1. Nation-wide Study of SGRY
Dr. S.V. Rangacharyulu
The primary objective of SGRY, the major wage employment programme of the Government
of India, is to provide additional wage employment in the rural areas and thereby
ensure food security and improved nutrition levels. Creation of durable community
/ social / economic assets and infrastructural facilities in the rural areas forms
the core of the secondary objective. The programme which is self-targeting in nature
is open to all rural poor who are in need of wage employment and also are willing
to do manual and unskilled work. Payment of wages is made both in kind (five Kgs
of foodgrains per day) and cash.
To study the arrangements for planning and implementation of SGRY ;
To assess the extent to which SGRY could improve the employment levels and also
nutritional levels (as a result of consumption of foodgrains given under the scheme)
To find out the nature of assets created in the rural areas ; and
To suggest policy interventions for effective implementation of SGRY.
Study Area and Methodology
The 12 States, namely where the study was conducted are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar,
Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil
Nadu and West Bengal. The study covered 12 States, 24 districts, 48 blocks, 96 villages
and 1910 beneficiary households (short by 10 beneficiary households than the actual
required coverage of 1920).
The major focus of this study was on the following aspects: employment generation,
wage-cash and food component, nature of works taken up, implementing and executing
agencies etc. The primary data collected were supplemented by discussions with the
officials concerned at different levels for gaining insights into the actual programme
implementation. The secondary data were collected on the programme performance indicators
including wages, foodgrains distributed and involvement of Gram Panchayat / Gram
Sabha.The reference year for collection of data on employment generation etc., for
the beneficiaries is 2003-04.
On an average, the sample workers got 36 days of employment from SGRY. The highest
number of mandays generated under SGRY is reported from Bihar (66 days) and the
lowest number of mandays is reported from Rajasthan (18 days).
It was found that, on the whole, the sample workers got an amount of Rs.64.00 (inclusive
of the imputed value of foodgrains) as wage under SGRY. The highest SGRY wage rate
(Rs.94.38) is reported from Tamil Nadu while the lowest SGRY wage rate (Rs.47.15)
is reported from Maharashtra.
The following are the States - Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Rajasthan and West
Bengal where the workers under SGRY got less than the minimum notified wage rate.
The States where the workers under SGRY got a wage rate higher than the minimum
notified wage rate are : Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Orissa and Maharashtra are the only two States where the SGRY workers got the wage
as per the minimum notified wage rates i.e Rs.52.50 and Rs.47.15, respectively.
The average foodgrains distributed to sample workers under SGRY per day is about
5.4 Kgs, with the highest amount being reported from Rajasthan (7.9 Kgs) and the
lowest amount being reported from Assam (4.2 Kgs)
Gram Panchayat, followed by Public Distribution System are playing a bigger role
in the distribution of foodgrains. The quality of the foodgrains supplied is satisfactory
to a majority of workers. In a majority of the cases, the foodgrains supplied are
perceived to be conforming to the quantum due to them. Nearly, 84 per cent of the
workers used foodgrains for domestic consumption.
As far as asset creation under SGRY (as per sample beneficiary participation) is
concerned, the construction of rural inroads seems to be preferred (69 per cent
sample worker participation), followed by drainage works (25 per cent worker participation),
construction of school buildings and soil and moisture conservation (19 per cent
worker participation each).
PRIs emerged as the primary executing agency under SGRY (80.7 per cent) followed
by the block office (29.4 per cent) and the line departments (10.4 per cent), respectively.
Considering the coverage and magnitude of the current study (akin to the Concurrent
Evaluation of the Government of India) its findings on various aspects of SGRY hold
vital implications for development and policy making, particularly in the context
of the current emphasis on guaranteed wage employment to the rural poor.
Land and watershed development are contributing to the economic and ecological development
of the rural areas, particularly in drought-prone and dry land areas. But, at the
same time, asset creation at the village level should also be need-based and location-specific.
Under SGRY, the construction of assets like schools, community centres etc., should
be taken up by the sectoral departments and the SGRY fund should serve as additionality.
The “social audit” which is supposed to be conducted by the gram sabha can be given
a legal status to enhance the effectiveness of gram sabha in SGRY.
The field observations show that in States like Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat,
Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar and Karnataka, the beneficiary committees are either
not constituted or are in a moribund state if constituted. In order to revitalise
the committees to realise the objectives the allocation of fund may be linked with
formation of beneficiary committee. The utilisation of fund as well as execution
of works may be made through the beneficiaries’ committee.
In the backdrop of higher poverty and unemployment incidence in the States under
study, there is urgent need to enhance the funds allocation under the programme
after making a realistic assessment of the demand for work in the rural areas.
In the States like Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh where the foodgrains distribution
under SGRY is through the PDS mechanism, the gram panchayat needs to be involved
in the monitoring of fair price shop distributing SGRY foodgrains. This will be
in consonance with the provisions of the Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution where
the PDS is one of the 29 subjects to be managed by the PRIs.
2. National Study on SGSY : A Process Study
The Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) has been launched nation-wide from
1st April 1999 to help rural poor build sustainable self-employment avenues. The
objective of the programme is to bring the assisted poor families (swarozgaris)
above the poverty line by organising them into SHGs and building their capacity
- in terms of technical, basic and entrepreneurial skills - for building up micro-enterprises
/ income generating activities through bank credit and government subsidy. Between
1999 and March 31, 2004, about 19 lakh SHGs were organised under SGSY. Of these,
10 lakh SHGs have passed grade-I and 5 lakh grade-II and 2 lakh SHGs have taken
up economic activity. The percentage of SHGs taking up economic activity, out of
SHGs that have passed grade-II, is around 40 per cent. Similarly, the number of
SHG swarozgaris assisted has also increased from 3.4 lakh to 5.7 lakh during this
period. But the number of individual swarozgaris assisted has declined from 5.9
lakh to 3.2 lakh during the same period. The percentage of SC/ST community members
assisted under the programme has increased from 44 to 46 per cent and that of women
the percentage has increased from 44.6 to 52 per cent.
Appreciating the fact that SGSY is a process-oriented programme, which seeks to
prepare the swarozgaris for financial discipline and market operations slowly and
steadily, the progress accomplished so far is not a remarkable success. At
the same time, as it generally happens with nationwide grassroots level programmes,
the performance of SGSY across the States is not uniform. While in some States the
programme is making steady headway – in terms of development of activity clusters,
stepping up the productivity of the swarozgaris through appropriate technology support,
accessing adequate institutional credit and building the marketing and entrepreneurial
confidence of beneficiaries – in other States it is yet to catch up with the national
pace. Further, within the districts, too, one finds variation. In some districts
/ blocks the programme guidelines and concepts are not understood in spirit. In
a few districts, the PIAs utilised the local resources and programme funds, the
administrative flexibility and scope for innovation available under the programme
to build self-employment avenues. Their success is indeed inspiring to others. But
the number of such successful cases are few and far in between. These extraordinary
success is traced to the dynamism and innovative spirit of programme implementing
officials and active participation of the swarozgaris. The success has not become
institutional so far.
The present study is taken up with the objective of providing insight into the planning
process and identifying constraints in the implementation process. The study also
proposes to put forward a few policy related suggestions for better implementation
of the programme. The specific objectives are:
To study to what extent the programme has assisted households below poverty line,
particularly the SC and ST households, to build their capacity to take up self-employment
through viable micro enterprises;
To examine the concept of ‘activity clusters’ that has been followed to develop
viable self-employment avenues;
To review and analyse utilisation of training fund under SGSY to improve the skill
level of target beneficiaries;
To study fund utilisation under ‘infrastructure development’ for strengthening the
rural infrastructure for enhancement of micro-enterprise prospects in the study
To review and assess the access to institutional credit and the repayment performance;
To review the marketing capability of SHGs and market support institutions under
To examine whether SGSY beneficiaries were impacted by social mobilisation;
To identify the constraints experienced in providing technology support to SGSY
To assess the incremental employment and income levels among the SGSY beneficiaries.
Methodology and Sample
Although the programme was formally launched in April 1999, the implementation aspects
started at different States at different points of time between 2000 and 2002. Therefore,
the rate of progress is not uniform across the States. The present study focused
on the best performing districts/blocks. Since it was a process assessment/appraisal
study, the sample SHGs / swarozgaris were drawn from among the districts/blocks
where the programme had the best results. Thus, the sample selection was purposive
and not representative of the programme throughout the nation. The focus of the
study was on: 1) Identification and development of activity clusters; 2) Organisation
of rural poor, particularly SC and ST households, with focus on women, self help
groups and to build their capacity for self-employment through micro enterprises;
3) Forging the required forward and backward linkages support to the swarozgaris;
and 4) Identifying and developing micro-enterprise opportunities as key activities
through infrastructure development, provision of credit, technology, marketing and
entrepreneurial capacity support for building viable and sustainable micro enterprises.
Thus, with the above mentioned objectives from 13 States, 24 districts were selected
as sample at two districts from Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra,
Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and one
each from Mizoram and Tripura. The district selection was based on its relative
position in the physical and financial performance of the programme. The following
seven variables were considered for selecting the districts for the study:
1) Per cent of SC and ST swarozgaris to the total swarozgaris covered under SGSY
(in order to gauge the reach of poverty groups) ; 2) Per cent of group swarozgaris
to the total swarozgaris assisted under SGSY, 3) Per cent of SHGs passed Grade-I,
4) Per cent of SHGs taken up economic activity, 5) Per cent of utilisation of funds
allocated, 6) Per family investment (average), and 7) Credit-subsidy ratio.
From each district, two blocks were selected on the basis of three performance variables,
viz., the per cent of SHGs passing Grade-II; per cent of SHGs taken up economic
activity; and the per cent of SC and ST members covered under the programme in the
block. From each of the 48 blocks thus selected, 30 group swarozgaris and individual
swarozgaris were selected (in the proportion of group swarozgaris to individual
swarozgaris in the block) and interviewed. Even for the SHG selection, the variables
considered for block selection were followed. A minimum of two and maximum of three
group enterprises from each district were selected and interviewed. Three gram panchayats
from each block were selected on the basis of : 1) Per cent of SC/ST swarozgaris
to the total number of swarozgaris in the village; 2) Per cent of swarozgaris under
SHGs to the total number of swarozgaris in the village; and 3) Number of SC/ST SHGs
per thousand population of SCs and STs. From the identified gram panchayats the
SHG group enterprises and individual swarozgaris were interviewed.
Besides in order to understand how the development agencies as well as banks were
participating in the programme implementation, one BDO, one leading NGO and one
Manager of the Bank involved in implementation aspects in all the 48 blocks were
interviewed with the help of a simple questionnaire. In all, 48 BDOs, 48 NGOs, 48
Branch Managers of Banks, 48 block Panchayat Presidents, 24 District lead Bank Managers,
24 Project Directors, DRDA / CEOs of Zilla Parishads, 24 ZP Chairpersons and 144
Sarpanches were interviewed at block level by a structured questionnaire. Secondary
information was collected from the selected States / Districts. The blocks were
selected at the district level in consultation with the District Collector / PD,
DRDA / CEO, Zilla Parishad respectively. In the North-eastern States where panchayat
system was not in vogue the selection of the people’s representatives was carried
out to adhere to the constitutional system as represented in the VI schedule.
Selection of Swarozgaris
The village, block and district level officials implementing the programme particularly
in the States where the SHG promotion and SGSY were taken up i.e, after 1999 (such
as Bihar, UP, Jharkhand and MP) there was indeed difficulty in finding adequate
number of qualified, mature SHGs. In some of the Eastern and Northern States the
progress in the formation of SHGs was very slow till 2002 and not even picked up
in 2003. The PIAs had not involved the professional NGOs for SHG promotion in these
States. In this backdrop, they could not find adequate number of SHGs and had to
compromise with the quality of the groups identified. Further, they were “under
pressure to achieve targets”. The banks were not satisfied with the manner in which
the SHGs were being promoted and swarozgaris were identified for SGSY. The study
team members could meet a few of Bank Managers who had earlier served in Southern
States and now on transfer were working in these States. In their words, “the SHGs
in many of the Northern districts did not acquire the minimum capacity to even manage
the savings / transactions of the members and did not have any idea as to what kinds
of services and benefits were available under the development programmes (like SGSY)
and therefore just remained as mere numbers to meet the targets. Thus, they had
not acquired maturity to take up bank loans for self-employment.” In these States,
the process of swarozgari selection under SGSY reminds the way the beneficiaries
were selected under the erstwhile IRDP.
More than 70 per cent of the functionaries interviewed felt that both the individual
and group approaches should be kept open under SGSY. They felt that in terms of
repayment of loan, group approach was better than the individual approach. The bankers
view that even if the group members had taken up individual activities, it was better
to finance a group than an individual.
Operationalising the group approach for pursuing enterprise was difficult for the
The organisation of SHG was not based on the economic activity. The orientation
of training on economic activity was not effective. Hence, the poor, illiterate
members had not acquired the capacity to implement the income generation activities
on commercial lines.
Even in the States with long history of SHG movement, all the training inputs from
professional organisations had facilitated the rural poor women to form a cohesive
unit, save and repay the loan regularly. In the absence of training inputs in running
of, group enterprise, the members were not able to manage the activity as a single
Members identified one or two among themselves to handle specialised tasks, functions
accepting major responsibility and others would be silent partners.
A few activities in service category could be carried out as group activities. Similarly
in some trades individual management alone can guarantee success.
Involvement of Line Departments
Line departments’ cooperation was found to be low in all the study States. Though
positions for Block level officials and extension workers were available, most of
the posts were vacant. Block officials attended meetings and promised help but in
practice nothing much was done in the field. Animal husbandry in the districts was
mainly restricted to goatary/ piggery and these were traditional activities of the
swarozgaris who opted for this scheme. Hence, nothing much could be expected and
done by the animal husbandry department. Occasionally the agriculture department
organised a few short-term training for them.
Identification of Key Activities
More than 90 per cent of Chairpersons of Block SGSY Committee interviewed by the
study team felt that any viable activity in the block was considered for assistance
and as such did not see the difference between the key activities and other activities.
This view emerged from the fact that the blocks or even the DRDAs did not create
the required level of infrastructure nor extended the much needed forward and backward
linkages to strengthen the viability of the activity. For dairy the minimum backward
and forward linkages had already been established in large number of blocks and
no significant additions were carried out under SGSY. If any infrastructure was
developed under SGSY it was in the form of a few new milk routes and bulk coolers
in a few blocks. In other activities, little such support was extended.
In a few trades like handlooms are by nature cluster-oriented, and the assistance
under SGSY was very meagre. In the national sample, less than two per cent of swarozgaris
were covered under handloom activity due to the fact that this activity required
higher level of investments (average Rs.50,000 per swarozgari) and the banks were
also not willing to commit such “high” level of institutional finance to swarozgaris,
who belonged to the BPL category. The banks perceived the credit absorption capacity
of BPL households as limited and could not be more than Rs.20,000 – 25,000.
Key Activities in the Study Region
Dairy emerged as one of the most popular activity among the group swarozgaris. Twenty
six per cent of individual swarozgaris and thirty six per cent of group swarozgaris
took up this activity under the programme. This was followed by agriculture and
land development and services sector (10 per cent). Non-farm activities like handlooms,
handicrafts were the least preferred activities. Similarly, business enterprises
too were taken up by a very small (7 per cent) proportion of respondents. In sum,
majority of the group swarozgaris (68 per cent) opted for on-farm activities compared
to individual swarozgaries (51 per cent). The predominant choice for dairy is analysed
as follows :
To establish the necessary linkages, the idea was to select a few villages every
year under a key activity and concentrate the effort for the cluster activities.
Next to traditional activities, the preferred activities by swarozgaris were service
enterprises, petty trade, vegetable / fruit vending and other activities for which
no separate forward and backward linkages were required. Few swarozgaris preferred
activities like bamboo works, food products and other skill-based activities but
creating separate infrastructure and forward and backward linkages was not feasible.
In States like Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, the SGSY implementing agencies created
facilities like Grameen Haat and Permanent Market Centres, which could be used by
almost all swarozgaris.
About 62 per cent of individual swarozgaris and 74 per cent of group swarozgaris
of the sample indicated that they had acquired the required skills for taking up
IGA. Further, 54 per cent of individuals and 62 per cent of group swarozgaris had
taken up IGA based on the training received under SGSY. These two statements showed
that eight per cent of individual respondents and 12 per cent of group swarozgaris
deviated and took up IGA other than the activity in which training was imparted.
On an average, there was a credit gap of Rs.2283. The incidence of under-financing
was rampant throughout the districts with a degree of variation. In Assam it was
as much as 55 per cent for individual swarozgaris and 45 per cent for group swarozgaris.
Analysis of State wise and activity wise investment under SGSY indicates to some
extent that there was a incidence of under financing throughout the study region.
These investments were lower (6 to 36 per cent) than the unit costs prescribed.
In case of group swarozgaris own capital contribution accounted for a tiny share,
in case of dairy (one per cent), fisheries (one per cent) and handlooms (three per
cent). Individual swarozgaris were less dependent on subsidy brought a larger share
of own capital.
In case of individual swarozgaris, the institutional credit ranged between 50 per
cent and 77 per cent . The share of subsidy in project cost varied from 28 per cent
to 36 per cent.
The share of institutional credit in total investment was more in case of individual
swarozgaris 62 per cent than the group swarozgaris 56 per cent, whereas the subsidy
provided was higher in group swarozgaris (35 per cent) compared to individual swarozgaris
(30 per cent).
The credit-subsidy ratio is a good indicator of the share of institutional credit
available to the swarozgaris. Over years, this ratio declined from 1.95:1 in 2002-03
to 1.77:1 in 2004-05.
The level of repayment in SGSY was better than in IRDP. At the national level it
is 57 per cent which steadily increased over years according to Annual Reports of
MoRD. In the study region, 85 per cent of the group swarozgaris and 73 per cent
of the individual swarozgaris reported to be repaying regularly. The repayment performance
was found to have positive relation with the age of the SHG. The older group members
had higher repayment as against younger groups. Over all, bank loan repayment rate
was higher (85 per cent) among group swarozgaris than with individual swarozgaris
(74 per cent). Activity-wise analysis suggests that in the case of dairy – the repayment
rate was above 80 per cent. Due to the proportion of repayment being slightly better
among the group swarozgaris, the banks prefer to finance the dairy. The repayment
has been better in diary due to tie up with milk rates and assured forward linkage
in market. Secondly, the share of dairy swarozgaris constitute a significant proportion
(32 per cent among individual swarozgaris and 37 per cent among group swarozgaris)
in the sample. Thirdly, and most important is that the sample represents best performing
districts which is not representative in character. This is a fact that should be
borne in mind before drawing any major conclusion in this regard.
The nature of market channels varied from activity to activity in case of individual
as well as group swarozgaris. The outward market depends on trades like fisheries
and the handicrafts depend on non-local channels and enterprises like brick-manufacturing
entirely depend on local demand. Similar, was the channel dependency in case of
cattle development and poultry. In case of dairy, it had been well organised to
reach terminal markets linking with primary producers. This well established channel
system is a motivating factor for bankers to lend credit support to the swarozgaris.
The credit gap in dairy was lowest (just eight per cent) in the study region.
Majority of individual swarozgaris, who took up agricultural and allied activities
like small / petty trade, services, tailoring and brick making, could find market
within the village or nearby village. Only a few swarozgaris marketed their products
i.e. dairy, sheep, poultry, handlooms, handicrafts, leather, and other products
in nearby town. Handloom products were sold at regional level. Similar trend was
observed in respect of group swarozgaris, too. Products like dairy, sheep, goat,
sericulture, handicrafts, handlooms, binding, and other products were sold in nearby
towns by the group swarozgaris.
NETWORKING THE SHGS FOR BUILDING MICRO-ENTERPRISE POTENTIAL
Of the different enterprise development strategies, the networking of SHGs was most
promising. Activity-based groups or associations of working poor could bring in
substantial gains for enterprise development. These networks could help in securing
backward linkages of input markets and forward linkages of output markets. The Tamil
Nadu study team has also identified large market potential for SGSY products. Networks
could enable the members to articulate their problems, evolve collective and appropriate
solutions and operationalise them. These bodies could give them size and strength
to negotiate with other entities of business. Such networking could be possible
through linking up with strengthening of rural infrastructure such as the roads,
telephone, storage facilities, etc. More importantly is the need for collection
of business information. Federation of networks could enable one to reach even far-flung
markets. For example, the tamarind collected by the members in some villages was
disposed of locally within a week or two. If only this commodity was further processed,
retail packed and sold to buyers in terminal markets the returns could be significantly
higher than their present earnings. Such access to terminal and temporal markets
was possible by networking with the SHG members in other districts who are paying
very high prices as consumers in terminal markets. Otherwise, such advantages are
not feasible. Federation did give the swarozgaris this strength. Six SHGs assisted
under SGSY in a few villages in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh earned a profit of Rs.60,000.
Similarly, the flower–harvesters could be federated with the retail sellers in other
villages / towns. With the widespread availability of electronic communication in
several rural towns and a large number of villages such networking is feasible.
This suggested that the PIAs should explore and innovate market support strategies
such as networking.
In the study area it was observed that networking was on higher side (more than
90 per cent) in respect of handlooms, handicrafts, readymade garments and forestry
and nursery and specifically by group swarozgaris. Networking has not been attempted
sincerely in respect of agriculture and allied activities.
The study teams observed that sometimes it took two to three years to identify the
specific infrastructure need, design and approve the infrastructure proposals. This
process required to be speeded up. Because of these long delays, the actual proportion
of SGSY funds utilisation for infrastructure development was low.
EXPENDITURE TOWARDS SUBSIDY
Subsidy component turned out to be the single most important element of support
attracting the poor towards the programme. Analysis of State-wise sample data suggests
that the dependence of group swarozgaris on subsidy for investment varied from 43
per cent in Orissa to 25 per cent in MP, while the average was 35 per cent. As far
as individual swarozgaris are concerned this dependence was highest in UP (32 per
cent) and it was found to be lowest in Madhya Pradesh (22 per cent).
INCREMENTAL EMPLOYMENT AND INCOME
Activity-wise analysis of incremental employment and income suggests that individual
swarozgaris in service enterprises could find additional employment of 21 days and
higher incremental income (Rs.1173) per month followed by vegetable and fruit vending
(19 days and Rs.1170), spices manufacturing and handicrafts. On the other hand laundry
(5 days and Rs.615), mike setting (6 days and Rs.600), sheep rearing and nurseries
(7 days and Rs.433) were on the lower range.
IMPACT ON POVERTY
Inspite of the assistance under the programme, the swarozgaris – all social groups
– could not earn income adequately to cross the poverty line. Among different social
groups and in the case of group swarozgaris, the highest incremental income was
among the backward castes (Rs.943) followed by OCs (Rs.672), STs (Rs.580) and SCs
(Rs.539) respectively. Among the individual swarozgaris, the earnings was highest
among the OCs (Rs.1872) and the lowest (Rs.1269) in case of SCs. This low performance
among SCs is due to the choice of trades which involved low investment, less skill,
low risk and lower income.
The suggested process of identification and selection of key activity was quite
participative and consultative. However, the actual process followed did not ensure
higher level of participation of different stakeholders. Therefore, PIA should be
sensitised to appreciate spirit behind this process and follow the same.
The number (4 or 5) of key activities per block, suggested in the guidelines should
not be mandatory. The actual number could be chosen by the DRDA in the light of
the resources / market opportunities in the region.
At the district level, the involvement of line departments is poor excepting the
Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development Corporation. Therefore, the involvement of all
other line departments should be ensured through linking the development plans like
training, extension, technical inputs, etc. of line departments with the SGSY plan.
The major constraint in involving the bank manager in the identification of the
key activity was due to inadequate staff in rural branches. In such cases the bank
branches should be strengthened with additional staff.
The projects of the key activities identified for swarozgaris in most of the districts
did not conform to the cluster approach as given in the guidelines. No attempts
were made to organise the key activities on cluster basis and appraisal of the activity.
Hence, PIAs should draw the expert service of professionals as well as district
line departments for project formulation and appraisal.
Due to poor literacy and less skilled profile the swarozgaris preferred traditional
activities. The emphasis on training method had to be on field/ exposure visits
or on the job training through demos and practical exercises. Hence the training
module has to be designed to suit the absorption capacity of such swarozgaris.
More than 40 per cent of the swarozgaris had diverted the funds (loan and subsidy)
to the activities other than the ones for which they had been identified and trained.
To ensure that the funds are utilised for training and capacity building of swarozgaris
the choice of activity has to be ascertained before the training needs are identified
In the States like Rajasthan, Jharkhand, UP, MP, Bihar etc., where SHGs were formed,
the bankers were not involved in either formation or nurturing the SHGs. The bank
staff in these States should be sensitised so as to appreciate SHG financing as
a viable banking proposition.
The banks should study and draw lessons from Syndicate/Canara/Andhra Banks in AP,
TN and Karnataka which have promoted exclusive organisations like RUDSETI to form
the SHGs to develop rapport with the members and finally assist them for taking
It is observed that banks felt happy with the repayments under SGSY rather than
IRDP. The group approach and credit linked back ended subsidy helped in repayment,
but at the same time, their level of involvement in key activity, selection and
credit appraisal was not very much different from that in IRDP. Hence, it is suggested
that the bank staff should be sensitised in this regard to ensure their participation
in all stages of SGSY implementation.
