By Srestha Roy , Lead - Learning Lab for Local Governance, SETU Abhiyan
Kutch, Gujarat, India, Jul 04, 2018
Felicitation of Gram Panchayat members for their efforts towards good governance
The Learning Lab for Local Governance (SETU-LL), SETU Abhiyan, a LOGIN member, is an incubator of ideas and initiatives to strengthen the value of local governance in the public domain. It undertakes and facilitates documentation, research and learning events in partnership with local governance institutions, civil society organizations and academia.
With the aim of showcasing Gram Panchayat (GP) practices that promote good local governance, the Learning Lab for Local Governance (SETU-LL) ideated a platform for peer learning and sharing which would set up opportunities for inculcation of such practices by GPs. “Sushasan na panthe, Panchayato na Prayaso” was such an event to recognize and felicitate the efforts of Gram Panchayats (GPs) towards good local governance. The event was held on 24th May 2018 at Bhuj, Kutch, Gujarat.
Call for applications from GPs was announced in early September 2017. The concept was shared through existing case studies which SETU possessed which were brought out in Kutch Mitra. This was to inspire Panchayats to participate in the process and apply for the same.
Efforts were made to reach out to all 633 Panchayats of Kutch through letters, announcement through Akashvani, through Kutch Mitra and through the District Panchayat administration. All GPs were reached out through voice messages and WhatsApp. Field teams were also sent on awareness drives and to help them participate.
After a month of rigorous follow-up to reach out to the GPs, a total of 136 applications were received. The applications went through two rounds of evaluation processes including field visits conducted by experts on local governance and were judged through the lens of 8 universally accepted principles of good governance – transparency, responsiveness, consensus oriented, equity and inclusiveness, effectiveness and efficiency, accountability, and participation.
SETU LL team's evaluation interaction with citizens
Field visit by SETU LL experts
A total of 24 practices were selected and were documented in the form of a booklet named “Sushashan na panthe, Panchayato na prayaso” (GPs in their efforts towards good governance).
“It was really an enriching experience for me to work in this unique exercise to document good governance practices of GPs in Kutch. It gave me an exposure to variety of initiatives taken up by Gram Panchayats and build up my confidence in Panchayati Raj system. The initiatives of GPs are as diverse as the diversity of Kutch, few are doing things using the community bonding of villagers while some are doing things which converts problems into opportunities, some are doing innovative stuff using ICT while some are using their traditional knowledge and governance system to manage their resources. It has helped me in learning many new things and take away for our work in other parts of Gujarat and India.” - Mr. Govind Desai (AKRSP), evaluation committee member
“Being significantly associated with ideation for the project on 'documentation of good governance practices of GPs in Kutch, Gujarat' and with the evaluation involved therein has been an energizing experience for me. It has further enhanced my appreciation of the linkage that exists (/must exist) between GPs' governance processes and the broad-based development that they (must) bring about” – Mr. Vardhaman Vaidya, subject expert and evaluation committee member
The journey culminated into an event which was held on 24th May 2018. The programme included the release of the booklet, followed by felicitation of the selected GPs. An overview of the whole process of selection of the practices was shared. This was followed by a brief on each of the 24 selected practices highlighting the core essence of the case with respect to good local governance.
Gram Panchayat members at the event
More than 450 Elected Representatives from all over the district participated in the event. The Chief Guest, Mr. Vinod Chavda (MP, Kutch and Morbi) in his speech applauded the initiative and the Panchayat members for their efforts. He mentioned about SETUs’ steps towards people-centred development. The President and members of the District Panchayat, District Social Justice Committee and other eminent personalities also took note of the initiative.
We hope that these practices inspire, promote and open up new avenues for many more GPs to initiate, innovate and bring out more examples of good local governance.
“I feel great that my Panchayat has been selected. More than that, this initiative has brought before us new ideas and efforts made by GPs from different parts of Kutch. This inspires me more to work for my Panchayat. I am honoured to be part of this event” – Mr. Suresh Changa, Sarpanch, Kunariya Juth Panchayat, Bhuj block, Kutch.
“The most important part of this journey has been the focus on the process that ultimately leads to development – how to involve people in decision making, how to become more transparent as a local government and think about new ways of work. My Panchayat did not get selected – so what? I go back with so many new ideas / approaches to work” – Ms. Valbai Dhanraj Gadhvi, Panchayat member, Bhada Gram Panchayat, Mandvi block, Kutch
The department has visited the kunariya Gramp panchayat as field work part of the students
The panchayat under headship of suresh chhanga has institutionalized best practices for local self governance specially education health and resource mobilization