By: Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao
[The writer is CPRO to Telangana CM]
After meticulous design and planning, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has conceived yet another unique Community Up-keep Programme aimed at development of 10, 000 and odd villages including thandas. As part of this, every village will receive funds ranging from `2 crores to `5 crores. Known as Grama Jyothi, to be formally announced on August 15 and launched on 17th, a sum of `25, 000 crores would be spent for integrated and comprehensive development of rural areas in the next five years. It will be a week-long event up to August 24 when officials and elected public representatives will visit villages to prepare plans for development with public participation.
Under this programme, which is based on the concept, ‘plan your village and clean your village’, the CM desires that each and every elected representative – MP, MLA, MLC – should adopt one village in their respective constituency and make it a model village. In addition, several district level officers right from the collector down to the MRO and MDO etc will take the lead in village development as change agents. They will help in constituting village level committees.
The stress will be on up-keep of the village wherein the village sarpanch will be exposed to the Gram Sabha and the entire activity would be made development-centric. Grama Jyothi will be followed by Pattana Jyothi with the same objective in urban areas.
To chalk out an action plan and discuss modalities for implementation of the programme, a conference of district collectors, joint collectors, SPs and departmental heads was convened on July 30 wherein the CM recalled the immediate aftermath of independence when Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister and SK Dey India’s first Union Cabinet Minister for Cooperation and Panchayat Raj.
The CM remembered Dey as one who had pioneered and steered community development in independent India.
In India, the two most important movements are panchayat raj and cooperative. Though 73rd Constitutional Amendment enumerates powers and functions of Panchayat Raj Institutions, in most of the states, the desired results could not be achieved. It is meaningful to discuss the whole aspect to revive the movement. In this context, it is pertinent to refer to the Eisenhower-Jawaharlal Nehru meeting in USA during the days of the first five-year plan and SK Dey’s introduction to Nehru by Eisenhower. After a luncheon with Dey and mentioning that he was proud of him, Nehru invited Dey to return to India and take part in its development.
Expressing his reservations on the first Five-Year Plan priorities, which had emphasis on industrial development, Dey politely deferred his decision to return to India. He further suggested to Nehru that instead of taking forward the country with support from foreign technical knowhow, he should concentrate on distribution of lakhs of acres of waste land to the rural poor, give top priority for education and literacy and eradicate untouchability.
On his return from the US, Nehru convened a full-fledged cabinet meeting and, where he discussed at length the suggestions of Dey.
This paved the way for deviation in the subsequent plans. More emphasis on irrigation projects and public sector undertakings started emerging. SK Dey on knowing these developments returned to India and Nehru made him a member of the Rajya Sabha and later, a Union Cabinet Minister for Cooperation and Panchayat Raj.
As minister, Dey’s pet project was Community Development. Dey spent a considerable amount of time at the National Institute of Rural Development in Hyderabad from where he steered the Panchayat Raj movement. The first Panchayat Raj was formed in Shadnagar, Mahaboobnagar district by Jawaharlal Nehru on the auspicious day VijayDashami on October 14, 1959.
According to Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao, seven decades of independence has not brought much change in the Panchayat Raj system. It is time to take a pledge to do something for the village where we live. The habit of planning their village must be inculcated among the people. The CM told the collectors they should educate sarpanches, MPTC and ZPTC members and mandal presidents about planning.
The Chief Minister says every individual in the village should participate in the Gram Sabha.
Source: The New Indian Express