It was observed that the bank managers were squaring up of loan transactions and
were not following the 3-year lock-in period stipulation, which was more prevalent
in the States where the credit-subsidy ratio as low. This led to low level of post-assistance
monitoring by the banks as well as PIA. Therefore, to ensure the viability and sustainability
of the activity, banks should fix up smaller size of loan instalments and lengthen
the repayment schedule for the banks to monitor the projects performance and to
develop effective rapport with the swarozgaris.
The Bankers need to be sensitised to provide the loans based on the project cost
assessment to enable the swarozgaris to take up the activity without much difficulty
in meeting the required investment.
The swarozgaris by themselves are not able to generate financial resources to meet
additional credit needs for scaling up of the IGAs in time. Since the repayments
in SGSY were better than that of IRDP, the banks should involve themselves more
and meet effectively the credit needs of the swarozgaris.
The PIA and bankers should consider the IGA choice of swarozgaris and at the same
time monitor periodically the programme implementation particularly at the operational
The success of self-employment projects mainly depend on the viability and market
acceptance of the product / service. The DRDAs should explore / invite the participation
from concerned line departments such as agriculture, fisheries, sericulture, minor
irrigation, District Industries Centre, tribal welfare department, handlooms / handicrafts,
KVIB, etc. Wherever these institutions’ resources are inadequate, DRDAs should commission
professional technical consultancy organisations in the public sector (such as APITCO,
ITCOT, MITCON) or private sector.
The SGSY projects could be categorised into three groups, depending upon their market
acceptance. However, the study team observed that in remote areas, there was a need
the build for infrastructure to cater to the needs of swarozgaris. Infrastructure
development funds under the scheme should be utilised for this purpose. At the time
of the study, the swarozgaris were relying on private middlemen for marketing. However,
their market prospects can be improved if tie-up arrangements on the pattern of
contract farming are developed. The e-choupal was one of the promising models in
Contract farming was found to be successful in case of oil-palm, tomato, potato,
gherkins and broiler poultry. The PIAs should draw lessons from successful models
and build market support strategies to the swarozgaris.
Localised initiatives for networking and tie-up with institutional consumers have
been successful. Hence, the PIAs should share their market development experience
among themselves and evolve appropriate market support strategies.
Branding and quality assurance are the minimum threshold level requisites for promotion
of market for most of the consumable products among SGSY products. Most of the swarozgaris
were individually producing/ marketing their products without product identity and
uniformity of standards. There is need for networking and pooling the individual
SHG production capacities for scale advantage and common product branding.
3. Mechanism for Promoting Transparency and Accountability
towards Good Governance in PRIs
The Centre for Panchayati Raj has taken up a Study on Mechanism for Promoting Transparency
and Accountability towards Good Governance in PRIs. This study was taken up in the
States of Gujarat, West Bengal, Orissa and Kerala. Since the concept of Good Governance
has assumed greater significance in the recent times, it was thought to examine
all important elements of Good Governance viz., transparency and accountability
in the Panchayati Raj system. Panchayats being the unit of governance at the cutting
edge administration and below, it is necessary to examine how the system is functioning
in order to promote transparency and to establish accountability. Moreover, panchayats
are expected to provide delivery of services and responsible for implementation
of various poverty alleviation programmes. In these States, it was noticed that
certain innovative practices have been evolved to make the system more accountable
and transparent and it was necessary to examine and explore as to how the system
of transparency and accountability were functioning in the panchayats. Keeping this
in view, the study was carried with the following broad objectives.
To identify and analyse the enabling role of PRIs for Good Governance.
To examine the role of Gram Sabha in promoting transparency and accountability in
To document best practices and innovative methods adopted by PRIs towards better
delivery of services.
In order to collect the data and for in depth insights the study was conducted in
one district, two blocks and four gram panchayats. The sample area was selected
on the basis of certain parameters to make it representative.
The study was conducted in four States viz., Gujarat, Kerala, Orissa, and West Bengal
and following is the sample areas in the selected States.
The study focuses on accountability and transparency by way of certain indicators
and parameters while examining the State - specific situation. In order to examine
these variables, gram sabha has been considered as a forum for dissemination of
information in order to make the system transparent and participation of the people
to ensure accountability in the system. While examining the functioning of Gram
Sabha it was found that in States viz., Orissa, West Bengal and Kerala, Gram Sabha
is held at the lower level either at the ward level or at the village level. Various
nomenclatures have been given, for example, in Orissa it is called as Palli Sabha,
in West Bengal it is called Gram Sansad and in Kerala it is known as Ward Sabha.
The functioning of Gram Sabha in sample States varies in different places. In some
places, Gram Sabha is convened regularly and attendance is also high, whereas in
other places it is not up to the mark. Even in case of Kerala, there is a gradual
decline in the attendance in the ward Sabha. Most of the developmental programmes
are being discussed in the State and the selection of beneficiaries are done in
the Gram Sabha itself. It is evident that there is a tendency towards making the
system transparent and accountable in terms of decision making and participation.
The sample States also had certain innovative features which has direct bearing
upon the system to make it more accountable. In case of Kerala, the Institution
of Ombudsman has been established to investigate the administrative activity, independency,
to check corruption, malpractice, irregularities in discharging executive function
by panchayats. The ombudsman can cover the elected representatives, employees of
the local bodies, etc. Initially it was a seven member body by judicial officers
in the rank of high court judges assisted by two judicial officers in the rank of
a district judge. Gradually, the number of members have been reduced and now there
is only one member ombudsman. The ombudsman has vast powers and can act on complaint
not only from public but also on audit authorities of the Government and it can
also initiate proceedings suo motto. It can also go beyond judicial process, that
is after redressal of grievance it can chose to monitor the behaviour of the local
authorities concerned and point out systematic deficiency and suggest improvements.
The establishment of institution of ombudsman has been a fillip to check wrong doings
in the administration. It also takes care of ordinary grievance of the citizen for
getting services or deciding on a claim. This institution has another advantage
of inherent powers to observe the functioning of administration and suggest reforms.
This institution is quite unique and it can be replicated elsewhere in the country.
Another innovative feature in West Bengal is the provision to constitute the District
Council at the Zilla Panchayat with the leader of the Opposition as the Chairperson
of the Body. This is unique and innovative to promote accountability in the functioning
of the Panchayat system. The District Council has been constituted on the lines
with the Public Accounts Committee of Legislature which has empowered to call for
any file, examine papers, documents and also can do spot verification of on-going
schemes. The District Council will give its report to Zilla Parishad on which the
action will be mooted. This has also undoubtedly brought some checks in wrong doing
and making system more accountable towards the representative body. Another important
feature in West Bengal is the functioning of the Gram Sansad and Gram Sabha. These
bodies are responsible for identification of beneficiaries and of work under any
scheme and prioritising for the economic development of that area. This Gram Sansad
is functioning well in making the system more transparent and accountable.
Gujarat State has formulated Citizen Charter with 68 items to enable the rural people
to demand services. The Citizen Charter is gaining roots in the system and people
are becoming aware of this provision. Similarly, the awareness on Right to Information
is being done and a sizeable proportion of rural people are aware about it. The
rural poor do have some knowledge about how to access the information under the
Act. The Jan Sunwai Kiosk caters to governance issues and fulfills the items listed
in the citizen charter viz., issue of income tax certificate, caste certificate,
residential proof certificate, widow certificate, etc. These are the basic requirements
of the rural poor where the services are better and it was found that the stipulated
time is not being adhered to for some items. The Gram Sabha do meet but some times
the attendance is not very encouraging. Whenever some important issues are discussed
in the gram sabha the attendance is very high. In Gujarat, Gram Panchayats are not
being computerised affecting services to the people.
In Orissa, Palli Sabha is very popular and participation of people in this Sabha
is increasing. It has provided space for the people to make the system accountable
and for social audit. As per the provision the social audit has been introduced
to examine the quality of work done. If the palli sabha passes a resolution to the
effect that there appears to be a mis-appropriation of funds or the work is sub-standard,
the sub-collector can enquire into such misappropriations and if it is found to
be true the executing agency has to rectify the mistake or the money has to be recovered.
Another important feature in Orissa is computerisation of Gram Panchayats, in order
to achieve transparency and better delivery of services. Under the E-Governance
project, accounting and monitoring of three-tier system is done through software
package called Prisasoft, citizen centric in Rural soft for monitoring poverty alleviation
programmes. This monitoring is available on line on the website and any body can
access this information. The State also has V-SAT connectivity with a bandwidth
of 128 KBPS up-link to hub and hub to server with a dedicated 2 MBPS line connects
all blocks, DRDAs and the State headquarter. During the course of this study it
was identified that computerisation of data has not reached the villagers and only
upto block level it is computerised. The website provides details in English to
enable the rural citizens to access and make use of information and by asking questions
regarding the process involved in implementation of the project. Therefore it is
suggested to make them available in local language for easy accessibility to rural
In the course of discussions from the cross section of the rural society it was
found that they could not comprehend any difference between Palli Sabha, Gram Sabha
and Gram Panchayat. It appears to the people that all are same units with different
names, where he or she participates. This awareness building is necessary to make
the system more effective
4. Institutional Arrangements for Alternative Drinking
Water and Sanitation Delivery Systems : A Case Study of Traditional Institutions
and Governance Systems
P. Durgaprasad, P. Sivaram, M.J. Mohan Rao and N.V. Madhuri
The States of Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh have a great tradition of water harvesting.
The villagers have been using a large number of traditional water harvesting structures
such as naulas, baoris, nauns, dharas, panihars, chharedus, khals, chaals and khatris
for drinking water. Some of these systems are used for irrigation too, by diverting
water from mountain streams into a channel to carry water to terraced fields. All
these structures, usually considered as common property resources, are largely owned,
used and maintained by the local communities. The local kings, feudal landlords
and well to-do families in the community had originally constructed these water-harvesting
structures, but most of them now belong to the community. It is widely believed
that individual dharma and social customs were the necessary conditions for sustaining
In many areas, a good number of traditional water systems have been irretrievably
destroyed as they were badly neglected by the people. Social and economic conditions
in significant parts of Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal are such that only traditional
systems would be more appropriate in the long run.
However, the State Governments emphasise more on installation of tube wells and
piped water supply systems and construction of multi-purpose dams as symbols of
development. The present development architects at times tend to over emphasise
the engineering solutions to the problem of (drinking) water resources development
and de-emphasise the social absorption of resource development. The current scenario
is that there is increasing demand for water to meet the needs of the people as
well as agriculture and industry. Consequently, the supply constraints and limited
regeneration of water resource have resulted in low per capita availability at 10
litres per person per day signifying the gravity of the water crisis in the country.
This study seeks to analyse the present systems of drinking water – traditional
as well as modern, in Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh with the following objectives.
To document the evolution of traditional governance systems and institutions related
to drinking water.
To analyse the processes and institutional arrangements for decentralized governance
and community participation in planning, implementation and operation and maintenance
of traditional drinking water systems with focus on equity, access, pricing, quality
Study Area and Methodology
The study has been conducted in Almora district of Uttaranchal and Hamirpur and
Mandi districts of Himachal Pradesh. The sample districts, blocks and villages were
selected on the basis of the availability and usage of one or a combination of the
traditional water harvesting and management systems in consultation with the concerned
drinking water authorities, communities and literature survey. The other criteria
that have guided the selection of the district(s) included:
(a) Criticality of the drinking water scenario
(b) Backwardness of the district; poverty profile of the people / region
(c) Hydro-geological conditions.
The details of sample blocks and villages are:
Distribution of Sample Districts, Blocks and Villages
Name of the Sample
Name of the
Name of the
District and State
Almora – Uttaranchal
1) Masi 2) Mallepali 3) Tallapali
1) Chiyali 2) Bhagavathi 3) Deepakot
Mandi - Himachal Pradesh
1) Jamni 2) Tikiri
1) Daraman 2) Churdh 3) Baggi
Hamirpur – Himachal Pradesh
1) Bhira 2) Pharnoal 3) Davera 4) Tal
Source: Field study conducted in September-October, 2004.
A sample of 120 households from each State (total 240) were randomly selected and
interviewed through a structured interview schedule. Besides, a variety of Participatory
Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools such as Focus Group discussions (FGDs), semi-structured
interviews, timelines, transects, seasonal calendar, semi-participant observation
etc. were used for collecting qualitative data from the respondents and the community
Discussions in this context were also held with the Chief Engineers and concerned
officials of Irrigation and Public Health (IPH) department, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
and Jal Nigam, Dehradun, Uttaranchal. In addition, the research team interacted
with the sample village Gram Panchayat Presidents and local leaders, key informants
and Executive Directors of GRASSROOTS (NGO) and INHERE (NGO) of Almora District
for collecting qualitative data. Secondary data were collected from the WATSAN officials
to provide quantitative and qualitative insights into the implementation of drinking
water and sanitation schemes in the region.
Uttaranchal has a glorious tradition of water harvesting in its villages. The local
people have been using a large number of traditional water structures such as naulas,
khatris, dharas, etc., for drinking as well as for irrigation purposes.
The sources of drinking water in the sample villages were (1) naulas, (2) hand pumps
and (3) piped / tap water supply. These are available in a combination at different
points of time in the sample villages. Majority of the households use traditional
water sources (Naulas / baoris) for drinking purpose.
Naulas, also called as baoris, are shallow four-sided stepped wells. The naulas
are maintained by the local communities and this water is considered sacred. Sacred
tree species like the peepal and banyan were planted near a naula to signify its
sanctity to protect and shade it. To ensure the potability of a naula’s water, it
was often treated with medicinal plants such as amla and neem.
Naulas are not capable of supplying drinking water to all the habitats and
the growing population, but they assist in giving relief to the residents during
summer and crisis times arising due to mechanical defects in government assisted
drinking water systems such as hand pumps and piped water supply systems. On the
one hand, there is depletion of water level in these naulas and on the other hand
their contamination is assuming serious proportions.
Ancestors have framed the Vedic Era rules for keeping the water reservoirs and water
springs pollution free. The persons infringing these rules were punished. Construction
of latrines and toilets near water springs or water structures are treated as a
crime. However, people are now violating these rules causing damage to the traditional
Ecological disruptions such as deforestation, landslides, earthquakes, changing
land-use patterns, increasing population pressure and other factors are also disrupting
the subterranean flows that feed naulas. Where piped water has been provided, the
cleanliness of naulas is not always ensured. Most significantly, the skill in locating
source, building and designing these structures is gradually being forgotten, probably
a casualty of the heavy out-migration of people from the region. Further, road constructions
are also causing destruction of naulas in the State.
The local communities have had a holistic perception of the local ecosystem. They
not only looked after the naulas, but also protected their catchments. However,
majority of naulas are fast decaying in the State including the sample district.
Their degraded condition reflects a decline in community water management following
the complete State take-over of water resources and the ecology, culture and traditions
that supported these systems over centuries. Therefore, there is a need for a healthy
mix of the small and traditional drinking water systems along with large and modern
systems. But high priority should be given to traditional water systems, which seek
to conserve every drop of water/rainwater.
Traditionally, water for household use is obtained from springs, flowing mountain
streams or man-made rainwater harvesting structures. Open water bodies like ponds,
masonry tanks called Chaals / Khals are generally used for domestic animals and
for washing purposes. Chaals are usually found along mountain ridge tops.
The FGDs with the women revealed that the first job the mothers-in-law assign to
the new daughters-in-law is to fetch drinking water from the naula. The villagers
are practicing this custom even today, as it augurs well for the family from the
viewpoint of welfare of the family as well in meeting the family drinking water
The State Government has been promoting a combination of large-scale surface water
systems, planned and managed by unaccountable bureaucracies, and numerous small,
privately-managed wells operating within the minimum state or community-imposed
constraints. In doing so, they have undermined community-based institutions associated
with the traditional water harvesting systems, and failed to recognise the desirability
of community-based institutions for the conjunctive management of surface and groundwater
in water-scarce regions.
Specific caste heads/elders are carrying out the O&M of naulas in the sample
villages. As such there is no fixed water charges for naulas. Whenever, the naula
structures are damaged due to heavy rains or natural calamities, on priority, the
caste heads collect money from their own caste people to meet the expenses of repairs
by engaging local masons.
The group meetings with middle aged-group respondents revealed that they fetch two
pots, locally called Gagaris, of drinking water from the Naulas everyday, which
was perceived as safe drinking water. For fetching water from the Naulas, the villagers
walk down 1-2 kms. However, the youth appreciated piped water supply system not
only from the point of view of quantity and quality but also from the distance angle
for water collection. Therefore, a third of them stated that they have taken household
connections by paying a one time deposit of Rs.200. Also, they are paying a monthly
water charge of Rs.30 per household per connection to the SWAJAL project. Thus,
tap water is the second preferred source of water due to easy availability with
minimum labour in the sample villages as well as in the sample district.
The FGDs with the respondents showed that sometimes one or two caste head(s) contribute
the entire amount for renovation of Naulas as he/she feels that such a contribution
is a noble cause for their caste/community. However, the role of women in O &
M is minimal though the water carrying burden lies with them. Discussions with the
panchayati raj functionaries revealed that the Gram Panchayats are not in a position
to take up the responsibility of O & M of either traditional drinking water
systems or piped water supply systems because of low financial resources in the
sample villages. This is despite the fact that the State has transferred the powers
and functions to the PRIs in so far as health and sanitation was concerned. However,
in recent years, the Government of Uttaranchal has initiated a few projects on restoration
of traditional drinking water systems. For example, the project on rejuvenation
of traditional water systems in Almora district, which is still in the initial stage
of implementation, is an encouraging one.
FGDs with women revealed that there was a growing tendency to shift towards more
of piped water supply owing to growing time problems relating to the life style
of the family in as much as their growing affordability. Also, they expressed a
fear that the yield of the naulas was declining over time. The aggressive promotion
of RWS Schemes is also perhaps influencing them in this regard. Though the naulas
are valued at this point of time, these good old Naulas may disappear soon from
the sample villages, notwithstanding the problems of sustainability of piped water
More than two-thirds of the respondents felt that the traditional drinking water
systems should be revived, while the rest opined that revival was not required as
they have taken tap connections or they have access to hand-pumps. It was observed
that many traditional water structures were indeed damaged due to wear and tear
or neglect or both and needed to be revived. Discussions with a local MLA revealed
that the Government of Uttaranchal was investing nearly Rs.1,00,000 for installation
of a handpump. He pointed out that instead of hand-pumps, the Government should
revive the traditional water systems such as naulas, khals, dharas, etc., which
are economically viable, safe and can cover a large number of communities. He said
that the renovation/construction/revival charges for a traditional system would
be about Rs.25,000.
In the context of willingness to pay for piped water supply, majority of the (83
respondents) are now dependent on stand-posts and baoris only, 32 respondents said
that they were willing to pay if the government (Jal Nigam) provides safe drinking
water in all the seasons, while 51 respondents were not willing to pay at all because
they felt that it was the responsibility of government to provide drinking water
to the people.
The field evidences revealed that the villagers have been maintaining the traditional
water systems such as Naulas, Baoris, Khals, Khatris etc. in Uttaranchal. In addition,
the historical evidences also show that until 30 years ago, the naulas were under
the common property resource management. As such there were no rules for the management
of these structures. The villagers traditionally revered their naulas and the rituals
observed in constructing them were similar to those of a temple construction. Therefore,
the water of these structures was considered sacred. Therefore, the basic rules
of sanitation and personal hygiene were observed.
However, field evidences revealed that social discrimination was observed in drawing
the water from the naulas. However, the villagers mentioned that at present the
social discrimination in drawing water from the naulas is gradually fading away
from the sample villages. This is perhaps happening because of high literacy and
growing awareness of the need for equality in the sample villages in as much as
the efforts of the SHGs in creating awareness and friendship in the context of equality.
Discussions with functionaries of NGOs like GRASSROOTS, INHERE and Uttarakhand Environmental
Education Centre revealed that they have been conducting awareness camps, village
meetings, wall poster campaigns, street plays etc., for rejuvenation of Naulas in
the sample villages in as much as reducing the caste-based social discrimination
in terms of access and maintenance of the traditional sources of drinking water.
The coordinators of these NGOs said that their animators, who largely conduct the
IEC activities, were imparted intensive training on awareness creation among the
Majority of the respondents said that they do not send their (school going) children
for fetching water from the Naulas or stand-posts. This attitude is positive and
augurs well since it was the girl children in particular were going to school. Uttaranchal
in general and Almora in particular are doing well in terms of schooling of children.
Since the school going girl children are not fetching water is good sign of valuing
education in as much valuing the girl child’s education. This is in contrast with
the poor schooling scenario of girl children in Uttar Pradesh, and many other States
where girl children are perforced to run errands and fetch water at the cost of
It is noteworthy to mention the positive attitudes of the respondents in so far
as storage of the drinking water at home is concerned in the sample villages.
It was observed that all the households have invariably adopted hygienic practices
of storing and handling of drinking water by way of placing the water vessels safely
and securely. However, 7.5 per cent of them use earthen vessels for storing water.
In terms of methods of household water treatment, the quality of water was ok in
general. Therefore, 76 per cent of the respondents were not doing any water treatment
at the household level before consuming it. The VWSCs and RSW personnel regularly
chlorinate the Naulas, wells and water tanks. As such, there was no special
household water treatment method followed by the respondents except using cloth
and candles for filtering water. Some respondents said that during rainy season,
they boiled water before consuming it.
The FGDs with the villagers revealed that the drinking water is available in all
seasons since perennial rivers like Kosagi pass through the sample villages and
drinking water is available at villagers’ doorstep. No doubt, the community efforts
and those of the Swajal project have brought significant community participation
in the project. As per the records of Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and sub-centres,
the status of health has improved among the villagers as a result of reduced water-borne
diseases in general. However, discussions with the villagers showed that there has
been a steady decline in the functioning and maintenance of traditional water systems.
But, despite the weakened structures, all the communities consider the traditional
water sources as more reliable than the newly installed PWS.
Legal and administrative changes during the colonial and post-colonial periods have
gradually but systematically replaced community management of water resources with
State management. But at the same time, there has been a steady decline in the functioning
and maintenance of the traditional water management structures and systems.
The longevity of the traditional water harvesting structures is enough proof that
they are sustainable technologies. Literature and researchers interactions
reveal that what has sustained them is not just their engineering but also sanskriti.
The autonomy of local communities to manage their own resources was sufficient condition
for the sustenance of the traditions of resource management. Traditional water harvesting
structures, wherever they are still in use, need to be renovated, restored and protected
in consultation and collaboration with people and their institutions.
Sanitation should be viewed as a social marketing concept. Nearly 91 per cent of
the respondents are aware of the need for sanitation and the schemes of SWAJAL and
other schemes that are associated with sanitation.
Three-fourths of respondents are having HSU (Septic latrine) in their houses/compounds,
while 25 per cent of them are not having sanitary latrines nor are they assisted
by any project or they simply could not afford any latrine or were not interested
Majority of the families were using the facility irrespective of sex and age. The
attitude of the villagers towards open defecation has undergone a positive change
after the health awareness camps were conducted by the Support Organisation (SOs)
/ NGOs of SWAJAL.
The villagers in the FGDs highlighted that the women folk of the family were highly
satisfied with this facility and were using them regularly. However, a few families
said that they did not construct the HSU because of space and financial problems,
while some families avoided HSUs because they may might emit bad smell and create
health hazards. The subsidy provided under the scheme included : Rs.2,375 for BPL
households belonging to SCs and STs; Rs.2,250 for BPL households belonging to OC
and Rs.1,500 for BPL households belonging to APL (All communities).
Personal hygiene practices comprise one of the important areas of sustainable health
development. Simple but critical hygiene oriented practices such as washing hands
before eating or feeding children, bathing, protecting food and water from dust,
flies etc. assume critical significance. Majority of respondents stated that they
washed their hands with soap or leaves before eating and after defecation, while
others used sand. This hygiene behaviour change is largely attributable to the IEC
efforts of SWAJAL.
Socio-economic Profile of Respondents
Representation of all social groups was ensured while drawing the respondents for
the interviews from the sample villages. Different social groups have their own
caste-based traditional drinking water systems, namely, the naulas. The analysis
showed that more than 65 per cent of the respondents belonged to OC, while 19 per
cent of them constituted the OBCs. There is no ST population in the sample villages.
However, SCs represented 12.5 per cent of the sample.
The respondents were classified into seven age-groups. Women significantly accounted
for the total number of respondents in the sample. Nearly 50 per cent of the respondents
were from the middle-aged groups. Drinking water being the main concern of women,
the female respondents took active role in discussions and meetings as compared
to the male respondents.
The respondents’ occupation profile was classified into five categories, namely,
agriculture, non-agriculture (dairy/goat rearing), agriculture-labour, service/employment
and business. Majority of the respondents belonged to the category of agriculture.
Agriculture labour contributed to 24.2 per cent of the sample respondents. The other
categories (40 per cent) of respondents included non-agriculture, service/employment,
business, etc. Thus, majority of the respondents are primarily depending on agriculture
for their livelihood. Mostly, terraced cultivation is in practice in the sample
villages with the support of khals and monsoon rains. Generally, they grow two paddy
crops. However, the FGDs with the respondents (agriculturists) showed that they
are not going for the second crop because of low water level in khals and inadequate
Literate respondents were more in the sample villages followed by respondents who
were educated up to secondary education, degree, postgraduate and primary education,
respectively. However, the respondents said that the educated youth were migrating
to New Delhi in search of jobs as the job opportunities were few in the State.
Majority of the respondents are having their own houses (RCC) irrespective of their
social and economic status. A meagre 5.0 per cent was found living in rented houses
(tiled houses). It was noticed that almost all the low income respondents lived
in kutcha (sheet and thatched) houses that were owned by them.
