Emerging dimensions of grass root women leaders

By: Staff Reporter
Powerful local initiatives by elected women leaders at the village level have led to innovative outcomes. We present stories that made the difference in the year 2012-13.
Gender Justice Magazine Articles

Sivani Mogra Panchayat, Bhandara District, Maharashtra: Enforcing identity

An all women gram sabha and its chairperson focused on identity, recognition and celebration of womanhood in society. Today, women’s names are written on residence nameplates and the panchayat records the woman’s name as the head of the house.


Zari Panchayat, Nanded District, Maharashtra: Fighting malnutrition

Of the 134 children registered with the Zari Anganwadi, 31 were suffering from malnutrition. To fight this, a suitable diet – affordable, palatable and nutritious, was prepared. The laddoo comprising of dates, soya bean egg, rice, sagu and gud (jaggery) was devised. The endeavour was supported by philanthropists from the village. This effort has already started showing results.


Nashirpur Panchayat, Amravati District, Maharashtra: Rain water harvesting

The woman sarpanch of Nashirpur Gram Panchayat learnt about rain water harvesting (RWH) through a TV channel. Thereafter, a gram sabha was organised in which all the village members voted in favour of adopting the RWH technology for the village. Now, every household roof is connected through underground pipes that carry water to a common well; the water is used for irrigation and washing of clothes and cattle.


Manyachiwadi Panchayat, Satara District, Maharashtra: Solar energy

Spurred by the State’s incentive for installing solar street lights, the panchayat decided to place solar lighting in individual houses.  Encouraged by the response, the project was upscaled for the entire village. Stand-alone solar powered systems for domestic lighting were procured and the village was lit up with solar lights in January 2011. The average electricity bill of Rs 30,000 per month came down by 60 to 70 per cent. The panchayat is now planning to install solar water heaters and solar pumps.


Papparambakkam Village Panchayat, Tiruvallur District, Tamil Nadu:  ISO Certification

The front wall of the Panchayat office is adorned by a notice that read “ISO 9001-2008 Certified Office: Office Time 10 am to 6 pm”. On enquiry, the president revealed that she had heard of ISO certification and thought of obtaining it for her panchayat. She persistently pursued the idea, knowing that ISO certificate entailed that the panchayat, the elected representatives and the village community work as a team, follow the office procedures to ensure full transparency in the gram sabha.  A fire extinguisher and a first aid box were also installed.


Daniya Panchayat, Rajnandgaon District, Chhattisgarh: Improved taxation

After being elected as the first woman sarpanch of the Daniya Panchayat, the sarpanch decided to collect mandatory taxes and donations from the community.  Initially, the community  resisted but after extensive discussion, they understood its importance and cooperated. The panchayat Dania collects taxes of Rs 24 per annum on sanitation, Rs 60 to Rs. 256 per annum on house/property, Rs 180 to Rs 360 per annum on commercial activities and Rs 30 per month on water. The improved tax base has led to better developmental works in the area.


Erendra Panchayat, Ganjam District, Odisha: Irrigation facilities 

The Dhepabandha tank provided irrigation to the village for several years until it was  damaged by floods in 1990. The panchayat of Erendra came forward to renovate the tank; and with their constant persuasion the Government of Odisha, through its Minor Irrigation Department, sanctioned Rs 9.72 lakhs in 2010. Today, with the increased catchment area, more than 120 farmers are growing sugarcane, paddy and vegetables, which is an additional source of income.


Kalekhantala II Panchayat, Burdwan District, West Bengal: Safe drinking water

A three stage water treatment plant supplies potable water to the inhabitants of Kalekhantala as well as the adjoining villages, with Rs 6.36 lakh allotted from the ISGPP programme of the government of West Bengal.   Water is drawn by a submersible pump and stored in a 2000 litre tank and passed through 3 stages for filtering impurities like iron, arsenic and bacteria. The water is distributed in 20 litre jars for Rs 5, or 2 litre bottles for Rs 2. A novel way to augment the panchayat’s own resources, and simultaneously provide the people of the village with potable water.

Source: Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar 2012-13: Good Practices, Government of India, Ministry of Panchayati Raj.

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