Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Report of IDEA Fellowship in Eklera Dewas


IDEA First Fellowship Distribution: Report from Sandip Naik


It was a cool and rainy day of July 3, 2007 when I and Dr R. N. Syag along with visited Eklera village of Dewas district in state of M.P. The village is approximately 135 km from the district head quarter and falls under Khategaon block. We had taken a SUV from Bhopal and started in the early morning, the road was full of ranges of hills and dense forest. I had a long chat with Dr Syag about the perspectives of education, role of community and how children can be tapped for higher education considering constrains of their family background, financial strata and their own interests of enhancing skills and competencies. When we reached Eklera, it was about 11 AM and we were given a warm welcome by the children, parents and some influential persons of the village like ex Sarpanch (Village Head). The children were very enthusiastic about the fellowship and wanted to know more about it. We started discussing about the present scenario and the role of parents in enhancing educational competencies of the children. They all started with the role of effective school which was certainly lacking there in the village, most of the children were enrolled in the school but assurance of quality education was not there hence they were worried and because of this some of the children had taken admissions in the vicinity and had gone for good education in the private schools. We also had a small discussion with the children and asked them to use the fellowship in a positive manner. Some of the children were left out and were not given as they did not pass the last exams. But we will assured that IDEA will not only focus on the fellowships but also try to do some sort of interventions in a systematic way so that all the infrastructure and other educational facilities can be improved. One thought was to start a children's hobby club in the village, where in Samavesh (an NGO working in the area for rural development) staff was agreed upon to start a Chakmak (synonym of science club) club in the village. The fellowship was distributed to 20 children and it was given away by the woman panch and other persons of the village. We also visited the school of the village and had a long chat with the teachers and community. The staff assured us that they will personally guide these children and will keep on appraising us about their progress. We had nice lunch at Pawan's home and came back. On the way we also met a girl Laxmi who is interested to study but due to financial problems she is unable to cope up. Only thing how long IDEA and others can help these less privileged children, why cant government think of certain schemes which are really beneficial for the poor children!!!!!!!

