Trainee from the field

Prageesh E.P S4 MSW writing his personal experience of internship in Jehanabad, Bihar

Photographs: Vishnuraj S4 MSW

I did my internship in Jehanabad district at Bihar as a part of our block fieldwork. It was one of the best experiences for me, because Jehanabad is one of the IAP (Integrated Action Plan) districts in India and this has added to my experience as a budding social worker. So, it was an opportunity to know about the condition of IAP district and the reason behind Jehanabad being selected as an IAP district. My internship practice was directly controlled by District Collector Mr. Balamurugan D and guided by Mr. P K Anand(Prime Ministers Rural Development fellowship program officer, Jehanabad).The major objective of the internship program was to enhance “Mahadalit” & women participation298308_347753508662338_97950596_n in the scheme of MNREGA and to ensure that they get the maximum benefit out of it. This involved sensitizing all stakeholders towards “the demand driven legal entitlements” enshrined in the act. This was mainly done by working towards community ownership of the MGNREGS through strengthening of Self Help Groups / labour groups, anchoring grassroots level planning, implementation and monitoring and  hands-on & continuous capacity building trainings to all stakeholders involved in MGNREGS implementation.

Jehanabad district consists of 7 blocks such as Makhdampur, Hulasganj, Ghoshi, Kako, Modanganj, Jehanabad, Ratni Faridpur. Kako is one of the worse performing block in MNREGA implementation at Jehanabad district. So we selected Kako block and Dedh Saiya Panchayath for field work. We visited Mahadalit tolas in Dedh Saiya Panchayath. Firstly, we visited Thithaai Bigha tola, which is a manji tola. Manji group is one of the backward group in Mahadalit. There we found and realised many problems like poverty, open defecation, early marriage, poor housing condition women issues and etc. We focused in the implementation of MNREGA there and we could find lots of issues in the implementation of MNREGA. People had not been getting any employment opportunity since 2008 and we found only 14 job cards there. Thus we understood why kako block is performing worse in the implem481761_347755275328828_1789128086_nentation of MNREGA. So we made arrangements for providing job cards for those who need job card. In the limited time of  one month, we could visit only five tolas in Dedh Saiya Panchayath. But we could realise lots of issues happening in the implementation of MNREGA.

Activities done at Thithai Bigha Manji tolla

  • Prepared village profile for Thithaai Bigha.
  • Awareness creation about MNREGA scheme.
  • Collected details of job card holders and those who need job card.
  • Collected details of bank account holders and those who need bank account.
  • Took photograph of job card holders and applicants.
  • Visited nearest school, APHC and Anganwadi.
  • Group activity with children.
  • Found inadequate job card number

Activities done at Dakshini, Lodhipur, Sivraj Bigha, Narayanpur

  • Collected details of job card holders and those who need job card.
  • Collected details of bank account holders and those who need bank account.
  • Collected demand for job.
  • Affixed name and phone number of PRS and PO
  • Awareness creation about scheme.
  • Link between community and staffs.
  •  Make them aware that there are no intermediaries in the scheme.

Being a budding social worker, it was good experience in my life and  I clearly understood the importance of  MNREGA program in those areas.

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Article Review: Public Provisioning in Water and Sanitation Study of Urban Slums in Delhi

Sandhya S Mani of S4 MSW reviewing the article Public Provisioning in Water and Sanitation Study of Urban Slums in Delhi.

Photo: Vishnuraj.R (S4 MSW)

The original article can be read here  http://www.epw.in/commentary/public-provisioning-water-and-sanitation.html?ip_login_no_cache=a2a187fafd12bd81b87a06769a7ece2a

This is one of the articles which makes me think about the reachability of the basic services or infrastructure to the people living in slums. The article narrates the experiences and practices captured from two resettlement colonies in Delhi. This article mainly deals with the factors that obstruct the delivery of essential services like drinking water and sanitation to the people living in slums Delhi. The article also throws light on the present condition of slums in Delhi. Let me try to relate it with what I have seen in Mumbai Slums.

There is similarity in the picture of slums in Mumbai with that of the condition of slums in Delhi as described in this article. The article starts with an alarming statistics that since 2001 census, the number of people living in notified and non-notified areas or slum like habitations is considerably increasing. In Mumbai also the people living in slums are increasing day after day. Even if the habitations are crammed, I could see that the people make use of every nook and corner for various domestic purposes. The article also highlights that the expanding population is exerting enormous pressure over the basic infrastructure. I would try to capture some common features of slums from my experience after visiting Mumbai slums. Overcrowding, unhygienic ambience, poverty, unemployment, drop out students, poor housing, poor water supply, few livelihood options can be called as a few features of slums. The author raises a significant question that whether Delhi’s budget is responsive to water and sanitation services in slums. The term budget should not be considered as a mere statement of expenditure and revenue but it should be described as an indication of policy priorities flagged by government. The article attempts to capture the quantum of budgetary outlay for water and sanitation in Delhi’s slums under the Eleventh Five Year Plan. The author describes that the budget allocation is inadequate and sometimes the funds remain unused and unspent. In the Eleventh Five Year Plan, Rs. 73 Crore was allotted for drinking water services but after that it was reported nearly Rs. 20 Crore remain underutilized, which was a miserable account. The Delhi Jal Board allocated Rs. 4.8 Crore in 2011-12 which was raised to 5 crore in 2012-13. The author raises the question that whether the amount is sufficient to provide drinking water to nearly 1058 and 2075 non notified slums in Delhi. The author also states that for the last five annual budgets of Eleventh Five Year Plan, there was no financial support for providing additional support for additional facilities.

