Decentralised Governance in Tribal India: Negotiating Space between the State, Community and Civil Society 1443820652, 9781443820653

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Decentralised Governance in Tribal India: Negotiating Space between the State, Community and Civil Society
 1443820652, 9781443820653

Table of contents :
CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
FOREWORD
ABBREVIATIONS
CHAPTER ONE
CHAPTER TWO
CHAPTER THREE
CHAPTER FOUR
CHAPTER FIVE
CHAPTER SIX
CHAPTER SEVEN
REFERENCES

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Decentralised Governance in Tribal India

Decentralised Governance in Tribal India: Negotiating Space between the State, Community and Civil Society

Aruna Kumar Monditoka

Decentralised Governance in Tribal India: Negotiating Space between the State, Community and Civil Society, by Aruna Kumar Monditoka This book first published 2010 Cambridge Scholars Publishing 12 Back Chapman Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 2XX, UK British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Copyright © 2010 by Aruna Kumar Monditoka All rights for this book reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. ISBN (10): 1-4438-2065-2, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-2065-3

Dedicated to MY MOM “God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers”

CONTENTS Acknowledgements .................................................................................... xi Foreword .................................................................................................. xiii Satyajit Singh List of Abbreviations ................................................................................. xv Chapter One................................................................................................. 1 Introduction 1.1 Historical View on Law and Policy for the Scheduled Areas 1.2 Governance in Scheduled Areas 1.3 Scheduled Areas in Andhra Pradesh 1.4 Significance of the Study 1.5 Objectives of the Study 1.6 Study Area 1.7 Methodology 1.8 Design of the Book Chapter Two .............................................................................................. 25 Decentralization, Civil society and Panchayats: An Overview 2.1 Decentralization 2.2 Civil Society and NGOs 2.3 Social Capital 2.4 Participation 2.5 Panchayats & Gram Sabha 2.6 Summing up Chapter Three ............................................................................................ 71 Governance in Scheduled Areas in Andhra Pradesh 3.1 The Legal Perspective on Panchayats and Scheduled Areas 3.2 Powers and Authorities of the Gram Sabha and Panchayat 3.3 Andhra Pradesh Conformity Act - PESA 3.5 PESA and Common Property Resources (CPR) 3.6 General view - PESA 3.7 Positive View- PESA 3.8 Negative Aspects - PESA 3.9 Summing up

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Chapter Four .............................................................................................. 91 Panchayats and the Tribals 4.1 Visakhapatnam- A Profile 4.2 Munching Put Mandal- A Profile 4.3 Laxmipuram Gram Panchayat: A Profile 4.4 Kilagada Village Panchayat- A Profile 4.5 Paderu Mandal- A Profile 4.6. Vanjangi village Panchayat- A Profile 4.7 Major Tribes in Study Area 4.8 Socio – Demographic Profile of Study Area 4.9. The Socio-Political Profile of Study Area 4.10. Development Programmes in Study Area 4.12 Summing up Chapter Five ............................................................................................ 135 How Governace Works: Lessons from Field Tribals and Panchayats 5.1 Awareness - Panchayat Raj 5.2. Awareness of Panchayat Programme 5.3 Sources of Information about Panchayat Programmes 5.4 Panchayats - Major activities 5.5. Panchayats -NGOs 5.6. Awareness -Community Property Resources (CPR) 5.7 Awareness - Government officials and people Representatives Tribals – Gram Sabha 5.8 Participation - Gram Sabha 5.9 Regularity of Gram Sabha 5.10 Presenting Agenda - Gram Sabha 5.11 Mobilization - Gram Sabha 5.12 Problems - Gram Sabha 5.13 Issues- Gram Sabha Tribals - PESA 5.14 Awareness- PESA Act 5.15. Relevance - PESA Tribals- NGOs 5.16 Activities - NGOs 5.17 NGO’s Intervention 5.18. Political Parties- Panchayats 5.19 Planning and Identification of the Schemes 5.20 Utilization of funds 5.21 Summing up

Decentralised Governance in Tribal India

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Chapter Six .............................................................................................. 185 Governance and Natural Resources: In Search for a Better Life 6.1 Introduction 6.2 Minor forest Produce (MFP) 6.3 Minor Water Bodies 6.4 Recognizing rights over Natural Resources 6.5 Parallel bodies 6.6 Summing Up Chapter Seven.......................................................................................... 215 Unfinished Pursuit for Decentralized Governance References ............................................................................................... 225

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

It is a great pleasure to write this section where I can remember the invaluable contributions made by several people in the course of writing this book. Though this has been primarily my work, it wouldn’t have been possible without the help, encouragement and interest of many others. It is an honor for me that Prof. Satyajit Singh has written foreword for this book. I am deeply indebted to him for his invaluable guidance and motivation during the course of my book work. I am grateful to him, especially for his thoughtful and creative comments, and more generally for exploring with me the boundaries of professional friendship. Arun Patnaik , My Research Guru and Mentor in Academics ,I thank him for giving me the privilege and luxury of working under conditions of freedom without any constraints what so ever. By being liberal, he trained me to carry out independent work. This apart, he was readily available to me without bothering about the odd timing and his pressing preoccupations. I would like to express my gratitude to Prof. Gopinath Reddy at Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad who has been very encouraging and his suggestions were very effective in the making of this book. I would like to thank Mr. Lakhi, Director, and the staff of CCN(NGO) for being really concerned about me and for the care they took of me during my fieldwork. The interaction with My Respondents has been most gratifying. I still cherish my meetings and informal sessions with them. I feel indebted to them for confiding in me and allowing me to look into their personal and social lives. This book would not have been possible without their valuable inputs. I owe my deepest and sincere thanks to my friends. I feel am lucky to have such wonderful friends. Thank you, Stevee for helping me in the typing of this book most often than not, I have troubled him at odd hours. Thank you, Nagaraju Anna for helping me in editing the work and for his constant encouragement; Harish for being with me, we ‘Keep Walking’ whenever possible. Sajja has probably been my best critic and his good advices will always keep me going. Praveen has been encouraging as always, especially, when I wasn’t having the best of times; Eashwarappa, over the years has been very encouraging too; Chiya has been wonderful

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Acknowledgements

over the years, helping me and being with me, ‘everytime I asked for’;Rajini, as always, has been cheerful and Vasan, for encouraging me everywhere and every time. Thank you, Sree, my best buddy, who have been with me all through, in my highs and lows and for being very supportive of my every cause. She has been one of the toughest critics as well as among my most enduring sources of support. Above all, I want to thank my wife, Shashi who supported and encouraged me in spite of all the time it took me away from her. My family has been a great source of inspiration to me. I owe much to them for their love and affection towards me. I feel no words are capable enough to express my gratitude towards them. My family is the source of ‘what I am today’ and ‘what I can become’. Last, but not least, I wish to sincerely appreciate my editors at Cambridge Scholars Publishing who nagged me ever so affectionately to finish this book while I procrastinated endlessly. My Heartfelt thanks to Carol and Amanda for their constant support and help in the making of this book. I feel honored by their enthusiasm to ensure that my writings become more widely available. —Aruna Kumar Monditoka

FOREWORD

It is my pleasure to introduce perhaps the first full length monograph on Panchayats Extension of Scheduled Areas Act (PESA), 1996 that has been written by a young political scientist and a colleague. This brief act has the potential to fundamentally transform governance in tribal areas when colonial and independent India adopted policies that facilitated the exploitation of natural resources and alienated the tribal people from their land, forests and resources. At a time when the growing discontentment of the tribal people in the country is being exploited by extremist forces, this little used legislation can form the basis of wining back the livelihoods of the marginalized tribal population. The Act goes beyond the provisions of the Panchayati Raj Act, 1993 and gives special autonomy and powers to the people and village level institutions for local governance, conservation of natural resources, and preservation of their traditional rights over the use of local resources. The Act also has a provision that within a year of its enactment, all legislation that are not in letter and spirit with it have to be amended to bring them in line with the provisions that are laid down here. In other words, there is room to change the fundamental character of two alienating laws in order to improve the life and economy of the tribal people – Indian Forests Act, 1927 and the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. An effective implementation of PESA in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Orissa, Maharashtra and Rajasthan will ensure that all developmental projects pass through local institutions and not through what is increasingly been seen as an ineffective and corrupt state machinery. Not only infrastructure and employment related schemes like those of Bharat Nirman and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Program but also the delivery of those related to education, health and other poverty alleviation programs have to be decided by the people themselves. This book looks at the implementation of PESA in three villages in Andhra Pradesh and raises important issues that relate to the state, village and society. This study points out that (i) tribal society can be integrated with the new decentralized institutions for local governance, (ii) the community gets an institutional space to govern itself in an accountable manner, and (iii) new institutions facilitates representation and participation

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Foreword

in local governance. Within this rubric this book bring out a rich analysis of village level politics, the changing power structure and its negotiation of development, service provision and distribution of resources. This is not only a study of institutions and politics of state and non-state agencies but also of the changing dynamics of tribal society, perceptions of leadership, hierarchy, representation, kinship, gender, fairness and accountability. The study points out that state governments have to invest in their own capacity to be able to assist local institutions manage the transition from being ruled to being self-governed. I am sure this work will inspire others to work on this exciting area of local politics and local institutions of governance. —Satyajit Singh Dean and Professor School of Development Studies Ambedkar University, Delhi

ABBREVIATIONS

BSP CBO CCN CCT CPR DNRM DRD DWCRA GADS GCC GP GS IFAD INDIRAMMA ITDA JFM JGSY MDO MFP MLA MP MPDO MPLADS MRO MWB NGO NRM NTEP PCT PESA PFM PIA PP PRI PTG

Bahujan Samaj Party Community Based Organization Community Coordination Network Community Coordination Network Community Property Resources Decentralized Natural Resource Management Department of Rural Development Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas General Administrative Departments Girijan Cooperative corporation Gram Panchayat Gram Sabha International Fund for Agriculture Development Integrated Novel Development in Rural Areas and Model Municipal Areas Integrated Tribal Development Agency Joint Forest Management Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana Mandal Development Officer Minor Forest Produce Member of Legislative Assembly Member of Parliament Mandal Parishad Development Officer Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme Mandal Revenue Officer Minor Water Bodies Non Governmental Organization Natural Resources Management Non -Timber Forest Produce Personal Construct Theory Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas Participatory Forest Management Participatory Impact Assessment Panchayat Programmes Panchayat Raj Institutions Primitive Tribal Groups

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SHG ST TAC VHP VLW VSS VTDA VWC

Abbreviations

Self Help Groups Scheduled Tribes Tribal Advisory Council Vishwa Hindu Parishad Village Level Worker Vana Samrakshna Samiti Village Tribal Development Agency Village Working Committee

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

Decentralized governance is an essential pre-requisite for inclusive governance.Decentralizing, governance from the national level to regions, districts, towns, municipalities, rural settlements and communities enable the people to participate more directly in the governing process. It empowers people who were excluded previously, from the decisionmaking process. In this way, a country can create and sustain equitable opportunities for all the people. Closer contact between Government officials, local communities and organizations will also encourage exchange of information which can be used to make development programs according to specific local needs and priorities. The success of governance programs and projects is greatly dependent on the way they are designed and implemented. In India, in order to fulfill the objectives of decentralization as mentioned above, the three-tier Panchayati Raj system has been implemented and in that direction, the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act and Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996(PESA) have been enacted. The grassroot development requirements and changing the local leadership aspirations, worked as a backbone for initiating and process of 73rd constitutional amendment. The provisions of Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996(PESA) came into force on 24th December 1996. The Central Act extends Panchayat Raj system to the tribal Areas in eight States namely, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Rajasthan. The intention was to enable the tribal society to assume control over their own destiny by preserving and conserving their traditional rights over the natural resources. The socio-economic and cultural life of the tribal groups of India varies from tribe-to-tribe and region-to-region. They belong to various ethnic stocks, have distinct patterns of economy, technology and religious behavior and speak a large number of languages and dialects. Though there is diversity in their ‘life style’ and ‘mode of life’, yet there exists a great deal of similarity in their socio-cultural and psychological levels.

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Chapter One

Even today, the tribes are more or less trying to retain their separate social identity, customs and regulations. On the whole, they can be regarded as comparatively isolated and backward category. Indian tribals may be classified in terms of their language, race, levels of integration and also in terms of their subsistence technology and economy. Vidyarthi1 (1966) made an attempt to classify the tribal people into six cultural types – (1) forest hunting type, (ii) hill cultivation type, (iii) plain agriculture type, (iv) the simple artisan type, (v) the pastoral and cattle-breeder type, and (vi) urban industrial type. He considered five factors to identify these culture types. These are –their economy, their ecology and socio-cultural adaptation of the tribes to ecology and the economy, their religious beliefs and emerging contemporary situation, influx of other groups of people. The dictionary of Anthropology views a tribe as a social group, usually with a definite Area, dialect, cultural homogeneity and unifying social organization. The term ‘tribe’ in that sense refers to a type of society and marks a stage of evolution in the human society. As a type of society, the term signifies a set of characteristic features and as a stage of evolution; it connotes a specific mode of social organization. Anthropologists define tribe as a collection of groups of people who share similar patterns of speech, basic cultural characteristics, and in the traditional sense, a common territory. According to Ghurye (1963)2, ‘the common features possessed by all the tribal groups are as follows: (1) they live away from the civilized world in inaccessible parts in the forests and hills. (2) They speak the same tribal dialect. (3) They belong to either one of the three stocks – Negritos, Austroloid or Mongoloids. (4) They profess primitive religion known as animism in which worship of ghosts and spirits is the most important element. (5) They follow primitive occupation such as gleaning, hunting and gathering of forest products. (6) They are largely carnivorous. (7) They live either naked or semi-naked. (8) They have nomadic habits and love for drink and dance. T.B. Naik (1972)3, however, proposed seven criteria by which a ‘tribe’ can be recognized. They are: (i) functional interdependence within the community; (ii) economic backwardness; (iii) geographical isolation; (iv) common dialect; (v) politically a unit under a common tribal authority; (vi) own traditional laws and (vii) members are averse to change. Vimal 1

L.P. Vidyarthi, (1968), Applied Anthropology in India, Allahabad, Kitab Mahal. G.S. Ghurye, (1963), The Scheduled Tribes, Bombay, Populat Book Depot. 3 T.K. Naik, (1972), Applied Anthropology in India, in Survey of Research in Sociology and Anthropology, Vol.III, Indian Council of Social Sicence Research, Bombay: Popular Prakasam. 2

Introduction

3

Chandra4 was of the view that primitiveness and backwardness are the tests applied for specifying a ‘Scheduled tribe’. The main characteristics common to all the Scheduled Tribes are; (1) tribal origin (2) primitive way of life, (3) habitat in remote and less accessible areas and (4) general backwardness in all respects. However, the Scheduled Tribes could be defined in general as the “oldest strong kinship bonds with distinct customs, moral codes, religious beliefs and rituals and low level of technological development”. Today it would be difficult for a number of communities to satisfy all these criteria, to be termed as Scheduled Tribes. Although some differences have been found among various tribal groups, most of them share certain common characteristics, viz., “Nature of reality, specialty of illiteracy, economic backwardness and social deprivation”. Almost everyone uses the term ‘Tribe” to distinguish a type of society from others, one specific mode of social organization from other modes of organization in society – ‘bands’, ‘States’ etc. Evolutionists’ used the term ‘tribe’ as a stage of evolution and held that each stage of evolution is characterized by a specific mode of social organization. Since, the term ‘Tribe’ has been defined in different ways by different individual scholars; there is no universally accepted definition. It is also nowhere defined in the Indian Constitution. It only declares that the Scheduled Tribes are “the tribes or the tribal communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities” which the President of the country may specify by public notification (Constitution of India, Article 342). The most acceptable definition in the Indian context is propounded by D.N. Majumdar5 (1958), according to him, “a tribe is a collection of families or groups of families bearing a common name, members of which occupy the same territory, speak the same language and observe certain taboos regarding marriage, profession or occapation and have developed a well-assessed system of reciprocity and mutuality of obligations”