Sandip Naik

Monday, July 16, 2007

Women Leadership in Madhya Pradesh- Policies and Status









This article shows the status of Women Leadership in Madhya Pradesh. This is jointly prepared by Sachin Jain, Raju Kumar and Sandip Naik
Women leadership in Madhya Pradesh
The MP government has done a commendable work by politically empowering the women by providing 50 percent reservation to women in local civic bodies, but this reservation did not come easily and the women had to wait for long period for this to happen. MP was pioneer state in implementing local self-governance after the 73rd and 74th amendments were made to the Indian constitution in 1993. But is the impact of this process visible at ground level in the remote and rural parts of the country. The state faces a number of challenges regarding leadership of women – whether the leadership is at the level of political parties, administrative posts or at municipalities or Panchayat level. There are big claims and some efforts towards empowerment of women in state, but the ground reality is totally opposite. Even 13 years after implementation of local self-governance system, women have to do a lot of struggle to maintain their dignity in the system. The biggest reason for this struggle is their being illiterate and uneducated.
The disparity in education starts right at primary level, the reasons being social, political and economic. Keeping the girl children deprived of education as they are `others' property', keeping them at home to take care of younger siblings, not prioritizing girls as boys are considered support for old age and mainly politicians and policy makers not giving enough encouragement to women's education to maintain the patriarchal form of society.
Thus, after long struggle women might have got success at some fronts, but they are inadequate. Fortunately women are making best use of the opportunities they have got and are trying to remove the historical disparity they face. They know that education is a potent weapon for their struggle and thus the women in leadership positions are pushing for education of girl children.
The number of elected women in Panchayats in Madhya Pradesh is more than the number of reserved seats, which shows that the women are capable of leadership. It is surprise that the male Panchayat representatives prioritize construction work, employment and social dignity much more than welfare works on health and education, as is done by the women representatives. But women representatives have to face many problems and there is no dearth of people who try to create hurdles in their way. To understand the issue, one needs to understand the working style and the problems faced by some of the women Panchayat representatives.
Kamla Bai is the sarpanch of Rampur village in Baghelan tehsil of Satna District. Since last one year, she has not been able to get done the work of Sampurna Gram Rojgaar Guarantee Yojana (SGRGY), because the village secretary is hell bent on not allowing her to do so. The issue was taken to the chief executive officer of the local Janpad panchayat seberal times, but no solution was found. The dalit women sarpanch in Ashta tehsil of Sehore district is stoned in public for organising a gram sabha on January 26 and police registers no FIR. In Petlawad tehsil of Jhabua district, several anganwadis remain close simply because the anganwadi workers have to come from other village and despite several complaints by dalit woman sarpanch, the women and child development officer does not take any action.\n\u003cbr\>In most of the places, dalit women sarpanchs and panchs complain that district and janpad level officials openly ask for commission for disbursing amount meant for government schemes, but the senior officials do not find any solution for this problem. The court orders are openly violated in the PDS shops and only 17 to 20 kgs of food grain is given instead of the due 35 kg. Especially in the panchayats where women are sarpanchs, the officials do not even listen to the problems, let alone finding solution to them. The middle-level and rural-based administrative officials reportedly find it difficult to communicate with the women leaders. Probably they doubt the competency and abilities of these women and thus the problems continue year after year.\n\u003cbr\>Against this if some empowered, educated and financially well-off woman decides to participate in the self-governance process by accepting challenges of leadership, then too there is conspiracy to somehow remove such woman from the leadership. President of the Bagli municipality of Dewas district Shyama Tomar is good example of this attitude. After about 20 years of government service, the PG and law degree holder Shyama Tomar was unanimously elected as Municipality president and undertook several work of people's welfare and thus broke the network of commission and bribing. After regular tiffs, mud slinging in media, public slapping of Shyama by the vice-president of the municipality and no action by indifferent administration, Shyama was removed from her post under the accusations of administrative incompetence. This incident is a big challenge before the entire women's policy and the government that claims to be making efforts to empower women.\n",1]
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Kamla Bai is the Sarpanch of Rampur village in Baghelan tehsil of Satna District. Since last one year, she has not been able to get done the work of Sampurna Gram Rojgaar Guarantee Yojana (SGRGY), because the village secretary is hell bent on not allowing her to do so. The issue was taken to the chief executive officer of the local Janpad Panchayat several times, but no solution was found. The dalit women Sarpanch in Ashta tehsil of Sehore district is stoned in public for organizing a gram sabha on January 26 and police registers no FIR. In Petlawad tehsil of Jhabua district, several anganwadis remain close simply because the anganwadi workers have to come from other village and despite several complaints by dalit women sarpanch, the women and child development officer does not take any action.
In most of the places, dalit women sarpanchs and panchs complain that district and janpad level officials openly ask for commission for disbursing amount meant for government schemes, but the senior officials do not find any solution for this problem. The court orders are openly violated in the PDS shops and only 17 to 20 kgs of food grain is given instead of the due 35 kg. Especially in the Panchayats where women are sarpanchs, the officials do not even listen to the problems, let alone finding solution to them. The middle-level and rural-based administrative officials reportedly find it difficult to communicate with the women leaders. Probably they doubt the competency and abilities of these women and thus the problems continue year after year.
