Professional Social Work Education and Practice in India—Strengthening Inclusive…
The National Development Council (NDC) gave its unanimous endorsement to theEleventh Plan (2007–12) setting an accelerated economic growth of nine per cent per annum for the five-year period, with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh,asserting that inclusive economic development is “a national goal”. In his concludingremarks at the 54th NDC meeting with State Chief Ministers, the Prime Minister refuted the allegation that the “untied” resources for States were shrinking with acorresponding increase in centrally sponsored schemes and ‘tied’ assistance. He saidthe new approach helps to promote decentralised planning and monitoring whilesimultaneously increasing the resources available to specific sectors that are criticalfor enabling inclusive growth. The Prime Minister firmly said the Eleventh 11
Planis for the poor and it does not attempt to divide people on the basis of caste, creed or gender even as it pays special attention to the needs of these marginalised groups andtargets them in a precise way. The Planning Commission Deputy Chairman, Mr.Montek Singh Ahluwalia, denied that there is any sub-plan for minorities but said“we cannot achieve inclusive growth and the social harmony it will bring, if theminorities remain excluded” (The Hindu Business Line, New Delhi, Dec. 19, 2008).
PROFESSIONAL SOCIAL WORK AND INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT
Social exclusion (and inclusion) is a topic of major importance in contemporarysocial work and has been a core feature of social policy developments in the UK andEurope in the past decade. Michael Shepperd (2006) argues that the issue of socialexclusion lies at the very heart of social work and he examines the implications of this position for both theory and practice. He discusses a range of major themes insocial work, looking at how they reflect an underlying concern with social exclusion.They include empowerment, need, the exercise of authority, choice, evidence-based practice and reflexive practice. He also makes clear that even though the term ‘socialexclusion’ is of recent origin, it provides a framework for understanding the enduringthemes of social work.
The social work profession promotes social change, problem solving in humanrelationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being.Utilising theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work intervenes atthe points where people interact with their environments. Principles of human rightsand social justice are fundamental to social work.Social work in its various forms addresses the multiple, complex transactions between people and their environments. Its mission is to enable all people to developtheir full potential, enrich their lives, and prevent dysfunction. Professional socialwork is focused on problem solving and change. As such, social workers are changeagents in society and in the lives of the individuals, families and communities theyserve. Social work is an interrelated system of values, theory and practice.