“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
The world undoubtedly turns into a better place when people willingly develop a sense of considerate contribution to the society, nay, the under privileged. But the means of aid is what matters the most and that determines whether we repair or ruin lives.
Helping a person earn for himself is far better than giving him money. The prior exemplifies lending a helping hand and the latter, giving a dole. Both exhibit an act of kindness and the willingness to serve, but handing over “free” money would knowingly or unknowingly leave a permanent blot in the attitude of a person. The idea of giving doles seems to be appealing, but in the long run, it can prove to be as disastrous as impairing someone’s potential. Such an act definitely lifts up, but doesn’t hold up as we have encouraged dependence and shunned self growth.
It obviously sounds better to help a slow learner grasp knowledge at a faster pace than to feed him with answers during the exam. Lending support is based on a fellow feeling, perhaps on a much equal terms, while giving a dole is based on a sense of superiority.
We are all aware of the disastrous effect caused by the incessant rains, causing floods at Chennai in 2015. Statistics show that more than 18 lakh residents were displaced. A hand lent on remodeling the infrastructure and improving the storm water drainage system prior to the occurrence of this disaster would have served better than giving grants to the victims of floods. It seems to be quite ironical that states prefer dispensing subsidies rather than offering support during the time when the disaster can be prevented.
The necessity of kindling capabilities has been realized and the government is taking several initiatives by various programs. One such example is the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. It is a demand based program which aims at providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to unskilled manual labor. It recognizes the right to live with dignity and right to livelihood as a part of Right to Life in Article 21 of the constitution. Diverse investigations have shown that the program has reduced the chances of people slipping into poverty. The scheme supplements agricultural incomes and thus enables the poor to lead a life of morality.
Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY) is another initiative worth quoting. It was launched by the Government of India in 1999 to enable sustainable income to the poor. It focuses on alleviating poverty through self employment by organizing the villagers into self help groups. Activity clusters are established based on an individual’s skill which is then nurtured to its maximum potential. Funds are provided by NGO’s, banks and financial institutions.
The motive behind the works of Mohammed Yunus and his Grameen bank has not only created an impact in Bangladesh, but has left the whole world awe struck. His objective was to help the poor escape poverty by issuing loans on terms suitable to them and inculcating sound knowledge on financial principles, so that they could help themselves. Replicas of this bank model operate in more than 100 countries worldwide. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and is known throughout the world as a pioneer of the microcredit concept.
Agree it or not, it is astonishingly true that the Russian transfer of technology is more valued in India than the financial aid of West. Giving people sustainable livelihood is far more appreciated and beneficial than providing them with mere subsidies. So let us all start our duty today, by lending our hand to the needy and letting them climb the ladder all by themselves.
- Neha P Asrani