Justice in terms of wealth distribution, opportunities, and privileges in society is termed social justice. At its sixty-second session, in November 2007, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed 20 February as World Day of Social Justice. Read here to understand social justice.
The World Day of Social Justice Day was observed for the first time on 20 February 2009.
On June 10, 2008, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) endorsed the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for Equitable Globalization. This is the International Labour Conference’s third major declaration of principles and policy since the ILO’s Constitution of 1919.
The observance of the day is intended to contribute to the further consolidation of the efforts of the international community in poverty eradication, promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity, and access to social well-being and justice for all.
What is Social Justice?
A fair and equal distribution of resources, opportunities, and privileges in society is referred to as social justice.
Once a theological idea, it is now more loosely understood to refer to the just arrangement of social structures that provide access to financial advantages. It is also known as distributive justice.
It emphasizes fairness in how society divides its social resources.
Gender inequality, racism, and LGBTQ+ discrimination are frequent subjects of social justice advocacy.
Social justice establishes rights and obligations within societal institutions, allowing everyone to share in the advantages and costs of collaboration.
Taxation, social insurance, public health, public education, public services, labor legislation, and market regulation are common examples of pertinent institutions that help assure equitable opportunity and wealth distribution.
The concept of Social Justice has been in place since the ancient ages when Plato and related philosophers wrote about it.
- Plato wrote in The Republic that it would be an ideal state that “every member of the community must be assigned to the class for which he finds himself best fitted.”
- Plato believed rights existed only between free people, and the law should take “account in the first instance of relations of inequality in which individuals are treated in proportion to their worth and only secondarily of relations of equality.”
- Socrates (through Plato’s dialogue Crito) is credited with developing the idea of a social contract, whereby people ought to follow the rules of society, and accept its burdens because they have accepted its benefits.
Significance of Social Justice
Poverty and inequalities within and among countries are on the rise in many parts of the world.
The economic and social crises of recent years have been exacerbated by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters due to accelerating climate change, geopolitical tensions, and armed conflicts.
Beyond the human tragedies associated with them and their impact on the world of work, these crises have highlighted the interlinkages and dependencies of economies and societies around the world and shown the crucial need for concerted action to respond to them, at global, regional, and national levels.
Important global changes have led to growing disruptions in economies linked to globalization and technology, significant demographic transformations, increasing migration flows, and prolonged situations of fragility.
The need of the hour is to curb the growing divide between problems and solutions and call for more inclusive and networked multilateralism, re-embracing global solidarity and renewing the social contract between governments and their people and within societies with a comprehensive approach to human rights.
Social justice makes societies and economies function better and reduces poverty, inequalities, and social tensions.
It plays an important role in attaining more inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development paths and is key for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda), especially at a time when the achievement of those goals remains far away.
Hence, social justice must become one of the pillars of the revitalized multilateralism that is needed; it must serve as a unifying ideal as well as a key tool for a more effective multilateral system, maintaining coherence across a variety of policy areas.
World Day of Social Justice
2023 Theme: Overcoming Barriers and Unleashing Opportunities for Social Justice
The 2023 World Day of Social Justice provides an opportunity to foster dialogue with UN Member States, youth, social partners, civil society, UN organizations, and other stakeholders on actions needed to strengthen the social contract that has been fractured by rising inequalities, conflicts, and weakened institutions that are meant to protect the rights of workers.
Despite these multiple crises, there are many opportunities to build a coalition for social justice and to unleash greater investments in decent jobs, with a particular focus on the green, digital, and care economy, and young people.
Social justice in India
The problem of social justice is associated with social equality and the constitution makers were strongly affected by the feeling of social equality and social justice at the time of the independence.
The terms, like Socialist, Secular, Democratic, and Republic, were inserted in the Preamble for the same cause.
Social justice denotes that all people are treated fairly without any social distinction. This ensures that the absence of privilege is limited to every specific segment of society and the conditions of poor classes (SCs, STs, and OBCs) and women are strengthened.
It involves eliminating glaring disparities in wealth, pay, and property. What is referred to as “distributive justice” is a combination of social and economic fairness. All Indians are guaranteed equality of opportunity and status under the Preamble.
Social injustice is a critical problem in Indian society. The analysis of a society’s social stratification based on either caste or class is primarily concerned with the definition of inequality.
The constitution guarantees social justice to the people of the country through articles:
- Article 15(1) forbids discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth
- Article 16 (1) ensures equal opportunity for all
- Article 17 states that untouchability has been abolished and prohibits its existence
- Article 19 enshrines the fundamental rights of the country’s people
- Articles 23 and 24 provide for fundamental rights against exploitation.
- Article 38 directs the State to secure a social order for the promotion of the welfare of the people
- Article 41 entails the Right to work, to education, and public assistance in certain cases
- Scheme of Grant in Aid to Voluntary Organisations working for Scheduled Castes
- National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction
- Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY)
- Scheme of National Awards for Outstanding Services in the field of Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drug) Abuse
- Implementation Framework of National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction
- National Fellowship for OBC Students (NF-OBC)
- Ambedkar Scheme of Interest Subsidy on Educational Loan for Overseas Studies for OBCs & EBCs
- National Overseas Scholarship
- National Fellowship for Scheduled Caste Students
- Free Coaching Scheme for SC and OBC Students
- Babu Jagjivan Ram Chhatrawas Yojana (BJRCY)
- Pre-Matric Scholarship for OBC Students
- Scholarships for Higher Education for Young Achievers Scheme (SHREYAS) (OBC &Others) – 2021-22 to 2025-26.
- PM young achievers’ scholarship award scheme for vibrant India for OBCs and others (PM -YASASVI)
- Scholarship for PM CARES children
Schemes for Economic Development
- Entrepreneurial Schemes of NBCFDC
- Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for the Scheduled Castes (SCs)
- National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC)
- National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC)
- Scheme of Assistance to Scheduled Castes Development Corporations (SCDCs)
- Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS)
- Pradhan Mantri Dakshta Aur Kushalta Sampann Hitgrahi (PM-DAKSH) Yojana
Schemes for Social Empowerment
- Centrally Sponsored Scheme for implementation of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
- Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAGY)
- Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise (SMILE)
- Pradhan Mantri Anusuchit Jaati Abhyuday Yojna (PM-AJAY)
Also read: Children and Armed Conflict
To make social justice an effective tool for social advancement, it is vital to guarantee that policies are implemented correctly and fairly.
Liberalism prioritizes freedom, but it is aware that this freedom is meaningless unless it is supported by a sense of security and equality.
A liberal social policy should work to increase opportunity for the most disadvantaged while also building a social safety net that makes it easier for them to handle emergencies.
-Article written by Swathi Satish