ADVERTISMENT
Arunachal

Arunachal: Revitalizing Gram Sabha as the Assembly of the Villagers

The resolution showcases the actual power and positive role that a Gram Sabha a play- that is often ignored and not valued.

Story Highlights
  • A Gram Sabha consist of all eligible voters in a village and its function is similar to a legislative Assembly. Elected Panchayat members are accountable to this body.

A Year in Longding District of Arunachal PradeshLONGDING- ( By Nyatum Doke)-  As I was attending a Gram Sabha in Ranglua village, Under Lawnu Circle of Longding District On 10th of June, I was astonished to see the spirit of the villagers towards protection of the catchment areas. In the meeting People of Ranglua and Rusa unanimously resolved to protect the catchment area of Rakhaw, Watak and Zennu stream which are the main sources of Linglam Rusa, Tiru Rusa, Ranglua and Tanglam Rusa villages. The resolution showcases the actual power and positive role that a Gram Sabha a play- that is often ignored and not valued.

A Gram Sabha consist of all eligible voters in a village and its function is similar to a legislative Assembly. Elected Panchayat members are accountable to this body. However, Gram Sabha is seldom given the importance that it deserves.

During my childhood I use to see a person coming in bicycle with a register to get signature of my parents for Gram Sabha attendance. At that time, I did not understand the nuances but as I see now, that was the way to ensure the quorum for the meeting and decision making.

Arunachal: Revitalizing Gram Sabha as the Assembly of the Villagers

Then, when I was posted in Upper Subansiri as PMRDF I learnt from my experieces is some villages that it was just being conducted for namesake. In order to imbibe and showcased the importance of Gram sabhas the then Deputy commissioner of Upper Subansiri Komkar Dulom initiated a Mega Gram Sabha at Sikarijo village on MNREGA.

Recently, when I was in-charge of Circle officer, during one of the GPDP gram sabha meeting, as the attendance was low, I asked “where are the people we should involve them”; to that one replied “sir unlog ko kuch pata nehi hai (they don’t know anything- so their input would not be of much use)”. I sarcastically replied “but it seems the same people have elected you”.

The intentions of these anecdotes are not to stir any controversy or to paint a negative picture of our system. Also, the purpose of the write up is not to give details and Nuances of “how and what” of a Gram Sabha Meeting. The idea is to highlight on the inherent issue related the Gram Sabha meetings. With the coming of the NITI Aayog the govt is basically focusing on the bottom-up approach instead of the ‘top-down model that was followed earlier. Guided by the principle of “subsidiarity”. Therefore, it is pertinent that the development plans come from the grassroot, also the need is amplified by the Govt’s focus on People’s plan campaign.

So much importance is given to the Gram Sabha by the Govt but why there is a lethargy or lackadaisical attitude in our places. The general problems may be many, however I will focus on the specific issues. Our Arunachal is peculiar in nature and we are “feast loving” tribes; and then for our people ‘scheme and development’ usually understood as “free money”.

when people are invited to the meeting, at the end, it becomes a picnic with breakfast, lunch and snacks in between. People will think leader have funds, leaders think officers have fund and so on. Then, even if there is no fund, they will arrange because its matter of prestige for us.

To add, we the Arunachalees specially the villagers won’t have a feast without a sumptuous non-veg item added to eat. In one of my anecdotes above in Upper Subansiri, we enden up sacrificing a Goat and Few chicken for the Gram Sabha feast. In this scenario conducting a Gram Sabha meeting becomes difficult. Moreover, the household in the hilly areas are usually located far away from each other sometimes information dissemination and transportation become difficult. Then, for a villager ensure the daily bread becomes more important than a meeting – where he/she thinks that his/her voice won’t make any difference.

Whatever it maybe, but it is important that we work towards making these institutions properly and revitalise the Gram Sabhas as an assembly of the village. And if we want to make the Gram Sabha meetings meaningful and sustainable, one solution is that we need to adopt the approach of “mini-Maxi”- ‘minimizing expenditure, maximizing Outcome;’ these can be done only if the people of the villages understand the purpose of Gram Sabha properly.  A vibrant grassroot development and their participation in the decision-making process will not only strengthen the ethos of democratic polity, but also, lead to socio economic and sustainable development.

WATCH BOLE INDIA VIDEO

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button