In a significant move for village development the Central Government in association with the state governments conducted “Gramoday Se Bharat Uday Abhiyan” from April 14 to 24. The campaign aims at strengthening the Panchayati Raj system, doubling farmers’ income, boosting social harmony, promoting rural development and enhancing livelihoods of deprived people. During the campaign, special Gram Sabha meetings were held focusing on participation of farmers, women and the marginalised sections on matters within the purview of the Panchayats. Kisan Sabhas were organised in every Panchayat and information about various government schemes was given.
Curbing the deep-rooted corruption prevailing in the system since decades and ensuring genuine participation of people in implementation of developmental schemes are the primary requisites to achieve desired results of any development programme. If most of the Panchayats have today failed to show the desired results, despite having huge funds, it is because of these two factors. Amidst this grim scenario there are some Panchayats in the country, which despite all odds successfully curbed corruption, ensured public participation in the implementation process of government schemes and set milestones of development. The way these Panchayats and the people work can be model for rest of the Panchayats.
Among hundreds of such Panchayats Deendayal Dham, a village with 5,000 population and merely 165 km from New Delhi, is a role model in employment generation. About 4,000 women from this village and also 40 other surrounding villages have been imparted training in stitching and the clothes stitched here have huge demand all over the country.
“Both men and women stitch clothes and earn between Rs 5,000 to 15,000 per month,” says Shri Radheshyam Gupta who looks after the stitching centre in the village. Impressed with the performance of the project, the Khadi Gramodyog Board has installed several solar-run charkhas so that the fabric can be prepared in the village itself.
The fact, which distinguishes Deendayal Dham from Khadi Gramodyog Board is the production of high quality clothes on cheaper rates—about 50 per cent cheaper. “Whenever I visit Mathura I purchase clothes. The colours and designs are fascinating. My entire family likes them,” says Shri Hiralal Yadav, a senior officer of Ghaziabad Development Authority, while purchasing clothes from Deendayal Dham. Now it has also started stitching jackets, which too are about 50 per cent cheaper than the jackets stitched by the Khadi Board.
Another major initiative for employment generation in the village is production of Panchgavya and Ayurvedic medicines. About 30 women of the village have been trained for it. Also over 30,000 patients are treated at the Ayurvedic hospital annually. The village is soon going to become hundred per cent literate thanks to the efforts of Surya Foundation, which has been conducting adult literacy classes for several years. “Every house is going to have toilet by April 30, 2016. For cleanliness, 300 dustbins have been placed at different points. Since the ground water here is very salty, the whole village has now been provided with pure drinking water by installing a tube well about 1.5 km away from the village,” says Shri Dinesh Kumar, a villager of Nangla Chandrabhan, now known as Deendayal Dham, which is also the birth place of Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya, the proponent of 'Integral Humanism'.
To ensure transparency, a committee of 25 villagers keeps a close watch on all the developmental activities and fund utilisation. It is a model to learn how transparency can be maintained in implementation of government schemes and how local people can be motivated to join hands in governance.
There are many other such villages where outstanding developmental work has been done. People in Peeplantari Village under Rajsamand District of Rajasthan have done wonderful work on water harvesting. The water level, which was below 750 feet in 2005, is now merely at 8 feet. Similarly, the villagers in Baghuwar in Narsinghpur District of Madhya Pradesh have done wonderful work on cleanliness. Every family in this village has toilet since over a decade. Similarly, if someone wants to see how villages can be developed in a planned way, one must visit Mohad in the same Narsinghpur District.
Bhakti Sharma, the young Sarpanch of Barkhedi Abdullah Panchayat, about 16 km from Bhopal, has done wonderful work on curbing female feticide. She gifts her two months' honorarium that she receives as Sarpanch to the girl child born in any family. The landless labourers in Jayapur Village of Banaras have been provided with pucca houses. There are many villages in Karnataka also where wonderful work has been done in association with government agencies.
Undoubtedly, making Panchayats stronger and vibrant is must to ensure village development. But equally important is curbing corruption prevailing there since long. As the flow of funds is increasing, the Panchayat elections are getting expensive.
The biggest damage that the elections have caused in villages is spoiling the harmony, relations, brotherhood and unity. Therefore, any move for village development must involve strengthening harmony, uniting the hearts, curbing corruption and ensuring genuine involvement of people in the development process.
Instead of always taking, the mentality of giving has also to be developed. Wherever this mentality has been developed the results amazing.
Deendayal Dham, Mathura
Location: 165 km from Delhi and 22 km from Mathura
* Stitching training to 4,000 people, clothes stitched have nationwide demand and are cheaper than the Khadi Board
* Toilets in every house
* Manufacturing of Panchgavya and Ayurveda medicines