Against this if some empowered, educated and financially well-off woman decides to participate in the self-governance process by accepting challenges of leadership, then too there is conspiracy to somehow remove such woman from the leadership. President of the Bagli municipality of Dewas district Shyama Tomar is good example of this attitude. After about 20 years of government service, the PG and law degree holder Shyama Tomar was unanimously elected as Municipality president and undertook several work of people's welfare and thus broke the network of commission and bribing. After regular tiffs, mud slinging in media, public slapping of Shyama by the vice-president of the municipality and no action by indifferent administration, Shyama was removed from her post under the accusations of administrative incompetence. This incident is a big challenge before the entire women's policy and the government that claims to be making efforts to empower women.
It has been 13 years since women got 33 percent reservation in self-governance, but the sincerity and far sightedness with which the policy needed to be implemented could not be done. The widespread administrative sensitiveness and deep commitment irrespective of political affiliations required to bring women truly forward in all spheres of society seems to be lacking. Day after day, several announcements for welfare and provision of equality of women are made, but the understanding and sensitivity to change the societal system are unfortunately lacking. The use of section 40 to remove women from their posts in panchayats is a matter of deep worry.\n\u003cbr\>In the next panchayat election, women would be seen undertaking good governance in local bodies taking the help of the 50 per cent reservation policy. The dream would change into reality, but we would have to make such efforts that could help in looking at the system of society with new perspective, help in breaking the feudal and caste-based system and provide equal opportunities to women to develop their abilities and skills in an sensitive administrative set-up.\n\u003cbr\>\u003cbr\>\n",0]
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It has been 13 years since women got 33 percent reservation in self-governance, but the sincerity and far sightedness with which the policy needed to be implemented could not be done. The widespread administrative sensitiveness and deep commitment irrespective of political affiliations required to bring women truly forward in all spheres of society seems to be lacking. Day after day, several announcements for welfare and provision of equality of women are made, but the understanding and sensitivity to change the societal system are unfortunately lacking. The use of section 40 to remove women from their posts in Panchayats is a matter of deep worry.
In the next Panchayat election, women would be seen undertaking good governance in local bodies taking the help of the 50 per cent reservation policy. The dream would change into reality, but we would have to make such efforts that could help in looking at the system of society with new perspective, help in breaking the feudal and caste-based system and provide equal opportunities to women to develop their abilities and skills in a sensitive administrative set-up.
State leadership: Missing Women
The members of the Madhya Pradesh Women Commission is mandated to have a Women chairperson, but the members of the commission have been demanding the appointment of a female as member secretary of MPWC for a long time with an argument that then only affected women will be able to share the facts and truth in the Commission. Otherwise the process will be affected. Recently MPWC had a member secretary (male) himself was facing charges of violence against women and after struggles from the commission members Government of Madhya Pradesh suspended him. Now the biggest question is that what are the criteria followed for the appointments in the Commissions and other institutions created to provide Justice, Justice to the most marginalized and excluded.
Whenever we talk about women leadership or women in power, we immediately think of a story of women Sarpanch. Then we look at it whether any Sarpanch had constructed a road or pond and then the typical question is who had helped her to fight the elections, whether it was her husband or father in law? We have constricted our definition of women empowerment. Looking at the state of Madhya Pradesh half of the posts of Panch and Sarpanch have been reserved for women in Panchayati Raj system. Politically this is a developmental step but if we look through the lens of women’s role in politics there is a need to look beyond the rhetoric. Whenever there is new step taken in the direction of reservation for women, Government proclaims as the political justice done for half of the population. A recent study undertaken proves that in Madhya Pradesh women get reservation only upto that level where they have to just follow the fixed policies and programme without any discussion or argument. Women are absent from that stage and programmes where these policies and programme are formed into action plans for implementation.
In the surveyed posts in the state which looked at the gender ratio of the 353 important posts in the state (including state assembly, parliament, and heads of commission, corporations) 325 posts have men. It’s a bitter reality that in Madhya Pradesh women are constrained completely from 92 percent posts.
Women in Commissions – In the state commissions have been established in the state for social justice and development equity mainly have men in position of power. Out of eleven commissions established by the Madhya Pradesh Government ten are occupied by men. Women commission is the only one in which has women at the post of president and members. May be the reason is that since this commission is concerned with women that is why there is provision of appointing women only. Madhya Pradesh state human right commission role is majority on protection of human rights. Madhya Pradesh is one of the three states where the cases of violation of women rights are the maximum, but in MP it always has been male who had headed the human rights commission. Similarly Madhya Pradesh’s State Schedule Caste & Tribes is also headed by male chairperson. In the process of economic decentralization, in Madhya Pradesh has a state electricity board. Its role is to take decision related to electricity and power. Today span of its authority is more than Government decision makers. But not only its members but its President is also male. Madhya Pradesh public service Commission is the only commission beside women state commission which has woman member on its board but again it is headed by male. Out of 11 commission only 3 commissions where we can see woman in the post of secretary. This survey is pertinent as Commissions of the state these are responsible and empowered for protection of human rights and social justice. Though in terms of political rights these commissions are considered to be powerful but though in reality postings of the heads of these commissions have been prerogative of the politically elected State Government, hence they remain subservient to the state. (See Table 2)