1.1 Historical View on Law and Policy for the Scheduled Areas During the colonial period, the British made efforts to penetrate into the tribal Areas through the policy of territorial conquest with the aim of laying the foundation for modern State. As a response, the tribals resorted 4

Vimal Chandra (1964), The Constitutional sageguards and Privileges accorted to Tribals in Vanyajati 11(4) 161-172 5 D.N. Majumdar (1958) Caste and Communication in Indian village, Asia Publishing house, Bombay

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to armed revolts whenever their traditional territorial habitat was encroached. However, as part of their mercantile colonial expansionist strategy, the Britishers made reconciliatory efforts by declaring them as non-regulatory areas and recognized their traditional system of administration. Further, in order to count and classify ‘subject’ people, the colonial Government undertook a more detailed study of isolated social groups, especially the Tribals. It was the first attempt to gather information about all these isolated Tribes. The first enactment, which dealt with these Areas as a class, was the Scheduled District Act, 1884. The executive, under this law, was given the power to exclude the Scheduled Areas from the normal operations of ordinary law and give them such protection as they might need. Even the Montague-Chelmsford Report concluded some years later, that the political reforms contemplated for the rest of India could not apply to these backward areas as “there was no material on which to establish political institutions”. The Scheduled District Act of 1874 (Act XIV of 1874) was enacted to keep large tracts of tribal areas outside the jurisdiction of normal administration. For these areas, the executive was endowed with wide powers. The administrative policy was based on the principle of noninterference into the affairs of the tribals and isolation. All the provinces were provided with autonomy to rule the tribal Areas under their control, following broad guidelines formulated for this purpose. In accordance with this policy, Agency Rules have been formulated in the year 1924 by the Government of Madras Province (G.O. No.1116-Revenue, dated 23-71924) subsuming all the existing rules. The Agency Rules provided for the Revenue and Judicial administration of the areas. In the new system of administration, the position of local chiefs of the tribal Areas were recognized for administrative purposes and hence, they acquired linkages with the higher levels of administration. The policy of having excluded areas was extended further by the Government of India Act, 1919 which divided these areas “based on their backwardness’. Accordingly, the areas were divided into two categories: those that were wholly excluded from the scope of reforms as they were considered very backward and those, where a system of modified exclusion was applied. In the former, neither the Central nor the provincial legislature had the power to make laws. The power of legislation was vested only in the Governor and his executive council. However, these arrangements for total exclusion applied only to the three backward Areas of Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bengal. “The Excluded and partially Excluded Areas Act,” which came into

Introduction

5

existence in 1935, provided for non-applicability of any legislation of the Provincial Governments to tribal areas, except on the direction of the Central Government. The Act also enabled Governors to pass special regulations for the tribal areas with prior consent of the Governor-General. In accordance with the provisions of the Scheduled Districts Act of 1874, Ganjam and Vizagapattam Act was promulgated in 1939. The Act (Act No.XXXIV of 1939) provided for administrative justice in both civil and criminal matters in the tribal areas of Gangjam and Vizagapattam Agencies in Madras Presidency, rights of collection and superintendence of Revenue of every description within the tracts of the country specified. After the Independence, The Government of India appointed a subcommittee in 1947 with Sri A.V. Thakkar 6 as its Chairman to study the position of Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas of the erstwhile British Government. The Committee made several recommendations. One of the important recommendations was that the State should bear the responsibility of the tribal people. It laid emphasis on the protection of tribal lands and prevention of exploitation by moneylenders. It also suggested certain statutory safeguards for the protection of tribals. Although, the Thakkar Committee’s jurisdiction was restricted to the excluded and partially excluded Areas, the committee was conscious of a sizeable population of tribals in the non-excluded portions of British India. The Committee therefore recommended, “The whole tribal population should be treated as a minority community, for the welfare of whom, certain special measures are necessary”. The committee felt that geographical inaccessibility of these areas was largely responsible for the exclusion and the backward condition of these areas. The Thakkar Committee had recommended that the Constitution should provide for setting up of a body in each province, which would keep the provincial Government constantly in touch with the welfare of the tribes in general and the needs of the aboriginal tracts in particular. This body was known as the Tribal Advisory Council (TAC). The TAC was to have a strong element of representation of the tribals. Interestingly in subjects, the application of law would be suspended if the TAC considered such a law as unsuitable. These subjects included matters of village management, including the establishment of village Panchayats. In fact, the State Government was statutorily enjoined to give effect to the advice of the Council. It was obligatory for the Governor to act accordingly on the advice of TAC on matters such as land, village 6 A.V. Thakkar, (August 18, 1947), Report of the Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas sub-Committee. Government of India

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Chapter One

administration and village Panchayats and customs of tribes. The transfer of land in a Scheduled Area from a tribal to a non-tribal was forbidden and the State Government was prohibited from allotting State land in a Scheduled Area to the non-tribals. Likewise, if advised by the Council, the Governor was obliged to license money lending. These complicated provisions were reconsidered by the drafting committee and it was felt that conferring so much legislative and executive powers on the Tribal Council in complicated matters of law and legal procedure might adversely affect the safeguarding of the interests of the tribal population. Consequently, several amendments were proposed and the role of the TAC was eventually reduced to a purely consultative body. The responsibility for the welfare of Scheduled Areas was squarely on the State Government subject to the control the Central Government. The founders of the Indian Constitution were deeply conscious of the miserable conditions of the tribals who were segregated from the national mainstream. Also during this period, social scientists focused their attention towards the conditions of the tribals and began to discuss how best to deal with them. One school of thought led by Elwin, argued to protect the aborigines by completely isolating them from the rest of India. Elwin later shifted his stance. A second school of thought led by Ghurye7 (1963) opined total assimilation of the tribals into national mainstream as essential. A third school believed that tribals should be integrated into the Indian society but not necessarily assimilated; which means that it aims to preserve their identity. Ghurye made an elaborate discussion and proposed three solutions for the tribal questions, vis., i) no change and revivalism; ii) isolationism and preservation; and iii) assimilation After Indian Independence, the tribals acquired a new significance as they were subjugated through a number of conscious and elaborate influences. The Government of India has launched various projects for tribal welfare, and various special provisions have been laid down in the Constitution as planned economic development has been inaugurated by the post independence Government. Under the Constitution of India, special provisions have been made for the promotion of socio, economic and educational development of Scheduled tribes. The main provisions relating to Scheduled Tribes are contained in the Articles 15(4), 16(4), 19(5), 23, 29, 46, 164, 275(1), 330, 332, 334, 335, 338, 342, and Fifth and Sixth Schedules of the Constitution.

7

G.S. Ghurye, (1963), The Scheduled Tribes, Bombay, Popular Book Depot.

Introduction

7

Article 15(4) and 16(4): Both these provisions are for safeguarding the interests of backward classes but while Article 15(4) enables the State to offer protective discrimination to the backward classes in all its dealings, Article 16(4) specially provides for protective discrimination in the matter of employment in the services under the State. Article 19(5): While the rights of free movement and residence throughout the territory of India and of acquisition and disposition of properties are granted to every citizen, special restrictions may be imposed by the State to protect interest of the members of the Scheduled Tribes under Article 19(5). Article 23: Article 23 prohibits traffic in human beings, beggar and other similar forms of forced labour. Article 29: According to Article 29, a cultural or linguistic minority has the right to conserve its language or culture. This Article provides protection to Scheduled Tribe Communities to preserve their languages, dialects and cultures. The State would not by law, enforce upon it any other culture or language. Article 46: This Article provides for promotion of educational and economic interest of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections. Article 164: This Article provides for a minister in charge of tribal welfare in the State of Bihar, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. Article 330, 332 and 334: Seats shall be reserved in the house of the people for Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribes (330). Seats shall also be reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the legislative Assembly of every State (332). Such Reservations shall cease to have effect on the expiration of period of 40 years from the commencement of the Constitution i.e. 1990 (334). Article 335: The claims of members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration in the matter of appointment to the service and posts under the Union and the States as far as may be

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Chapter One

consistent with the maintenance of efficiency of administration. Article 338: There shall be a special officer for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to be appointed by the President. It shall be the duty of the special officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution. According to Article 366(25) of the Indian Constitution, the Scheduled Tribes are such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342. The President under Article 342 may specify the Scheduled Tribes through a public notification. The Parliament may, by law, include or exclude from the list of Scheduled Tribes any tribal community or part thereof in any State or Union Territory. The term ‘Schedule’ is defined as “an appended Statement of supplementary details usually accompanying a legal or legislative document and after taking the form of a detailed list of relevant matter.” The territories mentioned in the First Schedule of the Scheduled Districts Act, 1874 came to be known as Scheduled Districts. Later on, in exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-Para (1) of Para (6) of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India, the President of India was pleased to issue the Scheduled Areas (Part A States) order, 1950 to declare East Godavari, West Godavari and Vishakapatnam Agencies as Scheduled Areas. Under Article.366 (23) of the Constitution of India, Schedule means a schedule to this Constitution. Since these Areas were declared as per provisions of the Fifth Schedule, these Areas came to be known as Scheduled Areas. Excluded Areas were placed under the provincial rule of the Governor acting in his/her discretion, whereas the Partially Excluded Areas were within the field of ministerial responsibility: in which Governor exercised special responsibility in respect of administration of these areas. No Act of Federal or Provincial Legislatures would apply, but the Governor had the authority to apply such Acts with such modifications as considered necessary.

1.2 Governance in Scheduled Areas The term Scheduled Areas has been defined in the Indian Constitution as “such areas as the President may by order declare to be Scheduled Areas under the Central Act”. The criteria followed for declaring an Area as Scheduled Area are preponderance of tribal population, compactness

Introduction

9

and reasonable size of the area; underdeveloped nature of the area; and marked disparity in economic standards of the people. These criteria though not spelt out in the Constitution of India have become well established. They embody, broadly the principles followed in declaring ’Excluded’ and ‘Partially Excluded Areas’ under the Government of India Act, 1935; and spelt out in the Report of the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes Commission, 1961. In exercise of the Constitutional provisions, the President after consultation with the State Governments concerned had passed the Orders called, ‘the Scheduled Areas (Part A States) order, 1950 and the Scheduled Areas (Part B States) order 1950 which set out the Scheduled Areas in the States. Further, by Order; namely the Madras Scheduled Areas (Censer) Order, 1951 and ‘the Andhra Scheduled Areas (Censer) Order, 1955’ certain Areas of the then East Godavari and Vishakapatnam districts were de-Scheduled. At the time of formulating and adopting the strategy of Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) for socio-economic development of Scheduled tribes during Fifth Five Year Plan l (1974-79), certain areas besides the then existing Scheduled Areas, were also found to be having preponderance of tribal population. In August 1976, it was decided to make the boundaries of the Scheduled Areas aca-terminus with the Tribal Sub-Plan Areas. Accordingly, Clause (2) of Paragraph 6 of the Schedule was amended vide the Constitution (Amendment) Act, 1976 to empower the President to increase the Area of any Scheduled Area in any State. Pursuant to the above, the President has issued from time to time, orders specifying Scheduled Areas afresh in relation to the States of Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Rajasthan. The main features of the Fifth Schedule include: 1. Special Legislative Powers of the Governor. 2. Governor’s Report to the President. 3. Tribal Advisory Council. 1. The Governor of a State has special powers of legislation with respect to the Scheduled Area. They are: legislation by notification and legislation by regulation. The Governor of a State is responsible for deciding whether an act of Parliament or of the State legislature is suitable or unsuitable for Scheduled Areas. The State Governor by public notification can direct that any act of Parliament or the State Legislature

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Chapter One

shall not apply to a Scheduled Area8. The Governor can issue the notification without any reference either to the Tribal Advisory Council or to the President of India. The Governor has been empowered to make regulations for peace and good Government of Scheduled Areas. Such regulations may in particular prohibit or restrict the transfer of Scheduled Area land by or among members of the Scheduled Tribes. The regulations may regulate the allotment of Scheduled Area land to members of the Scheduled Tribes. The regulations are also concerned with regulating the business of moneylenders, who lend money to members of the Scheduled Tribes in Scheduled Areas. The regulation making power of the Governor is subject to some limitations as specified in the Fifth schedule of the Constitution. The regulation should be made with prior consultation of the Tribal Advisory Council. The regulation should be submitted to the President and shall not have effect until assented to by him. 2. Fifth Schedule (Para 3) of the Constitution provides that the Governor of each State having Scheduled Areas should annually or whenever required so by the President make a report to the President, to keep the Union Government informed of the administration in Scheduled Areas. On the basis of this report, the Union Government issues directives to the respective State Governments for better administration of the Scheduled Areas9. 3. Clause 4 of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution recommends Tribal Advisory Council in each State having Scheduled Areas. If the President directs so, this kind of Council may also be established in the States, which do not have Scheduled Areas. The Council’s duty is to offer advice on matters pertaining to the welfare and advancement of the Scheduled tribes in the States as referred to them by the Governor. It is intended to act as a channel of discussion about the nature and different stages in which the general laws and rules should be applied to the Scheduled Areas. It is enumerated in the Constitution that the Tribes Advisory Council should be involved effectively apart from legislative process in policymaking, planning and supervision of the development schemes, as well as in effective administration of the Scheduled Areas.

8

R.C. Varma, (1995), Indian Tribe Through the Ages, Publication Division , Ministry of information and Broadcosting ,Government of India, New Delhi. P.137-138. 9 Ibid. P. 142.

Introduction

11

1.3 Scheduled Areas in Andhra Pradesh The Scheduled Areas in Andhra Pradesh are spread over Andhra and Telangana Regions. While the former were under the British, the latter were under the Nizams’ rule. Therefore, the Scheduled Areas in both these regions have different historical backgrounds. In coastal Andhra, the Scheduled Areas were declared by the British as ‘Area’ in 1874 with a popular Zamindari, Mutta, River etc as reference points while in Telangana, the Scheduled Areas were declared by the Nizam as villages. In the former case, doubts have arisen as to which of the villages constituted the Scheduled Areas. The list of villages published by Census of India during various census periods as Agency Villages need to be backed by authentic list of villages. However, to establish the link between the original Scheduled Areas and the list of Agency Villages, the old records have to be searched. Andhra Pradesh is the traditional home of many tribal groups and most of these communities inhabit the border Areas in the North and Northeast parts of Andhra Pradesh. Identical tribal groups are found in the border areas of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. According to 1991 Census, out of 33 schedule tribes, 30 groups are found living in more than 6200 villages in the districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Khammam, Warangal, Adilabad and Mahboobnagar districts of Andhra Pradesh. The Scheduled Areas of the State, which is the chief habitat of the tribal groups of Andhra Pradesh, constitute 11% of the total geographical Area of the State. The density of population is 125 in Scheduled Area as against 194 in the non-Scheduled Areas per Sq.Km. 33 tribal communities are notified as Scheduled Tribes and their population is 41.99 lakhs as per 1991 census reports. They constitute 6.75% of the total tribal population of the country. The tribal sub plan Area extending to over 31,485.34 Sq.Kms. in the districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Khammam, Warangal, Adilabad and Mahaboobnagar constitute the traditional habitat of nearly 30 tribal groups. The three groups viz., Yerukula, Yanadi and Sugali or Lambada mainly live in the plain Areas outside the Scheduled Areas10. The main occupation of the tribal groups living in Scheduled Areas is agriculture. 80% of the tribals living in nine Scheduled districts of A.P. make their living from agriculture and allied activities. In Visakhapatnam, 10 K. Mohan, Rao, (1999), Tribal Development in Andhra Pradesh-Problems, Performances and Prospects. Booklinks corporation, Hyderabad P.54.

