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Rural Development Programs And Their Implementation

India is the world’s most populous country only next to China. The problem of population explosion has taken a serious turn in India and the country is obviously over-populated. The beautiful population is triggered by poverty which is a degrading experience. Rightly, poverty has long been considered a challenge facing India i.e. still million of Indians are poor. Poor people face many risks including climate change, rising food prices and cost of access to safe water, threats to health and the loss of traditional social protection based on the family and community. One can imagine the condition of those who do not have two meals a day arid who are doomed to a future of endless poverty. Because of their poverty, they do not send their children to school, when they fall sick they do not even get proper medicinal care.

The talk of over population as the cause of Indian poverty is just as reasonable. The cause of poverty lay not in the fact of excessive population but in the unjust socio-economic system. Poverty is mainly due to over continued dependence on agriculture. The ultimate cause of India’s poverty is to be traced to the dominance of British Imperialism which subverted all economics policies to serve British interest.

Various assets of reasons were cited on how the population growth is so rapid; means to control fast growth of population; impact of over-population on economic development; and poverty most importantly and measures to eradicate it. Poverty had a great impact on economic development of a country. Therefore, to initiate simultaneous process of all round balance development (in irrigation, power, communication, railways, roads and other basic services, social development in health, education and housing) the National Planning Commission set up in March 1950 took many measures to eradicate poverty at certain extents.

To reduce poverty, several poverty alleviation, employment generating and basic services programs are being implemented currently both by the Central Government and the State Government. To mention few schemes currently in operation are:-

Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY):

A centrally sponsored scheme. The Government of India is implementing lAY since the year 1985-86 to provide financial assistance for constructional upgradation of dwelling units to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) in rural households belonging to SC/ST.

Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and the Anna Puma Schemes (APS) introduced in 2000:

These are two special schemes introduced with special target groups of ‘Poorest of the Poor’ and indigent ‘Senior Citizens’ which comes under public distribution system.

National Rural Employment Guarantee Act:

The Act aims at enhancing livelihood security of households in rural areas of the country by providing at least one hundred days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteers to do unskilled manual work. The Act came into force on February 2, 2006 and was implemented in a phased manner.

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana:

It was launched on 25th December, 2000 as a fully funded centrally sponsored scheme. The primary object is to provide all weather connectivity to all the eligible unconnected habitations in rural areas.

National Social Assistance Program (NSAP):

Comprises of Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS), National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) and Annapurna. Annapurna Scheme was introduced on 1st April 2000 to provide 10 cups of food grains per month free of cost to eligible beneficiaries who could not be cover under IGNOAPS. Under NFBS, Rs. 10000.00 is provided to a BPL family in case of natural or accidental death of a primary bread earner in the family.

Undoubtedly, the above mentioned are few schemes launched as a measure to reduce poverty and meant for rural development which have became laudable. However, most importantly, if the schemes reached the right person at right place has become a big question!! Any effective anti-poverty measures should start from the definition of poor. Despite over flowing affords from the Government it is seen that widespread poverty and hunger is still prevalent. No definite development has taken place in rural villages. This is because funds meant for development do not reach the right place and right person rather it is diverted into the pocket of some self-style Bureaucrats. The fact could not be denied of the flaw while implementing development schemes. The flaw begins from corrupt & poor village authority who always wants to have lion’s shares; items meant for public distribution are often sold in the black market for lust of money.

Horizontally, power is shared while allocating schemes to the beneficiaries as MLA’s nominee, DC’s nominee and nominees from xyz sections. To illustrate astonishing personal experience IAY schemes were allotted to the well to do family with proper dwelling unit while the poorest of the poor/BPL families were ignored of the schemes which is really meant for them. Similar fate was witnessed while implementing other schemes too. At the same time, no specific enquiry is made to ascertain feasibility of executing the schemes prior to final allotment by the concerned authority. The poor have become poorer while the rich richer.

Who is held responsible for such malpractices?

The concerned ‘˜Block Development Officers’. For instance, Chandel is the thinnest inhabited district with only four divisional blocks. If willing, villages in Chandel divisional block alone could be toured in just a day or two. Spot enquiry should be made to establish the real scene of the poor villagers and based on the fact findings allocation of schemes and funds for rural development should be implemented. However, the rights of the POOR were always exploited due to the negligence from concerned authority who were perhaps, under the influence of influential xyz sections. The ignorance of the beneficiaries and the indifferent attitude of those who implemented those schemes have resulted in poor results.

When the weaker sections of the society were exploited either by the Government or Private bodies, any person can go to Court of Law for remedy. If it involves of public interest then Public Interest Litigation (PIL) could be filed against the unscrupulous persons. Under PIL any citizen or group of citizens can approach the Supreme Court or High Court for protection of public interest. Under this resource why should not a case be registered under PIL upon the District Development Officers in the interest of the poorest of the poor/BPL for failing to implement schemes meant for the poor and the rural development on the right track.

Last but not the least, ‘˜it’s high-time the poorest of the poor from all walks of life, unite to air the grievances and the anguish under the banner ‘UNION OF THE POOREST OF THE POOR’. Citizens have civil rights that include right to justice. Poorly informed people are often denied their rights because of the lack of power to exercise them. The Right to Information Act 2005 gives freedom of collecting authentic and accurate information from the Government for public consumption/distribution. Poor citizens denied of justice and rights have the right to approach courts of law to seek justice.

‘The best available democratic rights should be demonstrated in seeking justice.’

‘Poorest of the Poor, Awake!!! …. and Shine !!!’

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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