About 20 per cent of the respondents belonged to the poverty line as their annual
family income was below Rs. 20,000 per annum. The below poverty line population
was significantly low in the sample villages as well as in the district, when compared
to other districts in the State.
Group discussions revealed that the sample villages were having lift irrigation
facility from the rivulets and khals. Therefore, many of them were able to raise
some commercial crops with subsistence crops. Because of this, a significant number
of respondents’ annual income is between Rs.31,000 - Rs.40,000 per annum, while
that of other respondents’ income levels is between Rs.21,000 - Rs.30,000 per annum.
It was observed that the women have formed into self-help groups but they were concentrating
only on thrift and savings.
Uttaranchal - Suggestions
The Government of Uttaranchal should declare the sites of water sources as fully
Due to heavy deforestation in the sample district, the majority of hills have become
barren. Consequently, frequent landslides, soil erosion, low retention of water,
low water percolation are occurring in the regions. These are also leading to drying
up of the traditional water systems. Therefore, broad leaf trees may be planted
and total restriction may be imposed on felling trees (e.g. pine and Deodhar) from
such areas. In addition, total restriction should be imposed on government and non-government
construction work near the water sources so that they may be saved from being damaged.
A strategy should be developed so that one of the departments may be made responsible
for preservation and enrichment of the water sources. It will be proper that this
responsibility is given to forest department.
Water legislation should be made for protecting and preserving traditional water
systems. Relevant provisions of Forest Preservation Act, 1980, Kumoan and Graham
water collection, storage and distribution Act, 1975. Forest Panchayat manual, Uttar
Pradesh mineral remission manual and other forest manuals should be integrated and
may be named as “Kumoan Garhwal Environment and Water Sources Preservation Act”
for preservation and enrichment of water sources. This act may be equally applicable
to protected, reserved, measurement, non-measurement, civil and panchayati areas.
Attention may be paid to development of fodder fields along with forest enrichment
and a long term scheme to overcome fodder problem.
National policies should be worked out to encourage the growth of small water harvesting
systems, so that they contribute to community governance of natural resources to
add to the efforts of the State to meet the basic needs of the people. In fact,
the lessons learnt about the governance of traditional systems need to be extended
to the planning, design and management of all forms of water development in India,
including large canal systems and groundwater systems.
Himachal Pradesh - Findings
The baoris are usually smaller and unadorned structures by comparison. Most baoris
do have a hallowed status. This is evident from the planting of peepal and banyan
trees that have religious significance and the carving or installation of idols
of local deities in the walls of the baoris.
During 2003-04, the State Government had a budget provision of Rs.53.62 crore to
cover 900 habitations under ARWSP, against which 971 habitations have been covered.
The I&PH has installed over 12,000 hand pumps spread over all the districts.
The hand pumps are supplementing the existing piped water supply schemes. However,
majority of these hand pumps were set up in roadside villages, as hand pump drilling
vehicles (rigs) cannot go to interior villages due to difficult terrain.
The concerned officials also mentioned that the hand pumps are installed in drought
prone areas and drinking water scarcity villages. Of course, neither hand pumps
nor traditional systems were available and drinking water is supplied through tankers.
Many sample respondents mentioned that the hand pump programme has been successful
in providing drinking water, especially where water scarcity is high.
The FGDs with the villagers revealed that the baories’ water levels are receding
since people are not using and cleaning them regularly. There is a need to develop
a mechanism, to enable the user to take out water from outside while keeping the
baori door closed. This will make the baori pollution free and entails little cleaning.
Such a device has already been installed in a baori near Hamirpur town. This model
should be replicated in other baoris since it has been found successful for their
protection. In addition, there is a need to augment these baoris by improving the
ground water recharge in the vicinity of the baori to increase its discharge in
all the seasons.
Nagachal village baori of Baggi Block of Mandi district, is considered sacred,
which is being used for drinking water as well as irrigation purpose. This
is a very old traditional water system in the area.
There are no chemical water quality problems in sample villages and districts. However,
a few areas suffer from excess iron problems. Bacteriological contamination is prevalent
in rainy season. If the baoris are contaminated with turbidity, especially in rainy
season, the village head along with the villagers organises a silt removal camp.
Khatris are rainwater-harvesting structures, which can be divided into two types
– individual and community. In the sample villages, every house is having one or
two khatris with some access to community khatris. Maintenance is taken care of
by the individual households. These are being used for domestic purposes like bathing
and washing clothes etc.
The FGDs with women revealed that if any one goes out of the village, an elder at
home will keep a glass of baori water/khatri water near the main entrance door early
morning. The belief is that the person, who had gone out, will return home safely,
as a result.
Chappris are usually shallow dug ponds without any masonry work. Located
in the hillsides are mostly used for livestock and irrigation needs. However, at
the time of water crisis, especially in summer season, the villagers use this water
for drinking and washing purposes.
Chudu is a spring attached for tapping water, which flows continuously from the
hill. However, the villagers of Nagachal said that these chudus are slowly disappearing
because of heavy deforestation in the upper hills.
Hydrams Projects are being implemented for irrigation purposes from perennial sources
of water like streams to the adjoining fields in the sample villages of Mandi district.
It can lift water up to a height of 30-40 meters without any external energy by
creating vacuum and hammering action. 100 Hydrams are envisaged in the district,
out of which many have been installed and the others are in the process of installation.
Tal sample village in Hamirpur district has a lake in the center of the village.
However, it was abandoned because of its contamination with drainage water and household
waste. At present, the village is covered with the piped water supply and hand pumps
Gramin Himachal Bhandars Schemes are under implementation in the sample villages
of Mandi district. These schemes have been formulated to provide marketing outlets
for products manufactured by Self Help Groups (SHGs) / Societies of carpet weavers,
shawl / woollen product weavers, vegetable vendors, black smiths, milk producers,
flower growers and cocoon producers belonging to BPL families financed under SGSY.
Under this scheme, 50 Gramin Himachal Bhandars have been set up throughout the State
and one Central Gramin Himachal Bhandar has been set up at Pandoh in the district.
The Total Sanitation Campaigns (TSCs) programme has been implemented in the sample
villages. It was observed by the respondents that youngsters and elders were using
the sanitary toilets whereas the middle aged preferred open defecation to latrines.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC PROFILE OF RESPONDENTS
120 respondents from six sample villages namely, Jamini, Tirhi, Baggi, Draman, Churad,
Bhairkot spread over three blocks, viz., Balh, Gopalpur, and Sundernagar were purposively
selected for the study on the basis of the presence of functional traditional drinking
water systems in these blocks. The experiences of officials of IPH, Mandi district
and non-official functionaries of PRIs and NGOs have been gathered to lend further
depth to the analysis. Besides, PRA tools like group discussions, FGDs and time
lines were used for gathering additional information and insights on traditional
drinking water systems and sanitation.
The respondents were classified into eight age groups. All the respondents actively
participated in the individual interviews and group discussions. Based on these,
the researchers have drawn lessons from different age group respondents’ perceptions
of TWHS. It was evident that the higher age group respondents were more closely
attached to TWHS rather than middle and lower age groups. The frequency of use of
TWHS was higher among higher age groups who were even worried about the neglect
of TWHS. They suggested restoration of TWHS whereas the lower age groups preferred
the piped water system closer to their living places including house connection.
Their contention was that piped water supply was being maintained better by a government
department with assured quality and regular supply to help save time for women,
especially the low and middle age groups.
The occupations of respondents were classified into five categories viz., agriculture
(crop), non-agriculture, daily wage, service and business. The distribution shows
that the majority of the respondents belonged to the category of agriculture while
daily wage employment contributed only a meagre in the sample villages. Thus, the
sample villagers were primarily depending on agriculture for their livelihood.
The ownership of the house and type of house data indicate that majority of the
respondents own houses. Nearly three-fourths of the respondents have tiled houses
followed by RCC (17.5 per cent) and asbestos sheets respectively. The use of tiles
for house construction is a traditional practice in this hilly terrain. However,
in the semi-urban / well developed / road connectivity villages, the people are
going for RCC constructions. It was observed that the more educated and economically
well off such people went in for RCC and they were the ones who preferred piped
water supply to handpumps and TWHS.
It was noted during group discussions with the respondents that the demand for piped
water supply had proportionately increased with the increase in educational qualifications.
This implies that the educated communities do not intend to depend on TWHS. However,
they said that TWHS should also be restored along with the provision of piped water
supply so that there is greater availability of water.
For majority of the higher income group households at present, the availability
and accessibility of drinking water was at their doorstep which has been covered
by the government under different drinking water projects. The time saved as a result
was being used for further development of agriculture and higher social living,
enjoying various consumer products. In respect of girl children in education, HP
is not far behind. Even though the responsibility of collecting water is on girl
children and women folk, they are neither socially neglected nor deprived of school/
5. Empowerment of Scheduled Castes through Implementation of PCR/ POA Act
C.S.Singhal, K. Suman Chandra, M.Aneesuddin and S.Vijayakumar
The major objectives of the PCR Act of 1955 and its successor, the POA Act was to
emancipate the scheduled caste communities from the clutches of the caste system,
and its devastating and de-humanising psycho-social processes. Accordingly, the
Acts, intended to cover a wide spectrum of behaviour, reflecting various dimensions
of day-to-day living, wherein, power dynamics, come in to play reinforcing the status
quo vis-a-vis social dominance and submission. When an attempt was made to thwart
the inclusion of ‘caste system’ as a subject of discussion in the International
Conference at Durban, by objecting that it cannot be equated with ‘race’, the objection
was overruled by indicating that ‘true it cannot be equated with race as it is worst
It is therefore appropriate, at this juncture to assess the impact of the Act in
its 50th year of implementation in terms of impact and given objectives.
Given the inherent disempowering consequences of the caste system, it was felt that
an effective implementation of the PCR / POA Act combine, is bound to result in
the empowering the victims of these communities, viz, the SCs.
To study the awareness and perception of the stakeholders about the implementation
of Protection of Civil Rights Act,1955 and SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities)Act,1989.
To study the impact of these protective legislative measures on the empowerment
of scheduled caste communities.
The Study was taken in four states namely Maharashtra , Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and
Uttar Pradesh. From each of the States one district was selected (Nagpur, Jaipur,
Madurai, and Lucknow). Out of the 11 blocks (about 3 blocks from each districts)
and out of 24 villages (about 2 villages from each block) were selected for in-depth
Awareness of PCR Act
Even after 50 years of the implementation of the Act as high as 46 per cent of SC
respondents are not aware of PCR Act . The ignorance of the Act was very high in
Rajasthan (70 per cent) where as in other States it was to the extent of 40 per
Special Provisions under the PCR Act
Awareness of special provisions like setting of review committees, mobile courts,
and survey under PCR Act were ranging only from 4 to 15 per cent.
Across the State Awareness was dismal in U.P. and Maharashtra (1 to 2 per cent)
slightly better in Rajasthan (6 to 26 per cent) and Tamil Nadu (8 to 34 per cent).
Awareness of POA Act
Over all, 77 per cent of respondents were not aware of POA Act. Across the study
States, the ignorance of the POA Act was extremely high in Maharashtra (97 per cent)
followed by Tamil Nadu (80 per cent), Rajasthan (76 per cent) and U.P. (50 per cent).
The awareness of special provisions under POA ranges from 0.8 to 19.01 per cent
. The awareness on specific provisions were as follows Socio economic rehabilitation
(19 per cent ) ; Legal aid (17 per cent); Special courts (14 per cent); Appointment
of public prosecutor (11 per cent); The awareness on the provisions like Setting
of Committee, Appointment of Officers, Periodic survey of the Act and notification
in official gazette was very low (2 to 4 per cent).
In most of the States, the implementation of these special provisions are tardy
wherein either the provisions are ignored as in UP or not properly observed in the
Untouchability Experienced under PCR Act
Untouchability experienced by respondents was mostly in the traditional domains
where perception regarding the purity and pollution dimensions are generally strong.
Such as place of worship (30 per cent), sources of drinking water (22 per cent),
bathing (18 per cent), cremation (22 per cent) and public places (15 per cent).
Across the State, discrimination experienced more in Rajasthan (23 to 60 per cent)
and Tamil Nadu (23 to 55 per cent) whereas it was negligible in Maharashtra. In
U.P. it was very low (9 to 12 per cent).
The low level prevalence of discrimination was found in Maharashtra and U.P. are
not solely attributed to the implementation of PCR Act in these States.
Socio-political movement and mass conversion to Buddhism on the call of Dr. B.R.
Ambedkar, in 1956, proximal in time to the enactment of the PCR Act, 1955 has probably
influenced the people to register against the untouchability in Maharashtra.
Other welfare measures like education facilities and reservation in job and elected
bodies may also influence and enhance the status of SCs.
Experienced Atrocities under POA, Act.
Either atrocity generally were not committed in these areas, or they go unreported.
In-depth case studies undertaken in the affected villages indicated that heinous
crimes are still the order of the day such as homicide, destruction of property,
electoral violence etc. are common in Madurai.
In Rajasthan, region specific atrocities reported like bridegroom is not allowed
to mount on a horse during marriage procession, deliberate contamination of water
Caste composition in the village generally has a bearing on the prevalence of atrocities.
If SCs are predominant in terms of number then atrocities are less and vice versa.
Consequences for offender under PCR Act.
The majority of respondents (78 per cent) reported that there are no consequences.
Lack of efforts on the part of designated agencies to generate awareness – as endorsed
by 92 per cent of respondents. Similar trends were observed in all the States under
Negligible efforts for concentisation of SCs.
Lack of functional training for officials.
Apart from lack of motivation on the part of Agencies meant for IEC, paucity of
financial resources was also reported. Psychological Empowerment vs. Prevalence
of Untouchability and Atrocities
Majority of respondents felt that both untouchability and atrocities against SCs
will increase in the future.
They also expressed a very high degree of certainty that this expectation may come
true in future indicating lack of confidence in themselves and in implementing agencies
in mitigating discrimination and atrocities against them. This is a sign of low
efficacy and psychological empowerment in this context.
Implications and Suggestions
Concentisation of all stakeholders.
Creation of congenial atmosphere, which can facilitate greater interaction among
the SCs and police personnel as well as officials and non-officials responsible
for protective measures.
Awareness of various legislative measures by using different media and community
The periodic sensitivity training and workshop for officials involved in implementation
of PCR / POA Act is required for better awareness among them.
IEC action plan with sufficient finance and personnel needed to be developed and
Continuation of existing facilities and creation of awareness related to education
and employment to the deserving candidates may enhance the empowerment of SCs.
Socio-economic base by providing the asset and benefits under the development programmes
and mass mobilisation and leadership development at the community level is required.
6. Micro Level Experiments in Food Security – A Study across States
A.C. Jena, G. Ramachandraiah and Radhika Rani
Food security exists when all people at all times have physical and economic access
to sufficient safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences
for an active and healthy life. It is basically understood in terms of food availability,
stability and accessibility. Ensuring availability of food implies efficient domestic
production and internal trade to make enough food available for the entire population.
However, despite food being abundantly available it may not be within easy access
of certain sections of the society. Hence, enhancing people’s purchasing power to
buy food where it is not produced or making it available at subsidised rates through
the public distribution system and employment programmes provide a safety net and
ensures accessibility to adequate and safe food.
Food problems remain and food security is still a haunting phenomena in the country.
Despite an expenditure of 27,000 crores on food subsidy, the centralised foodgrain
distribution system is not in a position to reach millions of people who are in
the remote places. Even in the places where foodgrains could be reached, many people
are not in a position to lift it because of the lack of purchasing power. So in
order to provide food and nutritional security to the people living below poverty
line and also to the people living in remote areas, several NGOs have entered into
the network of localised and decentralised production and distribution system of
foodgrains. The study attempts to capture through documentation of a few best practices
in micro level food security efforts, analysing factors for their success or failure
and examine its replicability and sustainability aspects to draw lessons.
The study area was selected based on the location of micro level experiments with
consultation of various State governments and NGOs keeping in view food surplus
and food deficit States. Hence, the study covered four micro level experiments implemented
by four NGOs in four States namely Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh
and in four districts in seven blocks, thirteen villages and three hundred households.
An assessment of the role of PDS in meeting the food requirements of the people
reveals that even though they are aware of their entitlement of PDS, they did not
avail because of locational factor and geographical accessibility of fair price
shops, due to lack of purchasing power at a time, lack of information and availability,
bad quality of grains, irregular supply, improper under-weighment, and leakages
at the fair price shops. Therefore, to cater to the food security needs, alternative
food security system through grain banks have emerged in the study area. Meagre
asset base with heavy burden of liability, the households are living in high risk
situation of food insecurity. The annual income level is around Rs.12638 per family
indicating much lower than the cut off national income level of a BPL family. Therefore,
besides their own source, community grain banks are providing the foodgrain requirement
of the people in the study area. The drawal from community grain bank found to be
mostly during the months of May, June, July, August and September. These are some
months of lean period and scarcity is high during this period. The community grain
banks come to their rescue in providing food during this period. Discussion on various
models of community grain banks and food security are presented in subsequent sections.
The Academy of Development Sciences (ADS) grain bank programme is able to meet its
objectives of helping the focus groups overcome the exploitation of the local moneylenders
and eventually achieve food security at the community level, by primarily dealing
with the vulnerability factor. The model has also been able to ensure food security
to a great extent by ensuring food availability, stability and accessibility through
decentralised resource management and decision-making. Such decentralisation is
significant, as it pays tribute to the indigenous knowledge of the focus groups.
As a result, it enables those with scarce resources to participate and cooperate
in addressing lean season food scarcity, overcoming indebtedness and gaining a sense
of dignity in solving their own problems. The process facilitates empowerment as
people overcome their basic preoccupation with food security and actively participate
in the governance of their communities.
When people are able to devote the most crucial days of cultivation and harvesting
in their own fields, instead of the moneylender’s fields, food availability at the
household and community level improves. Timely credit made available from the village
cash fund for agricultural inputs further enhances productivity. The interest on
grain loan, after repayment to the agency, adds to the grain stock in their grain
banks. So, even after the agency withdraws and the village grain bank assumes autonomy,
food stocks in the village ensures stability of food in distress period. It takes
care of inter-annual and seasonal fluctuations in crop yields. As vulnerability
is gradually eliminated, people’s negotiating power is enhanced and they are able
to demand higher wages as agricultural labourers. On one hand this enhances their
purchasing power and on the other, local sale of surplus grains proves profitable
as middlemen and agents and intermediate costs are eliminated. Such local transactions
cushion the blow of market price fluctuations. Foodgrains are thus easily accessible.
From the statistical analysis of land holdings of grain bank members, one can infer
that the targeting of the programme is quite accurate. Villagers themselves select
members in an open and transparent way through village meetings. The basic criterion
for selection is the potential member’s willingness and ability to repay the grain
loan. However, this does not eliminate those belonging to the bottom rung from the
programme. The landless and those with land less than one acre alone constitute
63.17 per cent of the total grain bank members in this region.
Before concluding it needs to be emphasised that the ADS model can be further consolidated
in efforts to incorporate good governance as the ultimate goal. This will then take
care of all other issues facing the focus groups beyond just food security and lean
season scarcity. The Panch Committee and Gavki Vikas Samiti can collaborate with
government and other institutional functionaries at village and district level,
respectively, to address other development issues in their region. There is also
adequate scope to address gender issues in not just food security but also wider
development concerns. Ensuring adequate women’s participation in the People’s Institutions
will help incorporate their perspective and vision in development issues.
Rupantar promotes decentralised food security system in ensuring food security on
sustainable basis in the study area.
First , bio-diversity and food access Rupantar emphasised to ensure food security
by preserving the bio-diversity in the area or region. Chhattisgarh region is known
to have grown amazing diversity of rice of indigenous varieties. These indigenous
rice varieties are capable of giving the equivalent of or even higher than green
revolution varieties without use of chemicals in the field conditions of simple
tribals farmers having low resource base and a little formal education. It was possible
to maintain high yields through using indigenous seeds, local resources and skills.
Thus local self-reliance technology was to be propagated and recommended to the
farmers. Rupantar has set up its non biodiversity programme to propagate indigenous
technology. Rupantar collected and grew 270 varieties of foodgrains. These varieties
are taken to the farmers fields. Emphasis was given on growing rice varieties in
rainfed conditions. They also emphasised good quality of seeds so that farmers can
be self-reliant in availability of good quality seeds. It also promotes organic
farming among the tribal farmers and helping the small and marginal farmers increasing
their yields through local varieties of seeds. Rupantar, therefore, emphasises local
crop bio-diversity depending on local variation of soil, climate, water, and cultural
patterns. Farmers of Chhattisgarh have been utilising bio-diversity resource in
agricultural production, crop protection, sustaining and promoting soil fertility,
food collections, etc. The large number of agricultural inputs is based on biodiversity
resources. These patterns of internal agricultural inputs promote a self-reliant
and sustainable agriculture and food security for the local people.
Secondly, the tribal people depend on a diversity of food resources both cultivated
and uncultivated. People depend largely on forest and bio-diversity for means of
their sustenance and livelihood from natural and common property resources. Rupantar
promotes to preserve these resources through community control.
The food security system existing include a wide bio-diversity of cereals, pulses,
oilseeds, indigenous fruits, flowers, vegetables, greens tubers and mushrooms. These
foods are getting commercialised and a larger number community is being out of entitlements
of this diversed food. Rupantar intervenes to protect this diversified food for
the food security of tribal and other people.
Traditional Food Security System
People in the study village depend on 4 to 5 months from their own land for food.
Another four months they depend on the forest. They also go for wage labour for
few months. In critical months the Charjaniha is much helpful as the entire community
contribute and participate in it.
Thirdly, Rupantar helps in strengthening the traditional culture of food security
system known as Charjaniha (char-four, jan-person, Charjaniha - village collective).
This is an important traditional customary institution in tribal society. The Charjaniha
plays a central role in the collection central processes of village life. It provides
a fit platform for decentralised food security system under community control. This
acts as a grain bank of the community. Procurement is through voluntary contributions
and preferential collection from affluent families and through donating to public
fund. Community collection through rituals or through group of women dancing in
the village to build up the collection. The Charjaniha resources can be held in
paddy, in minor millets and even NTFP product like Mahula. These resources are used
for community functions as well as for distribution to the needy households in lean
months from June to September and in drought years. The normal building of Charjaniha
has been individual contribution by households into collection. The measures will
return the grain as per the period fixed by the group with additional money or grain
as per the rate fixed by the community. Over the years, quantity of grain has been
increased with ‘Charjaniha’ with taking up collective farming activity and output
added to ‘Charjaniha’. Even labour households contribute certain part of the monetary
income through government employment programmes to Charjaniha. The period to return
grain is usually 6 months to one year normally. The interest rate varied from 2
to 15 per cent in study villages. The repayment is on time in study villages. All
households are members in Charjaniha system of grain bank. It helps the village
people during crucial hunger months. They do not go to moneylenders during this
period. These institutions are also weakened in some of the villages. Rupantar intervened
in construction of community storage system and by contributing 20-30 qtls of grain,
by helping them maintain proper records and capacity building. Besides, a seed bank
has been set up for ensuring availability of seeds to the farmers in each village
in the study area. Farmers exchange seeds from the seed bank. This is very much
helpful to the villagers for increasing their productivity. In study villages, both
grain bank and seed bank are working very efficiently. This way community managed
food security system through procurement and distribution and has been strengthened
by involving the community in decision making in all functional aspects of grain
bank and seed bank in their villages.
Women play a major role in all aspects of cultivation in the study area. They work
in ploughing the fields, sowing, weeding, harvesting and to take care of sown fields.
Post harvest operations are entirely controlled by women. Therefore, women should
be further empowered to play central role in community based food security system
PDS system is not effective in the area because of their distant location of fair
price shops which is about 10-15 kms away. Secondly BPL families lack the purchasing
power to pay for grains and other items even at the subsidised rates. Some strategy
has to be thought of to improve access to PDS ration items. Rupantar has helped
to establish alternative PDS shops in study villages to meet their essential items
from the shops.
Rupantar’s intervention has increased the production levels in the villages. By
strengthening traditional system by contribution of foodgrains 20-30 qts in each
grain bank the food security of the people in critical times have improved. Community
storage system established by financial help and there is increase of awareness
about health and education as far as development issues are concerned in their villages.
Prepare, a NGO has approached the problem of food security at micro level with multi-dimensional
way of solving problems and coming out with solutions. Since forest is the major
source of livelihood to tribals, they go to forest almost everyday to collect firewood
or tendu leaf or some fruits or tamarind or mangoes or to do cultivation depending
on seasonality. Forest along with only forest produce living is difficult and are
vulnerable to the food insecurity. Therefore, Prepare has studied the tribal people
in-depth and have come out with solutions like 1) Grain Bank wherever required,
2) Giving small loans on easy terms to cultivate some assigned cultivable lands
in the midst of the forest or to purchase livestock such as goats, pigs, etc., which
is part and parcel of their life. The loans are extended to the tune of Rs.500 to
Rs.2000 for various purposes such as for land development, livestock, even to provide
or to purchase lands to the extent of half to 2 acres.
To effectively attend their food security problems, people have organised themselves
into Self-Help Groups and extended all the facilities with effective supervision
and monitoring. Such close monitoring is not possible with the government machinery.
Particularly in the rainy season, they suffer with food shortage and also forest
produce. The grain banks help in the month of June to September. As a long term
approach, all rainfed cultivation is extended that too without using any chemical
fertiliser. The awareness camps and short duration training were conducted to know
and maintain health and sanitary conditions in the study villages, Chitkapanga,
Sankhilapadar and Minajhola.