Universities of Madhya Pradesh – Recently a use and importance of women study centre was under scanner and it was decided to close the centre. Affiliated to Barkhatullah University, the role and importance of this women center was not felt by leadership of the University. May be it will be surprising fact to find out that that the training, education and research on the women issues will be the least in the state universities. Education of women here means home science and maternal health. It is important to point out here that out of 12 universities, situated in MP, no University has women vice-chancellor or registrars, (even the name of these posts reflect gender bias). Do the policy makers think that universities under leadership of women will not be able to do play its role effectively or there are no women in the state who are able to its role as a vice-chancellor? (See Table 3)
In the power and as public representative – It is true that there is major fight for gender equity is in area of political representation. In Panchayats they have got equal posts but in State assembly and parliament, they still remain out numbered. Only 18 members of legislative assembly are there in the state assembly to represent 3.25 crores women of the state. In Lok sabha out of 29 seats, three are with women members and in Rajya Sabha out of 11 seats from the state three are women. For almost half population gets not even 10 percent representation probably our political mindset are not wiling to give more. In Madhya Pradesh State Ministers out of 30 ministers only two are women and both of them are in women and child development department. Not only government but even our society has a mindset that more serious should not given to women. (See Table 1)
Women in State Business and Development Corporations – In past few years somehow state’s development is being linked only to investment and construction. Government has willingly accepted to the principal of privatization. If we just total the proclamations made by the Chief Minister on the expected investment in the state, 2 lakhs and 76 thousand crore is almost ready to b invested in the state. To manage these resources there are six corporations. In these six corporations there is not a single woman on the post of president or secretary or commissioner. We may not have long to wait when we will see that women are completely left out of the this developmental process while we still be telling stories of Indira Nooyi to our children. When will the day comes when women naturally will be considered a leader. In the same way out of 11 departments and 8 cooperatives have male leadership. (See Table 4)
Table 1 – State leadership: Missing women
Institution
Total posts
Male
Female
Percentage of Women
Corporations
11
10
1
9
Cooperatives
8
8
0
0
Corporations Limited
6
6
0
0
Board/Mandal
5
5
0
0
Commissions
11
10
1
0
University
12
12
0
0
State Assembly
230
212
18
7.8
Lok Sabha (House of People)
29
26
3
10.3
Rajya Sabha (Council of States)
11
8
3
27.27
Participation in Polity is said to be essential for human development. UNICEF’s 2007 report clearly points out that priorities for women are different from men, and similarly the reasons to enter politics is different for women than that of men. About 40% of women enter politics because of interest in social service. They do not enter politics via party politics way. Men control political and economic system in many countries. Habits like drinking, smoking or playing golf help men to get closer and also help them to climb ladders in politics. In Madhya Pradesh the typical male dominated mindset is clearly reflected in the gender wise distribution of authority and power. Because women are not absent at higher positions in political arena, women get less opportunity to reach to the higher positions. Bureaucracy is unrestricted s of now and in presence of women they would have to change to control their method of conduct and behavior. This is also one of the reasons that they do not want to see women working as officers and leaders.
Madhya Pradesh has huge challenges like maternal mortality, infant mortality, health and violence amongst women. In spite of knowing the realities Government is unable to combat the same appreciably as women are kept away from the forums which are there to make policies and the process of social justice. This boycott is not due to ignorance but deliberate in this new era to keep women out of political puzzle.
Today in Afghanistan parliament there are 27.3 % women while in Madhya Pradesh state assembly women has only 7.8% representation. According to the situation in January 2005 globally 14.3 % government ministries were held by women but in Madhya Pradesh only 6.6% are women Ministers.
No doubt that reservation is subject of controversy in politics but in India benefits which have been accrued by women getting through reservation at local level proves that with increased participation of women have helped in increasing availability and usage of resources for human development. Besides sorting out problems which have direct impact on women, children and teenage girls got priority on its own.
A study from West Bengal show that villages which follow reservation policy have got double investment on providing facilities for drinking water and condition of roads is double better than villages which do not have reservation policy. Not only this possibility of repair of roads is 20 % more in the same villages. 26 % of villages which follow reservation policy (and 6 % in villages which do not follow reservation policy) new bio gas schemes have started. Due to active monitoring the number of visits by the health workers is much higher[3].
It is clear in this scenario that in Madhya Pradesh women are represented at two lower levels but in when it comes to leadership where important decisions are made preference is still not given to women. Environment for women reservation in special to ordinary corporations or boards to commissions established for protection of various rights has still not being built. Also women wanting or in need of justice are getting disappointed due to lack of representation of women.
The call for women empowerment is most vital today, but there is glass ceiling under the corridors of power that there is possibility of women reaching out to highest level of representation but they are not allowed to break that glass ceiling.

