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The Changing Face of Social Responsibility

05 Oct 2017

There was a time when the mention of Social Responsibility brought to our mind the image of government bodies, corporates, and non-profit organisations toiling away to bring change and further the improvement in quality of life for certain causes. Today, we are seeing a whirlwind movement of active citizen participation in every sector and cause, that aims at improving lives, moving towards Transforming India.

Social Responsibility is not the duty of a particular group of entities like corporates or NGOs, but of every single individual who is part of society. This thought was the seed that led to the conceptualisation and creation of Sahabhag, a digital platform by the Government of Maharashtra that facilitates citizen participation in socially responsible and citizen centric projects. Sahabhag is a collaborative platform which allows exchange of ideas and efforts so that each stakeholder, whatever their capacity may be can contribute tangibly in real-time efforts for sustainable development.

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has seen massive participation by citizens across the country. The Hon. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had called upon the nation to participate in the ‘Swachhata hi Seva’ campaign from 15th September 2017 to 2nd October 2017 and create an environment of cleanliness. As part of this campaign, a cleanliness drive for Shramdaan towards cleaning up of Juhu beach in Mumbai was organised through the Sahabhag portal.

The drive was held on Sunday, 1st October, 2017, to bring together people’s participation and contribution in cleaning the waste accumulated after Durga Puja Visarjan. It also hoped to achieve awareness about degradation of marine life due to the plastic and non-biodegradable waste that is being carelessly thrown around. The event was organised by the Chief Minister’s office, Government of Maharashtra. The Fellows from the Chief Minister’s Fellowship Program spearheaded the registration, publicity and on-ground activities, with support from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation who provided masks and gloves.

The drive was a success with 130 participants doing Shramdaan and contributing to beach cleaning in the early hours of a Sunday of a long weekend. The participants targeted a 500m patch and focussed on picking maximum plastic waste lying on beach. The drive was 2 and half hours long and efforts bore fruit with a clean looking patch of beach.

Through Sahabhag, three organisations joined hands for this drive.

  1. GreenCiti , a non-profit organization who specialise in waste management
  2. Leo Clubs of Leo Multiple 3231 (Pan-Mumbai), the youth wing of Lions Club, whose young leaders serve as agents of positive change within their communities
  3. Helping Hands, a group of young people in Mumbai who do community teaching for underprivileged children

Their young volunteers showed great enthusiasm and participated wholeheartedly, cleaning the beach armed with trash bags, masks, gloves and a sense of responsibility. There was a lovely street play on cleanliness awareness by First year and Second year B.Comm students from Chembur. The sweet moment of the drive was to see inspired fellow joggers and active citizens roll up their sleeves and start cleaning the beach along with the volunteers.

It is heartening to see the youth of today proving that the concept of social responsibility is changing and percolating down to motivate every person in society to do their bit for our country.

Priya Khan

OSD to Hon. Chief Minister,

Government of Maharashtra

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