When knowledge is flooded with experience, self-confidence blooms. To gain this state of professional career, my journey started with an organization which had a line of dedicated and extremely talented resources and that organization was none other than Development Support Agency of Gujarat. This nodal agency is constituted under the Tribal Development Department, Government of Gujarat, headed by the Secretary, TDD as Vice Chairman of the agency. After getting a place in this organization just after passing my Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Development from XISS, Ranchi, I was being put into a work situation which I indeed required at that initial stage of my professional career. Development Support Agency has given lots of room to experiment, learn and explore new opportunities to work in the rural sector and that too across range of activities including planning, monitoring and evaluating the concerned development projects. Primarily I was engaged in handling two major projects. One was the IEC project (Information, Education & Communication) which takes care of the publicity and promotion of various developmental projects undertaken by the agency across the ITDP districts in Gujarat. The other one was about creating an online job portal for the unemployed tribal youths in collaboration with Microsoft. These two projects have not only broadened my knowledge base about the various developmental schemes run by the State Government but also developed an insight into the link between the need and feed of the targeted beneficiaries. After 8 months in this organization, I got another opportunity to serve a giant corporate, viz. ITC Limited in its CSR wing. This was totally a different kind of job for me. This brought in a new perspective of development; in terms of making a quick impact in the targeted areas of intervention by the organization through several developmental initiatives, ranging from improving the quality of teaching in the primary schools to bringing in an improved variety of milch cattle etc. These proficient engagements made a significant impact both in my personal domain and also at the employer’s domain. However, I always had a dream to understand the way Government schemes are implemented under the purview of the administration at all levels. This is important because a huge chunk of public money is being utilized for development purpose under the Government sector. This dream saw the light of the day when I got an opportunity to serve one of the most difficult areas of the country viz. Purulia; as a change agent and this is how my journey as Prime Minister’s Rural Development Fellow started.
Expectations that I had from this profile was that of a catalyst who could bring in lubricity in the planning, execution and monitoring of various developmental schemes running in the district by the district administration. My responsibilities in the district matched my expectations. My activities include constant and rigorous follow ups of the different schematic progresses of IAP, PUP, BEUP etc. These follow up activities came out in the form of rigorous monitoring and evaluation of the schemes followed by submission of the reports to the district administration for their perusal. Though these activities sound pretty simple and regular but the impact of these activities are visible in the district in the form of remarkable changes in the implementation qualities of the schemes across the district. Of course the credit for the same does not only belong to me but also to the district administration which has considered my remarks on a serious note along with the constant cooperation and value addition by my colleague. Apart from this, I have been constantly involved in the community based planning and identifying of the potential areas for various sectoral interventions. Also, an important task assigned by the District Magistrate is to ensure the need based planning with the best of our capabilities.
To me being a fellow, I am not here to challenge the existing system; rather to bring in necessary components to strengthen the existing system. Today I can proudly state that this fellowship is not only a bright opportunity for me to excel in my capabilities but also a platform to test my resiliency in fostering change in a pervasive and persistent system called the District Administration for the sake of development in the district.
Sourabh Bhattacharjee is placed at Purulia, West Bengal. He holds a B.Sc. (Mathematics Hons.) from Vinoba Bhave University, Hazaribagh and a P.G.D.R.D from Xavier Institute of Social Service, Ranchi