I belong to a village in Mirzapur, one of the IAP districts in Uttar Pradesh. Since my childhood, I have been supporting poor people in cultivation of crops and vegetables in my village, due to which I have a sound knowledge of agriculture. It also explains why I chose “Back for People” title for this article, which many of you would be thinking about. After completing graduation in Mechanical Engineering, I joined Automobile Sector and worked for six years as HOD in Research and Development in two and four wheeler vehicles. Joining this fellowship was a great career move for me as working in the fields at grassroot level in the villages will be almost opposite to my professional work thus far with MARUTI, HONDA-CIEL, HERO-HONDA, JCB, M & M, SUZUKI etc. I had been working for machine tools and robotic line before joining PMRDF and now I work for poor people and humanity! Now I can say that every job has its own flavour and I am really enjoying my present work with the PMRD Fellowship. There are many facts & points which I do want to mention about my fellowship which makes it an interesting part for my career.
Since my knowledge, skills and expertise are in Robotic and Automobile Sector with practical experience of Vehicle Development & technologies, I always wanted to utilize my skills in rural development sector and more so, after joining this fellowship and taking this great challenge head-on to bring these technologies at ground level. I was encouraged to see that the Government has already started to focus on bringing E-technologies such as MIS & IMF in MGNREGA, IAY, E-PDS, BAS (Biometric Attendance System), E-grievance redressal system etc. However, the question is whether handling of such devices is up to the mark or not and daily reports are being generated from such devices or not. Apart from that, during my field visit in my district Sonebhdra, I saw the actual condition of schools, MDM, ICDS, CHC, PHC, KGBV, IAY, PMGSY, MGNREGA, IAP & BRGF FUND etc. at grassroots level. I am familiar with the conditions of village at grossroots level being from a village myself, but I have experienced many compelling and new things for the first time in my life during this fellowship such as sericulture, people collecting polluted (fluoride, arsenic, mercury etc.) drinking water from open sources (ponds, rivers, canals) and some people consuming alcohol in the lack of food to satisfy their hunger. While being a part of the Social Audit in MGNREGA, I learnt how to handle a large crowd especially in virulent conditions. I also realized that people want to be beneficiary of each and every scheme of the Government, which runs more than a dozen of schemes. Also, if we carefully see then we will realize that sometimes government policies are designed in such a way that deserving people are not included in the beneficiary list due to lack of papers and formalities. So, we should make any policy flexible. Corruption is also a big issue in my District in every scheme in term of duplicacy, improper monitoring and audit etc. because of lack of GPS (Globel Positioning System).
I successfully added some suitable inputs like GPS E-PDS for improving the monitoring processes. I was also part in organizing the events like Lok–Jagrukta for social mobilization. Apart from that, I participated in Gram Panchayat level monitoring committee, NGO selection for World Bank Water Programme, strengthening gram sabhas, focused on youth, attended social audit in MGNREGA. I was heavily involved in SGSY E- Marketing and Socio Economic Caste Census and blacklisted some NGOs, which were working for namesake only. I also visited fields from time to time in order to motivate people at grassroots and help them to be aware of their rights so that they can get what they expect from government schemes.
Om Prakash Paswan is based at Sonebhadra in Uttar Pradesh. He is a Mechanical Engineer from U. P. Technical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. He worked for six years in Automobile Sector (R&D) before joining PMRDF.