The article narrates about the nodal agencies that are required to provide sanitation facilities in Delhi’s slums. Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board implements a plan called “Grants in Aid to Slums for the Construction of Pay and Use Jan Suvidha Complexes” or community toilet complexes. This program tackles the problem of open defecation by slum dwellers but the amount allocated to this plan is woefully small. The money allotted for this is not sufficient for the operation and maintenance of the community toilets. The author presents the budget analysis of Eleventh Plan. It conveys that the overall budget of for water and sanitation in urban slums in Delhi is grossly insufficient, unresponsive and out of sync with the developmental fact. Planning, budgeting and implementation of the water and sanitation services in Delhi is managed by multiple agencies like Municipal Corporation of Delhi, New Delhi Municipal Council etc. through interviews with the officials, the author reveals that there is a high degree of centralization in planning and expenditure. The implementing agencies ignore the community participation and the budgetary process lacks transparency and is devoid of accountability. There are various constrains in the context of service delivery in the slums which the author understood through interaction with the officials. The problems of institutional convergences and the issue of ownership among implementing agencies are significant roadblocks. The multiplicity of agencies handling different components of water and sanitation leads to lack of accountability and there is no coordination between the agencies. Staff constraint is another serious issue. The women in the slums have to face unsafe and unhygienic toilets because of the shortage of sanitation staff. The poor quality of construction and faulty design of community toilets has been reported as one of the findings from the field. Apart from that the toilets don’t have any roofs putting the women in a vulnerable position. There is a user fee of Rs.2 and it is a question that whether this is affordable to the poor people.

The author concludes that cities are the engines of economic growth but if the policies did not work in an effective manner, cities may degenerate and cause a negative effect on the lives of the people. There should be an improved governance structure and process at the institutional level so that the policy benefits reach the end users or beneficiaries. Thus, the benefits of policies should reach the people at grass root level.

ARTICLE REVIEW: ACTION RESEARCH REPORT ON SUBHASH PALEKAR’S ZERO BUDGET NATURAL FARMING

Arathy Aravind of S4 MSW is reviewing the “action research report on subhash palekar’s zero budget natural farming” written by  By R.Yogananda Babu,  Faculty (Agriculture), ANSSIRD, Mysore.

This is one of the articles which caught my eye upon the deep interest in farming especially in zero budget farming. I actually got the crux of zero budget farming as it was unknown to me.

In this article the author R.Y. Yogananda Babu tries to convey the importance of zero budget farming which has been proposed by Subhash palekar which is entirely different from the conventional farming. In the introduction part the author mentions the bio diversity, soil types, rain fall and amount of sunshine of our country. India is blessed with her huge bio diversity which is favorable to cultivate agricultural crops. In the time of independence the farming is not focused on the agricultural production. At that time the farming practices didn’t make any threat to the fertility of the soil and to the eco systems. He states the infamous Bengal famine of 1943.  At that time due to starvation and hunger many deaths occurred. The government was thinking about the maximum food production in that context and the Govt. found ‘green revolution’ as the best answer for that. In the latter half of the 60s that green revolution made a new history in agriculture. By using varieties of crops, varieties of hybrids, increasing the use of fertilizers it was possible to stimulate the agricultural production. The increased usage of fertilizers made the crops more vulnerable and succulent.

Mr. R V Yogananda Rao gives a clear idea about the present agricultural scenario of India. He mentions the adverse effect of green revolution. Persistent pesticide is not easily degradable and it will create health hazards. The banned products in developed or advanced countries like DDT and BMC have high market in developing countries like India.

The inappropriate application of irrigation makes problems like water logging, salinity, alkalinity in many areas. Betrand Russell said that “what we are witnessing is frenzied exploitation”. The slogan of food and agricultural organization is that “ we have not inherited natural resources from our ancestors but we have borrowed from their posterity”.
Many critics said that the marginalized farmers are more affected people because the green revolution did not spread to rain fed areas where production is very low and those areas which is affected by monsoon. The high price for fertilizers and insecticides is not affordable to the common people and the farmers were forced to take loan from private money lenders and other sources, but the crop failure entrapped the farmers in huge debt. This is the reason for farmers committing suicide.

Many agriculturalists were researching for a consistent eco- friendly alternative for this problem. SubhashPalekar’s zero budget natural farming is widely being accepted among the farming community. It is a unique method without using purchased seeds, fertilizers and plant protection from the market. One desi cow is sufficient to take up this method. The philosophy behind this system is to make the farmers self-reliant. There are ten salient features for the zero budget natural farming. One of the important methods is the seed treatment with ‘Beejamrutha’ which is used to treat the seeds and seedlings and thereby protects the crops from pathogens. The composition is water, Desi cow dung, cow urine, soil and lime. The other seed protection methods are treated with ‘Jeevamrutha’ , a nutrient and also a catalyst  for one time application. The composition of this mixture is water, cow dung, cow urine, jaggary , flour of any pulse and soil. Mulching reduces tillage labour requirements, suppresses weeds, promotes humus formation and enhances water holding capacity of the soil.

Plant protection method by using Fungicides and insecticides which contains butter milk , desi cow milk, black pepper powder and water, cow dung , neem seed powder , tobacco powder, garlic paste and green chilly paste. This is prepared by the farmer and applied it whenever it is applicable. Mixed cropping, importance of spacing between etc. are discussed well in this article.

There are certain objectives to conduct an action research which is mentioned briefly. Methodology involves visiting the farming fields and interaction with farmers. The system of zero budget farming is eminently suited to the small and marginal farmers because of its simplicity and adaptability.

 

The original article can be read here http://www.atimysore.gov.in/PDF/action_research1.pdf