12

Chapter One

Khammam and Adilabad districts where tribal groups constitute a large part of the population, more than 85% of the workers are dependent on cultivation as agricultural labourers. Out of 33 groups, only three groups viz., Gonds in Scheduled Areas of Andhra region, Yerukulas and Yanadis in the Non-Scheduled plain areas are not much dependent on agriculture. Gonds are basically farmers while Yanadis and Yerukulas are inland fishermen and basket makers respectively. These groups are also working as cultivators, and adopting cultivation or agricultural labour as their subsidiary occupation The tribal communities are traditionally well versed in the regulation, control and conduct of their domestic, religious, socio-economic, political and judicial affairs through the combined wisdom of their traditional leaders and village councils. The Constitution (Seventy third) Amendment Act, 1992 which incorporated many path-breaking provisions for an effective local self-government practices, was not automatically made applicable to the Scheduled Areas (Article 243M) because of their unique characteristics and special needs as also, recognizing the special features of the Scheduled Areas and the tribal people. Subsequently, on the basis of expert advise as contained in the Bhuria Committee Report, 1995, an Amendment Act was enacted in December 1996 enabling extension of the seventy-third Amendment Act, 1992, in a modified form to the Scheduled Areas. It can thus be seen that even before the provisions relating to Panchayats in part IX of the Constitution were extended to Scheduled Areas in 1996 (Panchayats Extention to Seheduled Areas, hereafter PESA) in a modified form, many Constitutional provisions were available to many States to protect and promote the interests of the Scheduled Tribes in the Scheduled Areas. For the first-time, the PESA gives radical selfgovernance powers to the tribal community and recognizes its traditional community rights over natural resources. Prior to the passage of this Act, laws passed by Central and State Governments were applied mechanically to tribal areas even when these laws disregarded traditional tribal practices and institutions. For instance, the Gram Sabha, which is a locus of political power under the PESA, may be in other States was no more than a convenient administrative label for the relevant Assembly. However, under the PESA the law focuses on settlements, which the tribal people themselves perceive to be traditional and organic entities. In fact this is the first law that empowers people to redefine their own administrative boundaries. The PESA provides that the tribal Gram Sabha so defined would be empowered to approve all development plans, control all functionaries and institutions of all social sectors, as well as control all

Introduction

13

minor water bodies, minor minerals and non-timber forest resources. It would also have the authority to control land alienation, impose prohibition, and manage village markets and resolve internal conflicts. The Act creates a space for people’s empowerment, genuine popular political participation, convergent community action, sustainable people oriented development and auto-generated emancipation. But in reality, its passage has almost been forgotten and has not become part of mainstream political or policy discourse. Many State Governments have passed laws not fully in conformity with the Central law. The tribal communities greeted the provisions of the law with enthusiasm but found themselves progressively handicapped by the lack of actual preparedness to negotiate development and democratization in the manner envisaged by the law. It is important here to discuss the role of the civil society in bringing about political participation of people and in preventing the political abuse of power.

1.4 Significance of the Study Despite the fact that many laws have been passed for the up-liftment of the people living in the Scheduled Areas, there has been inefficient functioning of those laws. The most important feature of the 1996 Panchayat Act is to make the people in Scheduled Areas govern themselves. It is quite impossible for this law to be successfully implemented without participation of the people. Hence, “people’s participation” gains much importance in the above mentioned context. The nature of people’s participation is mainly confined to the sphere of basic amenities. The political consciousness generated by the local Government in Scheduled Areas has not been properly channelised towards democratic secular direction. The involvement of independent voluntary organizations, cooperatives and Farmers’ Associations for generating people’s participation supplement the work of Panchayat Raj but they have failed to act as checks and balances to the Panchayat Raj Institutions. All these institutions and local bodies are facing shortage of resources. In the present administration at lower level, people’s participation has been used as a tool of manipulation by which dominant tribes and privileged groups have been benefited. The main hindrance in generating people’s participation is the lack of knowledge, means and methods of approaching people, absence of support from higher-level officials and non-officials and general apathy of the local level functionaries. In

14

Chapter One

addition, caste and political pressure are more frequently used as tools of manipulation in power politics within the formal committees of Panchayati Raj Organizations in agency area. The success of decentralization programme lies not only in the deconcentration of functions, finances and powers but also a change in the attitude, behavior and cultural conditions conducive for the growth of decentralization. This change can be brought about only through civil society. The present study focuses on how the tribals are participating in local Self-Governance through Panchayati Raj Institutions and through the intervention of civil society. The study also focusses on the nature of functioning of Gram Sabhas in Scheduled Areas to perform their duties.

1.5 Objectives of the Study 1. To study how Governace works in the Scheduled Areas. 2. To analyse the awareness and participation levels of the tribals in Democratic form of Governace. 3. To discuss various Policy Aspects related to governace in Scheduled areas in Andhra Pradesh. 4. How do State and civil society groups mobilize the tribal people in development process? 5. How Traditional Institutions operative in the Area? 6. Understanding the functioning of Natural resources within the frame work of Governace.

1.6 Study Area Visakhapatnam district is one of the eight districts with a high tribal concentration, situated in the coastal belt of Andhra Pradesh. 56 percent of the total geographical Area of 11.67 square kilometers constitutes tribal region.Visakhapatnam District is one of the North –Eastern Coastal Districts of Andhra Pradesh lying between 170–15’ and 180 -32’ of North latitude and 180-54’and 830-30’of Eastern longitude. It is partly bound by Vizianagaram in the north, East Godavari district in the south and Orissa in the northwest, and Bay of Bengal in the east. The Visakhapatnam district presents two distinct geographical divisions: the strip of land along the coast and the interior called the ‘Plains Division’ and hilly Area of the Eastern Ghats flanking it on the North and West called ‘Agency Division’. The Agency Division of the region is covered by the Eastern Ghats with

Introduction

15

an altitude of about 900m dotted with several peaks exceeding 1200m. These Ghats have high ridges in the Chintapalle and Gangaraju Madugula Mandals in the district with Sankaram topping 1615m and embracing 11 Mandals of Paderu, Gangaraju Madugula (G.Madugula), Pedabayalu, Munchingputu, Hukumpeta, Dumbriguda, Araku Valley, Ananthagiri, Chintapalli, G.K.Veedhi, and Koyyuru (Erstwhile Taluks of Paderu, Araku, and Chintapalli) in entity. These hill formations comprise of Northern section of Eastern Ghats. Machkund River, which has its source in Sileru, drains and waters the area, is tapped for power generation. Along the shore lies a series of salt and sandy swamps. The Visakhapatnam District comprises of three revenue divisions further sub divided into 42 mandals. The district consists of two natural divisions. viz., the agency area and the plain area. Out of a total 42 mandals (sub district Administrative Units) tribals are concentrated in 11 mandals spreading over 3,400 habitations with a population density of 72 persons per square kilometer. The district has total population of 3.2 million, with a tribal population of 0.42 millions constituting 14 per cent of the district population. There are 20 different tribal groups in the district. The agency mainly consists of hilly regions covered by Eastern Ghats, which run parallel to the coast and stretches over a length of about 161 Km in the district from Northeast to Southwest lying in the interior parts of the district.

16

Chapter One

Introduction

17

Out of 11 mandals, two mandals: Munchingput and Paderu have been selected for the study. Three village Panchayats from these mandals have been selected for the study namely, Laxmipuram and Kilagada from Munchingput and Vanjangi from Paderu. The basis of selecting these village panchayats is: 1. Laxmipuram is an interior village Panchayat in Munchingput Mandal, with an active presence of an NGO, which has been working since 1991. The village Panchayat does not have minimum facilities like road, transport, and electricity. One has to reach this village by Kacha road. 2. Kilagada is a roadside Village Panchayat and still is being dominated by a Muttadar. It’s a multi caste village in which people belonging to Bagatha tribe, which dominates over the other castes. It is the main village of a former Muttadar whose lineage had the same name. 3. Vanjangi Panchayat is in the Paderu Mandal. This village was selected because of the active role played by political parties in the panchayat. Moreover, this Village Panchayat is being headed by a woman Sarpanch.

1.7 Methodology The selected villages have been studied using two integrate methodologies—one, an extensive questionnaire based survey and the other, an intensive anthropological investigation. Both have been undertaken simultaneously. In the extensive survey, employing stratified random sampling technique, men and women were interviewed in the three village panchayats under study. Both close-ended and open-ended questions were included in the questionnaire. Close –ended questions were for elementary data and open-ended questions for detailed information. All the households in each village were listed and classified into distinct social groups. Social groups were identified on the basis of caste, tribes, intra tribe—each group in the village constituted a separate social group—as well as religion, tribe and gender. Random samples of households were selected from each social group and the number of households selected from each group was proportional to the group’s representation in the entire village population. The sample size of the respondents was 306 from three village Panchayats. The intensive survey is a set of information that will complement the data from the extensive study. This includes conducting formal, informal, in-depth interviews with officials and members of voluntary organizations, group discussions and participating in Gram Sabha proceedings. Besides this, the participatory method was also followed and this will come under the primary data. Government Reports, Constitutional Assembly Debates, Cabinet Sub-

18

Chapter One

Committee Reports, House Committee Reports, Reports of the Human Rights Commission and also information from various books, periodicals, journals, unpublished thesis, daily newspapers and pamphlets was used to serve as a part of the secondary data.

Techniques I reckon that the most important familiarity for the researcher is with people’s cultural expectations rather than personalities because personalities are diverse and difficult to completely accommodate in a short period. As a researcher I thought, I need to have the skill to enter different settings as long as I can gain a good understanding of their sociocultural life styles. – In this case I took advantage of cultural awareness of the community. I actually introduced myself as a researcher from the University of Hyderabad, in this way my past relations with the community turned out to be an advantage.

Learning from the pilot study Pilot study was conducted for 6 weeks from August 2003 to September 2003. At the end of the pilot study, a report stipulating the study processes employed and what I learnt from it was produced and discussed with academicians, some of the NGOs and Government staff operating in the area. I also discussed my findings with some of the community members and NGO field workers in order to check my interpretation of some of the main concepts that were generated during my discussion on the conduct of the research in the main study in the Three Village Panchayats. Specific Research Questions: Although I had already set my main research questions, as part of the research design, I needed a set of questions, which would be more ‘topical’ or ‘specific’ so as to enable generation of information at the field level (Stake, 1995)11. I would then link them to the main research questions in the form of ‘theoretical abstraction’ while interpreting and evaluating the findings against theories I set in the conceptual framework. With the paradigmatic position of this inquiry, it was not possible to develop such specific research questions outside the social setting because I needed to be context-specific. The paradigmatic understanding only gave me a picture of whatever the data might be, in order to develop some

11

R.E. Stake, (1995), The Art of Case Study Research , Thousand Oaks, Sage,.

Introduction

19

strategic questions (Strauss and Corbin 1998)12 .

Framework of specific research questions Methodologically, I concentrated on understanding people’s perception about assistance and I applied similar questions to NGOs. This enabled me to compare the perceptions of both, the people and the NGOs regarding the same experience of assistance and the negotiation process involved. It was based on these specific questions that the relevant research methods were selected and used to generate data. The initial questions were related to the first main research question.

Working with the methods Data of whatever form do not just appear or lie around waiting to be casually picked up by some passing social researcher but have to be given form and shape in order to qualify as data; made relevant, in a word, to a research problem (Ackroyd and Huges, 1992)13 Operating from constructivism with an actor-oriented approach data sources, meant that for whatever method I felt relevant for generating this data, I needed to think in terms of people as meaning-makers of their experience. In this case, although they individually make meaning of their encounters with NGO’s, and the State, these meanings are still shared from a social or cultural point of view (Walker, 1996)14. I used individual interviews, focus groups, observations and document analysis for providing multiple sources of evidence in the case study.

Interviewing We cannot rely on what people say without exploring what they are not directly saying, but which we know exists in their framework of understanding. We have to actively seek for both sides of the contrast during our conversation with them so as to get to their understanding, as it 12

A. Strauss, and Corbin. J. (1998), Basics of Qualitative Research:Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory, Thousand Oaks, Sage. 13 S. Ackroyd, and Huges, J. (1992), Data Collection in Context (Second Edition), London, Longman. 14 B.M. Walker, (1996), ‘A Psychology for adventures: An introduction to peronel construct theory psychology from a social perspective’ in B.M.Walker and D.Kalekinfishman (eds) The Construction of group realities: culture, society and personel construct theory, Florida, Krieger.

20

Chapter One

exists in their minds. We will otherwise jump to conclusions of what we think people mean, especially where something sounds familiar to us. It is this active seeking for meanings as they exist in people’s mental framework without impeding the flow of the conversations that makes this kind of interviewing different from the other types of open-ended interviews. The use of the Personal Construct Theory (PCT) approach in these interviews, however, was in the informal sense (Dalton and Dunnett, 1992, p.123)15 which uses ordinary conservation with people. I did not manage conversations with interviewees using a Repertory Grid Technique because the people I mostly interviewed had literacy problem. I could only afford to conduct, a maximum of four to five interviews a day. There were also times where I went back to the same interviewee on another day for clarity after having analyzed the conversation further. This technique was used in both individual and focus group discussions, easier in the former than the latter. Over all, I found the approach was useful only if one is thinking in terms of PCT. From the analysis of the pilot study data, I noticed that people’s construct was in forms of both- the way the general community looked at things and their own images.

Focus group interviews The first step was to interview people in the sample individually. Upon analysis of the data, a number of perceptual issues were noted as common to most people in the village. These were mostly those that had to do with assistance meant for the whole village, such as water and schools. In this case, I gained more clarity on their perceptions in focus group discussions, as people were asking questions to each other and also encouraging one another. I always included some people from the village whom I had interviewed individually during my previous visits, without disclosing their names to the group. The purpose for including those whom I interviewed earlier was to make them act as a check on my ability to understand their perceptions. In most of the cases, they would, after the group meeting, give me some feed back on how they thought I understood what they meant when I met them in person. From my observations, I found that focus group discussions were highly useful for these general issues as people would remind each other about real examples of NGO assistance and State’s issues with respect to Panchayats. With the help of 15

P. Dalton and Dunnett, G. (1992), A psychology for living: Personal construct theory for professionals and clients, New york, John Wiley and sons.

Introduction

21

these examples, I was able to understand what they were talking about.

Observations There were several ways of doing this. For instance, I observed the interactions during meetings and project activities which was a more direct type of observation, the ‘participant as observer’ approach (Alder and Alder, 1994)16. In this case, I observed what the NGO was emphasizing on and how the people from the village were responding. I took note of the points where I felt people were satisfied or dissatisfied as revealed by their body language. I also took note of the areas where they asked more questions or agreed without issues, besides observing who was doing the ‘agreeing’. The same was the case on the field worker’s side. Another way of observing was during interviews, where I observed the interviewees’ conduct in both individual and focus groups’ discussion aspect for conceptualizing the perceptions of both people and NGOs about assistance because as Collins rightly argues. …. Interviews are social interactions in which meaning is necessarily negotiated between a numbers of selves (and in which power may be more or less shared) (Collins, 1998, section 1.6)17 In focus group discussions, there were changing group dynamics as people questioned each other, agreed and disagreed, some by whispering, some by motioning with their hands. I would probe more into these forms of communication in some ways during the interviews or after the interview but also documented them as part of the context of data. Ultimately, these observations assisted me to generate the ‘moving picture’ aspect of data, reflecting the changing behavior of the interviewees during the interview

Data management I managed to conduct only four to five interviews a day, so that I could transcribe and partially analyze the data I collected, on the same day. An hour-long interview would take an average of three hours to complete because, although I recorded most interviews on tape, they were in local language. I translated them into English, making sure that the conceptual content of the local language was preserved. I checked most of my earlier 16

P. A. Alder and Alder,P. (1994), ‘Observing Techiniques’ in N.K.Denzin and Y.S. Lincon (eds) Hand book of Qualitative Research , Thousand Oaks, Sage. 17 Collins, (1998), “Negotiating Selves:Reflections on Unstructured Interviewing” Sociological Research Online, Vol.3(3).

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Chapter One

translations with some of the local people, in order to check that the conceptual content had been preserved.

