CREATING ECONOMICALLY EMPOWERED PANCHAYAT LEVERAGING TECHNOLOGY | ENGAGING YOUTH
In its 70 years of independence, India undoubtedly has large scale development achievements to its credit. It has built a modern economy, remained a democracy, and lifted millions out of poverty. Today around 70 per cent of India still lives in villages, so it is appropriate to look at our villages in the context of providing a technology based infrastructure to create channels of opportunities for the rural communities both to grow and more importantly access their Government An ecosystem that will help people nurture our natural resources and enable them to access marketplaces is of utmost importance. To accelerate this development processes towards inclusive growth economic liberation of Panchayat to develop Village infrastructure is a must.
Presently, there are around 2,39,645 Gram Panchayats (GPs), 6,109 Intermediate Panchayats (IPs) and 554 District Panchayats (DPs)) across the country. The rural development programs implemented through Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) focus on generating more employment opportunities for village youth, landless people, and artisans, small and marginal farmers. PRIs need additional resources and financial autonomy to fulfil their new functional obligations. In order to become financially more independent, PRI must be encouraged to raise local resources for development other than receiving grants from Government.
In India, Panchayats awards have proved that progressive Panchayats have developed due to orientation, ambition and skill of Sarpanch. CFM’s experience among rural communities over the past 10 years has seen that Panchayats play an important role in bridging the gap for economic and social development of the communities. According to Article 243 (G) of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, the responsibility for preparation of Plans for economic development and social justice and its implementation in relation to 29 Subjects listed in the Eleventh Schedule have also been assigned to Panchayats such as-agriculture and agriculture extension, land reforms, animal husbandry, social forestry, village and cottage industries, infrastructure development, poverty elimination, technical and vocational training and income generation activities.
Panchayat is considered to be the lock, while the elected representative is the key which enables them to unlock the value they need to develop Panchayat as the skilling and resource centre for the village for knowledge, skill, tools and team.
CFM therefore seeks to design and implement a unique model through which the rural communities could engage youth and provide them livelihood opportunities in their own local eco-systems.
This would enable them to meet its requirements, generate economic freedom to pursue quality of life improvements goals in life with the support of their own Panchayats. The model has to be scaled up by creating full time ‘Office support system’ of Panchayat which runs like any other corporation to assist community to access both Government and Non-Government schemes.
Buoyed by the Government thrust on Digitalization of Village, the local issues/access are resolved at village level to improve productivity that leads to overall development of the –
AREAS FOR FURTHER IMPROVEMENT:
Some of the following points may be addressed for further improvement:
- Limited qualification or skill set of Panchayat representative
- Lack of provision to hire a full time professional at Panchayat level to assist in office works
- Lack of meaningful employment of graduates and under graduates at community level to check distress migration/unemployment/disguised employment
- Lack of manpower to strengthen market infrastructure, resource linkages, farm input access, training to re-engineer supply chain to enable village enterprise
- Lack of village infrastructure to improve agriculture productivity, better prices through value add especially for small and marginalized farmers
- Revenue generation at Panchayat level from non-traditional sources to maintain its own office and not burden Govt. exchequer
- Need for P-P-P-P(Public-Private-Panchayat Partnership) that leads to entrepreneurship development-opportunity creation and improve quality of life at village level without creating additional burden on Government exchequer.
PLAN & PROCESS:
SwaNigamit (self- corporatized) Panchayat is a model in which a Panchayat can generate income through its internal resources as provisioned in the Constitution of India and work towards becoming self-reliant. CFM through its flagship mission SwaNigamit Panchayat provides support for revenue generation and entrepreneurship focussing on old wisdom of ‘health is wealth’.
There is wide potential of utilizing the human resources and locally available resources in social enterprise model to learn and earn at community level with Panchayat being the facilitator/mentor/infrastructure provider. Through the scientifically selected process of finding Cluster Executive (CE) of SwaNigamit Panchayat, the model seeks to provide ease of doing business at community level to truly uplift the spirit of Make in India- to Make in Villages of India.
Panchayat then serves as the SPOC (Single point of contact) for agriculture infrastructure & linkages, farm input access, training to reengineer supply chain and reduce retail wastages for what “City needs- Village grows”.
