"The best, quickest and most efficient way is to build up from the bottom..... Every village has to become a self-sufficient republic." Mahatma Gandhi
GP development plan should ideally match peoples’ needs and priorities with available resources and additionally mobilise local resources through a fair, inclusive, transparent and participatory process. The focus would be on local development issues, local perception of need and priority, local analysis of problems and solutions, local resources management all within a collective local vision
The Gaon Panchayat planning campaign in Assam has been named as ‘Amar Gaon Aamar Achoni’ (My village my Plan). Objective of the planning campaign is to institutionalise a participatory planning process at the grass root level by involving different stakeholders through different Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) exercises to capture the felt needs and requirements of the rural masses before presenting them in the Ward Sabhas and Gram Sabhas. Assam is one of the states in the country that came up first with the state specific guidelines for preparing the Gaon Panchayat development Plan. The process and steps proposed in the guidelines were tested and validated at the field level with Gram Panchayat members, frontline workers, SHGs and villagers. Every step included in the guidelines were finalised after discussing with the different stakeholders in the field. These workshops and joint field exercises helped the Faculty Members and other trainers to know the entire framework of the guidelines and subsequently the sequence of events and process to be adopted in preparation of Gram Panchayat Development Plan.
Participatory planning has a component of social mobilisation and environment generation. The main challenges are mainly timely disseminate of information of GP development plan, fund allotment pattern under 14th FC, opportunity of empowering GP and also to ensure the participation of people from every segment of the community particularly the marginalised and farthest communities. Here a slogan on GPDP is being introduced as “AAMAR GAON AAAR ACHANI” to ensure proper social mobilisation for active participatory planning through environment generation, since a large number of people, both functionaries and common citizens and elected representatives need to be enthused about participatory planning at the grassroots. There has to be massive mobilisation within a very short time frame – hence a campaign approach is recommended. The involvement of senior officers of various line departments to provide necessary instructions and office orders to make human and financial resources available and to support decentralised planning processes is crucial to the success of the program. The contribution of media including print media, electronic media, and radio message loaded with information and references can play very effective role for wider publication and mass awareness. There will have to be massive mobilisation of general villagers and field level functionaries; hence CBOs including SHG federations, GP Ward Members, Community Volunteers, etc have to generate a buzz that will reach every people on the ground sufficiently to ensure their participation and creating an enable environment for successful social mobilisation and participatory planning. The environment/campaign committee to be formed at GP level under the chairmanship of President and also at Ward level under the chairmanship of Ward Member with equal participation of all caste, religion, political parties with equal representation of women. Environment generation programs at State, District, Block and Gaon Panchayat level need to be monitored by the various committees at different level. The district level project implementation review committee under the chairmanship of ZP President with the support of ZP members, DC, CEO and line department officials has to play an important role to ensure that the message reaches properly to every ward in every GP. Similarly the AP level project implementation review committee under the chairmanship of AP President with the support of AP members, BDO and other line department officials has to play the same role. The timelines of each activity and its key messages is also very important, and the campaign for social mobilisation needs to be timed in such a manner that there is no time lag between environment generation, formation of committees and initiation of participatory planning exercise with due responsibilities of groups.