Ethical considerations Ethical issues arise when the researcher deliberately conceals his or her position while living among people who are being studied, in order to get into their personal lives without their consent (Bulmer, 1982)18. In conducting this research, I clearly stated the purpose of the research in all the documents where permission of access to study areas was sought, and where verbal negotiation was made, especially at the individual level. This, however, does not imply that I achieved a clear understanding of the conceptual purpose of the research with all the participants. To achieve this understanding would also imply influencing the results of the research, where participants know the answers with which the researcher will be happy (Hammersley and Atkinson, 1995)19. In this method of conduct of the interviews, I controlled the depth of probing into people’s lives, so as not to leave them with guilt if the role and purpose had a conflict with NGOs or other members of the society. This can occur because during the elicitation process, people form new constructs which if not well supported, can leave them with feelings of self-defeat.

1.8 Design of the Book The first chapter is an introductory note, which discusses the tribals under the British rule and the various provisions of the Constitution introduced by the post independent Government. This chapter also includes discussions about the importance of governance in Scheduled Areas as enumerated in the fifth Schedule. The Significance of the study, objectives of the study and methodology has been outlined. The second chapter extensively deals with the theoretical framework of book. In this chapter, important concepts like Decentralisation, Civil Society, NGOs, social capital and about panchayat and Gram Sabha have been discussed. The third chapter deals with Policy aspects in General and PESA Act 18 M. Bulmer (Eds), (1982), Social Research Ethics: An Examination of the merits of covert Particpant Observation, New York, Holmes &Meir. 19 M. Hammersley, and Atkinson. P. (1995), Ethnoghaphy principles and Practice, London, Routledge.

Introduction

23

particulat in Andhra Pradesh. The positive and negative aspects of the Act and general comments on it have been outlined in this chapter. The fourth chapter deals with the profiles of Study area and Panchayats have been discussed. The fifth chapter is based upon the fieldwork in the three-village Panchayats. In this chapter, the author discusses how the tribals are participating in their local body governance in general and Gram Sabha in particular. This chapter basically throws light on the awareness levels of tribals regarding the PESA act, NGO and Panchayats. The sixth chapter is also based on the field. This chapter highlights the role of Panchayats in the management of Natural resources within the framework of Governace Aspect. The role of minor forest produce and minor water bodies has also been discussed to enlarge the scope of the study. The seventh chapter is conclusion of book. In this chapter the findings, observations and suggestions for strenghting the Democratic Governace in Scheduled Areas have been discussed.

CHAPTER TWO DECENTRALIZATION, CIVIL SOCIETY AND PANCHAYATS: AN OVERVIEW

The tribal problems especially those related to governance and decentralization have been studied from diverse angles since a long time. Even after independence, the administrators, sociologists, political scientists, economists and social workers have undertaken several studies in this direction.

2.1 Decentralization The Central theme of decentralisation is the delegation of power to be operated in the system of socio-political organization. It is concerned with: to what extent authority is dispersed to the sub-divisions of the State upon creating the political and administrative institutions in the respective area. The essence of decentralization is the democratization of power. Democratization means participation of the people in the decision making process of the newly created organizations, institutions and agencies. Thus, it can be said that dispersal of control over power is the main concern of decentralisation. Decentralisation can be broadly defined as ‘the transfer of planning, decision-making or management function from the Central Government and its agencies to field organizations, subordinate units of Government, semi-autonomous public corporation, area wise regional development organization, specialized functional authorities or non-Governmental organization (Rondinelli 3, 1981).1 The concept of decentralisation also refers to the process of deconcentration and devolution of power and authority. The process of 1

D.A. Rondinelli, (Nov.1981), ‘Administrative Decentralisation and Economic Development the Sudan Experiment with Devolution’. Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol 9.

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Chapter Two

devolution of power and authority refers to the Constitutional legal transfer of power to formally create regional or local authorities for discharging the specified functions. Decentralisation has been seen as a ‘way of increasing the effectiveness of rural development programmes by making them more relevant and responsive to local needs and conditions, allowing greater flexibility in their implementation and providing means of coordination to the village agencies involved at the regional or local levels’ (Rondinelli, 1981, Cohen 1981, Conyers, 1981)2. Decentralisation is often seen as a way of increasing the ability of Central Government officials to obtain better and less suspect information about local or regional conditions, to plan local programmes more responsively and to react more quickly to unanticipated problems that inevitably arise during implementation (Maddick 6, 1963).3 Decentralization has emerged as a dominant trend in world politics. In 1998, the World Bank estimated that all but 12 of 75 developing and transitional countries with populations greater than 5 million had embarked on the process of political devolution (Crook and Manor, 1998).4 In 1993, the Government of India also passed a series of Constitutional reforms, with the intension of empowering and democratizing India’s rural representative bodies – the Panchayats. The 73rd amendment to the Constitution formally recognized a third tier of Government at the subState level, thereby creating the legal conditions for local self rule-or Panchayat Raj. Decentralization can be usefully understood as a political process whereby administrative authority, public resources and responsibilities are transferred from Central Government agencies to lower-level of organs of Government or to non-Governmental bodies, such as community–based

2

D. A. Rondinelli, (1981), ‘Administrative Decentralisation in Comparative Perspective; Theory and Practice in Developing Countries’. International Review of Administrative Sciences. Vol. UT No. 2. M. A. Cohen, (1980), ‘Francaphone Africa in D.C Rowatted. International Handbook on Local Govt. Reorganization; Aldwych Press, London. -- D. Conyers. (1981), Decentralisation for Regional Development: a comparative study of Tanzania, Zambia and Papua New Guinea. Public Administration and Development, Vol.M.2. 3 Meddick Henery, (1963), Democracy, Decentralisation and Development. Bombay, Asia Publishing House. 4 R. Crook, and Manor, R., (1998), Democracy and Decentralisation in South Asia and West Africa, Participation, accountability and Performance, Cambridge, Cambridge university press.

Decentralization, Civil society and Panchayats: An Overview

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organizations (CBO), `third party non-Governmental organizations (NGOs), or private sector actors (Crook and Manor, 1998)5 According to World Bank (20006), there are three types of decentralization. These are Political decentralization, Administrative decentralization and Fiscal decentralization. Political decentralization transfers policy and legislative powers from the Central Government to the autonomous lower level assemblies and local councils that have been democratically elected by their constituencies. Administrative decentralization places planning and implementation responsibility in the hands of locally situated civil servants and these local servants are under the jurisdiction of elected local Governments. Fiscal decentralization accords substantial revenue and expenditure authority to intermediate and local Governments. Democratic decentralization implies more than downward delegation of authority. Crucially, it entails a system of governance in which citizens possess the right to hold local public officials accountable through the use of elections, grievance meetings and other democratic means. Blair (2000; 21)7 captures the essence of this important idea: Democratic decentralization can be defined as meaningful authority devolved to local units of governance that are accessible and accountable to the local citizenry, who enjoy full political rights and liberty. It thus differs from the vast majority of earlier efforts at decentralization in developing areas which go back to the 1950s and which were largely initiatives in public administration without any serious democratic component. (Blair, 2000)8 A defining feature of any democratic system is that decision-makers are under the ‘effective popular control’ of the people they are meant to govern (Mayo, 1960)9 Assertions in favor of decentralisation are often founded upon a wider critique of Centre State planning, which holds that large and Centrally–administered bureaucracies represent an inefficient

5

Ibid. World Bank (2000), World Development Report 2000-2001: Attacking Poverty, Oxford, Oxford university press. . 7 Harry Blair, (2000), Participation and Accountability at the periphery: Democratic local governance in six countries, World Development, Vol 28, No.1 January, pp21-39. 8 Ibid. 9 Henry B. Mayo, (1960), An introducation to Democratic theory, Oxford, Oxford university press. 6

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Chapter Two

and potentially destructive means of allocating resources (and generating wealth) within society (Lal 2000)10. Three reasons are used to substantiate this claim. One argues that Central and State agencies lack the ‘time and place knowledge’ (Ostrom 1993)11 to implement policies and programmes that reflect people’s ‘real’ needs and preferences. Decentralisation is thought to create the conditions for a more pluralist political arrangement, in which competing groups can voice and institutionalize their interests in local democratic forums (Crook and Manor, 1998)12. A second reason holds that States (based on principles of command and control) are qualitatively different from markets (based on competition and exchange) and voluntary organizations (based on some measured of altruistic motivation) (see Robin son et al., 2000)13. Viewed in this way, States lack the flexibility and reach to provide certain types of goods and services, particularly those with large information requirements. Decentralisation, it is argued, creates intuitions that are more amenable to local need preferences (Ostram et al., 1993)14. A third and related view argues that unchecked authority and inadequate incentives (reflected in salaries, rules of promotion and so on) encourage ‘rent seeking behavior’ among Government officials (Ostram et al., 1993)15. In theory, decentralisation would undermine these opportunities by creating intuitional arrangements that formalize the relationship between citizens and public servants, giving the former the authority to impose sanctions (such as voting, recourse to higher level authorities) on the latter (Manor 1999)16. 10

Deepak Lal, (2000), The poverty of Development Economics, Delhi, Oxford University Press. 11 Elinor Ostrom, Larry Schroeder and Susan Wynne, (1993), Institutional Incentives and Sustainable Development: Infrastructure policies in Perspective. Oxford, west view Press. 12 R. Crook and Manor R., (1998), Democracy and Decentralisation in South Asia and West Africa, Participation ,accountability and Performance, Cambridge, Cambridge university press. 13 Dorcas Robinson, Tom Hewitt and John Harris (eds) (2000), Managing Development: Understanding Inter Organizational Relationships, London, Sage for the Open University. 14 Elinor Ostrom, Larry Schroeder and Susan Wynne (1993), Institutional Incentives and Sustainable Development: Infrastructure policies in Perspective. Oxford, west view Press. 15 Ibid. 16 James Manor, (1999), The Political Economy of Democratic Decentralisation: Directions in Development Series, Washington DC, World Bank.

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29

Democratic decentralization is also predicated upon the notion that greater participation in local political affairs will improve the quality and reach of Government services, particularly the ones aimed at improving the lives of poor and politically marginal groups in the society. Hence for the proponents of democratic decentralisation, the Central challenge for improving the delivery of public services is one of ‘crafting’ institutions, which can maximize participation in political life. (Ostrom, 1990).17 Studies of decentralisation have shown that devolution of authority can affect the systems of local governance in a number of ways. First, the establishment and empowerment of local resources user groups (delegation or privatization) can improve the ways in which local people manage and use natural resources, thereby improving the resource base on which poor people are often disproportionately dependent (Baland and Platteau, 1996;IFAD,2001)18. Such arguments are generally made in relation to the provision of local public goods, such as common pool resources or local credit organizations (Agrawal and Gibson, 1999)19 Second and related to this is that the collaboration between public agencies and local resource users can produce ‘synergistic’ outcomes. (Evans, 1996)20. In this case, citizens and the civil servants cooperate to provide goods that would be unobtainable were they acting alone. Classical examples of this would include joint forest management, fisheries co-management, and participatory watershed management. Third is that democratization and employment of local administrative bodies can enhance participation in decision making particularly of those groups that have been traditionally marginalized by local political processess. (Blair, 2000; Crook and sverrisson, 2001; Crook and Manor, 1998.)21. Studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America have shown that the introduction of elections, systems of transparency and rights of associations can empower poor people by enhancing their ability to 17

Ostrom, (1990), Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. 18 Jean-Marie Baland and Jean-Philippe Platteau, (1996), Halting Degradation of Natural Resource: Is there a Role for Rural Communitie?, Oxford, Clarendon Press for the Food and Agriculture Organization. 19 Arun Agrawal and Clark C. Gibson, (1999), ‘Enchantment and disenchantment: The role of Community in Natural Resource Conservation’, World Development, 27(6), pp. 629-649. 20 Peter Evans, (1996), Embedded Autonomy: Stats and Industrial Transformation, Princeton, Princeton University Press. 21 Crook and Alan Sturla Sverrisson, (2001), ‘Decentralisation and Poverty Alleviation in Developing Countries; A Comparative Analysis or, is West Bengal Unique?’, IDS Working Paper 130, Brighton, Institute of Development Studies.

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participate in local decision making and (crucially) by encouraging them to hold public officials to account (Crook and Manor ,1998)22.Blair (2000: 25)23 points out that participation in local democratically elected bodies can lead to improvements in self-identity and worth, which can help to break down customs of inequality and discrimination. Secondly, membership of local administrative bodies can provide important skills (bookkeeping, leadership, etc) that can be transferred to other walks of life. Even the most successful forms of democratic decentralisation have been unable to overcome economic and public disparities, both within and across the regions. Decentralisation can also pose new problems of coordination and planning. As the Kerala experience has shown (Ghatak and Ghatak, 2002 ;)24 too much devolution can lead to major duplication of efforts and gaps among different Government agencies. Without adequate training and support, the devolutions of large sums of money can also over-burden local bodies whose members lack the resources and expertise to deal with large and complex budgets. There is also the problem of local elite capture, as many studies (e.g.Blair 2000; Crook and Sverrisson 20001; Drez and Sen, 1996; Manor 1999) have pointed out. One of the dangers of devolving authority is that it simply empowers local elites and worse, perpetuates existing poverty and inequality. The challenge lies in encouraging democracy in the rural areas in which large numbers of people are dependent upon small number of local powerful elites. It also highlights the challenge of encouraging ‘empowerment’ without addressing the rights and entitlements (particularly ones governing land and property) that underlie political structure in the rural areas. The ambitious forms of decentralisation constitute a substantive shift in power from national or regional to more local spheres of political life. Decentralisation empowers new actors (at local and non-local level), and (in theory) creates conditions for new lines of participation and accountability. There is little or no evidence to suggest that decentralisation on its own, will necessarily produce systems of governance that are more 22

R. Crook and Manor R., (1998), Democracy and Decentralisation in South Asia and West Africa, Participation ,Accountability and Performance, Cambridge, Cambridge university press. 23 Harry Blair, (2000), ‘Participation and Accountability at the periphery: Democratic Local Governance in Six Countries’, World Development, Vol 28, No.1, pp. 21-39. 24 Maitreesh Ghatak and Maitreya Ghatak, (2002), ‘Recent Reforms in the Panchayats system in West Bengal: Towards Greater Participatory Governance?’ Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.37, No 1.

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effective or accountable to the local needs and interests. In other words, local forms of accountability are dependent on more than just the devolution of political, administrative and fiscal powers. If it is true that the process of decentralisation brings the people into the mainstream of politics and makes them partners in the decision making process, then the role of civil society in bringing about this transformation also becomes an interesting facet of this issue. Civil society is always thought of as being opposed to the State, though there are some studies which argue that the civil society should co-opt with the State for bringing about better participation of the people in public affairs and also in making them aware of the various possibilities for fulfillment of the broader agenda of the democratization process in order to achieve good governance. The problem of decentralisation has been viewed from the point of view of centralization versus decentralisation in the formulation and implementation of plans, policies and programmes. The relationship between centralization, decentralisation and development has formed part of the literature on public administration. Fred.W.Riggs has developed a hypothesis that, over centralization and weak local administration may be viewed as a consequence as well as cause of regional under-development; they may have to revive undesirable economic trends in the depressed by injecting strong countervailing influences from outside the region, and these could be expected to come chiefly from the Central Government itself. Hence, a strong centralization appears to be not only a symptom of under development, but also perhaps an essential pre-condition for starting local development process.25 Against this background Henery Meddick26 has posed a question “what must be decentralized, what may be decentralized and what must be centralized.” No answer of universal application nor an unambiguous test or criterion of decentralisation could of course be furnished. But as a broad policy it may be stipulated that what must be decentralized are functions which are purely local in character including perhaps most of the activities that must take place at the point where the consumer or citizen can use them. According to Maddick, three compelling trends – i) the desire to foster the democratic involvement of the people throughout the country, ii) the urgent need for securing their greater participation in the whole 25 Fred W. Riggs, (July, 1960), ‘Circular Causation in Development and Local Government: The Phillipines as a Test Case’, Economic Development and Cultural Charge, 26 Meddick Henery, (1963), Democracy, development ans Decentralisation, Bombay, Asia Publishing House.