Table1 - Assembly and Parliament

Sr. No
House and state
Total members
women
men
1
MP Assembly
230
18
212
2
Loksabha
29
3
26
3
Rajyasabha
11
3
8
4
Ministers in the State Government
30
2
28
5
Chief Minister Secretariat
29
0
29

Table 2- Status of women in various commissions

Sr. No
Commission
Chairperson / Commissioner
Member
Secratry
1
MP Public Service Commission
Male
1 Women
Women
2
MP State Election Commission
Male
-
Men
3
MP Human Rights Commission
Male
1 Women
Men
4
MP State Information Commission
Male
-
Women
5
State Finance Commission
Male
3 Male
Male
6
MP State Electricity Regulatory Commission
Male
2 Male
Male
7
State Scheduled Tribe Commission
Male
2 Male
Male
8
State Scheduled Caste Commission
Male
-
Women
9
State Women Commission
Male
5 women
Male
10
State Backward call commission
Male
-
Male
11
State Minority Commission
Male
-
Male

Table 3 - Universities

Sr. No
University
Vice-Chancellor
Registrar
1
Rajiv Gandhi Prodoyogiki Vishwavidayalaya
Male
Male
2
Barkatullah University, Bhopal
Male
Male
3
MP Bhoj (Open) University
Male
Male
4
Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University
Male
Male
5
Jiwaji University, Gwalior
Male
Male
6
Jawaharlal Nehru Agriculture University, Jabalpur
Male
Male
7
Rani Durgawati University, Jabalpur
Male
Male
8
Dr. Hari Singh Gaur University, Sagar
Male
Male
9
Mahatama Gandhi Chitracoot Gramoday University, Chitracoot
Male
Male
10
Awdesh Pratap Singh University, Rewa
Male
Male
11
Devi Ahilya Bai University, Indore
Male
Male
12
Vikram University Ujjain
Male
Male


Table 4 - Women leaders in Corporation and Boards

Sr. No
Corporation / Board / Institution
Chairperson
Secretary / oths
1
MP Finance Corporation
Male
Women
2
MP State Road transportation corporation Limited
Male
Male
3
State forest development corporation limited
Male
Male
4
Small industries corporation limited
Male
Male
5
State industry corporation Maryadit
Male
Male
6
State Text book corporation
Male
Male
57
MP Tribal finance and Development Corporation
Male
Male
68
MP State Cooperative scheduled caste finance and development corporation Maryadit.
Male
Male
9
State Truism development corporation limited
Male
Male
10
State Livestock and Kukkut development corporation limited
Male
Women
11
MP Industrial Center development corporation limited
Male
Male




12
Minor forest produces (Business and Development) Cooperative Maryadit
Male
Male
13
State cooperative union maryadit
Male
Male
14
State oilseed producers cooperative union Maryadit
Male
Male
15
MP State Agriculture and Rural development Bank Maryadit
Male
Male
16
MP State cooperative Housing union Maryadit
Male
Male
17
MP State Consumer union Maryadit
Male
Male
18
MP Fisheries Union (Cooperative) Maryadit
Male
Male
19
MP State Cooperative Dairy Federation Limited
Male
Male




