflecting the country's poor public health care. Because of the relatively limited coverage of sanitary facilities, child mortality and malnutrition are more remarkable in India than in Bangladesh, and literacy rates are the lowest in Asia. India failed to provide essential public goods, such as education, health, nutrition, water, and sanitation while spending significant public funds.

Targeting the poor illustrates that the problem is not a lack of resources but rather a matter of political priorities and incentives. Strong incentives to address poverty and social progress may be expected for a country with a high number of disadvantaged people who participate actively in elections, where previously marginalized social groups have made significant gains in attaining political power.

Indeed, there is no question that India has made headway in eliminating poverty, with the proportion of the population classified as poor having decreased by roughly half since the late 1960s. However, rather than a slew of anti-poverty measures, old-fashioned development is to blame for much of this drop.

Growth is predicted to account for around 80% of the reduction in the poverty headcount ratio (which measures the number of persons living below the poverty line8) and 60% of the decrease in the poverty gap index (which measures the intensity of poverty). As a result, redistribution was responsible for 20% and 40% of the decrease in the two poverty measures, respectively.

Redistribution is essential for the ultra-poor, which is unsurprising. Given the vast number of rural poor in India, agricultural growth is a key poverty reduction measure. However, this sector has grown considerably more slowly in the recent decade. Therefore India's strong growth rate has had a more negligible impact on poverty reduction than in the past.

Recommendations For Revitalizing Social Policy In India:

  1. A rights-based approach has been preferred over other alternatives, as citizenship is synonymous with rights to minimum rights being accepted. The right to food, the right to work (MGNREGA), the right to information, education, and so on are examples of this.
  2. There is a need for the goal and the beneficiary to be clearly defined. In specific regions, a mix of both universalization and targeted coverage can be pursued, along with the consideration of prices, exclusion issues, etc. The ultimate focus is on universalizing those necessities, such as food, schooling, hygiene, housing, etc. There are exclusion and inclusion errors under the targeted system and leakages in the dual price system. It is possible to combine universalization with embedded systems for self-selection.
  3. In an open economy, the growth effects of redistributive policies (such as MGNREGA), including the redistribution of assets and not just the redistribution of profits, need to be taken into account, thus considering the relative welfare and productivity effects of the both.
  4. The public and private sectors, focusing on improving the public system, need to be allocated their respective positions in human development in the areas relevant to each industry. However, the need to enhance service quality is crucial for the necessary growth to be achieved.
  5. an acceptable minimum level needs to be attained in education, health, and other programmes. This is linked to the need to develop efficient control and surveillance systems to manage the implementation and assess outcomes.
  6. It is essential to address the concerns of specific vulnerable groups, such as SCs, STs, women, children, and minorities, and to ensure regional equity. The regional dimension must also be discussed simultaneously because lagging human development is concentrated in eight to ten states.
  7. Decentralization and participatory programming are required. A more fantastic function needs to be allocated to local institutions and organizations, PRIs, SHGs, etc., to ensure the successful implementation of the programmes. At the same time, greater transparency and a more participatory mechanism are needed for investments in poor institutions. However, it is also essential to consider that vested interests also dominate local entities.
  8. Effective systems and methods should be uniformly repeated, and, at the same time, local contexts and criteria should be considered to ensure successful implementation.
  9. In service delivery organizations, greater accountability and transparency are needed. State agencies need to take a more pro-poor stance to ensure the successful implementation of inclusive growth policies and positive human development outcomes.
  10. Apart from an integrated and holistic approach, there should be a convergence of initiatives and schemes to achieve better planning, resource utilization, and outcomes. However, it is also vital to ensure that programmes such as MGNREGS are not viewed as multipurpose programmes in this phase, which would make them lose sight of their core objectives.
  11. It is vital to resolve infrastructural constraints and capacity building issues practically and urgently. Strategies should be planned to produce the appropriate hardware and software infrastructure, including classrooms, teachers, pedagogy, health centres, sanitation facilities, training programmes, etc.
  12. An appropriate administrative mechanism/base needs to be implemented for local government. This will, among other things, ensure timely delivery of services, more incredible professionalism and efficient management, technical adaptation, improvements in design and work processes and complementary administrative reforms.

International Conventions related to social work practice and action:

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
  • The Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (ILO Convention 169)

The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), and the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW) released the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development Commitment to Action in March 2012, recognizing that past and present political, economic, cultural, and social orders, shaped in specific contexts, have unequal consequences for global, national, and local communities and have negative impacts.

These organizations notably assert that "we commit to supporting, influencing, and promoting global initiatives to achieve social and economic equality. We will accomplish this by using and strengthening our established relationships with the UN system and other international agencies. We will support the Millennium Development Goals.

Our major focus is to prepare for the post-2015 development agenda, which includes, for example, the social protection floor initiative, decent work and international labour standards; the WHO initiative on the social determinants of health; and education for all. We will strive with others for a people-focused global economy that is regulated to protect and promote social justice, human rights and sustainable development."

These social work organizations also state that they will assist and collaborate with others to build strong local communities that promote the social and economic well-being of all of their members, focusing on enhancing communities' capacity to engage with their governments to promote social and economic growth.

Skilled social workers can be found in nursing homes, orphanages, schools, hospitals, mental health clinics, prisons, companies, and many public and private organizations that represent persons and families in need in every aspect of community life. Social work is more than merely doing nice things and assisting the less fortunate.

Over time, it developed into a career. It's not exactly a 'traditional' career path. However, since the number of people with disabilities, drug abuse problems, poverty, mental illness, and other age-related concerns continues to rise, social work has become a necessity in our society. Social work has a variety of goals and priorities.

They must also be focused on empirical evidence and provide positive advice on various solutions to social change that can be applied to separate social needs. However, given the current global crisis, and even though, Several democratic and global institutions organizations are dedicated to alleviating poverty and preserving we might infer that working for the cause of social development should be a priority, at the top of social workers' development agenda. This is both the necessity of the hour and the only one available method to make our time valuable to ourselves and our careers.

"The happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others."- Gordon B. Hinckley


  1. 58th Round
  2. NCRL, 2001
  3. Khanna 2006

References & Index Of Authority

  1. Brian Kerr, Jean Gordon, Charlotte MacDonald and Kirsten Stalker(2005). Effective Social Work With Older People. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive Social Research
  2. Chandrima Chatterjee & Gunjan Sheoran (2007). Vulnerable Groups In India. Mumbai:
    • The Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes (CEHAT)
  3. Mathbor. G. (2008). Effective community participation in coastal development. Chicago
  4. Steven Walker and Chris Beckett (2011). Social Work Assessment and Intervention (2nd Ed.). Dorset: Russell House Publishing Ltd
  5. Adams, N.B. 2007. Toward a Model for Knowledge Development in Virtual Environments:
    • Strategies for Student Ownership, International Journal of Social and Human Sciences


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