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DESCRIPTIONA self learning exercise to explore the ideal village of Maharashtra.
- 1. HIWARE BAZAARDeconstructing the Ideal VillageAhmadnagar, Maharashtra 22 Dec 2012 - 25 Dec 2012
2. Model village of MaharashtraA self-learning exercise to experience and understandthe reality of this model of developmentMethods participative observation, specific enquirybased construction of context, village walks, etc. All views are mine and any factual errors are unintentional, and entirely my mistake 3. The Village Map 4. History Migration due to unemployment and livelihood distress Alcoholism and collapse of education and healthcare Faction-ridden society with fights on issues of landencroachment, water issues, etc.Conversation with peopleof the neighbouring Lack of solidarity and respectvillages reveal that theyare envious and proud ofHiware Bazaar andGeography identify these things asthe stumbling blocks intheir path of progress Around 1000 hectares at the foothills of Sahyadris Total rainfall 199 mm (2011-12), Water scarce region,Ground water exploitation Agriculture rain fed Limited water retention- (a) Geological structure does notallow for water permeability (b) Degradation of forests 5. The State Of Affairs NOW Full access to safe drinking water, sanitation, very high literacy, schooleducation upto X std. Increase in irrigated area + ground water Sustainable prosperous agriculture + Dairy economy very prosperousdue to high quality of grass Effective public institutions, high physical development, participatorygovernance and prosperous. 6. The Transition To ProgressGovernance Experiential Learning: Initially a demonstration was carried out to the villagesabout the failed projects in neighbouring villages about the mis-management ofresources Gram Sabha: meetings every month at least, and more on need-basis, all voicesare duly regarded, not a noble dictator; as told by the Sarpanch to us- a simplemajority is not used; until a vast majority, esp. the parties involved agree, theproposed initiative is not taken up - Eg. the land re-measurement task waspending from 1997-2004 due to enormous resistance. People power: The people prioritise their development projects, contribute freelabour through shramdaan and manage essential natural resources throughenforcement of norms Transparency & Accountability expenditure statements accessible to all- wasbrought about to convince the doubters. 7. Resource Use Management Awareness generation about soil and water conservation Ban on private bore wells (except two for drinking water), community handpumps installed at several places. Open wells used for water access Ban on water-intensive crops like sugarcane and banana. Half acresugarcane permitted for fodder purpose, but only through usage of dripirrigation Measurement of groundwater levels by school children Collection and Management of a monthly water tax Rs 60/month (2012)- onindividual connections Committees to monitor forest conservation, cleanliness, wildlife protection Decisions on crop planning and water budgeting taken in Gram Sansadmeetings o Based on the rainfall in a given year, the village decides for using kharif,rabi or summer crops. o Drip Irrigation is encouraged 8. Mostly bio-gas used, Chulhas less used to preserve biomass, LPGs not asprevalent, but exists. Some decisions were enforced in a staggered manner to not affect the poor o Tree cutting ban incrementally increased starting from forest land. An instance of gaming the system- People started misusing thetemporary stay on Babul tree cutting. Many were cut as a result. A Pune-based consultant was hired and the trees were injected at theroot, giving more gum resin output. This is how trees were saved. o Grazing restrictions also incremental in nature. Open grazing in rotational basis One head load of grass a day from common lands for Rs. 100 per year.Fee exempt for poor/landless families, cut through sickle to preserveroots. 9. Watershed Development InitiativeBefore the watershed development, rainwater was flowing without percolation andretention. This was due to no time available for the water to seep into the soil. This processmay be accelerated due to loss of green cover and forest degradation.The watershed development programme in Hiware Bazaar started in 1992.The set of measures they undertook were- Reforestation of the hilly forest land Building trenches along contours Shallow dams off stone or cement Aquifer blast - because the run off water was flowing to the neighbouring pond, creatingcracks for groundwater to flow throughLow earthen barriers and small ponds were constructed for additional surface water storageFinancing was achieved through the various govt schemes o Joint Forestry Management Programme with the Forest Dept. on forest land o Adarsh Gaon Yojana of the Maharashtra Govt on non-forest landYashwant Krishi Gram and Watershed Development