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Social Inclusion and Empowerment
Civic Leadership Governance and Social Accountability
 
 
 
Social Determinants of Disaster Risk Reduction
 
Civic Leadership Governance and Social Accountability « Programmes
 
CAPACITY BUILDING OF PANCHAYATI RAJ INSTITUTIONS » INSTRUMENTALITY OF RUNNING A PRC CAPACITY
 
PRCs can be run by independent institutions without having any association with any political parties. The PRCs may be set up in close collaboration with the State Government, Jila Panchayat and Taluka Panchayat. For legitimacy and recognition, PRCs need to be located in the taluka Panchayat premises or in the resource center being constructed under BRGF. PRCs are to be staffed by a minimum of three member team (with combination of male and female staff) to provide capacity building support to the PRI representatives. One staff shall be from the finance background, the other from the civil engineering background and the third as gender and social work expert. These staff members will provide support to financial management, development of work plans and estimates, support to women and dalit representatives of effective panchayat functioning. On rotation basis while one member manages the PRC desk the other members visit the Gram Panchayats and provides required support at the doorstep.

In order to provide ongoing local support the PRC also promotes a local resource group drawing active leaders from among ex-elected representatives, retired teachers, SHG leaders and retired government officials. The Taluka Resource Group (TRG) need to be oriented on issues of poverty, citizenship, gram sabha, social audit, government programmes, gender and Panchayat administration. The TRG will interface between the elected representatives and the villagers for Gram Sabha mobilization, seeking important information and monitoring basic services to improve availability, access and quality. (Under NREGS, for social audit and training of Village Vigilance and Monitoring Committee, TRGs have been formed at Taluka level)

The PRC shall be set up in such a way that the elected representatives, TRG members, local administrative officials and local community members can be received in a dignified manner. The demands of the members must be listened and complied. The demands can be on latest government programmes and schemes, information on responsibilities and powers as per law, or procedural guidance relating to village level cases of encroachment, basic service delivery, public/community construction work, lack of co-ordination with the administration and VLWs, including Gram Sevaks. The Resource group members should be encouraged to visit the PRC to share their current activities on support to panchyats. The administrative officials can seek information relating to government orders relating to change in guidelines of development programmes, responsibilities and statutory powers as per law etc. The local community members can come with individual and/or community grievances. These may include- delay in release of instalment, non-registration under various development programmes, poor quality and/or exclusion from basic services. The PRC staff members need to provide information for initiating action- including facilitating response from the concerned line departments at the taluka and district level.

Each PRC shall also keep a daily and monthly activity register. Visitor registers are also maintained at each Centre. The following resource materials can also be made available at each PRC- (i) basic contact information regarding the ERs and administrative personnel at the GP, TP and ZP level (ii) copy of Government Orders and Resolutions (iii) forms and guidelines of various social security schemes such as- pensions, IAY, Janani Suraksha Yojana. (iv) agenda and proceedings of the Gram Sabhas and Ward Sabhas attended (v) related newspaper cuttings (vi) copy of Panchayati Raj rules (vii) citizen charters of various government departments and agencies (viii) popular materials published by govt. and NGOs.

The staff shall take turns to visit the field areas, while one member stays at the Centre. During a field visit, the staff members shall visit one of the Gram Panchayats in the area, to which intensive support is required. During the visit, the staff member shall also visit the Sarpanch at his/her residence or place of work in case the Panchayat is closed or the Sarpanch is not present in the office. The staff member shall also visit other Ward Panchs, especially women; and Resource Group members. In addition, they also try and organise community meetings with the Resource Group members and others from the community.

During community meetings, the staff member may share the details of various development/social security schemes, legal provisions, government resolutions and orders. The community members and elected representatives need to be encouraged to share their concerns with the staff member. Typically, the ERs, especially women discuss their concern regarding their marginalisation at the Gram Sabha/Panchayat Baithak. The points raised by the WERs shall be included in the agenda for the meeting. The rural people shall be motivated to share their experiences relating to non-performance of the PRIs, quality of basic services and the lack of information at the VLW (Village Level Worker) and GP/PS administration level.

In response to the concerns of the ERs, the PRC staff members shall facilitate the functioning of the ERs through (i) preparation and prioritisation within the agenda (ii) provision of additional information- responsibilities and statutory power and sources of income for the Gram Panchayat; and (iii) linkage with administration at ZP/TP level. For addressing the concerns of the local community, the PRC can provides procedural guidance and application support.

The meetings can also be used for issue-based community mobilisation. The villagers shall be informed of the impending Gram Sabha, its agenda and the scope for articulating the interests of specific groups, especially women and dalits. The PRC staff members shall also mobilise the community to take an active part in the Gram Sabha. They need to work to encourage the inclusion of ward level proposals within the agenda and discussion at the Gram Sabha.

In case of government sponsored campaigns, missions and camps, the PRC staff members shall disseminate the details of the programme. They need to mobilise the community, especially women and dalits to take part and facilitate their access through such programmes. The support can be extended to the local administration for organising the programme. A separate help desk can be organised at each Taluka level camp. The staff member can work for initial screening of applications.

The PRC staff can take note of training programmes organized for ERs by the govt. and NGOs. They can nominate the ERs taking approval from the TDO/Takula Panchyat Chair Person. The PRC staff members shall make all efforts to facilitate the articulation of the WERs, in representing the interest and needs of the vulnerable section of the society.

Each PRC shall identify Gram Panchayats that require intensive support. The criteria may be developed in consultation with the TDO. Relative backwardness and programme non performance can be the major criteria. The nature of support can be weekly travel to the Gram Panchayat to facilitate the functioning of the Sarpanch in case the Gram Panchayat does not function and/or remains closed. The community can also be mobilised to extend support to the Sarpanch. In case of resistance to independent functioning of women Sarpanches, the local administration, TDO and the community need to be informed, so that local support is created. Such mechanisms work to facilitate attendance, participation and decision making at the Gram Panchayats.
   
 
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