Powering Democracy

With assistance and support from the Haryana Institute of Rural Development, Department of Rural Development Haryana, a campaign was launched in Mewat to strengthen the Panchayati Raj Institution. 

The objective of the project was to enhance participation of women in the process of Panchayats; motivate and mobilize people to participate in local development; provide information about their roles and responsibilities; strengthen capability for participatory local development; strengthen institutional capabilities of local decision-makers for their varied and demanding tasks; enhance opportunities for sharing knowledge and understanding of good practices in local development.  

The project involved production of 20 half an hour long programs to be broadcast on the community radio station as well as sensitizing the community about their rights and responsibilities as members of a democratic system. 

Issues covered ranged from : Why panchayats and need for decentralization of governance; the vision of village-based self-government institutions; expectations and need for public participation; information on 73rd Amendment and simplifying the three-tier panchayati raj system; Legislative framework for the establishment of panchayati paj, Election, tenure and composition of members at the three tier system; details on the Gram Sabha, its meetings, its roles and responsibilities; the power and responsibilities of the Gram Panchayat –its members and a range of their activities, role of the panchayat samitis, its constitution and responsibilities; enhancement of women’s participation in the panchayats: apprising them about the reservations for women, qualities they need to imbibe, leadership skills they need to acquire etc. Special emphasis was given to skills like: communication, empowerment, leadership, gender sensitization, stress management, use of technology; concepts of participatory management and awareness building which include a bottoms up approach were discussed ; strategies for collection and maintenance of data, formation of working groups ,strategizing and preparing work plans were shared and lastly concept of social audit was demystified.