Government projects for the welfare of the poor do not reach the targeted beneficiaries because of a failure of the system, and the lack of transparency and integrity in the authorities. The poor are, yet again, the victims of these flawed schemes.
T his article is a recollection of certain experiences I had in Keonjhar district of Orissa. I discovered that where the government is supposed to reach out to its people, the people are themselves making painful sacrifices to keep the government’s programmes alive. These sacrifices are not community contribution, shramadan or payment for services. The burden borne by the people is such that it almost sums up to a subsidy extended by the people to the government.
The Government of Orissa initiated a project called Mission Shakti in March 2001. The project was launched by none other than the honourable Chief Minister of Orissa, Sri. Naveen Patnaik. It is based on the belief that women’s micro and smallscale enterprises can provide an opportunity to accelerate general levels of economic activity and at the same time promote a more equitable distribution of development benefits. Mission shakti is now one of the most prioritized projects being run in the state. Through this project, the government is providing support to women SHGs in order to transform them into self-sustaining institutions. All such efforts are being consolidated at the block and district levels, and federations/clusters are formed for the same purpose. The Mission aspires to achieve the same through the following measures: