The Institute of Grassroots Governance, started by alumni of the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, aims to create model villages by conducting capacity building programmes to educate grassroot-level leaders about their rights and duties. Observing the need to lend a helping hand to leaders for utilising state and central government schemes, the youngsters, with Masters degrees in Local Governance, have come up with ways to create sustainable model villages to decentralise powers.
The alumni of Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development placed with various institutions like the Ministry of Education, National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj have come together to adopt villages and make them into sustainable working models.
Talking to TNM, the Chairperson of Institute of Grassroots Governance, Gurusaravanan, said, â€śAccording to the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, our country is in need of local bodies for functioning. Schemes launched by the central and state governments have not reached the grassroots people. Panchayat leaders have not realised their rights and duties and the power constrained upon them under the constitution. Hence, we are starting a local government movement through the Institute of Grassroots Governance.â€ť
The Institute coordinated a Zoom meeting with Dharmapuri Member of Parliament Senthil Kumar. The MP has participated in grama sabha events of various panchayats in Dharmapuri district. The MP said, â€śThere is a lack of awareness among panchayat leaders on their powers. The panchayat leaders are more empowered since they can directly help the people and ensure that the help has reached them.â€ť
â€śIf the understanding is low in Tamil Nadu, then it will be lower in north India. They do not know that the decision of grama sabha cannot be easily challenged in the court and the leaders should know this. Since there is a lack of awareness among the leaders, we need to educate them and there is a need for us to educate,â€ť he said in the Zoom meeting.
Talking about the first event, the Chairman said that the Member of Parliament has been setting a trend. He said, â€śThe Dharmapuri MP participated in grama sabha and he has been giving suggestions to the people on how they can improve their work. He also received a copy of the grama sabha resolutions to prioritise the things needed for people.â€ť
The organisation wants to empower leaders, especially women and people from vulnerable backgrounds. The organisation plans to adopt the villages and educate leaders and people to bring about a social change and a grassroot-level movement.
Gurusaravanan said, â€śWe are focusing on empowerment of people from vulnerable groups and women. We are trying to work with three to five villages to turn them into a sustainable government model. We are working with the people to make them understand their rights and duties, transparency, accountability and a good governance model. We want to bring the best in terms of governance and we want to extend our working model to the pan-India population.â€ť
The Chairman said that there is no open data on the number of Dalit panchayat leaders in the state. â€śWe are working on the data and the change can only be a slow process in those places by conducting workshops and capacity-building programmes where all community people can participate,â€ť he said.