After a standing ovation, students and teachers listened with rapt attention as Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus unfolded the creation of his baby, The Grameen Bank, on Saturday morning at University of Mumbai’s Kalina campus.
Delivering a public lecture on ‘Role of Micro Credit in achieving Millennium Development Goals’, the Nobel Peace Prize Winner 2006 urged universities, citizens and corporates to strive towards poverty alleviation.
“Although working towards a poverty-free society is the role of the state, the government is mired in bureaucracy and hence cannot fulfill the social agenda. It is best then that citizens and corporate sector takes on this role of the state to alleviate poverty,” Yunus said.
But to realise the government’s social agenda, Yunus, also an economist, called upon educational institutions to provide for trained manpower to help corporate houses with social initiatives. “In universities, we need to train our children to make money. But we also need other departments to train them in social business and enterprise like ways to run a company to outreach people,” said Yunus, adding that universities in western countries have already been working in this direction.
Incidentally, even the University of Mumbai is planning to start short-term courses in Corporate Social Responsibility to churn out trained socially trained manpower.
Like the Bombay Stock Exchange lists firms that make profit, Yunus said there is “a need for a social stock market to list firms with social initiatives”.
“We can have firms that can help provide safe drinking water or sell good quality curd to the poor. But this should be done to double the outreach and not make money,” Yunus said.
“If Mumbai can be poverty-free, the next generation will say let’s go to the poverty museum that will depict what poverty looked like. They would be very grateful that our generation took poverty out and put it in a museum,” he concluded.