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development programmes from village level upwards, and iii) the imperative demands of the overloaded administrative system at every State capital were forcing a measure of decentralization and the result of all these was the establishment of democratic decentralization in the form of Panchayat Raj system. In democratic decentralisation, many members of the official class see only one thing – a challenge to their position of power and status. This creates a potent source of inter-group conflict, which is a base essentially of socio-psychological nature. Over dependence of officials on politicians, which has its own bad effect on general administration, is also pointed out.27 The attraction of decentralisation is not merely that it is opposite to centralization. Decentralisation has a positive side. It is commonly associated with a wide range of economic, social and political objectives, in both developed and less developed societies. Economically, decentralisation is said to improve the efficiency with which demands for locally provided services are expressed and public goods provided (Shepard 1975).28 Decentralisation is said to reduce cost, improve output and more effectively utilize human resource (Hart, D.K. 1972)29. Politically, decentralisation is said to strengthen accountability, political skills and national integration. It brings Government closer to the people. It provides better service to the client groups. It promotes liberty, equality and welfare (Mass 1959, D.M.Hill, 1974)30.

2.2 Civil Society and NGOs The concept of civil society has been a much-debated one, as this has always been subjected to widespread disagreements over definition, scope and policy formulation. As one goes through the volume of literature on this topic, one finds that it is one of the laziest terms in the developing discourse.

27

B.V. Varma, (1990), Decentralisation in Administration, Uppal Publishing House, New Delhi. 28 W.B.Shepard, (1975), ‘Metropolitan Political Decentralisation: A Test of the Life Style Value Model’, Urban Affairs Quarterly, Vol.10, No.3. 29 D.K.. Hart, (October, 1972), ‘Theories of Government Related to Decentralisation of Citizen Participation’, Public Adminstration Review Vol.32, No.4. 30 D.M. Hill, (1974), Democratic Theory and Local Government, London , Allen & Unwin.

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The idea of civil society has a long history .It can be traced far back to Aristotle. Jean Cohen and Andrew Arato (1992)31 say that the first version of the concept of civil society appeared in Aristotle under the heading of political society/ community. But the idea of political community was different from the modernist idea of politics and political society. In the 1970s and 1980s, East European intellectuals, political activists and trade union leaders turned their backs on the two political options that historically had been available to them. The first was reform of State power from above and the second was social revolution from below. The efficacy of both these strategies had been ruled out because the Brezhenev doctrine had stipulated that the erstwhile Soviet Union would not hesitate to intervene in any East European country whenever the need arose to defend socialism. The third option that presented itself to people reeling under insensitive State power, arbitrarily ruling bureaucracies, lack of civil and political rights and the rule of law was that of the creation and consolidation of a sphere for collective action that would be independent of the State. Tocquevillean mode termed this sphere of social association based on solidarity and self-help as “civil society”. It is useful to note at this stage of the argument, that even as political activists concentrated on crystallizing a project of social autonomy in a sphere free from State power, they in effect declared an end to the revolutionary imagery even though traditionally, radical theory had focused on harnessing political passions to cause social and political transformation. In other words, civil society began where revolutions ended. It is clear that the East Europeans in the 1980s practically re-enacted the Bourgeois Revolution that more than 200 years ago had positioned itself against absolutist State power in country like England. Indeed, John Locke, the quintessential liberal thinker might have authored the civil society script in this part of the world. (Neera chandhoke) 32 The 1989 revolution merely substantiated what Gramsci had told – namely, that States without civil societies are tremendously fragile compared to States that possess civil societies (Gramsci 1971)33. As far as 31

J.L.Cohen and Arato (1992), Civil Society and Political theory, Cambridge, MIT Press. 32 Neera Chandhoke, (2003), in Tandon, Rajesh, and Ranjitha Mohanty (edited), Does civil Society Matter? Governance in Contemporary India, New Delhi, Sage Publications. 33 Antonia Gramsci, (1971), Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonia Gramsci, Edited and translated by Quaintin Hoare and G.N.Smith, Lawrence and Wishart, New York, International publishers.

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the State is concerned, the norms of civil society – freedom, publicity, accessibility and the rule of law- however formal they may prove, in practice they perform two valuable functions: first, these norms provide a vent for the expression of popular opinion through the institutionalization of the right to freedom, second, State power acquires legitimacy through these means. Gramsci, however, conceptualized legitimacy in terms of hegemony, a concept this is deeper than that of legitimacy in as much as its gesture towards the creation and consolidation of consent. Gramsci theorized the sphere of civil society as a site where the State acquires hegemony .He argues that while the political society disciplines the body through penal codes and prisons, civil society disciplines the mind and the psyche through various social, cultural and pedagogic institutions. Therefore, this sphere functions to reproduce State power in invisible and intangible but nevertheless in very real ways. Hegel wanted civil society to be subordinated to the State. In contrast, Marx wanted the State, which can turn tyrannical, to be subordinated to civil society. But civil society can also be a site for class materialism, and Marx did not absolve it of this blemish. Major part of the problem with the Marxian conceptualization lies with the unwarranted hope that the State will wither away, and its tendency to equate civil society with capitalist mode of production (Cohen 1982)34. Gramsci locates civil society not in the structural but in the super structural sphere. However, the precision Gramsci achieved in the definition of civil society is lost in his all-embracing definition of the State. The incorporation of civil society into the State robs the State of its legal specificity and autonomy, and civil society of its real purpose, namely, functioning as a countervailing power to the State if and when required. Alexis de Tocqueville (1956)35, too juxtaposes the State with civil society, the latter being the theatre of private interest and economic activity. Further, what are designated as civil society; both by Marx (the sites of crass materialism) and Tocqueville (the theatre of private interest and economic activity) are actually market forces. Thus the advantage of viewing what Tocqueville labels ‘political society’ as civil society. Civil society, according to Tocqueville, is the protector of individuals from the tyrannical State. That is, if the State is democratic, we don’t need civil society. For Gramsci, civil society is the protector of the State. This means that in a ‘good society’, the two merge. While in Tocqueville’s 34

Jean L.Cohen, (1982), Class and Civil Society: The Limitations of Marxian Critical Theory, Oxford, Martin Robertson. 35 Alexis de Tocqueville, (1956), Democracy in America, Volume I and II. New York, Knopf.

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view, civil society is anti-state, in Gramsci’s view it is pro-state. According to both, civil society has a democratic role. However, there is some confusion here between a space and its quality. Civil society ought to be viewed as a space between the State and the market; the quality of that space being another matter. Just like a State can be authoritarian or democratic, civil society, too, may have such differing orientations or may have such segments within it. Such a view may be considered as the third incarnation of civil society (Oommen 1996; 191-202).36 The concept of civil society in India draws its intellectual charge as a cultural critique of the Indian State. (Dipankar Gupta, 1997)37. Gupta further states, “For Hegel, the civil society cannot be seen as some thing external to the State. For a civil society to function, it needs ethical sanction which cannot come from a collection of laws but from a developed modern State, where individual freedom is enshrined not as a virtue or morality (what ought to be), but in ethics where particulars are satisfied through the general’’ (1997). Civil society is associated with democracy and democracy gives equal opportunity to all individuals, irrespective of the distinctions. Assuming that civil society heralds the presence of an open and secular system, there is little reason to separate civil society from the State (Mahajan, 1999; 1188)38. Civil society is the sphere where the rational self-determining individuals enter voluntarily into social relationships with others. This social relationship is based on equality, trust, respect, solidarity networks and obeying the norms. The social relationship develops into associational life and is thereby responsible for the birth of civil associations. Civil associations bring co-ordination and co-operation in the society, for the fulfillment of common welfare and thereby facilitate democratic principles. A society in which such features are absent will not be recognized as civil society, but it is called ‘mass society’. Civil associations have become a sort of necessity for good governance. Putnam (1993; 89-90)39, writes that civil associations contribute to the effectiveness and stability of democratic 36

T.K. Oommen, (1996), ‘State, Civil Society and Markets in India: The Context of Mobilization, Mobilization’ An International journal 1:2 37 Dipankar Gupta, (1997), ‘Civil Society in the Indian Context’, Contemporary Sociology, Vol 28,No 3. 38 Gurpreet Mahajan, (1999), ‘Civil Society and its Avatars: What happened to freedom and Democracy?’ , Economic and Political Weekly, May 15, 1999, pp 1188-1196. 39 Robert Putnam, (1993), Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, Princeton NJ, Princeton University.

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Government. Internally, associations instill in their members habits of cooperation, solidarity and public spiritedness. The effective and responsive Government requires strong and vibrant civil societies to keep them in check (Putnam, 1993)40. Perhaps the most recent and influential manifestation of this is Robert Putnam’s assertion that societies with high levels of social capital (defined in terms of norms of trust and reciprocity and networks of engagement) will organize to demand better Government (Harriss, 2001)41. Civil society is understood as a ‘sphere’ of voluntary action, which locates between the family and the State. Included here would be ‘third party organizations’, membership organizations, political parties, religious affiliations (formal and informal) and firms. The value of defining civil society in this way is that it attempts to differentiate between groups and relations that are organized on principles of hierarchy and control and ones that are based on: relatively altruistic motivations of the nuclear and extended family unit. The drawback, of course, is that it underplays the normative and ideological terms on which people join and establish social groups in the first place. (Chandhoke 1995)42. There are two dominant conceptions of civil society today. In the first and more popular view civil society is defined in opposition to the State; it is identified with the voluntary associations and community bodies through which individuals govern themselves. The non Government, nonparty associations of civil society are here seen as forums of direct participation which can intervene to curtail the increasing power and authoritarianism of the State. In the second, sociologically more informed view, civil society is associated with the set of institutions that mediate between the individual and the State. Although mediating institutions exist in all societies, civil society is linked with institutions that are open and secular. One can define civil society in terms of structure – the constituent parts of it comprise organized groups. According to Sethi (1993)43, civil societies are the locus of action by actors bent on charge, whether these are foreign or democratic development groups, charities for relief, action groups devolved to consciousness, raising and mobilization of the 40

Ibid. John Harris, (2001), Depolitizing Developmet: The World Bank and Social Capital, New Delhi Leftwords Books. 42 Neera Chandhoke, (1995), State and Civil Society: Explorations in Political Theory, New Delhi, Sage. 43 Harsh Sethi, (1984), ‘Groups in a new politics of Transformation’ , Economic and Political Weekly, Vol XX, No 9, 41

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oppressed, protest groups, political groups, political formulations and support groups. Civil society, by some others, has been defined as a pattern of relationships with each other. The question that arises is: what ways are these organizations linked with each other? Are they separate and discrete entities or are they tightly linked with each other? What is their combined interest; or is there any combined interest? Whose interest do they serve? And whose interest do they protect? Who are the opponents of civil society? How public opinion is formed about their issues or how their opponents shape public policy? Studies of decentralisation suggest two important links between civil society organizations and local accountability. One emphasizes the importance of local mobilization. Meenakshisundaram (2000; 66-7)44 argues that local accountability was highly dependent on the existence of ‘mass participation’ at the local level. Blair (2000; 27)45 argues that civil society organizations fostered strong accountability in peripheral rural areas. An important assertion is that accountability is strengthened when people outside the State organize to ensure that public officials are acting in accordance with formal and informal norms of performance. A second assertion is that external civil society organizations (i.e. organizations that exist outside of the affected communities) can empower poor and marginal groups in the society. (Crook and Manor1998)46. NGOs, for instance, have been shown to empower poor people by connecting them with a wider circle of allies, with whom they can mount a more effective Political lobby (Clark, 1991)47. Second, and related to this, they can absorb some of the costs of engaging in political action (e.g. transportation, communication and so forth). Third, and somewhat less tangibly, they can encourage what Samuel Popkin (1979)48 has described as ‘new conceptions of identity and self-worth’.

44

Meenakshisundaram, (2000), Panchayat Raj Update , Jan , Vol VII, No 1 Harry Blair, (2000), ‘Participation and Accountability at the Periphery: Democratic Local Governance in Six Countries’, World Development, Vol. 28, No.1, pp21-39. 46 R. Crook, and Manor, R., (1998), Democracy and Decentralisation in South Asia and West Africa, Participation ,Accountability and Performance, Cambridge, Cambridge university press. 47 John Clark, (1991), Democratizing Development: The Role of Voluntary Organizations, London. Eathscan. 48 Samuel Popkin, (1979), The Rational Peasant; The Political Economy of Rural Society in Vietnam, Berkeley, University of California Press. 45

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However, it is important to recognize the fact that civil society organizations are often constrained by institutions that counteract or undermine local forms of political action. Reflecting on the recent popularization of civil society, social capital, decentralisation, Harriss (2001)49 has argued that the use of social capital and civil society as the basis for the establishment of good governance is a dangerous assertion in the sense that it implies that local collective action is sufficient for strong mechanisms of accountability. In particular, he argues that local organization and collective action on their own are ‘liable to be ineffectual’ without the active support of external civil society organizations and bureaucratic State. Emphasizing the notion that civil society is established ‘in relation to institutions which are defined by the State,’ Harriss (2001) argues that collective action will improve local governance structures only when they are connected to wider networks of political action and established in ‘a political context, which secures the rights of less advantaged or less ‘resourceful’ people’. In other words, local people require the support of higher authorities within the State, whose power can support and legitimize local forms of political mobilization. The conceptualization of civil society that vests within the task of democratization is rooted in two traditions. The revolutionary imagery of civil society makes it a site for contestation, where people counterpoise themselve against the State power and in the process either replace or reform it (Keane 1988a, 1988b, 1998; Chandoke 1995)50. A second stream of conceptualization, which links civil society to the State, is the Tocquevillean interpretation of civil associations performing the role of watchdogs in a democracy (Tocqueville 1990).51 This linkage of civic associations with democracy is further supported by Putnam who, drawing on his experience in North Italy, advocates strong civic associations for establishing a strong democratic tradition (Putnam 1993)52 A conceptualization that completely divorces civil society from the State is provided by Walzer, who refers to it as the uncovered realm of

49

John Harris, (2001), Depolitizing Developmet: The World Bank and Social Capital, Leftwords Books, New Delhi. 50 Neera Chandhoke, (1995), State and Civil society: Explorations in Political Theory, New Delhi, Sage Publications. 51 Alexis de Tocqueville, (1990), Democracy in America, Translated by H.Keene. Volume I and II, New York, The Colonial Press. 52 Robert Putnam, (1993), Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, Princeton, Princeton University Press.

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society where social affairs are conducted without any reference to or interference by the State or market (Walzer 1992)53 The spread of liberalization of the economy has furthered the conceptualization of civil society as a separate ‘sector’, different from the State and the market (Cohen and Arato 1992)54. The conceptualization of civil society as a third sector, the State, first sector and the market being the second has been effected in recent times by clubbing together various actors such as NGOs, non-profit organizations, community based organizations, social movements and charitable institutions. The concept of civil society pinpoints and values, associational life, interest groups, professional and other associations, voluntary agencies, grassroot organizations, social movements and all other social orders, because it brings people together in networks and shared concerns. Civil society is one of the achievements of the modern world because it is here that individuals can realize self in conditions of freedom. It constitutes the ‘theatre of history’. The threats of fragmentation constantly underlie the modern life because civil society allows the liberated individuals to be guided solely by their will and to extricate themselves from ethical bonds. They descend, consequently, to ‘the level of caprice and physical necessity (Hegel 1942; Para 185)55 Hegel starts with civil society as a precondition of the State; it is ultimately the State that becomes the precondition for the very existence of civil society. For, not only civility but the presence of civil society depends upon it, being vertically organized into the State (Chandhoke 1995)56 Democracy demands as a precondition the limiting of State power, and the limiting of State power means that States cannot be allowed to intrude in domains that are not their provenance. For democrats, therefore, the only site in which self-centeredness can be reconciled with universality or concern for others is that of civil society. However, this solution begs the question; given the general incivility of civil society, how do we ensure the transcendence of self-centeredness into what Gillighan has called in another context: ‘the ethics of care’. 53

Michael Walzer, (1992), ‘The Civil Society Argument’ in Chantal Mauffe (Ed) Dimensions of Radical Democracy, London,Verso. 54 Jean Cohen and Andrew Arato, (1992), Political Theory and Civil Society. Cambridge, MIT Press. 55 G.W.Fredrick Hegel, (1942), The Philosophy of Right, Translated by T.M.Knox, Oxford, Oxford University Press. 56 Neera Chandhoke, (1995), State and Civil society: Explorations in Political Theory. New Delhi, Sage Publications.

