The third phase of public outreach programme Back to village (B2V) has been started by the Government with effect from October 2nd and it will continue up to October 12th.The purpose of this programme is strengthen the governance at the grass root level and enhancing participatory development with the participation of all the people of particular panchayat. This programme aims to involve the people and government officials/officers in a joint effort to deliver the mission of equitable development. The purpose is to impower panchayats for community development participation for the proper development of all the habitations/wards of a panchayat.
Pertinent to mention here that one of the key element of good governance had been started in Jammu and Kashmir in month of June , 2019.Under this programme one Gazetted officer had been deputed to every panchayat for on spot assessment of urgent and immediate public requirements In order of priority, any major complaint brought to the notice of visiting officer and over all perception of functioning of the Government. The such deputed officer remained present in the particular panchayat for two days and a night with the public living in the particular panchayat, had eaten the same food as the people of the panchat and there learning the first hand challenges and difficulties of their existence. For many officer it was a unique learning experience – the sweet lore the nature brought home to them the scenic beauty of nature and also difficulties and problems which the rural population face in their day to day life .
The main purpose of this programme was public participation and public awareness. As far participation had been concerned the visiting officer had visited all the habitation, wards of the particular panchayat for giving an opportunity to the public of respective areas for projecting their demands. On this occasion an opportunity of being heared had also been given to all the inhabitant of all the wards or habitation of respective Panchayats. During the said programme one officer or responsible official of all the department was present on the occasion for answering the quarries raised by the public or for explaining the various development Schemes to be initiated or executed by each department in the respective panchayat. Such an enthusiasm had been generated by the said programme that a resident of Shopian District wrote to the Hon’ble Prime Minister about the said programme following which the Prime Minister had made a mention of it in his Mann ki Baat programme calling this programme as “festival of development , public participation and public awareness.
Encouraged by the Success of first phase of the programme a second phase had also been organised in month of November, 2019. During the first phase a detailed status of Road facility with in the panchayat as well as roads connecting this panchayat with other Panchayats, Villages District head quarter and other parts of the Jammu and Kashmir had been ascertained which will help in its full connectivity in near future. All the sources of drinking water were identified which would be renovated in near future when grants would be allocated under panchayat development Scheme. Demand for new pipes had also been projected for repairing already existing water supply lines in the Panchayats.
In the similar manner provision of electricity was also examined and new demands were projected by all the people’s of various hamlets , habitation or wards. General health parameters and facilities were also examined .The most appropriate step during this unique programme was interaction with the School going children and their parents where in parents were advised to send their children to School in regular and punctual manner and also to keep their wards busy in studies for more than eight hours before and after School hours. All the panch and sapanches were also advised and inspired by the visiting officer for playing their maximum role for improvement of literacy rate of their respective Panchayats. New habitation were also identified for opening of new Schools and some Schools were mentioned for upgradation to next status and these Schools can be considered for upgradation by planning Section of School Education Department or by the District Administration under SMAGRA when there will be sufficient grants provision for this purpose. Economic status of all the inhabitants of the Panchayats was assessed by the visiting officer and several measure for the improvement were also considered and discussed with the public and officers of various departments and public had been advised to adopt various appropriate self emoyement schemes for the economic upliftment and growth of their panchayat.
For children facilities of sports , Library and entertainment were examined and it had been decided that these facilities will be provided in future when grants would be available under panchayat development Scheme or with the concerned department.
Besides telecom connectivity, banking facility, housing, sanitation, working of rural development and PRI MGNREGA , public distribution system, various schemes for women and child development, public transport system, skill development, coverage of pension schemes, availability of community hall and panchayat Ghar had been examined and discussed with the public and officers in presence of PRIS.
In this way a detailed list of all the demands and requirement projected by the public and PRIS had been prepared and priority had been fixed . All such demands and requirement have been uploaded in a portal devised for this purpose and also booklets have been prepared during the both phases B2V1 and B2V2 and had been submitted by the visiting officer to the District Administration . In this important document for the future development of all the Panchayats of union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has been prepared which can be used for particular purpose when grants would be available in phases manner.
One more important step taken by the Government worth mentioning here is that a book let had been prepared and issued to PRIS through visiting officer which contains various schemes for the benefits of inhabitants of panchayat to be implemented by various departments . The visiting officers had explained in details all such scheme department wise or expert of various department themselves present in the programme had explained in details all such schemes for the proper understanding of general public and PRIS so that PRIS will also help the benefiters in future in getting requisite benefits. All the required formalities were explained in details for the understanding and awareness of public so that deserving and eligible person will take benefits of various schemes.
Recently ten lakh grants has been allotted to each panchayat which now can be utilised on the development works identified during B2B1 and B2V2 on the basis of priority already fixed. Now the Government has decided to conduct third phase to take stock of implementation of demands projected during the B2V1 and B2V2 and also to discuss with all the people of panchayats that more can be done in order to develop the panchayat through community driven initiatives.
All the facts mentioned above makes it apparent clear that In reality back to village programme is a unique programmes organised for the betterment and development of various Panchayats of Jammu and Kashmir. Now purpose of writing this article is to make aware general public through educated youths and PRIS for taking full advantage of these initiatives where in governance has be taken at the door step of public at grass roots level which indicates the uniqueness and beauty of the programme. In order to take full benefits of this programme general public and PRIS must cooperate with the visiting team of officers as well as with the respective District Administration and further there must not be any sort of criticism among the general public at any cost because in case of criticism Administration will not be in a position to implement various Schemes properly and this will give great loss to the general public of particular area/panchayat. It has been observed that some persons have become habitual of criticising other persons , PRIS or officers and thus they(criticisers) are a great obstacle in the development of these Panchayats. In order to overcome this problem it is suggested that a committee comprising of well qualified persons and some sincere most senior citizens who would be non controversial in the eyes of all peoples of panchayat or such persons to whom all the peoples of Panchayats would like to listed and must act upon their advice, would be appointed and empowered to control such persons who indulge in undue criticism which regards the smooth development of whole panchayat.
Suggestions of some experienced seniors citizens to make this programme a success :The Administration should appoint one officer for every panchayat who would act a bridge between rural population ‘local panchayat and Administration till all the demands projected during three phases are implemented in letter and spirit . It should be made a joint responsibility of panchayats or responsible officers of other departments and appointed officer to ensure that all the resources of panchayats are used odiously and effectively for the development of all the works recorded in vision books are executed and completed in a reasonable time frame.
The District Administration would issue order to empower all the officer so appointed to look after and play their maximum possible role for fulfilling all the promise made during the three phases of B2V programme so that all the far flung villages get basic amenities such as road connectivity, drinking water and electricity etc.
The third phase vision document should be prepared in such a manner that all the genuine demands immediately required for the proper development of the respective panchayat would be prepared that would shape the current and future policies of Government and by implementing the said vision document so that equitable maximum development of all areas /wards would take place.
All such experienced senior citizens have desired that Hon’ble Lt. Governor may be pleased to issue such direction to the district Administration that demand projected during the three phases of the said important programmes are implanted in letter and spirit in the interest of general public and also to make this programme a grand Success for the betterment of Society and the Nation.