The land development and irrigation works were taken up and it encouraged the tribals
to develop their own land. Consumption loans were also extended to them so that
they need not go to the moneylenders. Their forest produce has been graded and a
person from their own community arranges to procure and sell them competitively.
The grain banks are working as an alternative PDS and are helpful to needy. Though
TPDS has extended the facility, the location and maintenance of Fair Price Shops
could not help much. However, they also try to avail the facility. It would have
been more helpful if the FPS is available nearby their settlements and all are extended
with BPL cards. Seed banks are also unctioning very well and are useful to the tribal
communities to exchange seeds.
With the intervention of Prepare the yields of the crops increased and could support
them atleast for 4-5 months. The wage labour could give them 3-4 months food and
forest produce could support them for 2-3 months. But all the sources could support
only upto 8-9 months. Therefore, the grain banks introduced by Prepare and the schemes
introduced to enhance the production, wage employment for land development, livestock
schemes and other schemes help to combat the struggle for in living and help in
DDS, Andhra Pradesh
The community food security programme implemented by DDS, also known as Alternative
Public Distribution System (APDS) through community grain fund is one of the core
programmes around which a range of activities are organised at the community level.
This is an innovative programme where foodgrain production, procurement, storage
and distribution are done at the local community (village) level and are entirely
managed by the women sangham members. The project, conceptually, is construed as
an alternative development strategy with special reference to public distribution
of low-cost grains by reducing the dependency on the State.
DDS in Medak started the Alternative Public Distribution Programme in the year 1995
in 32 villages. The second phase of the programme was started in 2000 in 11 villages
and the third phase in the year 2001 in 8 villages. This programme is successful
in converting fallow lands into cultivable lands and which helps in improving the
soil fertility through application of farm yard manure and deep ploughing by tractor
/ bullocks which increase the yields of crops in the fallow lands of the poor households
.This process of development of fallow lands has created an additional employment
in the farms of poor households. The awareness of bio-diversity and its importance
has increased. The people in these areas are growing diverse crops in the same field
and they started maintaining community seed bank also. The decentralised distribution
network through community grain bank is able to meet the hunger needs of the people
during the lean season. The increase in the production and income has enabled the
people to lift the items supplied to them through fair price shops of public distribution
system. The production of variety of crops in the fields has not only provided nutritional
security but also acts as crop insurance.
Though there is some lacunae in the distribution programme because of the poor repayment
of grains due to crop losses some times, the programme is successful in production
aspects and also in creating awareness among people about bio-diversity and also
the importance of its conservation. The programme was successful in empowering poor
marginal farmers especially women.
For the success of these experiments, several factors are responsible. These include:
understanding and analysing the food insecurity situation of the marginal groups
in the specific context, examining their vulnerability factors, organising, mobilising
the people and involving the community in the process of decision making, utilising
the local resources, unifying their collective strength and contribution, enhancing
their collective bargaining power and finally buildinga community based institution
i.e. grain bank to meet lean season scarcity situation which can go a long way in
ensuring food security for the poor.
The availability of food grain through grain bank provided by the agency as well
as by contribution of members during lean season period ensured food security. The
stock of grain accumulated as a result of repayment after returning the loan amount
transforms into a community assets owned by the village. The surplus grain stock
sold to other villagers builds into village cash fund. The cash fund is utilised
to meet the credit needs of the members which meets food requirements of members
in case of crop failures. The grain bank protects people against rise in prices
of foodgrains in the open market during lean season period. It alleviates lean season
scarcity by eliminating the exploitation of moneylender. Food security achieved
through grain bank resulted in achievement of economic empowerment through increasing
asset base, negotiating and to increase bargaining power. In some cases community
grain fund has brought back sub-marginal land into cultivation. It has helped in
reducing migration by encouraging labour intensive land development activities thereby
increasing the production and consumption of coarse cereals as per the food habits
of the people which also improves their nutrition status. This approach has further
helped in meeting needs in terms of food, fuel, fodder, fencing and fertility of
A multi-prong approach through land development, minor irrigation, horticulture
and livestock rearing increased the food security of the people in remote areas.
Further, consumption of loan extended through SHG prevented people from going to
moneylender during the critical hunger period. Besides, procurement of forest produce
by the community and marketing has peoples’ economic condition. Grain bank operation
acted as alternative PDS system providing food to the needy. Besides seed bank and
seed exchange system helped the farmers to increase their productivity ensuring
food security. The traditional grain bank acted as a safetynet for the people during
the critical hunger months. The seed exchange system through grain bank reduced
their dependence on the market as well as on moneylender. This approach helped people
to identify, preserve a range of uncultivated bio-diverse food available locally
as well as to preserve a wide variety of local indigenous paddy seeds in the area
for food security.
Self-sufficiency in meeting the basic food needs has given a sense of dignity and
overcoming the situation of helplessness during the lean season. The involvement
of people in social and resource management processes has helped people in gaining
confidence / self-reliance and meeting challenges unitedly. Functioning through
SHGs has strengthened social mobilisation which is a key to empowering the community.
The programme has encouraged massive participation of women in management of food
production, distribution and record keeping and making them economically and socially
The entire community participated in decision-making and functioning of grain bank
which ensured transparency and accountability showing the spirit of oneness and
self-reliance and resolving conflicts amicably. Reviving traditional grain banks
has helped them to ensure food security in critical period.
The intervention of micro level food security efforts along with grain banks alleviates
lean season scarcity of food grain by eliminating the role of moneylenders. The
intervention of grain banks protects their purchasing power to repay their loans
and proves effective in countering food prices in the market. The pull away from
the moneylenders and the push to repay the grain loan motivates them to invest labour
in their own fields. This shift from role of labourer to cultivator is significant.
Having overcome their preoccupation withsurvival needs they look towards meeting
larger goals of development in their village, block and district. Therefore, this
kind of intervention is necessary suiting to the local variations in dry lands,
tribal and remote areas of the country.
7. Nation-wide Study on Social Mobilisation, Employment and Empowerment of Women
Self Help Groups (SHGs) of women in India have been recognised as an effective strategy
for the empowerment of women in rural as well as urban areas bringing women together
from all spheres of life to fight for their rights. The access to credit can be
seen as the motivational factor behind the formation of SHGs and the bond that sustains
the groups over time. However, SHGs have a potential that goes beyond the mere economics
of loan management. After a group is formed, the credit link is established. The
SHGs provide a forum where people can meet on a regular basis to discuss various
issues or concerns to the members.
It has been realised that group approach is relatively more effective and sustainable
to initiate and implement developmental efforts. However, the poor may not be able
to form the groups by themselves to command sufficient strength. Therefore different
kinds of promotional agencies function as catalyst and facilitators for these groups.
These include not only government and NGOs, but several professional and developmental
agencies as well.
This national level research study on ‘Social Mobilisation, Employment and Empowerment
through SHGs’ was taken up by NIRD at the instance of the Ministry of Rural development,
Government of India in 15 selected States in coordination with two State Institutes
of Rural Development (SIRDs). The fifteen States selected for an indepth study are
- Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Bihar in North, Maharashtra and Rajasthan
in West, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu in South, Orissa and West
Bengal in the East and Assam, Mizoram and Tripura in North-east. These selected
States reflect the status of self-help groups of the respective regions and the
overall scenario in the country.
The following are the specific objectives of the study :
The following are the specific objectives of the study :
To assess the credit mobilisation by the SHGs and promotion of enterprises;
To analyse the viability of the enterprises in terms of employment generation and
To understand the effectiveness of the Self-Help promoting Institutions (SHPIs)
in convergence of basic services for social development;
To assess the level of empowerment attained among SHG members promoted by government
agencies, NGOs and banks.
The purposive sampling methodology was followed to select the three tiers in the
State viz., district, block and village. In each State, 2 districts were selected.
Within each selected district, two blocks were selected on the basis of performance
- one good and the other relatively poor performing block. Thus in each State, 4
blocks (2 better and 2 poor) were selected. Within each block, 12 SHGs were selected
for group interviews. Of the 12 selected SHGs in each block, 6 were promoted by
government, 3 each by NGOs and Banks, respectively. Care was also taken to cover
all caste groups such as SC, ST, OBC and OC. However, due to predominance or absence
of certain caste groups in some States there have been minor modifications. From
each SHG, four group members were selected for an indepth analysis of the study.
The final sample included 29 districts, 81 blocks, mandals, 695 SHGs and 2674 SHG
Apart from the SHG members, officials from the DRDAs, NGOs, Women and Child Development
Department, Women Development Corporation, Swashakti/ Swayamsidha, Sreeshakti, and
bank officials - Lead Bank Manager, Commercial Bank Manager, NABARD - were also
Socio-economic Profile of SHG Members
Majority (72 per cent) of SHG members represent to poor socio-economic status from
marginalised communities – ST, OBC and ST.
Members belonging to the SC community is high in States like Kerala (32 per cent),
Tamil Nadu (41 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (48 per cent), and West Bengal (33 per cent).
OBCs form a significant number in States like Andhra Pradesh (44 per cent), Bihar
(44 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (34 per cent) and Tamil Nadu (45 per cent). Significantly
high presence of members from OCs are present in Assam (60 per cent), Uttaranchal
(50 per cent) and West Bengal (54 per cent).
About 32 per cent of members are illiterate, 31 per cent have attended primary school
and 18 per cent have attended secondary school and only 13 per cent reached high
About 51 per cent of respondents are either cultivators or agriculture labour or
casual labour and 19 per cent are self employed - either involved in petty business
Monthly income ranges between Rs.500 - 1000 (22 per cent), Rs.1001 - 1500 (28 per
cent), Rs.1501 - 2000 (21 per cent), and 16 per cent have income ranging from Rs.
Majority of the groups are heterogeneous in nature irrespective of the promoting
Under SGSY, the mandate of covering 70 per cent BPL families is not strictly been
followed across the States. In States like Assam (59 per cent), Karnataka (46 per
cent) Rajasthan (40 per cent) and Uttaranchal (42 per cent) they are significantly
from APL households.
Non-SGSY groups promoted by NGOs and DWDC covered more APL members in States like
Assam (55 per cent), Kerala(53 per cent), Maharashtra(62 per cent), Uttaranchal
(60 per cent) and West Bengal (44 per cent).
An attempt has been made to analyse the cohesiveness among the SHG members by taking
into account the contributing factors such as motivation, leadership, communication,
cooperation and role performance.
The groups are highly cohesive in the States like Andhra Pradesh (84 per cent),
Karnataka (83 per cent), Kerala (91 per cent), Maharashtra (85 per cent), Orissa
(85 per cent), Tamil Nadu (76 per cent) and Uttaranchal (86 per cent) when compared
to other States. This is largely because of the mobilisation and strengthening of
group processes through the involvement of community based individual facilitators/animators
with specific tasks and responsibilities. NGOs and Banks do this in most cases.
Cohesiveness is high among OBCs (81.35 per cent) followed by SC (81.19 per cent).
This clearly indicates that the enabling environment and opportunities provided
by the SHG movement has facilitated the process of acquiring these positive abilities
among the marginalised communities.
Even in States like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, which are traditional societies
and where the participation of women is largely restricted, this process has enabled
to overcome many of these traditional barriers.
The greater the cohesiveness, the higher is the scope for collective decision making.
To some extent homogeneity and heterogeneity of the groups reflected in the collective
decision making process. Besides, several socio-economic and political factors also
influence the collective decision making process.
Higher level of cohesiveness facilitated organisational building through networking
like federations, which helped the members to access higher amount of loans.
Mobilisation and Formation of SHGs
Three approaches have been adopted for mobilisation and formation of SHGs by different
The three approaches - SHG movement, mission and programme approach (SGSY) demonstrate
a process that is continuous and ongoing in which it is difficult to segregate and
the overlaps cannot be avoided due to the dynamic nature of the process.
In Southern States, the mission approach is built on the SHG movement and efforts
are consolidated to strengthen the existing groups by creating a cadre of resource
persons mostly at block and village levels. The various resources and services from
programme like SGSY have been converged to the stable groups resulting in perceptible
Government agencies such as DRDA, DWCD have involved their field functionaries like
gram sevikas, mukhya sevikas, AWWs, and staff of anchor, NGOs for formation of groups
but they have not taken much care in the capacity building for improving their skills
of social mobilisation and group management. Most of these functionaries are assigned
multiple tasks; therefore it is difficult to spare time and effort for social mobilisation.
Banks in some States like Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Karnataka, Orissa, Tamil Nadu,
Uttaranchal and West Bengal have appointed individual facilitators / animators and
trained them in formation and management of SHGs. The field functionaries also regularly
provide guidance in conducting monthly meetings; facilitating the discussions and
writing the minutes of the meetings, etc.
NGOs have involved their cadres of field coordinators, animators and facilitators
not only in social mobilisation and group formation for the Government programmes
like SGSY, Sreeshakti and Swashakti etc., either as anchor or as resource and training
Selecting and training community based facilitators/animators and placing them at
different levels (village, block level) with clearly defined tasks would enable
the process of mobilisation and strengthening of the SHGs. This can be taken up
in a big way in all the States.
Although the training input has gone up with the introduction of SGSY. Out of the
total sample of 2674, only 1675 members have attended training programme.
The nature of training programmes are mostly on general awareness, basic orientation
on SGSY and skill development in food processing, floriculture, readymade garments,
leaf plate making and Zari making etc.
There are several agencies involved in imparting training and the NGOs seem to be
playing a key role in providing training.
Social Development and Social Capital
About 85 per cent of the members have awareness about various programmes/ activities
of health, education, water and sanitation and legal rights.
The improvement is not at the desired level as far as regular medical checkups,
supplementary nutrition to children and family planning are concerned.
Majority of the members said that they are sending their children (both boys and
girls) to school.
Majority of the respondents have learned to sign. As far as reading and numerical
skills are concerned around 57 per cent and 53 per cent learnt them respectively.
Significant number of members acquired the skills in maintaining accounts and record
keeping of group meetings etc.
Overall, only 29 per cent of members said that they have constructed individual
Mobilisation and coming together of women in SHGs has brought about certain amount
of awareness on legal rights but in practice they are not able to take advantage
SHGs are emerging as a valuable social capital and they should be given the right
direction and facilitation by the SHPIs. The collective spirit of the groups is
very much evident in most cases.
Individual members are also gaining more confidence and some of them have got potential
to be leaders which needs to be nurtured.
The role and participation of women in the public sphere has to be further strengthened.
Economic Development and Micro Credit
The amount of loan availed by members during 2000-2004 has increased substantially
when compared to earlier years. Significantly, more number of women from marginalised
communities, OBCs, SCs and STs are able to access credit from SGSY.
Most SHGs are failing to make the grade. The uniform time-frame of six months for
grading is unrealistic and not practical in most cases.
About 34 per cent of the members have not availed a single loan due to various reasons
such as inadequate loan amount, weak inter-lending practices, expecting bigger loans
from banks, few people availed bigger loans for construction of house, marriage
Most of them take loans for consumption purposes such as food, health, clothes,
consumables etc. and most of the expenses are consumed for health.
As groups attain maturity (3 to 5 years), there is a perceptible shift in utilising
the loan amounts from consumption to production needs including income generation,
accumulation of assets, purchase of agricultural inputs, milch animals and for irrigation
Average loan amount received by each member from various sources is Rs.14, 655.
This is a meagre amount for taking up any viable enterprise to generate regular
employment, to create adequate income to move out of a status of poverty in a period
of 3-5 years.
Animal husbandry is seen as a significant income generating activity followed by
craft-based activities, petty business and agriculture related activities in many
Although credit have been lent through bank for initiating micro enterprises, savings
are a major and significant source for economic activity along with self contribution
by members, revolving fund and through subsidy.
The type of enterprises taken up by the members reflects two important aspects i.e.,
most of the members have taken to traditional activities /supporting the existing
Some members have taken enterprises such as petty business (services and trading)
and non farm activities like readymade garments, dry flowers and sanitary napkins.
The most visible impact has been the reduced dependence on moneylenders as a result
of easy access to credit and income available from the enterprise. Majority of them
admitted that their dependency on the moneylenders has reduced to a large extent.
Awareness and Information Empowerment
Participation and mobility is high in sample districts of Andhra Pradesh, Assam,
Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.
In sample districts of Bihar and Rajasthan the presence of well-established grassroots
NGOs has helped to facilitate the group processes resulting in the groups becoming
more cohesive and an enabling environment for women’s participation has been created.
In the case of Rajasthan, high incidence of migration among men has made women’s
participation in SHGs a necessity to access credit for meeting their consumption
In sample districts of Mizoram, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal, half of
the groups are only 2 years old and this could be one of the factors for relatively
low levels of participation. In sample districts of Tripura and Mizoram in North-Eastern
States, being members of SHGs is still not perceived either by the women and their
families as an opportunity to enhance their economic and social status.
In sample districts of Uttar Pradesh while participation is high, the level of mobility
is much lower impacting on the overall levels. Also in Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal
most members belong to OCs where the mobility is restricted.
In the region wise participation of sample districts, the Southern region scores
relatively high followed by East.
Level of Empowerment
Empowerment is measured by the degree of economic independence, decision making
at household level, decision making within the group and self perception. These
individual factors influence the overall level of empowerment.
Overall, group members in sample districts of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Kerala, Mizoram,
Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are relatively more empowered compared to other States.
In all these States, their role in decision-making at household level is much lower
when compared to decision making in the collective groups. This is quite understandable
as the women are in a better position to take decisions collectively than at the
household level. When the individual woman is confronted with other family members
she may not always have the decision making power.
Caste does not seem to be a determining factor in the empowerment process. Rather
the individual potential, aptitude and providing enabling environment contribute
positively to the process. In this context, the SHPIs have a vital role to play.
The level of empowerment is relatively better among non-SGSY members, when compared
to SGSY members. This is due to effective participation and mobility among group
There is a need to create and develop a cadre of resource persons with innovativeness
and creativity to take the process of social mobilisation with adequate time-frame
and budget allocation for quality and stability of SHGs. This can be taken up in
a big way in all the States.
It is difficult to supervise the functioning of SHGs by DRDA through their existing
functionaries. There is a need to set up a specialised resource centre at block
level with varied expertise drawn from different sectoral departments and focusing
on one programme as seen in the case of mission approach (UNDP, IFAD, Velugu, Kudumbashree,
Mahalir Thittam etc). This is one desirable option, which could be attempted in
other States too (North and North-eastern States).
The present training programmes are mostly focused on awareness building, orientation
and to some extent skill development. There is a need to redesign the training modules
to impart social skills, to include communication, leadership, decision-making,
conflict resolution, gender and social issues etc. These skills are very essential
for bringing about positive social change which can contribute to the SHGs emerging
as a resourceful social capital.
First grading of SHGs is being done regularly while second grading is delayed as
it is linked to loan. The scope of second grading can be increased by using it to
identify the potential entrepreneurs and also those who need livelihood support
based on some indicators:
The potential entrepreneurs so identified should be considered for differential
loaning, while the other members should continue to get normal loans for livelihood
support. Thus the entire loaning programme has to be flexible keeping in mind the
different credit needs of the members.
The revolving fund and subsidy concept as of now is only confined to government
schemes and programmes (SGSY). Groups, which come under such particular programmes,
can only access these grants. However, there are many other stable and well performing
SHGs who have been denied of this facility. It would therefore be worthwhile to
consider creating a common fund (RF + Subsidy) either at the National/ State/ District
level and make this amount available to all SHGs based on their performance irrespective
of whether they are SGSY/ non- SGSY groups.
By and large the SHGs remain as a source for economic gain alone. For groups doing
relatively better on economic front, it is time to have a well defined social agenda
and direction to address social issues such as domestic violence, child labour,
child marriage, alcoholism etc., they will only remain isolated instances.
8. Risk, Vulnerability and Coping Mechanisms in Rainfed Agriculture –
A Study in Three States
Radhika Rani, S.C. Srivastava and V. Suresh Babu
Rainfed agriculture accounts for 40 per cent of the total geographical area and
60 per cent of the area under agriculture. It accounts for 67 m ha. of an estimated
143 m. ha. of net cultivated area. It produces 44 per cent of the country’s food
requirement while supporting 40 per cent of human and 60 per cent of livestock population.
The annual normal rainfall in these areas range from less than 350 to 800 mm which
limits the period available for crop growth to about 60 to 180 days, a year. High
rainfall uncertainty, pests and diseases attack manifests itself in yield variability
which significantly conditions uncertainty in crop revenue. Besides due to increased
pressure on land and ground water resources, risk and vulnerability also increases.
The two strategies that were discussed are crop diversification and intercropping.
Whether the diversified small farms are earning sufficient income to have an impact
on their livelihood or not, is another issue, which is being debated.
Keeping above points in view the following questions are pertinent.
(i) Which type of risk is more in rainfed agriculture? Physical i.e., Crop production
risk or financial risk?
(ii) Which sections of farmers are more vulnerable to risks in rainfed agriculture?
(iii) Which sections of the farmers are following the coping mechanisms and what
are the coping mechanisms followed by them during adverse conditions?
(iv) What is the institutional support mechanism for coping up in adverse conditions
and it is in favour of whom?
An understanding of these factors are necessary to sensitise the policy makers to
incorporate risk and vulnerability reducing measures into their planning
1. To examine the risk and vulnerability in rainfed agriculture;
2. To examine the coping mechanisms adopted by the farmers in rainfed agriculture
to sustain or improve their farm income; and
3. To identify important policy variables facilitating coping mechanism.
Study Area and Sampling
The States of Karnataka, Rajasthan and Orissa were selected for the study on the
basis of extent of area under rainfed agriculture. Two districts from each State
of Rajasthan and Orissa and one from Karnataka were selected based on the same indicator.
A sample of three villages were selected from States of Rajasthan and Orissa - two
villages from one district and one village from another district. Whereas, in Karnataka
State, all the three villages were selected from one district. Out of three villages,
one village was selected as an underdeveloped village and two villages were selected
as developed villages based on the irrigation and cropping pattern. Thus, three
villages were selected from each State to form a total sample of nine villages from
the three selected States.
In each village, a sample of 30 farmers across all the categories i.e., 10 small
farmers, 10 medium farmers and 10 large farmers were selected. Thus, a total sample
consisted of 30 households from each village and 90 households from all the three
villages in a State. Therefore, the total sample size for the study from all the
three States is 270. The data were collected during the period 2004 for a period
of two years pertaining to normal and drought year. Whereas, for the State of Rajasthan
the data were collected during the year 2005. The limitation of the study is that
consecutive drought were faced by people last five years. The comparitive picture
of normal and drought year could not be captured in this State. However, the vulnerability
of the farming and the coping mechanisms adopted in these areas were studied. Crop
diversification index was used to assess the extent of diversification taken up
by all the three category of farmers.
Not much variation was found in the literacy rate between medium and large farmers.
The literacy rate of small farmers was found to be lesser than the other two.
The average household income of all the categories of farmers of underdeveloped
village is less than the developed village. In the developed villages, the income
of small and medium farmers is almost on par with the large farmers. In the underdeveloped
villages, apart from agriculture, the other sources of income are from wage employment
and agricultural labour. For small farmers, income is from poultry and for medium
and large farmers their income is derived from sale of milk. Whereas, in the developed
villages, agriculture is the main source of livelihood for all the categories and
livestock sector plays the second major source.
In the developed villages of Karnataka and Orissa, irrigated land is more among
medium and small farmers and in Rajasthan land is more among small farmers.
The phenomena of land leasing was not observed in Rajasthan State, whereas, in the
other two States, the land leasing was observed more in developed villages. In the
developed villages of Orissa, the irrigated land was leased in and in Karnataka
dry land was leased. The land was leased mostly by the medium farmers. Large farmers
in both States have leased out the land. Thus, land leasing is an important instrument
which has proved to augment the production base and enhance income level for the
small and medium farmers.
Livestock in terms of draft, milch and small ruminant based is more in developed
villages. Though the livestock is more among large and medium compared to small
farmers, not much variation was found between the two categories of large and medium.
Among the developed villages, the villages having more irrigational facilities,
have more animals and the village having less irrigation facilities have more milch
animals. This shows that milch animals provide income security to the farmers in
areas with less irrigation facility.
The large farmers have less livestock and more implements than medium farmers. This
indicates that the large farmers are moving towards mechanisation. In the developed
villages where the area under own irrigated land holding is more, oil engines are
also more in case of both large and small farmers. This establishes the fact that
the investment in irrigation is directly proportional to the ownership of land and
In the developed villages, land utilisation seems to be in favour of small and medium
farmers due to large area under irrigation and cropping intensity. This is relatively
due to better cropping pattern and agronomic practices taken up by these farmers
in these States.
All the three categories select the crops varieties based on high yielding and partly
based on short duration and high yielding. A total ignorance about the drought resistance
varieties was found among the farmers. Extension and technological support by the
government is more towards large farmers followed by medium farmers. For eg. in
case of small farmers in a developed village, TBS (Rajasthan) is the major consultant
for the farmers to adopt any new technology or to attend the crop related queries.
In case of medium and large farmers agricultural department is considered to be
the reliable source to solve their problems and provide timely and latest information.
Crop diversification is the major coping mechanism observed in all the three States
for droughts. The diversification index shows that small farmers cropping pattern
is more diversified followed by medium and large farmers in the developed villages
of all the States both during normal as well as drought years. This shows that large
farmers are more vulnerable and their production risk is more compared to medium
and small farmers.
