What should be the role of Corporate Sector in addressing issues of marginalized children given that Corporate have a mandate to run profitable business?
In general, the term ‘marginalization’ describes the overt actions or tendencies of human societies, where people who they perceive to undesirable or without useful function, are excluded, i.e., marginalized. These people, who are marginalized, from a GROUP or COMMUNITY for their protection and integration and are known as ‘marginalized groups’. This limits their opportunities and means for survival. Peter Leonard defines marginality as, “being outside the mainstream of productive activity and/or social reproductive activity”.
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With an estimated 12.6 million children engaged in hazardous occupations (2001 Census), for instance, India has the largest number of child laborers under the age of 14 in the world. Among children, there are some groups like street children and children of sex workers who face additional forms of discrimination. A large number of children are reportedly trafficked to the neighboring countries. Trafficking of children also continues to be a serious problem in India. While systematic data and information on child protection issues are still not always available, evidence suggests that children in need of special protection belong to communities suffering disadvantage and social exclusion such as scheduled casts and tribes, and the poor. (Source: Report by UNICEF, India).
How to improve the situation?
Firstly, lower literacy/level of education and continual discrimination based upon the economic conditions and sects of the society in educational institutions pose a major problem.
Secondly, the failure of government information and implementation of a strong Education Policy and develop major programs for strengthening the public education system in villages and cities.
These two major reasons have created the necessity to reallocate government resources for education and vocational training. For millions of poor students located in rural areas, the loan schemes do not work. We need an affordable, uniform and better quality public educational system up to the university level. Public education system is India’s need which is to be further strengthened. Promotion of private education systems that creates inequality and hierarchy should be discouraged.
Now comes the role of corporate sector:
In order to promote economic and industrial development in a country, the essential requirement is the capacity to develop skilled manpower of good quality in adequate number. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is becoming an increasingly important activity to businesses nationally and internationally. It ensures the success of a business by the inclusion of social and environmental considerations into a company’s operations as a positive contribution to society. The success of a company can be made possible only when the interests of all involved stakeholders are met. One of the most important stakeholders in this system is the society in which the company operates.
CSR has been practiced for a long time in India with companies like Tata Steel undertaking it as early as 1907. Majority of the firms develop and implement a multi-pronged strategy for the development of the local communities, thus focusing on multiple intervention areas.
Businesses have begun to take a more targeted approach and are seeking to impact areas that have a correlation with their own business goals. For many businesses, education is an important part of their plans, since the needs exist in all geographic areas, across all subject...