Trust NGOs, managed the money andoffered technical assistance the Sarpanch being a part of this NGOShramdaan provided free labour 10. Some Misc. DetailsLand value increased due to productivity.. Sale of land to outsiderswas banned, and landless were given first priority to purchase land.Active credit access for land and livestock by the gram sabha andthe sarpanch.A visit to a particular dalit settlement displayed a good sense of well-being and belonginess. Seemed contended, secured and wellintegrated with the village. Physical development - concrete road,pakka houses, water, toilets, water tank nearby.Part of school land was initially a liquor shop. All liquor shops were shutdown. The school building was renovated and expanded throughvillagers self contribution, utilising govt funds and through shramdaan. 11. Farming is a primary occupation. Common crops grown-Jawar, Corn, Pomogranate, Tomato, Brinjal, Onion, Dhaniya, Sitafal, etc. Mechanised farming and drip irrigation is also variedly used. With risein income due to agricultural prosperity, investment in water storageand in assets like cattle has increasedCommunity feeling is a striking feature. Animosities perceived to beabsent during our conversations with numerous individuals with differingsocial standing.A water tank near the Dalit settlements and a mosque for the onlyMuslim household are powerful symbols of inclusiveness and integrationDue to better governance and optimal resource use management, allpublic institutions like public distribution system, public health care, etc.seems to be functioning well, much to the satisfaction of the villagers. 12. Sarpanchs Crucial Decisions Tapping into govt scheme funds (one of the first being Indira AwaasYojana) through his social-cultural capital for sanctioning grants. Primary thrust on education and later water-management (impresource in dryland regions and where agriculture is the mainstay) Participatory governance, uniting community (through fostering ofvalues and education), transparency and accountability, followingnorms, Shramdaan. Community driven with active assistance to the poor. Land sale banto outsiders helped in the landless buying land equitable growth 13. Luck Factors Less population (around thousand) and a vastly homogeneousone 80% Marathas. Consensus building and decision making forresource sharing becomes faster and easier. Far away from a major city. Not counting Ahmednagar. Helpsreducing aspirations of the city life. Bad transport connectivity. Leadership: Had Popatrao Pawar an affluent, educated cityfolk who was persuaded to return and lead the panchayat tohead it and show the future direction. Humble, Dedicated andFarsighted guy. Geography: Being near the foothills of the Sahaydris, easier totrace water flowing patterns, thus watershed programme wasslightly easier to implement 14. Future Prospects Agricultural prosperity is unlikely to let the villagers shiftoccupations. Preservation of norms and commonsis a continuouschallenge Urbanised, mechanised aspirational city life in the nearby maybring about changes Although all efforts are community driven, it binds only at theface of a respected leadership. Leadership transition mayhave profound unintended changes. 15. What Hiware Bazaar SHOULD BE PROUD OF? Strategic interventions esp. watershed management= agriculturally sustainable >> PROSPERITY Correspondingly renewal of public institutions +participative, accountable governance = IDEALVILLAGEWhat Hiware Bazaar SHOULD NOT CONFUSE itself as? NOT SELF SUFFICIENT in the fullest sense- either alone,or even a part of associated units of villages, townsor cities. DEPENDENT on other places for all essential,manufactured and service goods. 16. Community driven commons approachHiware Bazaar Emphasis on collaboration, community bonds - a near perfect example Economically inefficient, ecologically sustainable Stake in ownership helps preserve resources Norms easier to maintain and regulate Everyone wins, equitable-inclusive growthIncentive driven economic approach Dominant economic Emphasis on competition, atomistic individual growsmodel followed Economically efficient, ecologically unsustainable in India Aim for profit seeking, may lead to reckless use of resources. Laws are devised, and soon after loopholes are crafted out to escaperegulation Few winners, many losers- esp the poor and the environment 17. My PerspectiveNeed for (a) Decentralisation of powers (b) Building capacities atthe grassroots (c) Local context driven solutions withassistance(financial, technical, etc.) from the bigger institutionsCommons may produce less economic efficiency than pvt.property but seems to win in aspects of social (communitybonding, helps in reduced alienation of the individual) andecological (prudent use of resources) aspectsCan industries be accommodated/integrated with such models? Or will some places always have to face the wrath ofdevelopment agenda ?