The determinants of crop diversification are different in different States. The
determinant based on food security (For eg. Jowar and Bajra in Karnataka) or lack
of irrigation (For eg. Cotton in Orissa) appeared to be more sustainable during
all the periods, whereas, the determinants based on technology induced (For eg.
Jute in Orissa) or market induced (For eg. onion and vanilla in Karnataka) have
led to failure.
Lack of irrigation is the most important determinant of adoption of new crops followed
by demand pattern, market access and access to the technology. Majority of small
and medium farmers shifted to the new crops mainly due to inaccessibility of irrigation.
They have shifted to horticulture crops like tamarind, drumstick and sapota (with
pot method of irrigation). Therefore, the degree of risk aversion is directly related
to the category of farmers in the developed villages.
Large farmers tried only cotton during the drought years and switched back to paddy
during the normal years mainly because of assured sales through public procurement.
Thus, despite economic feasibility of a crop, assured market seems to be the main
determinant of sowing the crop during normal season.
Government intervention is mainly through the introduction of new crops. This is
to discourage some crops in some areas like castor in place of groundnut in Karnataka.
In some areas it was successful - like tomato and bengalgram in Orissa and it was
a failure in areas like jute in Orissa and introduction of onion in Karnataka. Jute
was introduced without taking into consideration of market and onion was introduced
without looking into suitability of soils. In the underdeveloped village of Rajasthan,
CAZRI has taken up institutional village linkage programme to avoid soil loss and
to provide fodder to the small ruminants through agro-forestry system which was
a failure. This is mainly because institutions are adopting the villages to test
their programmes at the field levels but not because the people needed the technology.
Therefore, to introduce a new technology, the socio economic and marketing conditions
for the technology must be considered.
Non-market factors like pests and diseases, low productivity are found to be detrimental
than lack of market for discontinuation of a new crop.
Though the share of marketed surplus has increased for small and medium farmers
for some crops at the time of drought the total income was less for them due to
relatively lesser price for their produce. This is partly due to the quality of
their produce and partly due to their credit commitment to the traders. This shows
that though the production risk of small and medium farmers is less during droughts,
their financial risk is more when compared to the large farmers.
The small and medium farmers in the developed villages are taking up land leasing
activities to augment their production base. In such cases some institutional arrangements
should be made for them in the form of credit to take up land leasing.
It was observed that the major difference between underdeveloped and developed villages
is not the irrigation but the cropping pattern itself. Small and medium farmers
have diversified their crops when compared to large farmers. Since their financial
risk is more, the diversification appears more due to default than market support.
Therefore, crop diversification, which is need based, technology induced and price
supportive, must be encouraged.
Institutional credit required for land leasing and household purposes.
Fodder based production system should be introduced for livestock.
Encourage the role of NGOs in extension system.
Price support and procurement mechanism needed for crops grown in dry land areas.
Introduce need based technology ; and
Create awareness about insurance.
9. Market Access of Small and Marginal Farmers on Productivity and Cropping Pattern
N. Mohanan, S.S.P. Sharma, D.V.L.N.V. Prasad Rao and G. Valentina
Market accessibility is a multi-dimensional phenomenon. It is a function of awareness
of farmers, base income status, price of produce, system of sale, number of traders
and availability of physical infrastructure (roads, transport, knowledge, communication).
Access to markets is constrained by physical, structural and organisational inadequacies,
especially for small and marginal farmers. Marketing infrastructure is most important
ingredient not only for the performance of various marketing functions and for expansion
of the size of the market, but also for transfer of appropriate price signals leading
to improved marketing efficiency. Physical and institutional infrastructures serve
as proxies for farmer’s access to markets, which in turn determine the aggregate
production as well as productivity of crops. The term infrastructure connotes a
number of sub-systems in the value chain to trigger agriculture productivity, profitability
and rural prosperity. Infrastructure has two facets – forward as well as backward
integration of market forces with price and non-price variables. The confluence
and compatibility are two sides of the same coin in marketing parlance. The present
study was taken up with a view to understand the status of market access as a proxy
variable to enhance production and productivity of some field crops in four States.
The specific objectives of this study are :
To examine the status of marketing infrastructure and its utilisation efficiency
by small and marginal farmers for both domestic and export markets ;
To analyse the relationship between market development and agricultural growth in
specific commodities and its impact on changes in the crop production system if
To identify infrastructure and institutional bottlenecks faced by small and marginal
farmers in transforming traditional agriculture into a high value agriculture ;
To suggest appropriate policy measures and intervention strategies to boost productivity
through better input delivery, quality control, marketing and processing facilities
for sustainable development of farm production system.
On the basis of economic and social infrastructure status, major States in India
were classified into four sets, viz., developed, moderately developed, less developed
and least developed. From each of the above sets, one State from Southern (Kerala),
Western (Gujarat), Northern (Himachal Pradesh), Eastern (Bihar) regions of the country
were identified. From each of these States, one district was selected for the study.
From the selected district, detailed information relating to the growth and spread
of marketing infrastructure were gathered. These included market creating institutions
like market yards, market regulating institutions like marketing boards and market
stabilising institutions like FCI and Markfeds. Two principal crops in selected
districts and blocks were identified for study having high concentration of area
under these crops. The term ‘market infrastructure’ in the present study had the
i) Institutional infrastructure that induces productivity in terms of appropriate
primary, secondary and tertiary organisations for delivery of inputs such as seeds,
fertilisers and pesticides, farm extension services.
ii) Post-harvest infrastructure support system in terms of market information, channels,
communication network, transport, cold storage and processing, etc.
Apart from infrastructure data, the clientele-based information from farmers were
gathered through survey method. The sample respondents include small and marginal
farmers, and also other farmers from food and cash crop zones. From these blocks,
four villages were identified and primary data were collected through survey method
from the sample farm households. The report deals with specific case studies on
market access of selected crops from four States in the country. The main findings
on specific Studies of States are as follows :
The agricultural economy of Kerala has shown a declining growth pattern due to a
fall in land-man ratio and production of food crops. In Kerala, marginal land holdings
dominate both in terms of their number as well as area. Food crops occupy only a
small proportion of the cropped area in the State.
There is a continuous threat in retaining even this meagre share of area affecting
food security of the people. The area under commercial crops in general and rubber
in particular has increased considerably during the last two decades.
The present study analyses the production, productivity and marketing system of
paddy (food crop) and banana (cash crop) in Thrissur district of Kerala.
Rice is the staple food of the people of the State. However, productivity of rice
has maintained a stable trend over the years. Banana is a food-cum-cash crop grown
extensively in Kerala. Area, production and yield of banana have been stagnant in
the State over the years.
Agriculture is the main economic activity of the people in Thrissur district. Paddy
is cultivated in ‘Kole lands’ of the district. It contributes a major share in the
rice production of the State.
The socio-economic background of sample farmers indicates that most of them are
aged above 50 years and are Hindus. The backward caste population is dominant in
the study area. Almost all the sample farmers are educated.
The average size of farmer families turned out to be on the higher side with more
than five persons per household.
The farm size classes indicate that more than 49 per cent of the farmers own land
less than 1 hectare and a significant proportion of farmers have diversified occupational
pattern like business other than farming. The annual income per household indicates
that it was less than Rs.25000 in majority of the cases (67 per cent).
In terms of soil fertility, the land area under banana cultivation seems to be of
better quality than that of paddy. However, the paddy growers enjoy better source
of irrigation than the banana growers.
It was observed that the borrowings from institutional credit sources, viz., commercial
banks and cooperatives were more prominent in respect of banana farmers as compared
to 10 per cent and 3.3 per cent, respectively in the case of paddy farmers.
The utilisation of marketing infrastructure by the farmers indicates that the banana
farmers seldom utilised them, as all of them reported to have disposed off their
produce at the farm gate level. By and large, they utilised the service of private
traders for pre-harvest contract sale at a predetermined price.
Against this, majority of paddy farmers sell paddy to the merchants at their shop
floor. A good proportion of paddy farmers have utilised the marketing infrastructure
facilities made available to them by the traders or commission agents.
Economics of cultivation of paddy and banana crops indicate that the net return
from banana crop per acre is nearly 7 times higher compared to paddy. While the
net income from paddy is directly related to the farm size, no such relationship
exist in the case of banana farming.
The marginal farmers derived the highest gross income from banana. But they also
incurred relatively higher cost of production. This implies that diseconomies of
scale operate in the farming system especially in small farm agriculture.
The constraints in crop production varied with the nature of crops. The paddy growers
suffer from seasonal labour shortage, water logging, excess seed cost and high cost
of inputs, etc.
Problems of getting good seedling, storage of harvested crops due to perishable
nature of the produce, low market price, high cost of inputs, and difficulty in
accessing institutional credit market are some of the problems identified by banana
farmers in the study villages.
The farmers pursued broadly two channels in marketing of paddy, viz., (i) private
trade channel and (ii) cooperative marketing society. The first channel is more
popular with the paddy growers compared to the price offered by the cooperative,
which is quite low. Further, there are problems of delayed payment by the cooperative.
There is high marketing cost under channel 1 as compared to channel 2.
There are three types of private trade channels for marketing of banana. which are
(i) Farmer-trader-retailers-consumer ; (ii) Farmer-pre-harvest contractor-wholesaler-retailers-consumer
; and (iii) Farmer-trader-processors retailers-consumer.
In these channels, the producer’s share of the consumer price is around 57 per cent.
The marketing margins are quite high and marketing cost is also high. Under the
Kerala Horticulture Development Programme (KHDP), a well organised marketing system
for banana operates through the SHGs of farmers.
The channels operating in this framework are of three types:
i) Farmer – KHDP - KHDP retailing - consumer ; ii) Farmer - KHDP – retailers – consumer
; iii) Farmer – pre-harvest contractor – wholesaler – retailers – consumer. The
main channel is the first type. Under this channel, the producers’ share of the
consumer price goes up to 78.13 per cent. The marketing costs and margins are lower
at 12.50 per cent and 9.37 per cent, respectively. As a result, farmers in one of
the study villages reported to have sold 95 per cent of the banana produce through
Bihar is one of the slowest growing regions and the poorest State in the country.
The State government plays a very important role in both agricultural input and
output marketing in the State. The Bihar State Cooperative Marketing Union (BISCOMAUN),
handles a large part of the distribution of fertilisers, seeds and pesticides in
Bihar. The networking of retail shops is very weak in remote and hilly areas. The
major State agencies distributing seeds are BISCOMAUN, Bihar Beej Nigam and State
Seed Corporation. Apart from that, the National Seed Corporation and Terai Development
Corporation also have networks. These agencies distribute around 70 per cent of
the seeds in Bihar. Again, the network of these agencies is confined to the block
level. There are several reports of corrupt practices in the marketing of inputs
by private dealers, which lead to an untimely, inadequate and unsuitable supply
of agricultural inputs in the State. There is complete inertia on the part of the
State to respond to the farmers’ problems like price factor, infrastructure gaps,
supply of power and more importantly to bring about a semblance of social cohesion
in the rural community for sustainable development of the economy.
The output marketing systems in Bihar are weak which are also generally dominated
by private traders. As on 31 March 1995, Bihar had 443 wholesale markets and 828
other regulated markets. Apart from these, there were 7000 primary rural markets.
However, the regulated markets have not been able to produce the expected results
partly because the marketing committees do not exist and wherever they exist are
ineffective. The main findings of the study on Bihar are given below:
There does not seem to be any visible change in the cropping pattern in the study
district of Aurangabad in particular and Bihar State as a whole for the past several
In the sample blocks of Daudnager, 58 per cent families are living below the poverty
line, while 51 per cent are living in the Nabinager block. This indicates that poverty
is a major hindrance in market accessibility. Social disharmony is also another
barrier in market accessibility in Nabinager block. The absence of market infrastructure
and the presence of market intermediaries is considered a taboo in Daudnager block.
The productivity of agriculture was found to be declining in the study villages.
Crop diversification has remained neutral to the farm harvest prices in the sample
No major changes in the cropping pattern were reported for past one decade in the
The farmers made no effort for value addition for the farm produce for the past
The farm harvest prices received by farmers often leads them to dissatisfaction.
The market price for the produce are 10-15 per cent lower than the production cost
which has been a regular phenomenon.
Delay in payment for the produce sold, lack of market information, absence of State
intervention in the market and rampant malpractices in weights and measures discourage
farmers to take their produce to the market yard.
The surplus of marketed paddy constituted 37 per cent of its production in Mahuli
village, and the ratio was 28 per cent in Baruna village in Nabinager block. There
was no marketable surplus for potatoes in the villages of Nabinager; whereas it
was 28 per cent of production in Hichanbigha village and 27 per cent in Ancha village
in Daudnager block.
Trade monopoly by private agents should be discouraged to curb the tendency for
arbitrary increase in price of inputs. The government should also develop physical,
financial and institutional infrastructure to facilitate smooth operation of input
marketing system in the State.
Himachal Pradesh has distinction of having the largest number of farmers (80 per
cent) depending on agriculture. Paddy, maize, wheat, and vegetables like cabbage,
tomato, cauliflower, bitter guard, cucumber, radish, all leafy vegetables are produced
in the plain areas of Himachal Pradesh. High valleys in Himachal Pradesh produce,
apples, mango, litchi, dry fruits, etc.
The present study was undertaken in the Mandi District of Himachal Pradesh. Two
sample blocks, i.e. Sundernagar for food crops and Balh for cash crops were selected
for the study. From each of these blocks, two villages were chosen for an in-depth
study. They are Bhadyal and Dhabon villages in Balh Block, and Chhatar and Chambi
villages in Sundernagar block. From each of these villages, 10 farmers comprising
of marginal, small, and other categories were taken as samples. Thus, out of a total
of 120 farmers, 30 farmers were interviewed from each of the four study villages.
Data were collected for food crops and cash (Horticultural) crops. The farmers were
classified into small, marginal and big categories. Macro level analysis was done
based on year-wise data on market arrivals and production of crops in the Mandi
district. The main findings of the study are as follows:
There is a positive correlation between the market behaviour of individual households
(marketed surplus) and aggregate production of crops. This relationship holds good
significantly in the case of cash crops like apple, litchi, mango, but not in the
case of food crops like wheat, maize and the other minor cereals.
The mindset of farmers seems to be changing. By introducing the right crop mix and
supply of good variety of seeds at their doorstep, the cropping pattern could be
Organic farming methods should be encouraged in both the blocks. Production of horticultural
crops should be encouraged. Simultaneously food processing units should be set up
nearer to the crop producing areas.
Minimum support price for various Kharif and Rabi crops should be announced before
the cropping season to enable the farmers to bring more areas under food crops.
Though credit is one of the important constraints faced by the farmers in both the
blocks, the Kisan Credit Cards are not getting distributed properly to the marginal
and small farmers.
Due to the small size of holdings in the hilly regions, the power tillers are more
useful rather than the traditional farm implements. However, they are in short supply
in both the blocks.
Most of the foodgrains and vegetables produced in the blocks are sold either at
Dhanotu Mandi or sold in the local bazaars. Fruits and vegetables are either sent
to other States like Delhi, Chandigarh and Haryana or procured by government agencies
under market intervention schemes. These are being done due to lack of adequate
marketing facilities. There are no storage facilities for agricultural produce in
both the blocks. Hence, the farmers are forced to sell their produce through middlemen
at depressed prices. As far as fruits and vegetables are concerned, they are sold
through pre-harvest contractors and commission agents in both the blocks.
All the inhabited villages in the district are not connected with all-weather roads,
infrastructure facilities like power, water and communication and banking facilities
are not adequate in both the blocks.
Some important issues for improvement in production and productivity of crops as
well as market development in the Mandi District are given below:
The market for age-old traditional foods using indigenous technologies in processing
and preservation methods are also growing in various income egments in rural and
urban areas. For these reasons, some food processing units could be started in the
Mandi district so that they cater to the needs of population not only within the
Mandi district, but also in other important cities like Delhi and Kolkata.
The flow of institutional credit for agricultural sector needs to be increased by
at least 17 to 20 per cent over the previous year. All eligible farmers should be
brought under institutional finance by March 2005.
Commission agents should be prohibited in all agricultural commodity market yards.
Farmers’ associations or cooperatives should replace them.
The farmers should have the freedom to sell their agricultural produce at any place
other than the existing regulated markets yards.
A call centre facility should be established in all the block headquarters to enable
the farmers to obtain any information on agriculture required by them. This facility
should be made available at nominal cost at information kiosks.
Agri-export zones for the promotion of farm exports should be established in the
To realise the target for foodgrains production fixed by the government, the farm
input delivery system should be strengthened.
More stress should be made for the establishment of crop nurseries in private farms.
Diversification into horticulture crops like mango, litchi, citrus, pomegranate,
etc., are needed to boost income status of small farmers.
Greater involvement of Self Help Groups for using the eco-friendly resources and
local manpower can create sustainable employment and income generating activities
on a much larger scale.
Modernising the functioning Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs) would
bring greater benefits to the farmers and to generate value-added products for exports.
Transportation facilities should be developed to access the markets from all the
For agriculture to be sustainable and profitable, professional management of the
market yard is necessary. In Himachal Pradesh, especially in the hilly district
of Mandi where the road and communication facilities are improving, it is necessary
to have vertical integration of production, processing and marketing in the value
chain and each of these segments must participate for the well-being of farmers
in the State.
Agriculture marketing in Gujarat is distinct in its characteristics. Wheat, rice
and jowar constitute the most important food crops; while groundnut, cotton and
tobacco are the important cash crops in the State. The State has five commodity-marketing
federations and a general marketing federation. At regional and taluka levels, there
are large numbers of commodity marketing cooperatives, which are more active in
commercial crops than in food crops. In all, about 8–10 per cent of marketed surplus
of agri-produce is routed through cooperatives. The number of APMCs in the State
rose to 201 in 2002-03 from 172 in 1998-99, while the market yards from 396 to 400
during the same period.
The present study was carried out in the Rajkot district of Gujarat. Rajkot is one
of the leading districts producing groundnuts as a cash crop. Two blocks, viz.,
Rajkot and Padahari were selected, as Rajkot block leads in the production of groundnut
(a cash crop) and Padahari in food crops. From each of the selected blocks, two
villages were selected, one leading in food crops and other leading in cash crops.
The secondary data were gathered from the records of Director of Agriculture, marketing
board, market yards and the Registrar of Cooperatives.
The small and marginal farmers are facing many difficulties like absence of cold
storage, insufficient irrigation and uncertain power supply. These are essential
for market development as there is a link in the flow of produce to local markets
to national and global markets.
There exists a direct relationship between the development of primary market and
the agricultural growth in specific commodities, which is directly proportional
to the changes in the crop production system.
The major hurdles reported by respondents in agro-marketing in Vejagaum and Sardar
villages are lack of marketable surplus. Absence of market information and unremunerative
prices were the additional problems stated by the sample respondents in Khambada
and Khamta villages.
Majority of the farm households in the sample villages are satisfied regarding the
availability of the following infrastructure in the market yard like sale/display
platform, stalls for merchants, retailing sheds, weighing machines, godowns, price
listing, display boards, transport services, drinking water, bank and telephone
facilities. There is a demand for additional loading /unloading platforms, parking
space for vehicles, and storage place for the unsold commodity.
The rythu bazaars should be set up for small and marginal farmers, especially for
marketing of the perishable commodities and small farmers should be encouraged to
produce only specified crop varieties that could find ready market.
The APMC should provide training on grading of the produce by the farmers, for fetching
There is need for a professional agency to encourage the production of crops having
potential for value added products. Contract farming by corporates may fetch assured
returns to the small producers. By providing a package of production inputs like
supply of quality seeds, technology transfer, fertilisers and pesticides application,
etc., the corporate bodies could encourage production of specified crops on a sustainable
Future trading in agriculture commodities could be introduced to stabilise production
for market on a long-term perspective.
NGOs and cooperatives should take up the strategic task of agri-produce marketing
of small and marginal producers. In this way, the farm producers could be allowed
to concentrate on better farming techniques to derive maximum returns from crop
In peak seasons, the farmers are faced with falling prices of the farm produce.
Here, the government should enter in for stabilising prices by purchasing the commodities
at minimum support price so as to hold the price line not to fall below the production
Farmers should receive full cash payment on the spot for all types of commodity
transactions in the market yard. The produce brought by the farmers into the market
yard should be insured against natural calamities like pilferage, fire, rain, etc.
which may be beyond the control of farmers. The market committee should pay the
insurance premium out of the fee collected from the market.
The economic environment of the rural poor comprises of several interlocking markets
for agricultural produce and for agri-inputs; for production support (agricultural
extension) or financial services; for information; for assets, including land and
water; for labour; and for food and other consumer goods. Many of the poor are currently
passive participants, often obliged to sell at low prices (immediately after harvest)
and buy at high prices, with little choice of where to conduct market transactions,
with whom, and at what price. The ability of the rural poor today to access these
markets, and to actively participate in them, is one of the most pressing challenges.
Especially the rural poor, often say that market access is one of the reasons why
they are note able to improve their living standards. They are also constrained
by lack of information about markets, lack of business and negotiating skills and
collective bargaining to enable them to participate on equal terms with others who
are generally bigger and stronger in market intermediation. The cultural and social
distances, and quality discrimination, are other factors, which partly exclude the
poor from accessing markets.
Market access thus influences farmers’ crop production cycle and livelihood patterns.
Those who live close to better roads and with frequent and direct contact with established
markets are willing to produce more systematically for the market, while those with
poor market access are forced to produce for domestic consumption. In such a situation,
food consumption is limited to what can be produced on-farm or within the community,
in some cases resulting in poor balanced diets.
The problem of market access could be analysed from three dimensions: the physical
(the distance of the poor from markets); the political (their inability to influence
the terms upon which they participate in the market); and the structural (the lack
of suitable market intermediaries). All of them must be tackled to achieve the desired
level of production, productivity and income threshold. Both remoteness and poverty
tend to reduce the access to markets, increasing both the physical costs in reaching
them and the increase in cost of production due to institutional bottlenecks in
accessing inputs. Bridging these gaps can bring widespread benefits to the rural
Market access of small and marginal farmers could be facilitated through a process
of socio-economic empowerment and institutional development. There is need for intervention
with the following broad objectives.
To speed up the development of infrastructure for market access through greater
choices and information networking like e-choupals.
To remove or reduce barriers to market access, both by special support in places
where markets are slow to develop spontaneously and by easing market participation
of the poor.
To establish a more equitable set of market relations. Empowering smallholder farmers
and agricultural workers, providing them with the knowledge and skills that they
require both to enter the market and to improve the terms upon which they participate
in it. This could be done through formation of Self Help Groups of farmers.
Given the small size of farm holdings, and limited labour movement out of the agricultural
sector, land productivity must increase to raise labour productivity and farmers’
income. However, due to natural constraints, the potential to increase yield in
traditional crops such as rice, wheat, maize, cotton, and rapeseeds is limited.
In addition, international prices of these products are low due to over supply and
heavy protection from the developed countries. A possible solution is that the farmers
should diversify their farming activities and may enter into production of high
value commodities. The government has much to do to facilitate this process through
promotion of contract farming and agri-export zones.
On production front, the government must change its funding priorities in agricultural
research from traditional crops such as rice and wheat to cash crops, livestock,
and post-harvest technologies. It is still the case that more than half of agricultural
research expenditure is spent on staple crops. Agriculture scientists should be
induced to work in the villages to gain hands on experience. They should work in
the field of farmers to impart knowledge, skill, and transfer of technology on to
Further, the government should gear up its public investments or should design public
policy to attract private investment in transportation, retail chain stores, processing
and storage. At present, the government spends a good proportion of its public investments
in traditional activities such as irrigation and large proportion on crop extension
There is need for fusion and convergence of several parameters like awareness, accessibility,
quality, quantity, price, channels, credit, number of intermediaries and last but
not the least is the desired levels of physical space infrastructure to access market
on easy terms. In order to meet the challenges of globalisation and competitiveness,
the Indian agriculture must grow at a faster pace. In this context, development
of strong market infrastructure, vibrant marketing institutions and service providers
are to be developed for sustainable growth of the rural economy. A well developed
agricultural cooperative marketing institutions and farmers’ access to institutional
credit facilities at the grassroot level will enable the transformation of the traditional
agriculture into high value agriculture.
10. Agricultural Growth, Rural Poverty and Environmental Degradation: A Case Study
in West Bengal
S S P Sharma
For a developing country like India, agriculture is considered the backbone of the
economy as a whole. With increasing population and virtually no new area available
for extension of demand for food and fibre for its rising population and tapping
the exports opportunities made available by a more liberalised trading world. Increasing
crop production per unit of land appears to be the only way of increasing agricultural
production and meeting the future demands of these commodities. Increased agricultural
production has to be achieved both by the extension of agriculture to new land areas
and its intensification. There are limits to both processes. If all remaining forest
and woodland were to be converted to agriculture and this land was to be about as
productive as existing land used for agriculture, a maximum increase of about 80
per cent in agriculture production would be possible, however, the productivity
of such land can be expected to be much lower on average than the land currently
used for agriculture and, of course, such conversion would involve an environmental
disaster. Significant limits are looming as far as the extension of agriculture
West Bengal in the 1970s had one of the slowest growth rates of agricultural production
– whereas in the 1980s it was the fastest growing State with growth rate of 6.5
per cent for foodgrains production. There was a switch to high yielding varieties,
a shift towards cash crops like oilseeds and vegetables, and a substantial expansion
of multiple cropping. The result has been that the benefits of agricultural growth
in the 1980s and 1990s have been relatively evenly shared, which is probably not
unrelated to the fact that West Bengal has been one of the States where the decline
in poverty has been the fastest. The share of the poor went down from 73 per cent
in 1973-74 – the highest across all States in the country – to 32 per cent in 1999-2000.
