The Fourteenth Fince Commission of the Government of India has earmarked huge amount of fund for empowerment of Gaon Panchayat and with it a new development paradigm has been brought to the fore in order to ensure an efficient and effective Participatory Planning Mechanism for basic service requirement of rural people at the lowest level of Governce, so that the villagers can get familiarized with development methodology identifying /selecting their own needs and setting priorities for themselves and eventually fulfil their basic services requirement intervening directly in democratic and participative way.
This novel idea is impregted with some core values of democratic devolution of power & decision making that gets pronounced while taking up the process of Gaon Panchayat Development Plan(GPDP) –the quintessence being the ‘Aamar Gaon Aamar Achoni’ in Assam.
The GPDP is essentially an intensive development plan of the Gaon Panchayat that interpolate not only the FFC grants but also the huge fund received under the MGNREGA,PMAY-G, NRHM,SSA, State Fince Commission and many other flagship/non-flagship programmes of the Government taken for public good or purposes on convergent basis.
To begin with, for any villager the first thing one needs to know is, his/her own village or the locality with all its resource base whatever is available by way of both human and physical and to plan out accordingly for awareness generation amongst other villagers.
Having had this basic knowledge about the locality, the villagers are better prepared to make a situation alysis, the most critical component of Gaon Panchayat Development Plan that eble them to make Participatory Rural Appraisal by way of interacting with other villagers as to their own needs and priorities in the forum of Gaon Panchayat/Gaon Sabha.
At this stage both the social and resource mapping is extensively carried out by using certain tools and techniques alongwith collecting data by the different working groups formed at the Gaon Panchayats for the GPDP. Besides, collecting data from different primary sources, line organizations, door to door survey, census 2011 and SECC data, a number of focused group discussion on specific issues and problems with vulnerable section of people who have always been at the receiving end of the development process are also held.
Essentially the situation alysis is an attempt to conduct a comprehensive survey to bridge the gap between the existing development status of the Gaon Panchayat and the smouldering deficiencies and disparities in basic services needs wherein an intervention is needed.
Following a series of discussion, the working groups filly prepare the sector-wise Draft Status Report as per given format and place before the Gaon Panchayat for its approval. Every care and precaution has to be taken by the Gaon Panchayat in active consultation with the Committee members and the line officials to reflect the wishes and perception of people in the DSR along with feasibility of projects.
Prior to placing of DSR before the Gaon Sabha an extensive arrangements is made by the Panchayat for wide public participation and here prioritization of works/schemes/projects based on critical importance like drinking water, connectivity, sanitation etc are worked out for incorporating in the first Annual Plan and the rest are will be put in the four or five year plan.
After due modification of the Draft Status Report as suggested in the Gaon Sabha, a fil Draft report is prepared wherein segregation of works/ schemes under different resource envelope like 14th Fince, MGNREGA, NRLM, NSAP,SBM,OSB etc. are taken up. One redeeming feature of devolution of power is that as soon as the Plan is filized (GPDP) at the Gaon Panchayat the Technical Committee constituted at each Development Block will accord technical sanction for necessary implementation of projects.
The spirit of democratization and the deliberative process as envisaged in the ‘Aamar Gaon Aamar Achoni’ for the sake of participative development gets reflected in the formation of thematic working groups and issues of needs/priorities of people– all to be debated and dialogued for ratification at the Panchayat samittee and Gaon Sabha, which is seen as an wonderful synchronization of local collective intervention and wisdom for undertaking public works keeping in mind the need of people’s participation for quality governce.
The Department of Panchayat & Rural Development, Govt. of Assam has already set the stage putting in place a very well thought out mechanism so that people can get a touch, feel and a glimpse of developmental works with their own active participation. The activities to be taken under the GPDP has meanwhile got off the ground from May 12, 2017 and to be continued till June 12, 2017.
But the fundamental question doing round is how to make the most of the best available practices to be initiated and implemented by different human resource training agencies like SIRD, ETCs and others, all of whom having been equipped with both the structural and operatiol efficiency are required to play the central role of motivating the target groups in massive scale with an efficient tech-induced training modules. Thus imparting and dissemiting the functiol knowledge with a view to enlarging a human resource base consisting of line officials, panchayat representatives, block officials, local NGOs, social organization/ groups etc. is the prime need of the hour who in turn have to drill our lowest common denomitor for their capacity build up, sensitization, and thus preparing the ground for rich dividend to be capitalized later on by the people themselves, through the participatory Planning process i.e GPDP.
The GPDP has enough scope for getting wide institutiol and public support and it’s a primary tool of rural development for ensuring good governce at local level where an aura of development in real sense should prevail which need to be propped up and get vested on the people themselves. It is a bounden as well as constitutiol duty of the Government to strengthen the organsatiol support base of the Panchayat infusing young blood and new concept of rural development in sync with high tech and people friendly mechanism.
A new ray of hope beckons as the Government, both at the Centre and state is setting the stage for highly tech-induced transparent and accountable Governce with a slew of positive directions.