20
State Industrial Development Corporation Limited
Male
Male
821
State Textile Corporation Limited
Male
Male
22
State Trade and Investment Facilitation Corporation Limited
Male
Male
23
State Electronics Development Corporation Limited
Male
Male
24
The Madhya Pradesh State Mining Corporation Limited
Male
Male
25
The Madhya Pradesh State Agro Industries Development Corporation Limited
Male
Male




26
MP State Electricity Board
Male
Male
27
State Seed Standardization Organization
Male
Male
28
State Agriculture Marketing Board
Male
Male
29
MP State Labor welfare Board
Male
Male
30
MP State Planning Board
Male
Male


[1] Analysis and Report by Sachin Kumar Jain with the support from Raju Kumar, Sandip Naik and the Hunger Project
[2] Contributed by Sandip Naik and Raju Kumar
[3] UNICEF, State of world’s children-2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Katthiwada although Kashmir but where is the heaven without Hospital and health Facilities

Recently I had been to Katthiwada in Jahbua district. This place is known as the kashmir of MP and the full area is surrounded with greenery and hills. Gujrat is very close by and the tribes of Katthiwafda are very much influesnced byt he gujrati culture as they are often found in Chhto Udaipur for any work.
Kalyani, an institute for community development is working in the area since 2000. Ms Sadhana and Herwig Shritibul are two wonderful persons working here with full devotion and enthusaism with local tribes. They are primarily working in the fields of livelihood and health. "Very often we get trained social workers here but after some days they just run away as there are no facilities and connectivity in the area, hence we decide to train local tribal youths and now we have a good trained team with us who is shapping out the area and actively working for the betterment of the people. We are also trying to strengthen the PRIs and women leadership so that in stipulated time we get good women leaders in the local self governanace" Says Sadhana.
When we were talking to many women sarpanchs they all said that there is no system functioning and all the aanganwadis are are defused, no PDds shop works in rmeote areas, schools are in very bad shape and the most important health facilites are worst.They all said very boldly that things are becoming worse and deteriorating day by day.
The discussion held with women leaders was an alrming sign for me and I really wanted to see the reality!!!!!!
I thought to visit the local hospital and see the ground reality. So I just went to hospital. I found an old building and three persons were sitting in the Varanda and two of them were female health workers. They told me to meet the incharge doctor and kept quite. I entered in the doctors room ........ it was an old dark room stinking very badly the roof was leaking and the walls were full of patches. Although the curtains were hung and the table was proper there were two chairs and he had all the required equipments for general health check up. The doctor was little surprised to see me in the room as if I was not his patient and looking quite healthy!!!!!!!! HE started immediately "I dont have staff and there are 5 posts sanctioned in this Community Health Center but no one wants to join here and I have been here since long back and doing all the multiple works of CHC. There are two sub centers and agfainst two posts only one Contractual doctor is working and very soon he may also leave. There are 30 Village centers in the Katthiwada but there are only 17 Male MPW and 7 Female MPW are working hence the condition of health facilities are worst.Although we have reduced MMR, IMR and give away all the benifits to the people like janani surakha yozna, pariwahan yozna etc. Being only traind doctor I have to attend all the works including video conferencing and different meetings at Block level very frequently and send the DAK regularly, so, whenever am not here the people have to suffer. A Medico graduate from Gwalior Medical college, he is performing his job nicely. But ultimately people in the area are suffering. He also said about the herbal medicines used by the tribes. He informed that people go to gujrat for medication as the town doesnt have adequate facilities.
The country has been observing NRHM, RCH II and other big projects and all but harsh reality is that people dont have right to get minimum facilities after 60 years of independence!!!! and the tribes are the most affected community of this web.
Lets hope one day the town Katthiwada will really become Kashmir of the state and people will appear like fresh apples full of freshness blood and zeal and hopeful for dazzling future.