To know the emerging changes in agricultural development and its impact on rural
To examine the linkages of agricultural growth with the environmental degradation;
To suggest policy measures for environment-friendly agriculture growth.
Study Area and Methodology
Effort has been made in this study to meet the objectives in Nadia district of the
State. The study was done in an agriculturally developed community development block
in Nadia; i.e. Chappra. After nearly two decades of stagnation, agricultural production
particularly the output of foodgrains took off from the mid-eighties onwards. Between
1969-70 and 1979-80, total foodgrains production increased at an average rate of
2.5 per cent a year in India as a whole, and at 1.7 per cent per year in West Bengal
lagging far behind the rate of increase of population. From 1979-80 to 1989-90,
however, West Bengal’s foodgrains output grew at an average rate of 3.4 per cent
per year, compared to India’s 2.7 per cent. This trend continued into the nineties,
and for the entire period from 1978 to 1991, West Bengal’s trend growth rate in
foodgrains output was 4.6 per cent compared with 2.8 per cent for the country as
The comparative situations in the State in respect of agricultural development are
presented through four indicators. They are cropping intensity, net irrigated area,
and fertiliser consumption pattern and yield rate of foodgrains. There is no doubt
that the nature has given enough bounty of fertile land resources and enormous perennial
flow of water in the rivers. But, simultaneously the incidence of expanding population
has coerced the people to exploit the land and water resources beyond the capacity
of resilience. Poverty graph is rising that endangers environment. The linkages
between poverty and the environment are far too complex. An argument is generally
made that poor people have a tendency of overusing resources like land, forests
and water, and thereby degrading them.
Statistical analysis shows that, although, most part of the district (Nadia) experiences
a declining trend in water table or depletion of groundwater resources in pre-monsoon
period to cope up with ongoing demand, the post monsoon water table shows generally
rising trend of water table i.e. more input of water in the underground aquifer.
As the influx of water primarily depends on the replenishment of the aquifer from
the prime source of rainwater, a correlation of yearly rainfall trend and pre- and
post-monsoon water table trend has been made for the specified period and a positive
correlation is observed for the district. A composite plot of pre – and post – monsoon
gradient contour or water table trend map offers a resultant complete scenario of
the whole district which implies that the district is not in a critical condition
up to the present moment as per the water table trend or input-output groundwater
balance is concerned.
The total area of land during the year 1997-98 was 390.66. There is no change in
the area, as the 390.66 exist in 2002-03 also. Forest area is same as it was 1.22
in 1997-98, and also 1.22 in 2001-02. This explains that no additional aforestation
was done. Similarly, no deforestation has taken place in between 1997-98 to 2002-03.
Seeing the fallow land, it was 17.42 during 1997-98; which went up marginally to
306.86 in 2002-03.
The cultivation of Boro rice requires huge amount of water and capital input but
the productivity is much higher. After rice, the area of wheat cultivation is also
increasing in the district. The area for cultivation of total cereals is also increasing
except the year of 2000-01. Next to cereals, the area for cultivation of jute is
fastly rising. It was 134.4 in 1997-98; which went up by 138.7 in 2001- 02. Jute
is the major fibre product of the district.
The production scenario of major crops in the district under the foodgrains are
that the rice constitutes the dominant part. Rice was produced by 747.3 thousand
tonnes during 1997-98, while it jumped up by about 200 thousand tonnes more (958.7)
in 2001-02. Boro rice production constitutes major share, as it was 376.9 in 1997-98;
went up by 543.5 in 2001-02. Next to Boro, Aman and Aus shares stands in the total
production of rice in the district, respectively. Next to rice, wheat dominates
its major share among the total foodgrains production in the district. Other than
foodgrains, the next major share is of jute production in the district.
The yield rate of rice was 2458 kg/ha in 1997-98. It increased to 2806 kg/ ha in
2001-02; almost an increase of 348kg/ha during the five years period. Among the
rice, the Boro’s yield rate is much higher. It is 3105 kg/ha in 1997-98; which increased
to 3423 kg/ha in 2001-02. The yield rates of other rice i.e., Aus and Aman has also
shown the increasing trends but much less than Boro rice. The highest yield rate
of Boro rice indicates the higher rate or consumption of high yielding varieties
of seeds, organic fertilisers and the use of more pesticides. The water use in Boro
cultivation is much higher in the district. This reveals about the degradation of
land and depletion of natural resources in the district and the water table is going
very low in the district. This supports the argument that the cultivation of Boro
rice in the district has a negative impact on environment.
The Statistical Handbook of the Government of West Bengal, 2000 provides the most
important facts relevant to our discussion. West Bengal had a population density
of 904 per sq km as per the 2001 census against overall Indian average of 324. There
is heavier dependence of the population on food items (dominated by rice consumption)
in West Bengal (65.9 per cent) compared to Indian average (59.4 per cent) in 1999-2000.
At the same time, the rural population earns the maximum from rice production since
it occupied 84.87 per cent of total foodgrains area in 1980-81 going up to 90.62
per cent in 1999-2000. This is crucial since area under foodgrains was roughly 4.9
times the area under non foodgrains (cash crops and vegetables) in 1980-81, coming
down to about 4.1 times in 1999-2000. The production of rice as a percentage to
total foodgrains production had moved from 90.15 per cent to 92.68 per cent during
the same time-period. Hence, the majority of the population in West Bengal stays
in rural areas with overwhelming dependence on rice cultivation in their production
Poverty shows by head-count ratio that the number of rural poor in West- Bengal
declined by 56.67 per cent between 1972-73 and 1999-00 following the Experts Committee
of Planning Commission methodology. The corresponding All-India percentage decline
is 52.52. This is a significant change in the rural poverty of the State.
Operation Barga – revealed that while it enhances farmers’ social status and security
of tenancy, it did not bring about improvement in productivity much more, and entrepreneurship.
On the scope of surplus generation on small and marginal farmers showed that even
though income could be raised substantially by optimum mix of resources and enterprises,
marginal farms of less than 0.4 ha could not generate sufficient income to rise
above the poverty line.
The situation is somewhat better on large farmers, but even on farms of 2 ha there
is not enough scope for obtaining decent income.
rea under rice yield has increased but productivity of other grains particularly
of oilseeds has declined.
There is a declining trend in net-cropped area during 1985-86 to 1997-98 in the
district due to progress in urbanisation and some other non-agricultural activities.
Farm incomes have generally continued to rise despite declining market prices resulting
from major output expansion.
By adopting new technologies and expanding irrigation, farmers have been able to
progressively reduce their unit costs of production and so remain profitable. But,
the incidence of rising population is putting farmers under stress.
There is no systematic evidence of smallholders being excluded from technology-led
productivity gains in the villages as smallholders are also adopting the same technology
and increasing the output. This happens from the remittance money of their family
members in the villages.
Poverty in the sample villages is declining but the number of poor are reported
to be increasing.
Income from agriculture is visible in the villages where the remittance of money
is received from the family members working elsewhere.
Due to afforestation on large holdings, the wage employment opportunities in agriculture
show negative trends.
The study revealed that even though the poverty alleviation programmes have made
some dent on the problem of poverty. But, still the sample villages do not have
strong infrastructural support for education, health and the market.
Diversification in agriculture is not found to be encouraging in the sample villages.
People are aware of the environmental degradation due to intensive cultivation and
higher use of chemical fertilisers and pests.
There are a number of evidences particularly on health as well as on cattle in the
villages. They realise its negative impact on land and water also.
Some of the farmers produce vegetables solely for sale in the market and do not
consume it themselves in which the use of fertilisers and pesticides is very high.
They do produce separately for household consumption with the use of organic materials.
Households have shown their willingness to spend for the protection of land and
water subject to the regular effort from the State as motivator.
1. The propensity to intensify rice cultivation at the cost of other crops needs
to be carefully examined as it might lead to decline in the production of vegetable
protein and fatty substance.
2. Since the agriculture sector is the core of the Tenth Plan and the bulk of the
new employment opportunities are going to emerge in this sector, improving agricultural
productivity and creating employment opportunities are crucial in this sector. An
integrated approach will have to be adopted towards this, some components are indicated
- Utilising waste and degraded lands
- Improving credit flows and simplifying procedures
- Diversification of the cropping pattern by cultivating medicinal and aromatic
plants, bio-fuels, horticulture, agro-forestry, oilseeds, pulses, etc.
- Precision farming with a view to ensuring optimal utilisation of inputs - Organic
- Integrated nutrient management
- Integrated pest management using biological controls
- Use of frontier technologies especially bio technology
3. These two things need immediate reversal in the villages. Besides immediate attention
is needed towards the following:
Education and Health : Better basic education and health care improves the quality
of life. They also increase a person’s ability to earn an income and be free of
income-poverty as well. The more inclusive the reach of basic education and health
care, the more likely it is that even the potential poor would have a better chance
of overcoming penury (Sen, Amartya, 1999).
Population Control : Population is another causative factor in the State which is
of great concern since other States are doing better in containing population growth
but West Bengal still seems to be groping in darkness. The factors like religion,
social and weak will-power of the governance have been putting the State in economic
problem. No specific policy can check the population explosion. Population growth,
education and health are the major components, which need immediate attention for
the sustenance of growth, alleviation of poverty and the control on environmental
degradation not only in this State but also at the national level.
Local Commons : Village commons can be regarded neither pure public goods nor pure
private goods. They belong to an intermediary category possessing some characteristics
of public and private goods. These resources are faced with the problem of free
rider. The conventional solution to the free rider problem is government intervention
with penalties and incentives to regulate the behaviour of individuals.
4. Encouraging small and marginal farmers including Scheduled Castes and Scheduled
Tribes and Women to maintain the increased production tempo by providing different
inputs on subsidy at reasonable price. Intensifying training of farmer’s son and
women and establishment of demonstration centres in farmer’s field for dissemination
of the latest know–how based on the on-farm results.
5. Provision of maintaining nutrient reserve pool of the soil through soil humus
is needed at the block levels.
6. Utilising farmers’ wisdom in blending indigenous technology with ecology specific
7. There is a need for emphasising maintenance of soil health, more use of bio-fertilisers,
green manure and farmyard manure, balanced nutrition, consumptive use of irrigation
water and conservation of surface water through Participatory Irrigation Management
(PIM), need – based use of plant protection chemicals on Integrated Pest Management
(IPM) concept and popularisation of bio–pesticides and botanical pesticides.
11. GIS Based Gram Panchayat Planning
V. Madhava Rao and R.R. Hermon
The advent of space technology all pervading and the pace of ICT facilitating the
data acquisition on almost real-time mode gives opportunity for judicious decision
making at all levels of governance for the developing world for reduction of redundancy
and time and for optimum utilisation of the scarce resources. The planning process
has undergone a drastic change in recent years where decentralised participatory
decision-making is involved to ensure sustainability. However for accessibility,
a comprehensive data base is needed to access and understand land records, topography,
resources, settlement patterns and infrastructure. The use of GIS for a micro administrative
unit for planning and implementation was tested in an Action Research Project in
one of the Panchayats in India, where the knowledge base was developed up to the
cadastral level (land parcel level) and the household socio-economic data is embedded
on this layer on a GIS platform, with all graphic features of house type and household
linked, to enable stakeholders to take decisions in a dynamic mode.
Several attempts were made by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), Ministry of
Communications and Information Technology, Government of India, and also by several
other Corporate Sector and Space Organisations for developing GIS applications at
local level use but these could not address the exact needs of local self governments
for local applications. Even web-based applications were developed for wider applications
in States like Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal but for limited applications.
Keeping the above in view, an attempt has been made to apply the GIS package, simple,
user friendly, customised, local need based, interactive and can be handled by the
local youth and Gram Panchayat functionaries. It could be called Panchayat GIS,
which has all inbuilt features of various decisions at the Gram Panchayat level
integrating various layers of information both spatial and attributes pertaining
to the Villivalam Gram Panchayat.
1. To devise a GIS based action plan for the gram panchayat level planning on an
interactive mode ;
2. To test the interactive GIS based gram panchayat plan on pilot basis with the
help of local self government, government functionaries, NGO, and the local people.
Study Area and Methodology
The area chosen for the study is the Villivalam Gram Panhayat of Walijabad Block
in Kanchipuram District of Tamil Nadu State. The Gram Panchayat consists of villages
- Villivalam, Koyambakam and Pandyan.
The purpose was to give appropriate development initiatives in planning, monitoring
and projectisation by the local people of Villivalam Gram Panchayat and the local
bodies, for developing a reliable database and take decisions based on the same.
The database are integrated in a GIS platform and an information system has been
The developed information system is embedded with query facilities so as to make
The presentation is developed in GIS Map Objects 2.30 Version Software and customisation
is being made through capabilities of Map Object GIS Software and Visual Basic 6.0.
Flexibility is built in the Interactive GIS Village Plan to adopt to new situations
The pilot software is being provided to the Villivalam Gram Panchayat and the GP
functionary and the village youth are trained to use the same.
A group of youth are specially trained at SIRD, Tamil Nadu in computer skills and
they are very enthusiastic in operating and maintaining the same.
Four computers are being donated by NIRD to this erstwhile Action Research Village
of NIRD, where lot of development activities have been done through participatory
mode by SIRD, Tamil Nadu and the NIRD.
Tamil language interface is being attempted and the Gram Panchayat GIS Package is
expected to showcase the Government, NGO and local bodies for their daily activities,
reporting, decision making, data needs and other allied activities.
Observations and Findings
Local people are very enthusiastic and are keen in adapting to new technology and
new way of working together and doing things.
Local people rise above political, economic and social affiliations, and expressed
their solidarity in effecting new tools and technology in their day to day work.
Women’s participation was quite encouraging and they came forward to propagate the
use and adaptability to new way of doing things.
The younger people feel that there is an increase in their social status, in exposure
and use of new IT Tools at the local level.
The people’s representatives encourage and support the people in using new technology
and to do new things, irrespective of their political affiliations.
The district and local administration are interested in new IT Tools and to make
use of it at all levels, in improving their performance and effectiveness and express
their support and cooperation in this regard.
The Interactive GIS developed at the Gram Panchayat can be replicated for wider
The database required may vary depending on the type of problem faced in a particular
area. The level of social mobilisation needed to ensure participation in data collection
and analysis can also vary from place to place.
Geographic information systems are being integrated in communities to serve many
purposes, and with various degrees of effectiveness. The contributions in this pilot
project were to provide a broad view of the current state of village GIS practice
in the country.
The critical lessons learnt from this pilot project can be summarised as follows
Any change process is dynamic and people at local level have resilience to cope
with new technological changes and assimilate the new process and system and to
fund new way of doing things into their societal and institutional framework;
GIS as a fusion and sandwich approach have brought in integration among the fragmentation
and dispersal data / information and frame the same as an integrated package conveniently
visualised by the community at their level ;
The graphic and map presentation along with relational data clicked the conscience
of the local people to identify themselves with a system which spells out their
unique recognition and give a psychological satisfaction of projecting themselves,
their affiliations, neighbourhood and societal binding;
Given a platform and facilitation, the local people, who are totally ignorant about
the new technologies like GIS, came to use the same with ease and conviction;
The younger generation exert influence on their parents, neighbours and elders to
ride on new technology and bring in collective optimism and desire for hope for
a better future;
Data gaps and errors in the Village GIS were voluntarily identified by people and
the same is corrected, which brought in greater conviction with new technological
change which proved beneficial;
A view of satellite imagery integrating and appalled their sense of understanding
and knowledge base, gave relentless support for village GIS;
Synoptic view, spatial spread, locational features and understanding terrain and
topography of their area vis-a-vis conventional resource maps exhibiting congruence
made people enthusiastic and satisfied;
Integrating all aspects of village in an GIS information system is more powerful
and vibrant as it exhibits graphic display, locational features, entity and gross
Many community information needs can be met by conventional maps and reports delivered
by government but such an approach has not been adhered to but fulfills the need
to represent a ‘community-based GIS which can provide relevant local data and is
capable of performing spatial analysis for participating communities.
One of the difficulties with implementing community-based GIS is incorporating complex
and socially differentiated information but when community gets involved, there
is no obstacle in developing a village GIS.
A village GIS at 1ocal level is more a process than a system, where communities
working together can create a GIS to help resolve many conflicts among the participating
groups, whereby people working together become more aware of their situation, and
thus make personal adaptations to accommodate community needs and desires.
Where Do We Go from Here!
Time has changed. In the initial days, when the country had introduced computers
in the banks, railways, airlines there was stiff resistance and experts apprehended
that such a measure would jeopardise the employment situation and displace large
number of people from securing employment in the country.
Today, all know, how embedded the system of computerisation is everywhere in Government,
Banking, Airlines, Railways and in all walks of life, economy and society. Similarly
GIS would bring a sea change in the outlook and thinking of the people, policy makers,
experts and elected representatives. When stabilised with the system the transition
would result in a beneficial outcome.
At the beginning, many countries namely Qatar, Singapore, Australia, USA, UK, Germany,
Canada and a host of other countries have faced enormous amount of teething problems
but now, everything is so simple, reliable, robust and happening everywhere.
Pilots like the Village GIS has inherent significance from the point of decentralised
governance and constitutional mandate of empowering people at local level. There
can’t be a better tool than GIS for providing a powerful decision support system
to the people to take their own decisions, analyse situations, assess potentials
and plan for future.
GIS with GPS, Internet connectivity, high resolution satellite imageries and attribute
data can revolutionise the entire thinking of mankind in the coming years.
Rather than e-governance, it would be possible to implement Governance (GIS Governance)
at all levels, anytime, any place, making information flow and decision making a
real time dynamic process ensuring total participation and involvement of local
The user friendly interactive GIS for a micro administrative unit has helped in
ensuring better participation of the stakeholders in decision making. The variation
in the level of education of the community was bridged by pictorial representation
User friendly interactive GIS data base generated at a micro administrative unit
(panchayat) can improve the efficiency of administration, improve resource mobilisation
and help in informed decision making.
The software being simple and customised and open for modifications hold lot of
promise for local level applications. The important aspect of this software is the
capabilities of linking wide graphic aspects, like photographs, audios, videos,
imageries and analysed maps etc., which project field realities and it helps people
to take decisions appropriately.
Village GIS is a Geomatics-based facility management system, developed by National
Informatics Centre, India and is presently deployed in three districts in the State
of Madhya Pradesh. Design and development methodology, salient features and illustrative
areas of applications for Village GIS have been described.
Village GIS may be considered to bring in the desired transparency and easiness
in the district planning and to enable a faster response to the changing ground
realities in the development planning, owing to its in-built scientific approach.
It demonstrates that Geomatics approach can provide cost effective solutions for
facility planning in rural areas, and help bring the benefits of information technology
to the rural masses.
Poorer countries are victims of an exploitative system of technology transfer from
the North. Such a prejudice is perpetuated by talk of “Cyber Science and Star Wars
Application” and “Third World Scholars [who] cannot afford even the most basic of
hardware and software materials” (Pickles 1995, 453). This greatly undervalues the
high levels of skill in countries such as India and China, where low-cost GIS packages
such as Themaps and Pursis have been written. The potential for South-South collaboration
is substantial, and in India, IT is already a major growth sector.
Ideally, local knowledge and local control or accountability should be incorporated.
A GIS should never be used as a “quick fix” strategy; rather its introduction should
be slow, with long-term or medium-term training programmes, directed at real needs,
and the design should be relevant to local conditions. Training and education are
core issues and “health warning” approach has more to offer than either standard
“high tech” training programmes or courses run by software vendors.
In a global thinking and technology subservient to mankind, GIS could become a tool
in the service of the poor rather than a technological instrument for their control.
To that end, GIS and ICT and other spatial technology tools need to converge and
emerge as powerful application tools for wider use at all levels, particularly at
local or cadastral level, to take the benefit of technology to the door step of
the poorest of the poor, to empower the people for making their lives better, lead
a life with quality inputs for sustenance.
12. Impact Assessment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Application
in E-Governance : A Study in Andhra Pradesh and Pondicherry
V. Vedakumari, V. Madhava Rao, R.R. Hermon,
M.Rajasekhar Reddy, P. Satish Chandra
Like other States in the country, in the States of Andhra Pradesh and Pondicherry,
the ICT application is being reflected everywhere. During last one decade, ICT awareness,
accessibility, infrastructure, and political leadership has changed the development
and information scenario in these States.
The Andhra Pradesh Government awoke to the need of computerisation in management
more than a decade ago and introduced computers in its financial management. The
treasuries and sub-treasuries numbering to 275 were computerised and current data
were utilised in the financial management of the State Government.
Simultaneously, Andhra Pradesh Technology Services Limited, a Company of the State
Government was floated with the sole objective of providing efficient technological
services to all government departments and agencies. Subsequently, the utility of
computerisation in dealing with huge amount of data for planning, purposes was realised
at macro level leading to the household survey for preparing macro and micro planning
in the State.
Andhra Pradesh Government has been using for the last decade the latest methodologies
and communication technologies for effective administration. It is used in the print
media, electronic media and computers and also in the process of governance. Chief
Minister’s weekly interaction session with people on the television is supported
by extensive coverage in the print media. Video conferencing on other hand is suited
to monitoring and reviewing of day to day administration process with the cutting
edge of governance at the district level.
IT applications which were hitherto sporadic and perhaps isolationistic in approach,
has been complete with the convergence of communications with IT. Information and
Communication Technology is the buzzword for accelerated delivery of development
programmes to the door steps of the beneficiaries. Keeping this in view the present
study was taken up.
The initiatives both in Andhra Pradesh and Pondicherry exemplifies the fact that
ICT can be demystified and taken to any level and made to benefit through empowerment,
decision making, knowledge, awareness and sharing of problems for solutions or alternatives.
To examine the potential of ICTs as perceived by Government of Andhra Pradesh and
To understand and diagnose the problem areas of ICTs in e-governance; and
To identify measures for improving its effectiveness.
Study Area and Methodology
The research study was conducted on Video Conferencing in Andhra Pradesh and for
Village Knowledge Centres in Pondicherry. The policy towards promoting networking
and video conferencing has been studied in depth, information were collected from
various stakeholders apart from other secondary sources by adopting participatory
techniques and general survey . Various critical parameters in terms of information
flow, reliability, timeliness of information and its accessibility and adequacy,
cost effectiveness, people’s participation, feedback response, monitoring, assessment
of situation, changes in administrative procedures etc., formed the core of the
Broadly, the analytical framework for the proposed study was based on sector-wise
analysis, administrative levels, peoples’, response, case study methods of success
and failure and reasons of specific parameters. Further, technological limitations
and IT infrastructure were also studied.
Observations and Findings
A) VIDEO CONFERENCING IN ANDHRA PRADESH
With the formal induction of audio-visual teleconferencing and other computer-based
communications into government functioning the days of slow-moving files, corruption
and red-tapism may come to an end.
In group video-conferencing, with near-television quality resolution, up to seven
people sitting in each studio can interact with similar groups sitting in other
studios with screens showing up to four sites.
Video conferencing has the potential of saving the government about Rs. 100,000
on each conference of about 10 people participating from different cities and on
costs such as travel and dearness allowance.
Most importantly, video-conferencing could drastically reduce project delays because
changes can be made to blueprints, design drawings or diagrams by experts sitting
at their own desks in widely separated cities.
Video conferencing is exchange of digital video images and sound among two or more
distance parties. Transferred images can include video streams, immovable images
of objects, data from graphics, files or applications. It allows participants to
hear, to see and to collaborate in the real time mode with all their interlocutors.
A video conference is a live connection between people in separate locations for
the purpose of communication, usually involving audio and often text as well as
video. Video conferencing provides transmission of full-motion video images and
high-quality audio between multiple locations can be exchanged.
Documents LAN to WAN or ‘Wide Area Network’ connection is possible through routers
operated over ISDN lines which allow diallers to use public ISDN telephone networks
to call in on the desktop video conferencing setup from almost anywhere.
The tangible benefits for Government using video conferencing include quick decisions,
problem sharing among functionaries , monitoring of programmes, transparency in
administration, low travel costs and timely completion of projects gained from offering
video conferencing as an aspect of citizen services. The intangible benefits include
the facilitation of group work among geographically distant functionaries and a
stronger sense of community among commonness of purpose and responsibilities, both
within and between districts . In terms of group work, officials can interact, transfer
files, share programmes, send and receive graphic data, and operate computers from
remote locations. On a more personal level, the face-to-face connection adds non-verbal
communication to exchange and allows officials, political leaders and citizens to
develop a stronger sense of familiarity with situations, problems and appropriate
Codec is hard software that converts analog signal into digital with the following
converting of digital signals to that it can be transferred via more narrow-band
communication channels (coding). At the receiving end, a similar codec restores
initial digital form and converts the signal into its analog form (decoding). Usage
of such devices in equipment for video conference communication allows narrow-band
When working at the speed of usual modems in analog telephone lines, a user gets
quite low quality of video image and audio signal. For such systems it’s considered
admissible and in narrow-band lines the frequency amounts to 1-2 fps at 160x120
pixels. In wide-band communication lines, i.e. in the Ethernet (10 Mbit/s), the
frequency rises up to 5-12 fps at the same resolution.
Usage of such medium as Ethernet 100 Mbit/s doesn’t cause strong changes. Audio
and video quality not only improves but also efficiency of video conference system
gets stronger in the presence of other applications on the net. Besides, such net
usually doesn’t feature any problems with joint usage of application programs and
Communication Systems Required for Video Conferencing
High bandwidth, high speed, data links
ISDN telephone exchange
Backbone structured cabling
The government has arranged for teleconferencing facilities under APSWAN (Andhra
Pradesh State Wide Area Network) which is the umbrella highway for the video conference
facility. Under the APSWAN, the Government need not incur any expenditure as DoT
has provided it free for the first two years for APSWAN.
