From the villages

Hello every one!!!

Just thought of penning down a few thoughts of my professional work as it is one such issue that binds us all….well my organization is working on the key issue of strengthening the decentralization process in the India. As all of us are aware that the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments provided the constitutional mandate towards the creation of local self government units in all the states. This made the three tier structure of governments a reality in all Indian states. But where do we stand in terms of the empowerment of these local self governments? let me not make this page of diary a note of observations but let it be a vent to my frustrations. all of you who is reading this will have to accept that somewhere in our hearts there is one little corner that keeps worrying about our distant homelands…our fore -father’s land and wonder whether we being the products of that soil are able to do some justice there. When we have achieved all that we could, what’s the condition prevailing there for those who could not be out of that land. I don’t suggest that getting out of that homeland was the best thing that could have been done. Perhaps it was not at all desired! We can think of staying put and fighting the battle.The battle of making lives better by empowering each citizen to avail all the facilities that a state needs to provide to its citizens. The root of the problem lies in not one cause but it’s a maze of causes and we feel lost in the labyrinth of existing incapacities. To begin with we feel that we don’t react to situations as we feel that may be the system cannot change or will not respond to our efforts towards changing it.

So this is a wakeup call to all my readers…please feel lucky that while we had the right opportunities in some sense to have been able to make the most of our lives….there are folks belonging to our lands who still have to fight a battle to commute 5 kms on foot to reach the nearest school/college and still depend on the nearly nonexistent public transport and public health care centers in the villages which fail to cater their needs. The solution has to come from within. Through the generation of awareness amongst the locals to fight for their rights, there is a need for the clarity of roles to be played by each stakeholder…..while the state has to be a facilitator in empowering these local self governments so that the local citizens can decide on the priorities of their particular gram panchayat (village level), individuals too need to rise to the occasion to raise awareness and empower each around through the sheer power of knowledge and information….Let the meeting of gram sabha decide whether they want a new road to the primary health care center or they need a new rain water harvesting system to be put in place in the village. Let all the development plans of the state be area specific for which these Local Self Governments are most suitable. One should abandon ‘one size fit all’ approach of granting funds and passing plans annually. Let the bottom up approach of planning see the light of the day for at least those sectors where the service delivery affects the lives of local people directly let there be elections for urban and rural local bodies as per constitutional requirements and let the system work….only when we are sure that the next door farmer knows that he need not sell his land and migrate to cities to do unskilled job due to the so called ‘push and pull factors’ of migration. Let him stay in the village…empower him to make decisions democratically in the Panchayat meetings where he can decide what his village needs the most in terms of social and physical infrastructure and let the Center and state government give them more free funds to implement projects of his choice.

What ever time it takes…..we can fight for this as its worth it!! For then we shall be not ashamed and rather smile at India shining from well within…not just from the swanky airports to the star hotels to the malls…..but deep inside the villages too!!!Let Indians enjoy what it feels to be empowered!!!

Enough for today!!!
Shubhashansha Bakshi
Research Associate

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *