Transferring the power to plan and implement development work in villages to the villagers themselves is a step toward decentralization, which forms a vital aspect of good governance and has the potential to change the face of rural policies and planning
T he idea of democratic participation is incomplete without the needs of the people translating into policy and its subsequent implementation. The voices of the people often remain unheard in the chambers of politicians and bureaucrats, the decisionmakers in the areas of policy allocation and ground-level distribution. Numerous surveys, studies and assessments are conducted each year, elected representatives take the problems to the Vidhan Sabha and the Lok Sabha, and many rural policies are approved each year, and, yet, little seems to change for people in villages.
Because of middle-men, vote bank politics, and a large web of bureaucratic corruption and indifference, people do not receive entitlements that are due to them. The distance of the policymaker from the actual scene of implementation is often a hindrance to seeing the needs and requirements of the rural population. The government has tried to change this by incorporating new, participatory ways of decision-making, notably the Integrated Participatory Planning Exercise (IPPE), implemented in certain blocks across the country.
IPPE works on the principles of policy convergence and public participation; nonetheless, in its first phase, it has had little impact in Jharkhand, where the rural population continues to suffer from exclusion, poverty, and a high outward migration rate. During the second round, IPPE-2, new ideas and experiments, focussed on deepening the practices of democracy, have emerged.
At the cusp of the practices of decentralization and policy convergence lies the IPPE being held in Jharkhand—the Yojana Banao Abhiyan (YBA). The programme, a brainchild of civil society actors and a close derivative of the People’s Planning movement in Kerala in 1996, has seen large-scale participation and publicity in the past month. Implemented across all blocks in the state, YBA is a programme designed to benefit rural populations as per their needs, with their priorities being strictly kept in mind. It also aims at strengthening the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in the area. In its initial phase, the programme seems to have created a stir and has instilled hope in a significant section of the rural poor in Jharkhand.
YBA is a programme designed to benefit rural populations as per their needs, with their priorities being strictly kept in mind. It also aims at strengthening the Panchayati Raj Institutions in the area