I was very interested and passionate to join the civil services. I started preparations for the exam after completing Executive Management Course from IIM-C. Being born and brought-up in rural areas, I have seen the problems and issues of rural areas very closely since the beginning of my life and I always wanted to work for development of rural areas as a civil servant or in any other way. I came across the advertisement of PMRDF and found that it was a wonderful opportunity for youth to work as development facilitators in rural areas and gain huge experience of working in underdeveloped LWE affected rural areas. So, I did not have a second thought in my mind rather than applying for this fellowship.
We joined the district (West Midnapore) in West Bengal in September, 2012. District Magistrate has directed us to report to the District Planning Officer (DPLO), who is the head of Development and Planning Department. In district, we are mainly working with the ADM (Development) and DPLO.
On the very first day of my joining with my co fellow, we were given two assignments namely The Backward Village Action Plan and Tourism Development and Livelihood Generation Project. Backward village fund was granted by the State Government and the funds were pending with the Zilla Parishad. We undertook several field visits to understand and identify the actual need of the people. According to that, we made the plan and allocated the fund in different heads like agriculture, soil conservation, irrigation, drinking water etc. The plan has been approved by the competent authority and has been given to different line departments for distribution of different items to the beneficiaries. In tourism, we did a Preliminary Project Report on Jhargram tourism circuit development. Then we did a project on rural tourism cluster development mainly focusing on cultural tourism and livelihood generation. We have got the fund for the project from the State Government. We have initiated it and field work is going on.
State Panchayat and Rural Development department has conducted a study on MGNREGA exploring the impact of this scheme on women empowerment, asset creation and durability of the asset and migration. From scratch to the end, we did overall supervision of this study. Apart from that, I am a member of monitoring and inspection team of MGNREGA.
I am also a member of inspection team of Mobile Medical Unit, which is specifically running in LWE blocks in my district.
I am closely working on National Fibre Mission, which was launched recently in West Bengal. We have selected the trainer and they are delivering training to the villagers on making different products from fibre. We are frequently visiting the venue of training to see the quality and effectiveness of the training. We are also in the process of preparing a marketing linkage plan for sales of the product.
At the time of field visit we encountered some issues. The areas where we are working are very politically mobilized. The people are either form one political group or another. So when we are listening to the villagers about their problem, there were different versions of the problems and issues and it was really difficult to detect the right one.
It was my first experience of working with the Government. Sometimes, I felt that the work process is very slow and it is very difficult to work because of the lack of proper timeline. But there are some officers and employees, who are really energetic and want to work for the development of those rural areas. So, the experience which I gathered within this one year is really insightful and exciting. With this experience of failure and success, I want to work for rest of my fellowship for the development of my district by working with the government as well as with the community.
Habib Raihan is based at West Midnapore in West Bengal. He is a B. Tech. and has also completed Executive Management Course from IIM-C. He worked in Financial Services sector for around two years before joining PMRDF.