The bureaucracy in Andhra Pradesh is slowly but surely taking to video-conferencing
as part of their daily routine. Initially, there was some hesitation with the bureaucracy,
especially senior officials in the districts like the Collector and District Magistrate
preferring to talk over the phone than be physically present.
The face-to-face meetings with decision-makers has been a sensation and Bureaucrats
are thrilled about this even though they are accountable.
There were initial hiccups when the video-conferencing facility was inaugurated
formally on November 1. Of the 23 districts and two major towns (Vijayawada and
Tirupati), only 18 districts could be linked.
Even with some of the on-line districts, there were problems in establishing connections
and often links broke down.
When an official in the district wants to video conference with those in Hyderabad
or elsewhere in other districts, he has to first contact the control room at Hyderabad
which takes 10 minutes to get connected.
Government wants to setup permanent video conference rooms at Hyderabad and at the
District Headquarters. Currently the video equipment is located in the Chief Minister’s
Conference room and in the Offices of most of the Collectors in the districts.
The Government has given a directive to set up an exclusive studio or Conference
room in each district headquarters for local officials to make use of them without
having to go to Collector’s offices.
In the Secretariat also, an exclusive video conference room has been identified
and equipped. On October 24, 2002 even the prisons were linked with video conferencing
facilities for establishing video-linkages between prisons and Courts to facilitate
production of under-trials electronically for remand extensions.
The electronic video-linkage enables interaction between prisoner and the concerned
Magistrate through an Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). The under-trial
can stand before the camera, installed in the prison complex to answer querries
from a Magistrate to get his remand extended without having to personally go to
Court. This also will obviate the need to deploy police personnel to escort prisoners
to Courts every time.
This experiment was successfully launched on October 17 when Chief Justice of the
High Court Shri M S Liberhan conducted video-conferencing with some under-trials
lodged in Chanchalguda jail, through an electronic linkage between Criminal Courts
Complex at Nampally and the prison premises.
Infrastructure and Set up
The Visakhapatnam district has taken lead in implementing e-governance efforts through
The maintenance and servicing is carried on by the United Telecom Limited (UTL)
Private agencies. The in-charge for the Video Conferencing facilities at the district
level is an official from the Information and Public Relation Department followed
by an Assistant Engineer.
The Video Conferencing is mostly carried on the following issues: Drought works,
department issues and DRDA works.
In addition there are priority works like intermediate examinations which are currently
held every day. The Chief Minister’s Conference is held on every Tuesday.
The Schedule of Video Conferencing is available on the APTS Website which is also
transmitted over phone and fax to the respective Departments and this system has
been functioning since 3 years.
The Department of Telecommunication has provided free support facilities to promote
Video Conferencing since 2 years. The Andhra Pradesh Government has asked the DOT
for further extension of the same facility. The success of Video Conferencing as
e-governance efforts encouraged the Government of Andhra Pradesh to extend these
facilities to Mandal level.
The Video Conferencing is usually on subjects like :
Drinking Water, Energisation of Pumpsets, Agriculture, Examinations like Intermediate
Exams, Food for Work, Documentation through Digital Camera (Each Mandal is provided
with a Digital Camera), and Drought Management Information System at the District
and State level, etc.
About 1009 Mandals have been affected by drought in Andhra Pradesh out of 1127 Mandals
of the State.
Each Video Conferencing starts with the following items such as: Briefing on the
theme of discussion, mentioning agenda points, specific objectives, specific short
falls, ask for explanation, decisions taken with time frame, and review dates which
have been finalised.
The essence of CM’s Video Conferencing is the Multi-Source Reporting which is reliable
and closer to field reflections. The reports are generated generally from four sources
namely : Department Sources, which needs online updation daily or weekly before
1 PM, Journalist’s Reporting, Independent Agency Reporting mostly Bureau of Economics
and Statistics or Dr MCRH Institute, and PRI and other People’s Representative opinions.
The data is handled by the State Development Monitoring Cell (SDMC) formerly known
as the Andhra Pradesh State Remote Sensing Agency (APSRSA), headed by Secretary
The following are the benefits envisaged from the video conferencing methods to
reinforce the practice of video conferencing as a e-governance tool:
1. Transparency : Decisions, lapses, progress and time frames which are discussed
with all stake holders, functionaries, policy planners and peoples’ representatives
2. Decision Making : Decisions are taken based on the discussions and with mutual
agreement of stakeholders.
3. Sharing Problems : As the Video Conferencing is an arena, where all the stake
holders are players’ the problems of one district is shared with the other and scope
for mutual help and coordination is ensured by the State machinery by symbiotic
4. Improving System Functioning : Lapses on the part of officials and other functionaries
can be sorted and measures may be taken to improve the functioning which is binding
5. Bridging Gaps : Shortages and demands can be mutually sorted out by coordinating
agencies and smooth balancing exercise by the Chief Minister and by higher officials.
6. Understanding Problems : Common problems can be understood and shared among all
and preparatory actions for solving the impending problems which can be initiated
early to reduce problems.
7. Knowing on Best Practices : The best practices discussed by various functionaries
can generate new ideas for others which is a learning exercise for preparing agendas
8. Clarity on Policies and Programmes : Clarifications can be sought on policies
and programmes through video conferencing particularly when new initiatives are
9. Assessing Quick Pulse : Quick pulse of situations and people and other stakeholders
can be assessed through video conferencing to prepare appropriate action plan and
10. Emergency Response : Video Conferencing facilitates emergency response for coordinated
efforts involving all stakeholders for countering the adverse effects of disasters
and reducing their impact.
Problems and Challenges
There many problems and challenges in video conferencing as an effective tool of
e-governance. Some of the vital problems and challenges are enumerated as under:
1. Video Conferencing is expensive if time and context is not utilised properly.
2. Technical problems often lead to connectivity and delay.
3. Power is an important input and UPS is a must for effective video conferencing.
4. On-Line Data formats should be simple and user friendly.
5. Updation of data until carried on real time mode, cannot help in taking proper
decisions or discussions.
6. Bandwidth affects the quality of video transmission.
7. Upkeep of the camera, TV, UPS etc is vital and vendor should take preventive
8. For greater participation of people at Mandal level, video conferencing would
ensure e-governance efforts at local level.
9. Arranging video conferencing on weekly basis is rather appropriate.
10. It was felt that functionaries are spending time mostly preparing for the video
conferencing rather than spending time with people in the field.
Village Knowledge Centres, Pondicherry
The Village Knowledge Centres (VKCs) project was initiated in Pondicherry in 1998
for sustainable food security in the region by the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation
(MSSRF). This project has helped to establish a useful network for rural development.
The MSSRF, Chennai; the Government of the Union Territory of Pondicherry, and nine
villages in Pondicherry have formed a MOU for setting up the Village Knowledge Centres.
Based on the successful operation of MSSRF, VKC and People’s acceptance and involvement,
the Government of Pondicherry decided to connect all the villages in the UT based
on MSSRF model. The VKC project was started in Villianur village in Pondicherry
, where the bio village project has been ongoing.
The Village Knowledge Centres project is based on local agricultural communities’
demand for information on sustainable agricultural practices, credit, and marketing
of produce and value addition by agriculture experts. The content on the network
is prepared locally, using indigenous knowledge combined with expert information.
The project began as an experiment in electronic knowledge delivery to the poor.
A hybrid wireless network comprising of desktop computers, telephones, VHF duplex
radio devices, and e-mail connectivity through dial-up telephone lines facilitating
both voice and data transfer, connects ten villages in the UT of Pondicherry.
The Motorola communication technologies are being used in IT experiments in the
UT of Pondicherry. The hub, stationed at the central kiosk is stationed at Villianur
Village, and is connected through a full duplex wireless link, using Motorola technology.
The center also functions as the Local Area Network (LAN) hub, providing data and
voice transmission to the other kiosks of the area. Each kiosk is a node that functions
on VHF radio (full duplex). This saves the expense of laying expensive communication
infrastructure (i.e. copper wires and/or fiber optic cable). The MSSRF maintains
a comprehensive database, which collects daily information on network usage, questions,
and problems regarding the village kiosks. Information can be easily obtained through
simple queries to the server’s databanks.
Energy to the Villianur Centre and other eight (8) VKC are sustained though battery
and solar (photovoltaic system) power provided by the Bharat Electronics Ltd, Bangalore,
a Government of India Enterprise, costing about Rs. 1,00,000, for the solar panels,
battery pack and other pheripherals related to the power system, which gives a backup
for 10 hours uninterrupted and has proved as a dedicated tool of power supply in
the remote rural areas.
Tamil is used for all information exchange over a wide array of media. CDAC, Pune
developed the I-Leap Tamil fonts and keyboard layout. WAV audio format using real
audio compression makes audio transmissions lightweight and easy to transmit via
email. MS Exchange (email application software) was found to be the optimal protocol
for analog wireless networks.
Funding and Support
The total investment for the entire setup is around Rs 1.5 to 2 lakhs per village.
The village school going children gather in the VKC and get familiarised with the
computers and often found playing computer games at nominal payment (Rs 5 per child).
The VKC volunteers are well versed with MS Office, page maker, photoshop softwares
and take job work from local Milk cooperatives and other petty merchants / business
agencies, which generate good revenue for the VKC to maintain itself sustainably.
The project centre at the Villianur village is where the information is fed into
the Intranet. This centre functions as the Intranet hub for the project villages.
Other villages of the VKCs are Embalam, Veerampattinam, Killur/Kizhor, Kalithirthakuppam,
Nallawadu, Purnamgkuppam, Aryur and Thirukanzipet, where the information nodes are
located mostly at the village panchayat buildings.
Villagers meet every month on last Saturday to discuss on chronic and system problems
to decide on appropriate action agenda and follow it up to maintain the facilities
at optimal level.
Procedure for Setting up VKC
The procedure for setting up such a node is done with signatures of all the villagers.
A formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed by the MSSRF with the
villagers indicating that the community is willing to supply the basic infrastructure
such as electricity and the space, and identify volunteers to operate the facility.
MSSRF provides three computers and a printer, a wireless device, and a solar panel.
To ensure financial sustainability, means of generating revenue are being considered
such as collection of revenues from advertisements on the Intranet of agricultural
inputs such as fertilisers, tractors, and pesticides. Training of kiosk managers,
the community to participate in creation of information, and government personnel
to deal with system changes brought about by e-governance are identified as key
concerns. The role of an intermediary agency in dealing with the community is found
useful and important, in the success of an area-wide strategy to wire all the villages
Future technological innovations by Motorola may lead to better re-use of the VHF
radio spectrum. This may be one of the strengths of the project and the focus remains
on the users (demand) and not on the technology (supply). The use of technology,
nevertheless, is being well received by both the initiators/ facilitators and the
villagers/end users. Two new villages need to be added to the existing VKCs are
Periakallapet and Kunichempet, which are Dalit habitated villages.
1. Embalam Village
In Embalam village, the SHGs are managing the VKC and of the 27 women SHGs in the
village, 8 members are managing the Centre. There are about 1500 households in the
Embalam village with about 4000 population.
There is a community siren, which gives signals for various activities in the village.
At the beginning the upper caste households protested the use of siren, and this
matter was discussed in the Gram Sabha and it was decided to retain siren for the
greater good of all and the upper caste households honoured the decision of the
The Draupatimma Temple Trustee have provided accommodation for the VKC. There is
internet connection and public phone is also operating at the VKC.
2. Veerampattinam Village
The Veerampattinam Village Knowledge Centre announces daily weather condition nearly
3 to 4 times on public address system, as it is a coastal village and predominantly
with fishermen communities.
There is public telephone and Internet facilities available in the VKC at Veerampattinam
The village has 75 per cent literacy with about 2000 households and the population
is about 7000. There are SC families (5 per cent) and the rest are OBC (95 per cent).
Occupation wise, about 98 per cent families are engaged in fishing while 2 per cent
are in government service.
The Gram Panchayat meets every Sunday to discuss their problems and solutions /
action plans / decisions.
The volunteers identified by the village community are Engineering diploma holder.
The VKC has educational CDs, developed by the Tutor India Ltd, Chennai. Various
government departments also use the VKC database.
A progressive village fishermen, 8th class educated, about 35 years, named Shaktivela
hails from Veerampattinam village. He has a motorised boat. Before entry of VKC,
there was hardly any gain for him through fishing activities, and he met with loss
in diesel business to the tune of Rs 5000 per trip. Now that loss has drastically
reduced due to the help received from VKC. The fishermen desire to have HAM VHF
Radio receiver sets for two way communication while in sea, as sometimes they stay
2 to 3 days for bigger fish catches.
3. Mangalam Village
The VKC operation in Mangalam village failed because the volunteer who maintained
the VKC has stolen the wireless equipment and other systems. The systems were tampered
and the phone bills were enormous.
Further, the village is divided on Dalit and non-Dalit basis and Dalits were not
allowed to the VKC.
The village has 1200 households and about 3000 population of which about 20 per
cent are Dalits.
MSSRF finally withdrew from the village in view of these situations.
4. Netapadem Village
In Netapadem village, the VKC got patronage from former CM of Pondicherry and it
started operating quite nicely but did not last long. Meanwhile politicians tried
to make mileage and started to demand more from the VKC and the involvement of the
village community was not forthcoming.
The following recommendations emanate from the study observations and lessons learnt
from MSSRF case studies:
As the investment is reasonable i.e Rs 1.5 to 2 lakhs per village and as the funding
is forthcoming from IRDC and Friends of MSSRF, Japan, the Gram Panchayat need to
provide at least the School Building / Panchayat building for establishment of the
Village Knowledge Centre.
The pilot studies in Pondicherry amply establishes the fact that it is possible
to take the ICT to the door steps of the poor and to the remote villages in the
All the village information needs could be gathered on real time basis to shape
the lives of the people for economic betterment and for empowering them with information
and decision making power.
Each and every service in the VKC should be charged for generating funding support
for the operation and viability of the VKC for gainful economic activities at the
village level for the educated youth and the village women.
Training to school students, educated youth, job work for traders, local industries,
etc should be encouraged for economic viability of VKC.
Corporate Industries should promote VKC both for business interests and societal
needs in all parts of the country and generate employment opportunities and income
avenues for the rural poor and in bridging the digital divide.
The Government should fund for setting up of VKCs in coastal villages, prone for
natural disasters and other areas for giving early warning and in building better
preparedness among vulnerable areas and people.
For fishermen communities, provision of HAM Radio VHF receiver sets should be provided
and training should also be imparted to fishermen for establishing two way communication
while at sea.
The IGNOU and other Open Schools should set up rural centres for promoting professional
and technical education among the rural people in the remote areas of the country
through the VKCs infrastructure and facilities, which can be affordable and accessible
for the rural poor.
Wherever there are rural PIKs in the country, these may be integrated with the VKC
with MSSRF technologies for making them rural information growth centres and backbone
for rural information needs for all planning and decision making.
A fisherman in Veerampatinam village near Pondicherry goes to the village Knowledge
Centre (VKC) and gets information on seawave heights likely in the next 24 hours.
This is downloaded for him from a US Navy website. He then asks for information
pertaining to safety at sea, fish and post-harvesting techniques so he can fish
in the right area. Seems impossible in a remote village in India?
This is what the IT revolution is doing in the country — opening up opportunities
to access information even in the most ‘unreachable’ villages.
Locale-specific information has also been compiled - - a detailed account on sugarcane
cultivation, a guidebook on the application of bio-fertilisers in rice cultivation,
a how-to-style document on herbal remedies for disorders among children and one
on local religious festivals.
The cyber revolution that already has urban India in its grip, is slowly but surely
making its foray into the villages and irrevocably changing lives. If the fishermen
of Veerapattinam near Pondicherry were earlier at the mercy of nature each time
they set out in their boats, now they know for sure what to expect of the weather,
the waves and what it will throw up by way of a catch, courtesy the PC.
From providing lists of veterinarians and doctors, to bus timings, locations of
various hospitals and news of goods for barter or sale, IVRP has irrevocably changed
villagers’ lifestyles. While some like K. Jagadeesan drop in at the centre “only
to find out what computers are all about,” there are an increasing number of women
who come with health-related queries, and students who want to check an exam result,
browse through educational CDs or learn to design slides on Power Point.
It’s a great change over years in rural India coming up close to urban areas through
ICT initiatives in rural areas. ICT have paved the way, only time will take the
rural masses ahead of our times and may be one day, we have all the progressive
growth oriented economies emanating from rural areas, making them centres of prosperity,
through the threadbare of ICT.
Video Conferencing as a e-governance tool is gaining momentum in all States of India.
In the State of Andhra Pradesh, the Government is taking pride in using video conferencing
extensively and the tool has derived many laurels.
Rather than using extensively as a stock taking and monitoring tool, it is used
for participatory decision making, possibly, this tool can contribute immensely
for administrative and development purpose where beneficiaries, common people, NGOs
and PRIs can interact for collective action and decision making.
A beginning has been made and a canvas has been set, now the Government and functionaries
need to learn lessons to make system more transparent, participatory, collective
decision making and real time data sharing, for deriving the real accelerated development
of people and area, through video conferencing and through other modes of ICT.
If this happens, we may stay anywhere, even in the most remote part of the country.
In diverse situations and agro-climatic zones and physical locations, we can identify
with the mainstream national policies, programmes, ethos and progress, hand in hand,
through the modern tools of VKCs and Video Conferencing.
13. Technological Interventions for Improving Livelihood System of Resource Poor
S. K. Bhanj
Fishing and hunting are the oldest livelihood activity of mankind. Fish and fisheries
play an important role in nutrition, livelihood, ecology and health security of
nation, particularly of the weaker section. Fishing as a livelihood activity is
normally practiced by socially and economically weaker section of the society. The
fishery sector supports nearly 10 million fishermen directly and an equal number
indirectly in fisheries and ancillary activities. Besides, supporting livelihood
of the poorest of the poor it can substantially contribute to the national GDP and
Due to population growth and economic development there is greater demand on fish
and fishery product, which has resulted in uncontrolled exploitation of both inland
and marine natural fishery resources. Further, resourceful and highly professional
corporate organisations are also entering into fishing operations. These organisations
with their mighty financial and technological power engage in high skilled fishing
technology which has gradually and systematically deprived poor fishermen who were
fishing with no-exploitative traditional eco-friendly technology for both marine
and inland fishing. The over exploitation of the natural resources by rich and powerful
people have resulted in dwindling fish resource. The traditional fishermen who largely
depend on their conventional fishing technology find it extremely difficult to make
a living due to poor catch. This has made fishing a non-viable livelihood activity
for large section of already poor fishermen community. As a result, there is a slow
transition among the fishermen to look for adopting livelihood opportunities in
agriculture, artisanal activity, trade and commerce where they did not possess earlier
experience. It is therefore, important that the problems faced by fishermen in their
professional transition is examined and appropriate intervention strategies are
made to equip them with necessary skills, financial and institutional support to
be able to settle in new vocation to earn a sustainable livelihood.
1. To understand the socio-economic profiles and various livelihood activities performed
by the fishermen households ;
2. To understand the contribution of various activities towards the livelihood system
of the fishermen household ; and
3. To understand the technology options and constraints in various livelihood activities
of the fishermen households.
This study was conducted in the State of Orissa in two districts, namely Puri and
Jagatsinghpur which were purposively selected since these districts represent fishermen
practicing both inland and marine fishing as their livelihood activity. Data were
collected from 120 sample population following multi-stage purposive sampling technique.
An equal number of 60 fishermen each from marine and inland fishing were selected
from eight villages after due consultation with local authorities. Technique of
personal interview along with non-participatory observation was followed for data
collection. The information collected was further cross checked with non-sample
population through informal discussion. Simple statistical analysis like percentage
distribution and average has been worked out for meaningful interpretation of data.
The study was undertaken with a small sample of 120 fishermen household which is
a limitation. The observations reported in the study are mostly indicative of the
trend rather than being absolute.
Following are the observations made in the study :
1. The fishermen are mostly in the age group of 30–50 years.
2. The inland fishermen were mostly from Scheduled Caste community and marine fishermen
were mostly from OBC practicing fishing as a livelihood.
3. As regard the economic status is concerned, the percentage of BPL households
are among the inland fishermen.
4. Majority of the fishermen household family size ranges between 5–8 members with
an average size of 6.3 for marine and 6.2 for inland fishermen households.
5. Traditionally, fishermen were living joint family and majority of the households
i.e., 91.7 per cent now are nuclear families.
6. Despite the government intervention after 1999 super cyclone, 52.5 per cent of
fishermen still live in kutcha disastrous-prone houses. However, of 56.6 per cent
household among the marine fishermen are having pucca houses provided under IAY
and by other national and international organisations.
7. Seventy per cent marine fishermen household reported to have experienced hardship
due to sickness in family and loss of income in previous one year duration. This
was 50 per cent in case of inland fishermen which suggested there is better reach
to health care by inland fishermen.
8. Traders and bank are the major sources of borrowing for fishermen. Comparatively
more number of marine fishermen avail loans from the banks. Institutional financing
from banks and self-help groups is gradually replacing loaning from traditional
9. Most of the fishermen deliver the fish to the middlemen or traders. Individual
marketing by fishermen household in nearby local market has drastically reduced.
10. Occupation-wise it was found that 91.6 per cent marine fishermen practice fishing
as main livelihood activity. Artisan activity, trade, business and services are
replacing the fishing as livelihood activity of inland fishermen.
11. The average monthly income in respect of marine fishermen was observed to be
Rs.2,100 compared to Rs.1,950 in case of inland fishermen. Subsidiary occupations
contributed to 22.4 per cent of the total family income in case of inland fishermen
as compared to 17.7 per cent in case of marine fishermen.
12. Livestock rearing has been adopted as a subsidiary livelihood activity by most
of the fishermen. Cow, goat and poultry birds are major livestock species reared
by inland fishermen.
13. On an average 2.7 and 2.8 number of family members of the family size of 6.3
and 6.2, respectively in marine and inland fishing family are engaged in earning
livelihood from main and subsidiary occupation.
14. With regard to the response to technology upgradation, marine fishermen were
observed to be favourably disposed to improve technology as compared to inland fishermen.
Seventy per cent of marine fishermen expressed favourable disposition to technology
upgradation and only 45 per cent favoured in case of inland fishermen.
15. Easiness of technology and improving the catch performances were the primary
determining factors for technology upgradation. Lack of information and dis-incentive
like failure experiences were major causes for unfavourable disposition towards
technology upgradation. Official sources have been observed to be the most prevalent
information source for the fishermen.
The study has clearly brought out the transition in livelihood practices of the
fishermen, particularly among the inland fishermen. The large scale livelihood transition
has already taken place among the inland fishermen which is also attempted by marine
fishermen. The existing government programmes do not address the difficulties faced
by the fishermen in this transitional process. The existing programmes are related
to fishing and fishery activities only. This did not benefit the traditionally poor
fishermen by caste occupation Therefore, there is an urgent need for appropriate
intervention for skill upgradation and institutional arrangement to support the
fishermen for smooth transition to new vocations to earn sustainable livelihood.
14. Life Stress, Health and Coping Strategies in Rural Youth
Stress is common to every one. Our bodies are designed to feel stress and react
to it. It keeps us alert and ready to avoid danger. It is not always possible change
events which may cause stress. We can feel trapped and unable to cope with. When
the stress persists, the body begins to break down and illness can occur. The key
to coping with the stress is identifying the stressors in our life and learning
ways to direct and reduce stress.
Negative stress is distress. It is the stress of losing, failing, over working and
not coping. Distress affects people in a negative often-harmful manner. Therefore,
stress is a complex, dynamic process of interaction between a person in his / her
life. It is the war one reacts physically, mentally and emotionally to the various
The purpose of the present study was to investigate stress sources, effects and
coping strategies in rural youth.
With this background the present research has been designed.
To study the sources of stress and its effect on rural youth.
To explore the coping strategies as used by the people
Study Area and Methodology
The present study was done in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu and Karimnagar district
of Andhra Pradesh to know life stress, health and coping strategies among rural
youth. Mean scores of above scales, correlation and regression between scales and
relationship with demographic variables was seen. The results were as follows.
Mean scores of stress, health revealed that as the stress increases their health
problems and coping strategies increased proportionately. Further, the level of
stress and health were more in case of Tamil Nadu in comparision to Andhra Pradesh.
Similarly level of stress for different demographic variables was computed. There
was a difference between male and female in Tamil Nadu but it was not the case with
Andhra Pradesh. There was not much of a difference observed among other demographic
It was observed from correlation analysis, stress and health were strongly associated
and coping strategy was not having significant correlation with stress or health.
Similarly regression analysis reveals that variation in health is significantly
explained by stress. Coping strategy was not significantly influencing health in
both the States.
Coping strategy was divided into sub-categories i.e. proactive coping, reflective
coping, strategic planning, preventive coping, instrumental support seeking, emotional
support seeking, and avoidance coping. It was observed that males were using above
said coping strategies more frequently than females.
Similarly stress was divided into seven sub-classes based on the type of problems
faced by respondents i.e. work related stress, family related stress, relationship
related stress, financial stress, personal stress, bereavement stress, migration
stress. Most of the respondents were facing financial stress and work related stress.