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Tocqueville writes that ‘an association unites the efforts of minds which have a tendency to converge into one single channel, and urges them vigorously towards one single end which it points out’ (Tocqueville 1990; 1:192)57. Associations lend ‘coherence to public life’, cultivate civic virtues and inculcate democratic values. ‘Feelings and opinions are recruited, the heart is enlarged and the human mind is developed by no other means than by the reciprocal influence of men upon each other’ (Ibid; 2:117).58 The science of associations, wrote Tocqueville, is the ‘mother of sciences’, since associations in a differentiated society bring individuals together, teach them civic and political virtues, and thereby act as the ‘independent eye of society’ as far as State power is concerned. For Tocqueville, civil society constitutes the third sphere of society. Whereas the first sphere comprises the State and its institutions, and second the economy, in the third sphere is included: civil society, parties, public opinion, churches, moral crusades, literary and scientific societies and professional and recreational groups that possess a superabundant force and energy. Through these associations, the potential excesses of the Centralized State can be curtailed; ‘There is no other dyke”, wrote Tocqueville, ‘that can hold back tyranny’. Some schools of thoughts believe that State power can be controlled only when groups in civil society exercise constant vigilance and display criticality. Correspondingly, it can be limited only if the civil society patrols its borders with the State with care, and jealously guards its own sphere against encroachment by the State power. A politically vibrant society requires several things as a prerequisite: First and foremost, it requires the coming into being of what Michael Walzer59 calls the space of uncoerced human association in order to recover sociability. ‘The words “civil society”, writes Walzer, ‘names the space of the uncoerced human association and also the set of relational networks formed for the sake of family, faith, interest and ideology that fill this space.’ Civil society, according to Walzer, is the ‘setting of settings’, where people associate with each other on various grounds, but notably for the sake of realizing their nature as social beings. Civil society goes further than just bringing people together in web of associational life. For, civil 57 Alexis de Tocqueville, (1990), Democracy in America, Translated by H.Keene, Volume I and II. New York, The Colonial Press. 58 Ibid. 59 Michael Walzer, (1992), ‘The Civil Society’ Argument in Chantal Mauffe (Ed), Dimensions of Radical Democracy, London, Verso.

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society organizations cultivate care and concern for others, impart citizenship skills and train people in the art of participation. They, thus, contribute not only to the development of sociability but also to the cultivation of the civic spirit and engagement. Second and perhaps more important aspect to civil society is that of being “representative”. Civil society is representational in as much as it is here-in social associations that people voice their interests and articulate diverse points of view on how a good society should be arranged. Associational life is important for the many reasons outlined earlier, but above all it is vital because it enables dialogue or the creation, sustenance and expansion of a public discourse on what is desirable for a good society. In other words, associations provide the inhabitants of civil society the means to think of how people belonging to different persuasions or hierarchically ordered groups could live together in some condition of civility if not harmony. Civil society threatens the States’ monopoly of power. For, if people begin to talk about and plan the kind of society and polity they want to live in, if they begin to discuss the conceptions of good life, if they begin to lay down agendas, the State will have to redesign its role. Indeed, the ability of civil society to engage in this kind of discourse asserts the competence of ordinary men and women to delineate their ideas of how a good society should be arranged.

The Nature of Civil Society Civil society occupies the space between the household, the market and the State in a purely metaphorical sense. Here people associate with each other in conditions of relative freedom from unnecessary political regulation; here they come together for various projects that enhance sociability, which is a value in itself; here they learn how to live together; They relocate the discourse of politics in two sense: One, inhabitants of civil society accept that it is their responsibility to chart out a discourse on terms and conditions in which people belonging to diverse and perhaps incommensurable persuasions could live together, i.e., the terms and conditions of coexistence; two, they recognize that they have the responsibility to ensure State accountability when it comes to the implementation of this vision. (Neera Chandhoke)60. 60

Neera Chandhoke, (2003), in Tandon, Rajesh, and Ranjitha Mohanty (edited), Does civil Society Matter? Governance in Contemporary India. New Delhi, Sage Publications.

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Therefore, we can argue that ideally civil society should constitute a relatively separate and autonomous sphere of collective life. The various arguments that normatively design the civil society as not only a third but also an autonomous sphere of human interaction are as follows: Axel Honneth (1993; 19-22) 61conceptualizes civil society as ‘all civil institutions and organizations, which are prior to the State’, and Isaac (1993; 356-61)62 speaks of civil society as ‘those human networks that exist independently of, if not anterior, to the political State.’ Above all, in a well-known definition, Cohen and Arato (1992; 18)63 refer to a ‘third realm’ differentiated from the economy and the State as civil society. Civil society as the realm of associational life is contaminated neither by the logic of politics nor that of economics, for in the eyes of theorists both have been found wanting, mired as they are in conflict on the one hand and competition on the other. Other conceptualizations of civil society fill up the ‘third sector’ with voluntary groups and refer to it as ‘voluntary sector’ or the ‘non-profit sector’. Here, professional NGO foundations and philanthropies shoulder welfare and community rebuilding activities, provide education, health and community development in a mode that is different from the State. But once again this sphere is supposed to function in isolation from or even counter to the logic of the market and the State (Van Til 1998; Salmon 1994)64. Indeed, multilateral funding agencies have tried to build up this sphere as an alternative to the State by funding Non-Governmental agencies. Some groups do not seek to bypass the market since the rolling back of the State from both civil society and the market, forms an integral part of this agenda. Other avatars of civil society vigorously promote the activities of the NGOs as providers of services and upholders of democracy and as an alternative to the market. In any case, civil society is defined, delinked from the State and in some cases, from the market. The States have their own notions of what is politically, culturally and socially permissible. And while these notions will enable some sections of civil society, they will necessarily disable others. The relationship between the State and the civil society is neither one of opposition, since actors in civil society, need the State for various 61 Axel Honneth, (1993), ‘Conceptions of Civil Society’, Radical Philosophy, 64 Summer. 62 Jeffrey Issac, (1993), Civil Society and Spirit of Revolt. Dissent, Summer. 63 Jean Cohen and Andrew Arato, (1992), Political Theory and Civil Society, Cambridge, MIT Press. 64 J. Van Til, (1998), Mapping the Third Sector: voluntarism in a Changing Social Economy, New York The Foundation Centre.

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purposes, nor can the relationship with perfect reason be collaborative and cooperative. This is understandable, for a women’s group can hardly demand new rights, say for gender justice without demanding that the State take action to ensure it. At some point, the demand for uniform civil code by women’s groups in civil society will need to be institutionalized in the form of law. (Neera Chandhoke)65 It is important to realize here that dominant groups in civil society, far from constituting a sphere that is oppositional to the State, actually defend and extend State’s power into the domain of civil society. In this connection one needs to remember Gramsci, who had cautioned us that civil society is the domain where dominant classforces establish hegemony through precisely the same social networks that are supposed to battle the State by establishing a radically different ethos. Democracy requires as a precondition a space where various people can express their ideas about how society and politics should be organized, where they can articulate both the content and the boundaries of what is desirable in a good society (Neera Chandhoke).66 The absence of this space would mean the absence of democracy, for people would not possess either access to a space or the freedom that is necessary for democratic interaction. In authoritarian States, the struggle for civil society primarily demands the consolidation of a space where people in association with others can debate and contest their own versions of the political system. It is this dimension of the struggle that the phrase ‘civil society against the State’ indicates. Civil society, in this instance, stakes a claim to autonomy from the State- that people have the right to associate with each other, that this right should be recognized by the State, and that the State should institutionalize this natural right in the form of the legal freedom to associate. Correspondingly, civil societies have demanded the institutionalization of this right in the shape of rule of law, rights and justifiability. In the postvictory scenario, this demand may be necessary but not sufficient for democracy. Civil society, therefore, cannot look only to the State; it needs to look inwards, at the power centers within its own domain, which may be complicit with the State, but have to battle them. However, there is some value in the idea of civil society because it provides the preconditions for formal democracy. And though formal 65

Neera Chandhoke, (2003), in Tandon, Rajesh, and Ranjitha Mohanty (edited), Does Civil Society Matter? Governance in Contemporary India, New Delhi, Sage Publications. 66 Ibid.

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democracy is not sufficient for our purposes, it is an essential component of social and political structures. It provides the space for democratic elements to both: challenge power equations in the sphere as well as transform the sphere itself. But for this, we have to accept that it is not enough if a civil society that is independent of the State merely exists. Civil society is not an institution; it is rather a process whereby the inhabitants of the sphere constantly monitor both the State and the monopoly of power within itself.

Civil Society and Governance Interface While governance in its broader sense embraces the wider concerns of society, the problem of governance lies in the way multilateral and bilateral aid agencies conceptualize it and associate civil society with good governance to further the promotion of neo-liberal ideas. Civil society has fitted into this framework in three important ways: first, civil society organizations have been targeted as an effective agency via media to channel aid for development to poor countries, so that the gap opened by the “rolling back of the State” is filled through the delivery of development directly to the poor. Secondly, as recipients of aid, civil society organizations are also under obligations to fulfill their funder’s agenda of furthering neo-liberalism by providing safeguards to the people who are adversely affected by the onslaught of the market. And third, following the tradition of Tocqueville and Putnam, civil society is viewed as an effective watchdog that can curb any authoritarian tendencies of the democratic State. (Rajesh Tandon 2003)67 This, in turn, would provide a suitable environment for the promotion of neo-liberalism, leading to the unquestionable triumph of the market. The problem of conceptually linking civil society with governance becomes apparent when applied to India. For, the relationship between State and society is not simple or straightforward; it is complex, dialectical and dynamic. In the wake of its formation, the Indian democratic State reflected the aspiration of its nationalist leaders i.e., to undo all that the colonial subjugation had done to the society. The gradual erosion of people’s faith in the State and the space claimed by the civil society began to be filled with voluntary associations committed to renewing the Gandhian tradition of social reconstruction and 67

Rajesh Tandon, (2003), Does civil Society Matter? Governance in Contemporary India, Edited by Rajesh Tandon, Ranjitha Mohanty, New Delhi, Sage Publications.

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providing basic services to the poor. At the same time, the marginalized raised their voices against the State with the help of social movements. The marginalized sections also became alienated from the processes of governance; and hence the State institutions began to lose their legitimacy. Also, while dealing with subaltern voices, the State frequently turned violent. The benevolent nature of the State, which had already begun to tarnish in the 1960’s, was completely shattered when the State proclaimed a national emergency in 1975. The problem of governance has to be located within the State and the wider society. The State is not a neutral actor that can be taken to task and brought back to play its role more efficiently without any reference to the social setting in which it operates. Therefore, in instances where civil society raises its voice against the State, it invariably faces the wrath of not only the ruling political elite, but also of the dominant forces within the society itself. Besides, civil society is not inherently virtuous; it is also fractured from within. The divisiveness of society that vitiates the State also vitiates the civil society. The marginalized and the poor do not fall into a homogeneous category; there are further stratifications among them that force them to compete and contest for scarce resources. Civil society therefore has to contend with both State and society and hence the problems of governance need to be addressed in relation to both. Good governance thus does not only mean reforming of the State; the reformation of society also needs to be simultaneously undertaken (Rajesh Tandon, 2003)68 . Civil society is not as autonomous as it is assumed to be with respect to not only the style that it adopts in addressing issues of governance but also the extent to which it, by itself, can contribute towards good governance. Civil society does not plan its actions independently of the State. It is the State that draws the boundaries of political permissibility and renders acts falling beyond these boundaries as ‘uncivil’, thereby denying them State protection. This does not mean that the boundaries of political permissibility cannot be extended. From time to time, civil society not only challenges but extends these boundaries as well. But it does so within the limits prescribed by the State, indicating that the State has an upper hand in controlling the initiatives of the society. When challenged, the State does not hesitate to use violence; civil society, however, cannot afford to respond in the same way if it is to survive. Hence, civil society initiatives have been largely carried out through peaceful demonstrations

68

Ibid.

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and dialogue that challenge the actions of the State but do not threaten its existence. While conceptualizing the association of civil society within the State, particularly in the Indian context, the State cannot be treated as a monolith. Even within a repressive Government structure, there are always individuals willing to provide support to civil society. In situations where this happens, despite the overall conflictive relationship with the State, civil society does collaborate with it. This conflict and collaboration, of various shades and degrees, determine the overall relationship of civil society with the State and its impact on governance. However, this does not imply that every instance where civil society interfaces with the State affords the possibility of forging a collaboration. In any instance of civil society interface with the governance, the nature of the State at different levels plays a crucial role. The State at the local level might be oppressive, but if the State at the provincial level is supportive, it can create space for civil society to make an impact. Similarly, if the State at the provincial level is oppressive and the State at the national level is supportive, the directives travel downwards allowing for the voice of civil society to be heard. The instance of collective actions also rescues governance from the narrow definition given to it by the neo-liberal ascendancy. They provide a broader and fuller understanding wherein governance is not considered the sole responsibility of the State, but something in which people participate to decide what is good for them. The assertions in civil society vis-à-vis the State therefore reflect the need for incorporating people’s agenda in the scheme of governance. And in situations where there is incongruence between the people and the State’s version of what constitutes the elements of a desirable society and polity, people’s definition acquires privilege over that of the State. The relationship between civil society and good governance needs to be conceptualized to prevent us from romanticizing it, since more often than not such romanticisation only blurs our understanding of actual civil societies. While commenting upon the system of democratic Government in America, Tovqueville pointed out the inherent limitations of a representative form of democracy. These inherent constraints were found to have distanced the elected representatives from the day-to-day concerns of ordinary people. He, therefore, placed ordinary people at the receiving end of State authority, eventhough the same is exercised through democratically elected representatives. This analysis (carried out over a century ago) seems to indicate that there is a need for strong associations

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that could mediate between the families on the one hand, and the Government on the other. The Tocquevillean view was that: associations at the intermediary level help to ensure the accountability of representatives who have been ‘democratically authorized to govern’. (Tandon, Rajesh) 69 Approaches to Civil Society: The first approach tends to project civil society as a means for challenging the hegemony of the Centralized State. It tends to place the civil society in an adversarial role vis-à-vis the State. It is this approach that subsequently relates to the conflicts and competitions between civil society organizations, Non-Governmental organizations (NGO’s), and development NGOs and human rights groups on the one hand, and Government institutions, parliament, public bureaucracies, etc., on the other. The concept of NGOs is largely defined from this approach, as those entities which are not Governmental and may infact be in opposition to the Government. (Rajesh Tandon, Civil society and governance interface)70 The second approach tends to define the civil society primarily through associations that are intermediary actors between the family and the State. Here, the role of civil society is to provide protection from the totalitarian tendencies of a democratic State and to act as a mechanism for funneling the voices and concerns of citizens to legitimate political actors in democratic institutions. In this sense, civil society is seen as a bridge between individual citizens and their families and the State institutions and its actors. The third approach takes a broader view of what does or does not fall within the definition of civil society. It views all non-State actors as part of civil society. This approach also legitimizes free market enterprises and private sector capitalism, viewing economic entrepreneurial initiatives as an integral part of civil society. The concept of non-profit organizations as manifestations of civil society is largely derived from this approach.

