Recognizing the idea of the Panchayati Raj as crucial for the foundation of the Indian political system, the 73rd Constitution Amendment was passed by Parliament in 1992, giving Constitutional power to local elected bodies, leading to a decentralized form of governance in which each and every village is responsible for its own affairs
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “The best, the quickest and the most efficient way is to build up from the bottom...Every village has to become a self-sufficient republic. This does not require brave resolutions. It requires brave, corporate, intelligent work...”
Implementing MGNREGA in its fullness is a movement to establish local democracy and instruments of local governance, honour local wisdom and knowledge, promote power decentralization to panchayats and encourage participatory decision-making. Jharkhand’s experience warrants telling.
Evolving a process-centric Gram Panchayat Organization Development framework, the Anode Lab, in collaboration with PRADAN, focussed on building the organizational capacity of gram panchayats, knowing that if the local body is capable and its members and staff are inspired to perform, it can impact sustainable change in key development spheres
Encouraging women to stand for elections to the local bodies is one step forward; empowering them with knowledge and skills in planning and decision-making must necessarily follow if women need to be active creators of their own future and not figure-heads and proxy figures for the men in their families
Do the changes being slowly inculcated in tribal life, represented by the adivasis of Kewlajhiri, add up to development? Do traditional practices, customs, beliefs need to be shed in order to bring about transformation in people’s lives? Does the government take into account the wealth of traditional wisdom when it determines how to develop a village?
Coming face to face with rampant corruption in the implementation of the provisions of MGNREGA, the women of Jivan Marshal Mahila Sangh refuse to buckle down to the local oppressors and an apathetic bureaucracy
Representing the struggle of thousands of people living below the poverty line, Dugi Mai Bodra’s life-story is one of steadfast perseverance and dogged determination that finally culminates in her finding her own power through the SHG to which she belonged.