15. Best Practices in Participatory Planning for Basic Services in Kerala, Maharashtra,
Rajasthan and West Bengal
R. Chinnadurai, D. Shanthudu and M. Thaha
The prime objective of development effort is to improve the quality of life of the
people. This can be achieved primarily by ensuring the availability of basic services
to the people. Realising the importance of this sector during the Fifth Plan, a
Minimum Needs Programme (MNP) comprising of 12 components was launched. The objective
of this programme was to provide certain minimum social services on a uniform basis
in a time bound manner for socio-economic development of the entire country. A considerable
section of our population is still without these basic services.
The recent Constitutional reforms i.e. 73rd amendment vitalised the democratic decentralisation
and allowed the panchayati raj institutions to play a major role in providing and
maintaining the basic services to maintain the quality of life of rural people.
The 11th Finance Commission has also earmarked funds for the gram panchayats for
taking care of core services consisting of primary education, primary health, rural
roads, drinking water supply, sanitation and street lighting.
The experience in planning for basic services in adopting participatory approach
by the panchayats is not uniform. There are panchayats where the panchayat members
have taken the liberty to decide on their own and plan for the basic services. In
some cases, it has also not been possible to mobilise the people for participation
in the planning exercises at the grassroot level due to various reasons. Therefore
it was felt necessary to document the process of planning for basic services at
the gram panchayat level where participatory approach has been adopted in order
to disseminate it to other gram panchayats.
(i) To document the process of participatory planning for basic services in the
(ii) To analyse the factors which have contributed to the success of participatory
planning for basic services; and
(iii) To study the satisfaction of people with the basic services provided.
Study Area and Methodology
To fulfill the above objectives and to know practices in different States in India
specifically in, four States, namely, Kerala, Maharastra, Rajasthan and West Bengal
which were selected for this study. In consultation with Officers in each State,
one gram panchayat was selected for Vellanad gram panchayat of Trivandrum district
in Kerala, Pahela Gram Panchayat of Bandhara district in Maharashtra, Mohanpura
Gram Panchayat of Jaipur district in Rajasthan and Kasba Gram Panchayat of Birbhum
district in West Bengal. The primary data for the study were collected from people
and elected representatives of selected gram panchayats. The secondary data were
collected from gram panchayat, block and district officials.
Two types of semi-structured schedules were administered for collecting information
from elected members of gram panchayats and another schedule was meant for those
people who participated in the planning process of gram panchayat for provision
of basic services.
The elected representatives of the Vellanad gram panchayat and selected sample of
people, who attended participatory process of planning, were contacted and required
information was gathered from them.
Lot of preparatory work had been done by the President and Ward members of gram
panchayat for conducting gram sabha viz meeting as well as to communicate time,
place and purpose of the meeting by disbursing notices, circulation of pamphlets,
conveying message through mobile public address system. Before coming to the gram
sabha meeting people discussed their ward problems in Aayalkootam meeting. The problems
are submitted to the gram panchayat to keep them as agenda for discussion and make
proposals for action. To identify problems in the field of basic services as well
as overall development of the gram panchayat, the gram sabha members used various
participatory techniques for planning activities like housing, health, education,
sanitation, water supply, roads and electrification. Selection of beneficiaries
were done for State and Central Government development programmes by the gram sabha
by using various participatory methods. The plans are integrated with block plan
to be submitted to the district panchayat.
After getting the approval, the programmes are implemented through people’s participation,
and they are also involved in monitoring and evaluation aspects too.
In the State of Maharashtra, the Gram Panchayats are playing an important role in
the planning and implementation of basic services through participatory approach
for provision of housing unit under IAY. Based on BPL survey, eligible households
were identified and they were provided with identity card.
Ward-wise requirement of road facilities and the conditions of existing road facility,
in different wards and roads sanctions were discussed in the gram sabha meeting
and works were taken up on priority basis.
In Pahela village, a primary school building was constructed under “Sarva Siksha
Abiyan” funded by World Bank. Another building for Anganwadi (day care centre) worth
Rs. 7.50 lakhs was constructed at Pahela under Yaswanta Gram Somridhi Yojana. These
two programmes were discussed in the gram sabha to finalise the locations and also
contributions from the people.
As regards water supply, repair and maintenance of pipelines and hand pumps, tank
cleaning and chlorinating water were taken care by the panchayat. Majority of the
people are satisfied with the basic services provided by the gram panchayat.
In Rajasthan, Mohanpura gram panchayat in Jaipur district was selected for the purpose
of this study. The two statutory bodies viz ward sabha and gram sabha at the gram
panchayat level look after the basic and other services required for people. The
ward sabha looks into ward’s problems freely. The ward sabha discusses the matters
placed before it and submits the proposals to the gram sabha for taking action.
Conducting meetings twice in a year is mandatory, but more than two meetings can
be convened in a year with prior intimation
Preliminary work for identification of poor, houseless and widower of the village
was done through social mapping technique. As per the IAY guidelines unemployed,
under employed, agricultural coolies, marginal farmers, houseless, families with
damaged houses were listed to identify the beneficiaries in the ward sabha and gram
One health sub-centre and one Ayurveda dispensary are available in the gram panchayat.
The role of gram panchayat in health care management is minimal. The quality of
health services and availability of medicines in the health centres are generally
discussed in the gram sabha, and accordingly the decisions are taken.
In Mohanpura village panchayat there are 4 anganwadies, 5 primary schools, 1 middle
school, 4 Rajiv Gandhi Pathshala and 4 Informal Education Centres. The literacy
rate of this village is 54 per cent. Efforts were also made to increase the literacy
of the village panchayat.
Based on some of the problems discussed in the gram sabha resolutions were passed.
- Requested all the parents to send their children to the schools.
- Provision of water pots to the primary schools and construction of small water
tank to the middle school under JRY scheme.
- Construction of two toilets to middle school under Pradhan Mantri Gramodhaya Yojana.
- Establishing libraries in the schools through public donation. Due to lack of
funds, work on sanitation and road development have not been taken up so far. But,
this issue has been raised in the gram sabha meeting and following activities were
listed to be carried out when the funds are made available :
Construction of drainage structures in Mohanpura, Sanwatka Bas, Khetapura, Chak
Amjhar, Jaisinghpura, Shyampura, Bhatawala, Baas Beelwa and Chakvsika; and
Construction of soak-pits near water outlets.
In West Bengal, Kasba Gram Panchayat was selected as study area, which is located
in Bolpur-Sriniketan Block in Birbhum district. In this State, Gram Sansad at the
village level and Gram Panchayat at the village panchayat level are working for
the welfare of the people. The Gram Panchayat is holding meeting at least twice
in an year. The gram sansad may have meeting every month depending upon the needs
For organising gram sansad and gram panchayat meetings, at least seven day’s notice
is sent to each member and a the list is sent of business to be transacted in the
meeting. A notice is also put up on the notice board. Activities like preparation
of development plan at the village level, development of infrastructure facilities
for overall economic development and implementation of anti-poverty programmes,
family and child welfare programmes and programmes meant for ensuring social justice
are discussed in the gram sansad and gram sabha meetings, and finalised by the people
who participate in the meetings.
The elected representatives take initiatives to organise gram sansad and gram sabha
meetings, people’s response to the meetings is considerably good, and elected representatives
are making enough efforts to convince people. Usually the meeting is held in the
evening on working days. Since majority of them are farmers and agricultural labourers,
they are able to attend the meetings only in the evening. No monetary or any other
form of incentives is given to the participants except tea and biscuits. Nearly
50 per cent of people are uneducated.
Allotment of houses to poor and houseless people under Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY)
and Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana (PMGY) has been done through gram sabha meeting.
Gram Panchayat is the supervising and monitoring body of certain programmes like
maintenance of Anganwadi (Sishu Siksha Kendra (SSK), noon-meal scheme in the schools
(Middle Siksha Karmachachi (MSK). The Sarpanch and ward members make surprise visits
to check the quality and quantity of the food provided to the children. Community
Health Care Management (CHCM) is another important programme being implemented in
this panchayat. In addition to the above health related works, the gram panchayat
takes care of general health activities proposed through gram sabha.
No specific work has been undertaken for educational development in this gram panchayat.
But, the elected representatives periodically visit the schools to encourage the
teachers to improve the standard of education.
A survey was carried out by the gram panchayat to analyse the sanitation facilities
which are available and identify how many more are required in the area. The problems
identified are being discussed in the gram sabha meeting and proposals are made.
The gram sabha selected 14 families as BPL households as beneficiaries under Total
Sanitation Campaign (TSC) for the year 2003–2004, 15 latrines were constructed through
IAY programmes in the same year, 150 metres length of drainage was constructed through
Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana (PMGY) (GA).
Kasba gram panchayat is having good road network connecting with nearby township
Bolpur and another road is connecting the district headquarter Suri. The internal
roads are connected with metal roads and streets are connected with mud roads. In
each year, considerable amount of finance is allotted to this gram panchayat to
construct and maintain roads and culverts.
Each village has 3 to 4 small water pools (rain water harvesting structures) in
and around the panchayat. People use this water for washing clothes, utensils, bathing
and drinking water for domestic animals. But, for drinking purpose, the gram panchayat
provided three to four hand pumps in each village. Supply of water through overhead
tanks is very limited. Rich people have their own borewells attached with electric
water lifting mechanism. Some of the NGOs have developed water supply structures
in certain villages through foreign collaboration. In Mala village, the drinking
water scheme is a Indo-German sponsored project. Bergram village has Amartya Sen
sponsored project for water supply. Gram panchayat supplies water through pipe connections
in the street to other villages.
DIFFERENCES OF OPINION AMONG GROUP MEMBERS DURING THE GRAM SABHA MEETING
The political party politics, communal politics, eager to utilise the common assets
and facilities, lack of understanding among the people and fund scarcity to fulfill
the needs of the people are some of the issues discussed in the meetings. These
problems are sorted out by providing solutions.
PROBLEMS IN CONDUCTING PARTICIPATORY PLANNING FOR BASIC SERVICES
Percentage of people participating in the gram sabha is less.
There is lack of coordination among the participants.
Late arrival of people for the meeting.
Walk over of people and opposite party members on certain issues.
PROBLEMS FACED BY THE PEOPLE DURING THE PARTICIPATORY PLANNING
The Gram sabha meeting usually ends up late in the evening disturbing the household
work of women who have children and such women are not allowed to attend the gram
sabha meeting by the members. No compensation is given to participants, no food
arrangements during the meeting, suppression of views of poor and lower community
members. There is disappointment among the members for not getting benefits under
individual programmes, party politics is also preventing the members to contribute
in decision making and no allowance is given to the participants.
PROBLEMS FACED BY THE ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES DURING PARTICIPATORY PLANNING
Much preparatory work is needed for organising gram sabhas meetings. Most of the
time postponed due to lack of quorum and to fulfill the government mandatory. There
is lack of adequate finance to satisfy people’s basic needs. There is also a lack
of freedom in utilising State and Central scheme funds.
16. Training Performance of SIRD, Tamil Nadu - An Assessment
Hanumantha Rao and R.P. Achari
Capacity building of development functionaries has become an integral part of the
strategy for sustainable rural development. This in view, the State Institutes of
Rural Development (SIRDs) have been organising several training courses for sensitising
the functionaries at different echelons of development administration even while
seeking to enhance their knowledge and levels of skill with focus on attitudes.
Of late, several SIRDs have been striving to become Resource Centres in specific
areas concerning Panchayati Raj and Rural Development.
The Tamil Nadu SIRD (TN SIRD) has a set of well-defined goals for itself to emerge
as a reputed academic institution of Rural Studies with 10 Centres of Excellence.
In this backdrop, the present assessment of the effectiveness of training and related
functions were made in 2005 by NIRD.
Since 1998-99, there has been considerable increase in the number, range and variety
of training programmes as well as the vast coverage and varied levels of participants.
Several initiatives have been taken to improve the learning and supportive environment.
The contribution of experts from reputed Institutes like Anna University as Resource
Persons in its training endeavours is one of the major indicators. The Memoranda
of Understanding with organisations like Gandhi Gram Institute, and MS Swaminathan
Research Foundation in research and action research amply comprise the other indicators
of quality assurance and learning process. The renovation of hostel buildings and
conference halls and establishment of a computer centre and technology demonstration
units have helped in creating a conducive learning environment.
Study Area and Methodology
The participatory academic assessments by its faculty, a major methodology adopted
in the study, succinctly brings out the progress made by TN-SIRD during the last
five years with regard to its identified major functions. For instance, its overall
performance which was rated at 50 per cent in 1999 had risen to 70 per cent by 2004-05.
And the faculty members are confident that they will be able to improve its overall
performance to 80 per cent in the next five years. The areas which need special
attention for further growth include greater effects in research, publishing papers,
consultancy, action research and networking with other institutions. The need for
evolving a systematic approach to Faculty development as a pre-requisite to sharpen
the skill and knowledge base of the faculty members, the key stakeholders in the
training, learning and development process is highlighted.
Analysis of the 30 selected training programmes conducted during 2001-04 suggested
that they were well received by the participants. For instance, the overall utility
of the programmes (as rated by the participants immediately after completion of
training programmes) varied between 86 and 99 per cent with 25 programmes having
scores above 90 per cent.
The external resource persons too reported their satisfaction with the training
process, design of the programmes, provision of transport, honorarium, etc., above
all the quality of interaction and learning with the inhouse faculty subject matter
specialists. The share of resource persons to the overall number of inhouse faculty
has been reducing overtime both in respect of the total number of speakers and total
sessions. Efforts to make the courses more practical oriented through improved training
modules, ‘Games and Exercises’, case Studies and field visits have been found to
be rewarding. The technology park, for demonstration and dissemination of different
technologies, has been found effective as reported by the participants.
A major share of time of the faculty members (69 per cent) has been utilised for
training activity while other functions like research, action research and preparation
of papers received less time and attention. However, there should be more balanced
distribution of time across activities so that the needed synergy can be achieved.
Some of the activities such as academic contributions to 12th Finance Commission
Work, SGSY and action research projects, model village training centres and SHG
Extension work in which faculty members had spent considerable time enhanced their
learning and also the training effectiveness which needs to be encouraged.
The present level of utilisation of training infrastructure was rather low since
the number of programmes covered was around 80 per annum. This is less compared
to other SIRDs (Comparable to TN SIRD) which have been organising, on an average,
about two training programmes per week. Of late, TN SIRD has been organising the
training programmes at the district level which is desirable. In fact, TN SIRD,
being an apex RD training institute in the State, should evolve a strong network
with other RD training institutes at the sub-State level to organise courses jointly
which will optimise the overall resource use in the State.
Some of the initiatives of TN SIRD such as identification of capable PR elected
members as trainers in programmes related to Panchayati Raj, special exposure visits,
model villages (as SIRD social labs), Rural Bazar website and CDs on various development
activities, have been well received.
Almost all participants found the programmes beneficial and would like to attend
more such programmes at SIRD in future. Compared to similar training programmes
at other training institutions, the TN SIRD programmes have been rated well. However,
the respondents suggested that certain aspects like ‘practical orientation, field
visits, training methods and session planning’, need to be improved. The views on
quality and utility of training were encouraging but the participants desired that
the training content needs to be (better) related to the job chart of the functionaries.
This implies that Training Needs Assessment (TNA) be made more systematic and intensive.
Also, attention should be paid for improving the quality of training material.
The views of the trainees in post-training phase indicates that further improvements
in the supportive environment such as recreation facilities, renovation of rooms
in the hostel, transport service and upgradation of library facilities are necessary.
The overall rating with regard to the training infrastructure (about 70 per cent)
also lends support to these suggestions.
The training programmes helped the participants (80 per cent) in terms of reduction
of time for job management, increase in revenues, more coverage of beneficiaries,
settlement of grievances etc.
The training impact was more on knowledge levels (78 per cent for RD officials and
74 per cent for PR functionaries and VOs) and skill acquisition (82 per cent for
RD officials and 80 per cent for PR functionaries and VOs). The effect was relatively
less on attitudinal change (70-73 per cent). Yet, this is significant.
Further, the trainees opined that participation in training programmes has facilitated
improvement in the quality of interactions with the colleagues and also members
of other organisations.
The fact that about 50 per cent of the respondents offered suggestions for improving
training effectiveness reveal that TN SIRD management has to pay more attention
to some of the deficiencies observed in design and implementation of training programmes
and initiate corrective measures.
Some of the suggestions of the PR functionaries and NGOs, as expected, are quite
interesting. For instance, the suggestion that training for elected representatives
should be held immediately after elections, more number of training programmes,
well planned field visits and question- answer session at the end of the module
etc., will be useful for (re) designing the programmes aimed at this target group.
Some of the suggestions made by the faculty such as preparation of live cases, strengthening
of research cell, updating knowledge inputs of faculty through interactions and
collaborations with other institutions and exposure visits deserve serious consideration
by the management.
TN SIRD management should also pay adequate attention to certain other issues which
have a bearing on the overall performance and resource use. The tenure of Head,
SIRD should be atleast 3 years as suggested by the various colloquia of Secretaries
of RD and PR departments and Heads of SIRDs. This enables continuity and facilitates
setting the right direction with needed pace. The recruitment of faculty and taking
officials on deputation deserve special attention of the management more so when
TN SIRD desires to establish 10 Centres of Excellence. The number and level of faculty
members for each Centre / Area should be carefully planned. In this context, the
service conditions and rationalisation of categories of faculty members require
a comprehensive review.
A well designed road map for TN SIRD to emerge as a key resource centre in a specific
time period should be prepared keeping in view its strengths and weaknesses. A Committee
may be constituted to prepare this road map.
17. A Comparative Study on Efficiency of Monitoring Systems for RD Programmes with
Focus on DLMS
With a view to improve the quality of monitoring and reliability of data as well
as to provide an independent mechanism of cross verification, MORD has initiated
a scheme “District Level Monitoring Scheme” (DLMS) to carry out periodic surveillance
and review of the programme performance, to detect the deviations / problems and
to initiate corrective measures with a view to ensuring progress as planned.
DLMS has been operating since December 2001. Nearly 120 districts were covered and
about seven to nine quarterly reports were received by the MORD up to April, 2004.
It is felt necessary to study the functioning of DLMS vis-à-vis, and also to arrange
for regular monitoring in the districts.
i) To review ongoing process of monitoring systems at the district / block levels
with a focus on strengths and weaknesses of the system.
ii) To assess the level of utilisation of monitored inputs for programme implementation
at different level.
iii) To suggest modifications / measures and improvements, if any, in monitoring
systems as well as scaling up of new interventions.
Study Area and Methodology
The study was carried out in two States namely, Karnataka and Gujarat. From the
State of Karnataka, one district namely Mandya was selected for the study which
is under DLMS. In the State of Gujarat, Kheda district which is under DLMS was selected
for the study. Selection of district was purposive keeping in view of easy accessibility
in view of shortage of time.
The concerned officials from Gram Panchayat, Taluk Panchayat and District Panchayat
accompanied the study team along with last three years’ action plan formulated by
the three tiers for the sample GPs. All assets were verified and checked. The concerned
team members of DLMS also accompanied the team.
The study was conducted during January 2004.
A. UTILISATION OF DLMS AT MORD
Over the years, more systematic mechanisms were evolved for periodic reviewing of
formats and structure of DLMS report and wider dissemination of the findings of
the DLMS. The Monitoring Division ensured that the working of the DLM system is
reviewed periodically at the highest level and the inputs generated by the DLM agencies
are used at different levels. The National Level Monitors (NLM) were asked to follow-up
some of the findings of DLMS report.
According to the feedback received by MoRD, DLM has been found to be very useful,
effective, reliable and result-oriented system of monitoring which is appreciated
by all concerned including Ministry of Rural Development and the Planning Commission.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Ministry of Rural Development has recommended
that DLMS should be extended to all districts.
The findings of the exercise under DLMS were disseminated in the annual conference
of Chief Ministers, Ministers of Rural Development and Secretaries of Rural Development
of all the States. These were discussed in the annual meetings of Project Directors
of DRDAs, meetings of the Members of the Parliamentary Committees, Members of the
Planning Commission etc.
1. The monitoring efforts at the district level are found to be inadequate primarily
because of – a) Staff shortage, b) Mobility constraint, and, c) Resource constraints.
While the coverage, scope, number of, and funds for the schemes are on the increase,
there is no commensurate increase in staff complement; vacancy position at different
2. Lack of proper monitoring has led to wrong identification of beneficiaries, location
of assets created, non release of instalments due to beneficiaries and confusion
over the assets created under different schemes between the officials of district,
taluk and village panchayat relating to their identification.
3. Despite the constraints, DRDA and block level functionaries are able to push
the targets. While staff vacancy is not seen as a major constraint to realise targets,
qualitative monitoring and post-grounding monitoring are still largely absent.
4. The prescribed scheme-wise monitoring requirements are met to some extent, on
an ad hoc and unscheduled manner. Senior officials do visit and take up inspections
but these are not documented and reported in any format. Progress reviews at different
levels are mainly focused towards target achievement.
5. Notwithstanding the limitations in monitoring, the monitored information (physical
and financial progress) that is available in the district has been somewhat, effectively
used for corrective action in Tamil Nadu and to a lesser extent in Uttar Pradesh.
Support services at block and district level are still inadequate in Uttar Pradesh.
6. DLMS reports are comprehensive and are regular in terms of timely submission.
There is uniformity in the presentation of reports.
7. The DLMS agencies are expected to have a local presence in the allotted districts.
In both, the agencies are headquartered outside the State but have set up a marginal
presence in the district. They depend on DRDA and BDO for carrying out the surveys.
This is, however, inevitable. In both the cases, the personnel engaged in DLMS,
are qualified, with experience and good exposure to rural development programmes.
8. Different proforma have been used for different schemes, for collecting qualitative
and quantitative information. In sample districts, each agency formulated its own
proforma for verification. The information collected forms as a very good data base
at the grassroot level to be used by the different departments and institutions
for further planning and development.
9. The district and State level authorities felt that DLMS is a well conceived idea
to supplement and support the monitoring arrangement for rural development programmes.
The utility of these reports either to the district or State are marginal as the
reports are not shared or made available for immediate mid-course correction at
the district level.
NIRD Teams - Field Observations
1. The data on utilisation of funds in Kheda district of Gujarat reveals that during
2003-04 for all the ongoing programmes, it is more than 100 per cent and same is
the case with physical achievement. Under SGRY-I physical achievement through generation
of mandays is about three times the target, whereas utilisation of fund is only
about 108 per cent. The data provided by the DRDA shows that the utilisation of
funds is much higher than available funds. But DRDA could not explain how this was
2. The unrealiability of data can be confirmed further by the wage rates (a) In
2003-04, the per day wage varied between Rs. 142 and Rs. 297 under different streams
of SGRY: In 2004-05, the range is from Rs. 77 to Rs. 123. (b) The data at block
/ taluka office indicate, that for every Rs. 100 spent under SGRY, the mandays generated
varies between 1.31 and 4.16 in the three years under consideration. Assuming 60
per cent amount is spent on wage bill, the cost per manday generated varies from
as low as Rs. 2.50 to a high of Rs. 170.15. Secondly, the minimum wages do not appear
to have been paid in several cases.
3. The type of works undertaken under SGRY, can be categorised under general maintenance
and upkeep which should have been the normal activities with State and panchayat
4. SGSY in the village has been found to be in poor shape when the study was conducted,
as all the SHGs formed are defunct. The case of individual SGSY swarozgaris is slightly
different as individual swarozgaris are functioning well.
5. The DLMS officials informed that only SGSY (individual) and IAY are two programmes
which are properly implemented in the district and IAY beneficiaries are satisfied
with the performance.
6. In Mandya district of Karnataka about 40 to 50 per cent are low quality works
and with poor maintenance. Since there is no organic linkage between the three tiers
at panchayati level, each plan is independent and the awareness of the approved
works among officials and non-officials is limited to their level of operation.
Undue delays in releasing the money from district to below is a common complaint.
7. Around 50 per cent of the beneficiaries of IAY appear to belong to above the
poverty line. Some of the houses constructed by the IAY beneficiaries, by any standard,
cannot be classified under weaker section housing programmes.
8. Engagement of contractors and deployment of machinery in executing the works
are common practice. It has been accepted by the officials that this is the pattern
in the district. In some instances, the completed works cannot be matched with the
actual expenditure incurred both in terms of quantity and quality of work.
Due to inadequate exposure to the kind of lapses or inexperience, the physical verification
was confined, by and large to visual observations.
DLMS Agency, informally shared some of the very critical aspects of programme implementation
with DRDA/ZP. This was appreciated by the District Administration and also immediate
follow-up/ corrective actions were initiated. By and large, the funds have been
used for intended purpose. Nevertheless nepotism, non-adherence to guidelines, and
over reporting of expenditure are seen.
Capacity building in planning and maintenance of records for both elected and governance
functionaries is necessary.
The analysis of the DLMS reports in two sample districts chosen for the study indicate
gradual improvement in the format and reporting as well as presentation, over the
years. Though some negative aspects do get presented in the reports, there seem
to be some reluctance in describing and documenting the lapses and shortcomings.
While the field staff narrate several instances of shortcomings and deviation, such
cases did not find adequate representation in the report. Generally, this seems
to be the weakness in the text part of the report in the sense they are descriptive,
not analytical and critical. The case studies presentation can be improved further
by gathering more information and the process involved like participatory decision-making,
quality of maintenance and cost effectiveness etc.
DLMS is found to be a very useful supplementary monitoring mechanism in the districts.
Since the informal exchange of findings with DRDA/ZP has produced positive action,
it may be necessary to examine and to share a copy of the report to the concerned