Civil society– Three different forms First, civil society is a deliberative space that is free, open and accessible. Therefore, it is a space for ideas, for action, for discussion and debate, and for contestation. In this view, civil society is the base arena where values, perspectives and norms are developed, debated, accepted 69

Rajesh Tandon, (2003), ‘The Civil Society and Governance Interface- an Indian Perspective’, in Tandon, Rajesh, and Ranjitha Mohanty (edited), Does civil Society Matter? Governance in Contemporary India. New Delhi,Sage Publications. 70 Ibid.

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and contested. Civil society also represents the space where subaltern views, hitherto inaudible and unarticulated, can be expressed. Civil society can also be seen as a movement for advancing various causes or issues. In recent decades, issues like women’s rights, human rights, children’s rights, tribal rights, peace and environment, have been advanced through a variety of social movements. There are also movements for protest against the policies and actions of powerful national and international institutions that go against the ordinary people’s definition of public good; against dams, factories, mines, dislocation and displacement; against formalization of individual property rights vis-à-vis land, water and forest without reference to collective access by forestdwellers and tribals. Civil society is also a set of organizations. These are primarily selfhelp, mutual help and mutual support groups. Through them, families and citizens get together and look after their common public good. Neighborhood associations, village councils, local sports and culture groups, pond maintenance committees and forest protection groups are all examples of such civil society organizations.

NGO’s Role in Development Process From NGOs perspective, Cohen and Uphoff (1977)71 trace the origins of concern for people’s participation in rural development and outline what they call the dimensions and contexts of participation. According to Cohen and Uphoff, participation was “relegated to a derivative role” in development strategies immediately after World War II which continued through the mid-1960’s. “The mid-60’s was the time when sociological studies concluded beyond any shade of doubt that the development programmes launched by the Government had benefited largely by those who were already better off leaving most of the poor and the deprived in lurch. It is this failure of development strategy of the Indian State which led to the rise of individuals and small action groups as agencies of people’s initiatives in favour of the alienated and the oppressed” (Sharma, 1992)72. Based on the objectives, ideologies, nature of activities and location, NGOs can be classified under four broad categories; Operational or Grass 71

John Cohen and Norman T. Uphoff, (1977), Rural Development Participation: Concepts and Measures for People Design, Implementation and Evaluation. Rural Development Monograph, No 2 Ithaca, Cornell University. 72 S.L. Sharma, (1992), ‘Social Action Groups as Harbingers of Silent Revolutions’, Economic and Political Weekly, 27 (4).

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roots NGOs, Support NGOs, Network NGOs and Funding NGOs. Operational or Grass roots NGOs directly work with the oppressed sections of society. Some of them are big, while others are small. As the approach and orientation among the grass roots NGOs differ, the following distinction can be made among them on the basis of their activities. Charity and welfare NGOs are involved in charity (giving food, clothing, medicines, alms in cash and kind, etc), welfare (providing facilities for education, health, drinking water, etc), relief (responding to natural calamities like floods, drought, earthquakes and man made calamities like refugee influx, ravages of war, etc) and rehabilitation (undertaking the work in areas struck by calamities and initiating activities that are durable in nature). Development NGOs are involved in providing (facilitating the provision) development services such as credit, seeds, fertilizers and technical know-how. Such NGOs concentrate on the development of the socio-economic environment of human beings. (Muttalib, 1987)73 Support NGOs mainly provide services that would strengthen the capacities of grassroot NGOs, Panchayat Raj Institutions, Co-operatives and others to function more effectively through training programmes and by bringing out periodicals (Murthy and Rao, 1997). Network NGOs are formal or informal associations of grass roots and / or support NGOs which meet periodically to act as a forum to share experiences, carry out joint development endeavors as well as engage in lobbying and advocacy. The participation of network NGOs in lobbying and advocacy is, however, a recent phenomenon. The primary activity of Funding NGOs is to provide funding support to grass roots NGOs, support NGOs or people’s organizations. Most of the funding NGOs in India obtain resources from the foreign sources though efforts to raise funds from within India have of late assumed importance. The role as well as tasks of non-Governmental organizations emerges out of three basic characteristics. Firstly, they are flexible and in broad sense non-bureaucratic organizations. Hence, ability to change according to the given situation provides the NGOs with an added advantage. Secondly, the NGOs can supplement the Government efforts without compromising the core objective. Thirdly, their proximity to ultimate beneficiaries helps them to understand ground realities with a clear perspective. 73 M.A. Muttalib, (1987), ‘Voluntarism and Development–Theoretical Perspectives’, Indian journal of Public Administration, 33(3).

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Murthy and Rao (1997)74 note that four characteristics mark NGOs as distinct organizations: voluntary formation, working towards development and amelioration of suffering, working with non-self serving aims and relative independence. They note that NGOs are voluntarily formed in the sense that no compulsion from the Government or others is involved in their formation. There is also an element of sacrifice as the staff, especially at the leadership level, works for salaries far lower than what they can draw in the Government or the private sector. This, however, may not apply to funding agencies or to professional NGOs where salaries of the staff are relatively higher. Further, with considerable resources flowing in from the Government and external donors, many people are getting attracted to this sector, and hence one does not always see voluntarism. Murthy and Rao (1997) also note that NGOs are development-oriented in the sense that they are concerned with improving the condition and position of the oppressed/disadvantaged sections of society, as opposed to other goals like entertainment, promotion of religion etc. Working with non-self serving aims the characteristic of particular type of NGOs, the numbers of which, in India is fast declining. Hence, this is contestable. Finally, they are considered as relatively independent from the Government in the sense that their Board of Directors or Trustees determine their policies. However, in reality the NGOs usually have to work within the parameters of Government legislation and policies formulated for them.

Interface between the Government and the NGO According to Deshpande75, the interface between the NGOs and the Government in the past can be analyzed in four broad phases 1. Co-operative relationship (1947 to late 1950’s) 2. Antagonistic relationship (late 1960’s to early 1970’s) 3. Professional relationship (mid 1980’s to early 1990’s) 4. Search for a shadow State (late 1990’s) Era of Co-operation: 1947 to the late 1950’s: Soon after independence Gandhian and religious (both Christian and non-Christian) NGOs made their appearance in different parts of the country. The former were 74

R.K. Murthy and Nitya Rao, (1997), Indian NGOs, Poverty Alleviations and their Capacity Enhancement in the 1990s: An Institutional and Social Relations Perspective, New Delhi. 75 R.S. Deshpande, D.Raja Sekhar, Pradeep Apte and Dhanamanjari Sathe (Eds), (2004), NGOs and farmers movement, in State of Indian Farmer – A millennium Study, Vol 23. New Delhi, Academic Foundation.

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engaged in the promotion of agricultural and extension programmes, khadi and village industries and livestock development. The latter were providing charity, relief and rehabilitation and also helping the poor to meet their health and nutrition needs, which should have been otherwise, undertaken by the State. The State provided financial assistance and technical support to most of these NGOs (Chowdary, 1987; Maheswari, 1987)76 and was engaged in training the officials involved in the development process (Sen, 1999; Kudva, 1996)77.

Emergence of Antagonism: The 1960’s and 1970’s This phase witnessed the emergence of different types of NGOs; Development NGOs, Empowerment NGOs, Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) were also formed by the poor themselves with or without NGOs help. Due to diversity in the institutional histories, motivations for forming the NGOs and their attitudes towards the Government, the interface that emerged was also different. The Government extended its support to welfare and development NGOs but kept SAGs at some distance since they were critical of Government policies. While the Government supported foreign-funded welfare oriented NGOs, it opposed and began to control the foreign funding for SAGs. The nature of interface between the Government and SAGs was described as a ‘cat and mouse’ partnership. On the other hand, development NGOs were looked upon favorably because they supplemented the Government’s development efforts.

Diversity of Government – Era of Professional Relationship: The 1980’s and 1990’s This phase of Government-NGO interface has seen the following important trends: with the maturing of the NGO sector, young professionals, retired bureaucrats, members of political parties and business people motivated by job prospects rather than commitment to social transformation, started to work at grass roots. Some of them provided support (research 76

Paul D. Chowadary, (1987), ‘Critical Appraisal of Voluntary Efforts in social Welfare and Development Since Independence’, Journal of Public Administration, 33(3), pp 492-500. S. Maheswari, (1987), ‘Voluntary Action in Rural Development in india’, The Indian Journal of Public Administration, 33(3), pp559568 77 Siddartha Sen, (1999), ‘Some Aspects of State- NGO Relationships in India in the post Independence Era’, Development and Change, 30(1), pp327-355.

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consultancy, training, evaluation and documentation) to the Government, smaller NGOs and CBOs. As the NGO sector was undergoing diversification, the nature of interface also started to take different shape. NGOs seemed to have shifted their focus from providing relief and welfare (first generation) to addressing the structural context of local self help action, forming of people’s institutions and mobilizing local resources (second generation). This included seeking changes in the institutions and policies at national and sub-national levels that inhibit effective self-help action (third generation) (Korten, 1987).78 Moving towards an Era of ‘Shadow State’: Over time, the Government gradually transferred the responsibility of social services to NGO with the aim to establish a ‘Shadow State’. The NGOs, therefore, were expected to assume greater role in providing social services. They were expected to mobilize the poor, build up their institutional capabilities and organize them into groups so as to enable them to reap the benefits of economic development arising out of globalization. However, the task of setting up a ‘Shadow State’ faced many deterrents such as delay in the disbursement of funds, red-tapism and apathy of bureaucrats (Sen, 1999)79. NGOs are acting as scaling up and influencing the Government policy in favor of the poor. In the Government initiated pro-poor and peoplecentered development programmes, NGOs came forward to contribute their comparative advantages for the success of the programmes. Even if the Government development paradigm was not favourable to the poor, at times NGOs entered into collaboration with the Government to get a chance to change the policy climate or programme approaches.80 Thus, the nature of interface largely depended on organizational complexities, identities, motivations, its social origin and histories, characteristics and political, social and economic realities, local politics, the actions of the local agents, local institutional behavior with the local Government, views of individuals and nature of NGOs own programmes (Sen, 1999).81

78

D.C. Korten, ( 1987), ‘Third generation NGO Strategies: A Key to People Centered Development’, World Development, 15 (7-12), pp 145-59. 79 Siddhartha Sen, (1999), ‘Some Aspects of State- NGO Relationships in India in the post Independence Era’, Development and Change, 30(1), pp 327-355. 80 R.S.Deshpande, D.Raja Sekhar, Pradeep Apte and Dhanamanjari Sathe (Eds), (2004), NGOs and Farmers Movement, in State of Indian Farmer – A millennium Study, Vol 23. New Delhi,Academic Foundation. 81 Siddhartha Sen, (1999), ‘Some Aspects of State- NGO Relationships in India in the post Independence Era’, Development and Change, 30(1), pp327-355.

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2.3 Social Capital A strong civil society is very much dependent on the presence of ‘social capital’ in the society. Social capital is different from the physical capital and human capital. In simple terms, we can say that social capital refers to the communal resources that a community possesses, which is very much intangible but yields tangible results that can be effectively utilized. Social capital is primarily defined as inter –personal trust that makes it easier for people to do things together. In his path breaking study on the society of modern Italy, Robert Putnam writes that social capital refers to features of social organization, such as trust, norms and networks that can improve the efficiency of society by facilitating co-ordination of actions (Putnam, Robert 1993; 167)82. Let us consider Robert Putnam’s celebrated analysis of social capital here (Putnam 1993, 1995; 65-78)83. Putnam conceives civil society – in the sense of dense networks of associations – as generating what he calls ‘social capital’. He defines social capital as any feature of social relations that contributes to the ability of society to work together and accomplish certain goals. He therefore suggests a correlation between the density of social associations that manage to bridge social cleavages, the creation of civic culture and strong democracy. High levels of civic engagement, argues Putnam, contribute to the sustenance and developing of democracy. According to him, ‘associationalism’ produces habits of cooperation, trust, social networks and norms, i.e., social capital – which is an indispensable prerequisite of democracy. Social capital can also include “the institutions, relationships, and norms that shape the quality and quantity of society’s social interactions” (World Bank, 2000)84. Naranyan and Prichett (1997)85 describe five mechanisms for social capital. They are 1. Improve society’s ability to monitor the performance of Government 2. Increase possibilities for co-operative action in solving problem 3. Facilitate the differs of innovations 82

Robert Putnam, (1993), Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, Princeton NJ, Princeton University. 83 ‘Bowling Alone: Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital’, Journal of Democracy, 6:1 84 World Bank, (2000), World Development Report 2000-2001: Attacking Poverty, Oxford, Oxford university press. 85 Narayan and Pritchett, (1997), Cents and Sociability: Household Income and Social Capital in Rural Tanzania, Washington DC, USA, World Bank.

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4. 5.

Reduce information imperfection Increase informal insurance.

Collier (1998)86 differentiates between Government social capital (e.g. enforceability of social contracts, rule of law, and extent of civil liberties) and civil social capital (e.g. common values, shared traditions, norms, informal networks and associational memberships). In society where Government social capital is limited, a large proportion of contracts may depend on civil social capital and trust. Social capital may produce either a positive or negative output. For example, Olson (1982)87 argues that groups may be willing to improve costs on non-members to achieve their goals. In contrast, Putnam (1993) argues that co-operation among members of a group creates habits and attitudes towards serving the greater good that carry over to members’ interaction with non-members. Falk and Kilpatrick (1999)88 argue that the accumulation of social capital is the outcome of the process of learning interactions. Learning interactions require a learning event (an actual occasion) and occurs in a contextual dimension (the broad, socio- cultural and political frame of reference). A precondition for building social capital is the existence of a sufficient quantity and quality of learning interactions. Upholf (1999)89 distinguishes between structural and cognitive social capital. Structural social capital involves various forms of social organization, including roles, rules, precedents and procedures as well as a variety of networks that contribute to co-operation. Cognitive social capital includes norms, values, attitudes and beliefs. Structural and cognitive social capitals are complementary, as the structural social capital helps to translate norms and beliefs into well-coordinated behaviour.

86

Collier, (1998), Social Capital and Poverty. Social Capital Initiative, WP 4, Washington DC, USA, World Bank. 87 Olson, (1982), The Rise and Decline of Nations, New Heaven, USA ,Yale University Press. 88 Falk and Kilpatrick, (1999), What is Social Capital? : A study of Interactions in a Rural Community, University of Tasmania, Australia. 89 Uphof, (1999), ‘Understanding Social Capital: Learning From the Analysis and Experiences of Participation’, in Dasgupta and Seregeldin, Social Capital: A multifaceted perspective, Washington DC USA, World Bank.

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Sabel (1994)90 argues that social capital builds up as a result of all actors committing themselves to ongoing negotiations based on shared understanding of a common goal. A narrow view of social capital regards it as a set of horizontal associations between people, consisting of social networks and associated norms that have an effect on the community productivity and well being. Social networks can increase productivity by reducing the cost of doing business. Social capital facilitates coordination and cooperation. Social capital also has an important “ downside”. ( Portes and Landholt 1996)91 Communities, groups or networks which are isolated, parochial or working at cross purposes to society’s collective interests ( e. g . drugs cartels, corruption rackets) can actually hinder economic and social development. A broader understanding of social capital accounts for both the positive and negative aspects by including vertical as well as horizontal associations between the people and behaviour within and among organizations, such as firms. This view not only recognizes that horizontal ties are needed to give communities a sense of identity and common purpose, but also stresses that without “ bridging” ties that transcend various social divides (e.g.. religion, ethnicity, socio-economic status), horizontal ties can become a basis for the pursuit of narrow interest, and can actively preclude access to information and material resources that would otherwise be of greater assistance to the community (e.g. tips about job vacancies, access to credit). The broadest and most encompassing view of social capital includes the social and political environment that shapes social structure and enables norms to develop. This analysis extends the importance of social capital to the most formalized institutional relationships and structure, such as Government, the political regime, the rule of law, the court system and civil and political liberties. This view not only accounts for the virtues and vices of social capital and the importance of forging ties within and across the communities, but also recognizes that the capacity of various social groups to act in their interest depends crucially on the support (or lack thereof) that they receive from the State as well as the private sector. Similarly, the State depends on social stability and widespread popular support. In short, economic and social development thrives when

90

Sable, (1994), ‘Learning by Monitoring: the Institutions of Economic Development’, in Smelser and Swedverd, Handbook of Economic sociology, Princeton, USA, Princeton University Press. 91 Portes and Landholt, (1996), ‘The Downside of Social Capital’, The American Prospect, 26(May-June), pp. 18-21,94.

