Issues – Governance
Agragamee has adopted an issue based approach to tribal development, attempting interventions to address problems and needs as identified by the tribal community. This has necessarily called for an in-depth dialogue with the community, challenging it to look at its own situation in a critical, analytical manner, identifying inner strengths and seeking alternatives, rather than accepting the status quo. It has also provided a learning experience for Agragamee, helping it to develop sensitivity towards the different facets of tribal life.
Taking off from the experiences with the PDS and minimum wages, Agragamee has encouraged people to organize and ensure good governance, and proper implementation of Government programmes. The people have formed several groups in different Panchayats and villages, and taken up the issues of effective delivery very seriously. Thus, there is pressure for schools to function effectively, and there is persistenct effort to ensure ICDS provisions reach the target group of women and children. There is also pressure on the elected representatives, the Sarpanches, and the Panchayat Samiti Members, and the Block Chairman, etc. for to check corruption in the sanction and implementation of Govt. programmes, and across the tribal regions where Agragamee works, village committees have been effective in bringing about a measure of accountability.
There is still a long way to go, as the empire is immense and strong, and the tribal people have to but illiteracy, and poverty as their assets. But as more and more children are sent to school, and as Agragamee’s efforts for primary education also bear fruit, the pressure on local governance to perform effectively is going up, and a sense of self-confidence has taken root, so that the tribal beneficiary is no longer cowed down by the Government official or the over-bearing money-lender-cum- land lord who had reigned over the hapless tribals for so long.