A self-reliant society has confidence in its capacity to satisfy its demands and take care of itself without the assistance of outsiders. It promotes all community members' independence and increases empowerment. Further, it improves the financial and economic prosperity of the economy and its citizens.
The skills of a nation's workforce determine its utmost productivity and development. According to Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education), India has the largest adolescent population in the world, 253 million, and every fifth person is between 10 to 19 years.
However, as per United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Education Commission, more than 50 per cent of Indian youth is not on track to have the education and skills necessary for employment by 2030. Hence, a vast pool of individuals with highly untapped potential could lead to large-scale development with the right training and upskilling programs. Just imagine the benefits individuals can tap into socially, politically and economically if this large number of adolescents are self-reliant, safe, healthy, educated and equipped with information and life skills to support their own livelihood and prosperity.
With today's unique challenges, a development strategy must be anchored on inclusive and sustainable growth by creating and expanding economic opportunities for all members of society. Enabling broader access to opportunities will ensure that members of society can participate in and benefit from growth. A holistic approach can transform lives by strengthening the basic societal infrastructure of primary education, rebuilding families, and sparking a drive for ambition and employment.
Individuals from lower socioeconomic groups rarely develop in silos when growing up. It is crucial to empower these communities by providing them with the resources and opportunities to thrive. Individuals and families can unite and share skills, knowledge, and resources by revitalising community spaces. It can lead to more robust social networks and increased access to various means to help communities become self-sufficient.
A few crucial aspects are enabling quality education, improved healthcare facilities, nutritional diet, and social support for everyone in the community. Anganwadis are an essential step towards the agenda of self-reliance. Anganwadis are crucial in promoting self-reliance by providing education, nutrition, and healthcare services to children and families in rural areas.
This can help improve overall health and well-being, leading to increased productivity, better economic opportunities, and reduced dependence on external aid. By providing childcare and educational opportunities, Anganwadis can help to reduce the burden of care on families, allowing them to participate more fully in community life and economic activities, leading to self-reliance. These anganwadis are a crucial space for families and communities to unite for different forums and form the heart of a thriving society.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 'Sustainability' is the capacity to improve the quality of human life while living within the earth's natural ecosystems. As a result of greenhouse gas emissions, global surface temperatures have risen by 1.1°C since pre-industrial times.
Climate change is already causing water scarcity, food shortages, price spikes, severe impacts on farming and fishing, as well as mass species extinctions. Businesses need to evaluate strategies to minimise the carbon footprint and minimise the negative impact for a circular economy to thrive. According to World Economic Forum (WEF), the circular economy (CE) outlook can save over 1 trillion dollars annually because of reduced carbon emissions, lower costs, and supply chain risk. Additionally, a circular economy can protect about half a trillion dollars of India's GDP value, thereby nudging the country towards self-reliance and immense development.
Encouraging sustainable behaviour can promote self-reliance by empowering individuals and communities to take control of their resources and decision-making. By advocating sustainable practices such as using renewable energy sources, reducing waste, and conserving natural resources, communities can reduce their dependence on external systems and become more self-sufficient.
Future-Ready Skill Development
The right skill sets build the foundation of a self-reliant community. While many urban youths from challenging economic backgrounds have acquired a primary education, they need to gain the skills that make them employable.
We need to shift our focus on empowering this segment of youth by providing them with the opportunity to not only acquire fundamental employable skills but also provide a safe space for them to learn and aspire for a better life. Numerous urban skilling programs offer this training by enabling individuals with the right marketable skills that help them land better jobs and improve their standard of living. Whether enhancing individuals' hard skills or soft vocational skills, skill development is the need of the hour. While their core skills make them good at what they do, their soft skills help them to stand out in professional environments. This expands their horizons brings a shift in their mindset, makes them more confident and ambitious, and reshapes their worldview.
It is no secret that the world is facing some severe challenges. From climate change to economic insecurity, there are a lot of problems that need to be addressed. But, while it can seem daunting for communities to become self-reliant, partaking in their need for development by segmenting the urgent from the important can be a crucial first step. By fostering self-reliance, individuals and communities can become more resilient and better able to handle the challenges of the ever-changing "modern life."
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