One often hears about the failure of implementation inherent in the government programmes since independence. I wanted to witness by myself how that these ‘failures’ occur and if there a way out. I had worked with BASIX Consulting services in the sector of financial inclusion as a development professional. At BASIX, we were assisting financial institutions working with the poor for promoting financial inclusion and enhancing their capacities. However, I strongly felt the need for understanding the entire eco-system of development from within. The government of India is the largest player in the arena of poverty alleviation and has its big presence in all fields of human development. Through this fellowship I saw an opportunity to expose myself to the government working mechanism and understand how these vast government systems function. I was expecting to see the big picture of the development scenario and connect the distant dots I had in my mind after this fellowship. I expected to be an enriched development professional at the end of this fellowship. This would help me to contribute more meaningfully to the development work in various capacities in the future.
After a year with the fellowship, I could say that I am moving towards the goal that I had envisaged. I have had a chance to learn and most importantly, do so while contributing to the system. With exposure and contributions in almost all aspects of development viz. social security nets and poverty alleviation schemes, public health, education, child and women development, public infrastructure etc. I can see myself having a better understanding of the development scenario. I am now more alive to the various challenges confronting government in poverty alleviation but I am also now very clear on how much well-coordinated concerted efforts can accomplish.
While the learnings have been the primary take away from the fellowship, the contributions to the field have been significant as well. At Palamau (Jharkhand), we have drafted the Proposal for Saryu action plan, set up new systems and technologies for service delivery like biometric attendance systems and helplines for grievance redressal. We have also been working towards expediting the government rural development schemes through redistributing resources at various levels and raising the monitoring standards. Innovative pilot projects in collaboration with civil society organizations have also been taken up. Some of these are being monitored by the Planning Commission, for development of new models of efficient service delivery. From where I stand, a year into fellowship, it has been an enriching experience where each day brings me not only a new hope for India but also new and valuable learning.
Akshay Kashyap is based at Medininagar (Daltonganj) of Palamu district (Jharkhand). Akshay is a B.Sc. (IT) Hons. from IASE University Rajasthan and an M.A. in Social Work (Specialization in Dalit and Tribal studies) from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.