I am grateful to the Government of India for launching the Prime Minister’s Rural Development Fellowship Scheme, which enabled me as an agent to bring change in the rural area especially among the SC/ST and other communities yet to be effectively reached. Being a ST candidate myself, I understand the struggles, problems that they face in their everyday life. After completion of my M A, I started working in Jhabua, Betul and Sidhi, tribal dominated districts of Madhya Pradesh. I have a passion and a dream to work for the weaker section and people yet to be reached, so, I was working with the poor, women, SC & ST on rights based approach, livelihoods and governance in these districts.
I was looking for a platform that will allow me to work and put my creativity into use for development of poor and the communities, which are yet to be effectively reached from the point of the government services. PMRDF is one of the best opportunities, where I think I can work closely with the district administration for the poor people and enhance their access to the government services in the areas yet to be effectively reached in the district.
As PMRD Fellow, I am working for the development of Institutions like SHGs, producer groups and and promotion of livelihood clusters. To get these things done, I am working closely with National Rural Livelihood Mission in the district. I am contributing my knowledge and experience in institution building, capacity building and financial linkage for the existing institutions. Ganjam district has achieved 331 SHGs Bank linkages in the last financial year. My aim is to strengthen the governance system, for which initiatives are taken for better participation in Gram Sabhas. Good numbers of proposals related to MGNREGA and other programs for beneficiaries were taken up in the last financial year. The district administration has accepted to establish the Panchayat Suchna Kendra in every Panchayat. District administration will sign MoUs with the selected NGOs, which will run the program. I hope this will facilitate and cater to the information and documentation/ application related work for different schemes and take these to people in need. Besides this, along with my colleague and one of the NGOs known as OMEGA, we have started documenting the success stories in the district. I have also started working for the PTG’s of Tumba village in Patrapur block of Ganjam district, in which a proper research and a need assessment study has to be carried out and subsequently a plan to take the Government services there will be developed.
I have seen acute poverty in the villages that I visited and find people helpless and hopeless. There is a lack of proper planning, execution, monitoring and feedback system on how the various Government schemes are benefitting people. I believe and found that people have strong desire to come out of poverty. I also believe that people’s participation in governance (Gram Sabah) will ensure the proper implementation of the schemes and in turn benefit them. If NRLM is implemented properly, it has the potential to solve many problems related to the livelihoods of poor in the region.
Things are gradually getting done; sometimes district administration is so cooperative and sometimes not same at block level also. We need to have a lot of patience and optimism about things to get it done.
Prasan Tete is based at Ganjam in Odisha. He has an M. A. in Social Work. Prasan worked for six years on the issues related to governance, institutional building, livelihoods and youth before joining PMRDF.