I was preparing for the Civil Services. I got the information about PMRDF from the internet. I was looking for this type of opportunity. I was very glad to join the PMRDF. I have another good reason to join the program. I am a fan of Mr. Jairam Ramesh. There is a reason behind that. When he joined Environment Ministry he took action on some big issues like Lavasa city and panchayat participation in forest area development. This type of ideological action shows his depth of understanding of the marginalized sector and sustainable development.
My mind was fully ready to understand the system and the mechanism of delivery. Earlier I heard that government system is very bad, everyone is corrupt and nobody cares about people. However, my philosophy was very different. I thought that criticism is easy but action is difficult. I have to work in the system and then only I can blame. My family was not agreeing to my decision but I told them not to worry. I am going to do something better and God is with me. I told them – do not think about me, think about the military man, the farmer and the labourer – they are doing their job in very critical condition. Before joining, I was not aware about the stipend. I was working in production industry and my daily routine was production, planning and quality control. I was getting good money living in Delhi in Hauzkhas and passing good time. However, I felt I would not be modern by mind if I cannot do anything for the society. I have to do something different to improve the Image and condition of India and Indian People.
I joined the PMRDF program in Hyderabad. During training period, my colleague and I did lot of work in the selected block. In the starting, we got good support from District Administration. Our DC IAS Mr Suhas LY was a very young and dynamic person. He gave us good support to understand the system. We got Chopan Block for the field training. Chopan block has a lot of geographical diversity and differences from the other blocks of UP. It has more population of SCs, STs, more poverty and dense forest area. We selected two villages to understand local geography and culture. We got all information about villages. These villages had Chero, Baiga, Kharwar and Gond among the Scheduled Tribes. Their tolas are far from the other communities of the villages. They do not have basic facilities like water, health and livelihood. Government employees and elected representative of the village were not showing any interest to improve the condition. We were staying in the village and trying to motivate the elected representative and local people to participate in developmental work to improve the condition. We organized a social audit meeting. Somebody told us that Secretary and Pradhan are making money by doing bad quality work. We asked the Secretary and told him that he had to face the villagers in panchayat bhawan. Next day many people came in the panchayat bhawan and started argument about the bad and incomplete work. I persuaded them not to fight but try to know the reason and the date when work would be complete. After a lot of discussion, Secretary told that he would try to complete the work in one month. After this incident, villagers were very happy and satisfied to get this type of solution. We approached every government employee to tell about the government program in front of local people. This technique created very productive pressure on both parties.
After completion of my training, I came back to the district headquarter. I thought, without the help of higher authorities I could not make any change. We targeted IAP, SSA, MDM, ICDS and other Scheme like MGNAREGA, Innovation fund etc. I contacted every local politician, intellectual person and local representative. My idea was to make them aware about our program and goal. It was good start for me and I got good support from everyone. My daily routine was to find out the loophole and bottleneck in the system. After survey and analysis, I always approached the DC and concerned authority to address these problems. Corruption was the biggest of problems. Due to corruption, one incident took place that is very big for me. We visited Kastoorba Gandhi School, made a report and then submitted to DC and BSA. In the report, everything was specified like safety, drinking water, health and sanitation problem etc. There is no boundary wall and it could be a major threat to safety of adolescent girls but higher authority took late decision. One girl committed suicide due to mental and sexual harassment. Guardians are saying this is murder. I am asking myself who is the ‘murderer’. Still I am doing same work but corruption stops me from enhancing my speed.
Kavindra Kulkarni is based at Chopan of Sonebhadra district (Uttar Pradesh). Kavindra is a B.Tech in Textile from Government Central Textile Institute, Kanpur and also holds a Masters in Fashion Technology from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Bangalore. Before joining as a PMRDF, Kavindra worked as a production coordinator in Haryana and then as an Assistant Merchandiser in Noida. He also gave his time to a Lucknow based NGO. The NGO is working for skill training in Textile sector.