When the village input requirement is streamlined the village, output is streamlined leading to greater efficiency and values created at micro-level. By levying taxes, rentals, collecting taxes all of which are provisioned in the Constitution of India, Panchayat moves from grant seeking entity to Tax paying entity as has been demonstrated in ‘Adarsh Panchayats’ who create their own balance sheet and annual reports.
Panchayat may arrange these input services more effectively and efficiently utilizing its human resources thus creating employment and revenue through Panchayat established Rural Business Hub (RBH) and use technology for trade.
Ministry of Panchayati Raj Institution also support for establishing RBH at Panchayat level.
The focus of the SwaNigamit model is on health is wealth principle and will focus on four pillars
- Soil Health– Solution and services for Integrated Pest and Nutrient Management at community level
- Animal Health– Solution and services for Integrated Livestock, Feed and Fodder management
- Human Health- Access to potable drinking water, water resource management, health and hygiene
- Digital Health- Access to Government enabled Insurance services, financials services and products
VISION: WE MAKE FARMERS RICH
Participative planning inclusive action and creating values for the economic independence of village by making Panchayats the hub of economic activities and generate resources that make Panchayat self-corporatized- SwaNigamit. The SwaNigamit Panchayat then enables its habitants to access and support their livelihood opportunities and access the larger product and service basket available to the city dwellers through its trained and aware staff.
By engaging youth, harnessing technology and leveraging the support of Government schemes to improve efficiencies, create village based infrastructure and reduce wastages in agriculture and allied sectors.
The mission/project aims to enhance revenue generation for youth at Panchayat level for economic growth and self-reliance by maximizing the utilization of available natural, human, social and financial resources through networking/channelizing various input and output products/services.
The project will be implemented with the strategy to use PRI capability within constitutional framework, create a network for Public Private-Panchayat Partnership for symbiotic relationship, available human resource at community level and take a lead in livelihood promotion.
Elements of implementation process:
The following elements will be considered for implementation of the project:
- To enhance Panchayat capability for economic growth.
- To identify Cluster Executive (CE) at Panchayats levels
- To identify critical gaps in input/output at local level, Gram Panchayat level.
- To engage professionals who are acquainted with the project concept and ideas around project objectives.
- To use Technology for Trade/ IT enabled system to track the community input demand, available all village output through a single platform.
The sequence of activities under this strategy is as follows:
- Resource mapping-human, financial, infrastructure, technical and market research
- Identification of potential areas of self-employment based on local resources
- Selection of cluster groups as beneficiaries of the social enterprise
- Creation of dynamic data systems
- Software/ Mobile app development
- Developing CEs, arranging for training and skill development
- Provides access system for the four verticals of SwaNigamit Panchayat
- Reduce wastages and inefficiencies of supply chain
- Monitoring and problem shooting of the projects implementation.
- Analysing and publishing annual reports for Government records
SUSTAINABILITY OF MODEL:
Gram Panchayat will be able to mobilize common interest groups/farmers at the village level and build clusters to plan and implement product specific requirements/commercial crop cycles; strengthen farmer capacity through agricultural and allied best practices for enhanced productivity.
Panchayat will provide quality information and services for intensive agriculture enhancing cluster competitiveness; and facilitate access to fair & remunerative markets include linking common interest groups. These activities will generate a permanent source of revenue for GP to sustain itself and its beneficiaries.
To systematically monitor the impact of the intervention a self-assessment framework is proposed to be developed. The objective of the self-assessment framework is to provide timely and accurate feedback on the progress of the activities and feedback from community.
This would also help in ensuring transparency and accountability of various participating stakeholders. Online tracking system of input and output supply would be developed. Some of the common parameters deployed for assessing the performance include the following:
- Level of increase in financial resources (earned income)
- Overall volume of input and output generated in a GP
- GP ability to produce new knowledge or alternative ideas on financial resources
- Ability to bridge the knowledge gap between policymakers and “on the ground” realities;
- Ability of GP to be the hub for or central actor in economic empowerment
CFM seeks to contribute towards the Governments thrust on Developing New India by engaging community free from demarcations of caste, creed, colour and sex. It seeks to overcome poverty and provide decent livelihoods to youth in their own local community and check distress migration, creation of slums in stressed city infrastructure.
Access to information is a powerful engine of economic growth and at the same time it can also fuel massive inequalities. Hence, we aim to help rural communities to strengthen their business and production skills, learning to access local, regional and world markets for their products, helping them to make their livelihoods sustainable into the future.
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