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representatives of the State, the corporate sector, and civil society create forums in and through which they can identify and pursue common goals. Social capital has been measured in a number of innovative ways, though for a number of reasons obtaining a single “true” measure is probably not possible, or perhaps even undesirable. First, the most comprehensive definitions of social capital are multidimensional, incorporating different levels and units of analysis. Second, any attempt to measure the properties of inherently ambiguous concepts such as “community”, ‘networks’ and “organizations” is correspondingly problematic. Third, a few long-standing surveys were designated to measure ‘social capital’, leaving contemporary researchers to compile indexes from a range of approximate items, such as measures of trust in Government, voting trends, memberships in civic organizations and hours spent volunteering. New surveys currently being conducted will hopefully produce more direct and accurate indicators. Social capital as originally outlined by James Coleman (1988)92 is a feature not of individuals but of social relations. Coleman had, in effect, argued that social capital is context-dependent. Therefore, when we say that international bankers interact professionally, it implies that their transactions are marked by norms of reciprocity and trust. According to Coleman, not all forms of social capital are equally valuable as resources to facilitate individual or collective action. Social capital, as employed by Coleman, is morally neutral category. It can facilitate transactions among a group of human rights activists to the same effect. Further, access to various forms of social capital is shaped substantially by the inequalities of social locations such as race, gender, class and geography. Putnam on the other hand, by attaching a normative weight to the concept of social capital, abstracts it from social contexts and attributes it to the individuals. Not only does he reduce the concept to association life per se, he concentrates on only that form of life that permits civil engagement. In other words, he limits his focus to the kind of social capital that produces the civic spirit. He thus moves away from Coleman’s formulation that emphasizes socially embedded and context-specific resources. Putnam, in his theory of social capital93 assumes that the more we connect with other people, the more we trust them and vice versa. 92

James Coleman, (1988), ‘Social Capital in the Creation of Human Capital’, American Journal of Sociology,vol 94 supplement 93 Robert Putnam, (1993), Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton,Princeton University Press.

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Generalized social trust in each other, trust in public officials, and the tolerance that trust requires as a precondition are integral components of social capital that has, in turn, a beneficial effect on citizen participation. Social capital is thus a source of healthy democratic activity that breeds participation. Putnam’s theory is open to questions on several counts. For one, how do people build trust and reciprocity in associational life independent of wider contexts? We can hardly accept Putnam’s assumption that social associations function independently of the State to further civic engagement, just as we cannot agree with theorists who claim that civil society as a third sphere is comfortably bounded off from politics and the State. Second, confining our attention to social associations that are beneficial to civic engagement is not only morally irresponsible, but also leads to distorted understanding of civil society. For, patriarchal forces exist alongside feminist groups, religious fascists exist along with movements against communalism, class oppression exist alongside groups fighting to redistribute justice and pro-State associations that further and strengthen the dominant project of society, exist alongside groups that challenge the legitimacy of the State. Third, if as Putnam suggests, we were to characterize healthy associational life only on the basis of the thickness of bonds within associations, we would realize to our discomfort that the most communal of the organizations such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and other minority fundamentalist organizations are characterized by strong bonds of social solidarity.

2.4 Participation The concept of participation in literature is defined in different ways but with the Central principle of involving people in decisions that affect their lives (Eade, 1997)94 In essence, these should be decisions that reflect their interest. Interests can range from control over or access to material resources, access to power, prestige, self-esteem to maintenance of cultural goals for social relationships (Cohen, 1968).95 Different people in diverse environments pursue these interests in different ways, as part of their learning processes that lead to different forms of change. From this thinking we find that participation seeks to build on these processes and 94

D.Eade, (1997), Capacity Building: An approach to people – Centered Development, Oxfam, Oxford. 95 P.S. Cohen, (1968), Modern Social Theory, London, Heinemann.

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enhance people’s decision-making based upon their knowledge and systems (Scoones and Thompson, 1994)96. In this context, participation has to form part of the people’s learning process, not only to adjust to change, but to determine the process of change as well. Greater involvement of local people in defining local problems, identifying solutions and implementing them, ensures that the resulting programmes are more effective and sustainable. A process whereby local people are given the capacity and power to make their own analysis, direct the process, grow in confidence and take their own decisions (Gueye, 1999)97. “Participation” evokes images of the people coming together in lines to vote, in circles to deliberate and to plan, in rows to be consulted in public meetings and so on. On a more metaphorical level, much of what we think about when we think about participation is inherently spatial. Efforts to engage participation can be thought of as creating spaces where there were previously none, about making room for different opinions to be heard where previously there were very limited opportunitities for public involvement, and about enabling people to occupy spaces that were previously denied to them. The act of participation can be seen as bringing spaces to life besides carving out new spaces and creating new social forms with their own momentum and impetus. Spaces for participation can be thought, then, in abstract terms as the ways in which opportunities for engagement might be conceived or perceived, and more concretely, in terms of the actual sites that are entered and animated by citizens ( Lefebvre, 1991)98. Intimately related to participation is the term “empowerment”, a term that has gained considerable currency in recent mainstream development discourse (World Bank 2002)99. In the contemporary mainstream development appropriations of the term “empowerment”, some of the developmental goals associated with self-actualization remain. But the primary emphasis seems to be on relocating the poor within the prevailing order; bringing them in, finding them a place, lending them opportunities, empowering them, inviting them to participate. The World Bank’s 96

Scoones and Thompson, (1994), Beyond Farmer First: Rural People’s Knowledge, Agricultural Research and Extension Practice, London, Intermediate Technology publications. 97 B.Gueyes, (1999), ‘Whither Participation? Experience from Francophone West Africa, Programmes’, Issues Paper, No.87, IIED Dry lands Programme. 98 H.Lefebvre, (1991), The production of Space,Verso, London,. 99 World Bank, (2002), Empowerment and poverty Reduction : A Source Book, Washington DC, World Bank.

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(2000)100 recent enthusiasm for empowerment illustrates how a term once associated with the process through which people discovered their own potentialities has become an instrument for managed intervention. There is much talk, these days, about “opening up”, “widening”, “broadening”, and “extending” opportunities for citizens to participate in development decision-making and “deepening” democratic practice. Talk of “arenas” of politics and of governance conveys spaces where voices and ideas jostle for attention. “Political space” is not only something taken up, assumed or filled, but something that can be created, opened and reshaped. The notion of ‘policy space” evokes sites shaped through the exercise of agency, in which different actors, knowledge and interests interact. (Grindle and Thomas, 1981)101. Around the world, there has been growing interest in the ways to increase public involvement in governance, besides enhancing the quality and legitimacy of democratic decision making (Gaventa 2002)102. The growing demands with the creation of new political and policy spaces for citizen involvement in governance coincides in some contexts to the changes in law and policies. Such participation complements conventional models of political participation with a new architecture of democratic practice. Whether in budgeting, policy dialogue, planning, project appraisal, poverty assessment, monitoring or evaluation, participatory alternatives to expert-driven process have gained ground (Holmes and scones 2000)103 . Participation has come to constitute a more radical reconfiguration of relationships and responsibilities in an expanded public arena in which a host of other actors, donor agencies, banks, corporations as well as new configurations of “ local” and “ global” citizens are increasingly potent and visible (Tandon 2002)104 . At the same time, contextual variations in Constitutional and legal frameworks, the forms and styles of political and civil activity and histories of engagement with external actors, each distinctively traces the invited spaces from poverty reduction strategies to 100 World Bank, (2000), World Development report 2000-2001: Attacking Poverty, Oxford, Oxford University Press. 101 M. Grindle and Thomas, J., (1981), Public Choice and Policy Change, Baltimore, John Hopkins Press. 102 Gaventa, J., (2002), ‘Towards participatory governance’, Currents, Vol 28, pp 29-35. 103 Holmes and Scoones I., (2000), ‘Participory Environmental Policy Processes; Experience from North and South’, IDS Working paper 113, Brighton, IDS. 104 R. Tandon, (2002), ‘Linking Citizenship, Participation and Accountability: A Perspective from PRIA.’, IDS Bulletin, Vol 33, No 2, pp 59-64.

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co-management committees that have become the new development blueprints (Brock, 2001)105. The need for understanding the local realities led to the gradual emergence of the concepts of participation and empowerment in development literature. In recent years, these twin concepts have been positioned at the centre of both the radical and the mainstream perspectives on development. The space for participation created from the above are the actions of Government and Non-Government organizations (NGOs) or those that the people create for themselves. Movements alone may not guarantee voice, unless the participation prevents the existing pattern of power from being reproduced. Therefore, there is need for delineating authentic participation from the various notions of participation prevalent in the development literature. The term Participation, which, ‘seems never to be used unfavorably’ (White 1996)106 can be attached to very different sets of practice and objectives. For example, colonial Governments used participatory strategies as safety valve to silence colonial subjects demanding space. The postcolonial developmental State in its search for legitimacy and accumulation sought the participation of people through contributions in the form of labour, cash or kind. Developmental institutes like World Bank, International Monetary Fund and international donors are advocating the beneficiary participation in the service delivery, which mainly validates many of the ‘imposed’ programmes. Even the post development writers like Escobar, favor community participation for it leads to self-sufficiency and independence of the community from the State. There are innumerable social and voluntary organizations that have been mobilizing the participation of marginalized people to rise, voice their grievances and demand the accomplishment of their wants from the governing sections. Participation is not a physical ingredient, which when added to a project frame will ensure that the excluded sections will participate, get empowered, voice their views and alter the programmes according to their needs. Participation has to be valued relative to its process and goals. Culturally, participation of the people implies their sense of belonging to the community and fraternity rather than the State. Politically, it denotes the involvement of all the stakeholders and creation and sustenance of 105 K. Brock, Cornwall. A and Gaventa. J., (2001), ‘Power knowledge and Political Spaces in the Framing of Poverty Policy’, IDS Working Paper 143, Brighton, Institute of Developmental Studies. 106 S. White, (1996), ‘Depoliticising Development: the uses and abuses of Participation’, Development in Practice, Vol 6, No 1, pp 6-15.

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accountability of the State towards the people (Tandon 2002; 62)107. Similarly, paths to participation may be instrumental to achieve wider economic goals or strategy with the aim of transforming the rules of the game in the long run or an outright resistance to overpower the ruling elite. Participation is seen something distinct from the functioning of Panchayats. How should people participate? In what level should people participate? Where should people participate? To phrase this in Dreze and Sen’s (2002)108 terms: Panchayats are seen as perhaps one of the, not necessarily most important, instruments in the process of enabling people’s participation. There are other instruments – voluntary agencies, self help groups, watershed committees and the like which will also do. All are treated as of equal potential, with the choice depending on what works and where. These amendments have laid the ground for fundamental changes in how people can participate in the expansion of social opportunity. People’s participation has become an important pre-requisite for development. The role of NGO and people’s participation gained momentum during the mid-eighties after recognizing the futility of the topdown approach in reaching the bottom of the social structure. Since then, there had been a loud call for people’s participation in almost all processes of development. However, the origin of concern for people’s participation in rural development can be traced right from the sixties, but in varied dimensions and contexts, adapting to the angles from which development is viewed (Cohen and Upholf, 1997).109

2.5 Panchayats & Gram Sabha Mahatma foresaw the development of the nation through the development of the village. With the enactment of 73rd Constitutional Amendment in April 1993, it was generally believed that the Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) would promote democracy at the grassroots level and play an effective role in the process of social transformation. This proposition however has been challenged in the recent years on the basis of practical experiences / insights obtained at the grassroots level after the 107

R. Tandon, (2002), ‘Linking Citizenship, Participation and Accountability: A Perspective from PRIA’, IDS Bulletin, Vol 33, No 2, pp 59-64. 108 Jean Drez and Amartya Sen, (2002), India Development and Participation, Delhi, Oxford University Press. 109 John M. Cohen and Norman T. Upholf, (1977), Rural Development Participation:Concepts and Measures for Projects Design, Implementation and Evaluation, Rural Development monograph, No. 2, Ithaca, Cornell University.

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implementation of the Constitutional provisions and the enactment of conformity acts by the State Governments to upgrade the existing legislation on Panchayat Raj Institutions. The Gram Sabha (GS) is the cornerstone of the entire scheme of democratic decentralisation in India initiated through the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution. Hence, the success or failure of the Panchayat Raj system largely depends on how powerful and effective the Gram Sabha is at the decentralized level to fulfill the desires and aspirations of the people. Recognizing the critical role of the Gram Sabha in the village economy, Gandhiji110 had said, “True democracy could not be worked by some persons sitting at the top. It had to be worked from below by the people of every village” The assembly of citizens in every village is the place for discussing and deciding the local provisioning of public goods. Studies of decentralisation have consistently highlighted the fact that the 73rd amendment and earlier attempts at decentralisation have failed to prevent a local elite from controlling local Panchayats. Gram Sabha is a much publicized and discussed and less practiced word and at present a concept by itself; but it has its own history from the heydays of M.K.Gandhi to Rajiv Gandhi. The perceptions in the meaning and implications of the concepts vary among the practioners and the officials of the Government. The enormous literature generated on Panchayat Raj has labelled the Gram Sabha as the gateway to grassroots democracy (Jain 1997)111, and as one of the important three basic institutions of new direct democracy, to bridge the gap between the civil society and the State (Jaamdar 1995)112. Micro-level studies have shown that Gram Sabhas often fail to fulfill their role as deliberative bodies or as a mechanism for accountability (Alsop et al., 2000; Deshpande and Murthy, 2002; Nambiar, 2001). This is partly attributed to low levels of participation among the electorate as well as the non-cooperation of local officials. Examples of the latter include officials delaying or postponing Gram Sabha meetings, officials not attending Gram Sabha and more generally, official decisions having no bearing on the decisions reached during the Gram Sabha (Crook and Manor, 1998, Deshpande and Murthy, 2002; Nambiar, 2001). 110

M. K. Gandhi, (1962), Village Swaraj, Ahmedabad, Navajivan Publishing house. 111 S.P. Jain, (1997), ‘The Gram Sabha: Gate way to Grassroots Democracy’, Journal of Rural Development, Vol.16(4), pp 557-573, NIRD, Hyderabad. 112 Shiva Jaamdar, (1995), ‘Gram Sabha in the New Panchayat System: Concepts and Issues’, Kurukshetra, December, New Delhi.

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The World Bank’s study of 53 villages in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh (Alsop et al., 2000)113 found that gender and education are important determinants of political participation, measured in terms of campaigning, attending rallies, supporting a candidate, influencing voters, contacting a public representative and attending Gram Sabha. Interestingly, wealth measured in terms of land holdings is not a strong determinant of public participation. Along similar lines, Deshapande and Murthy’s study of Panchayat Raj in Karnataka (2002)114 found that levels of participation were ‘considerably low’, particularly among women. Similar conclusions have emerged from field studies in West Bengal (Ghatak and Ghatak 2002)115, Rajasthan and Haryana (Nambiar 2001)116. However, the village councils or Gram Sabhas did not even receive mention in the Constitution when it was framed. The Balwantrai Mehta committee117 ignored the Gram Sabha altogether. An official committee was appointed in 1962 to review the functioning of Gram Sabha and make suggestions for their incorporation into the Panchayat Raj system. The committee headed by the noted Gandhian, P.R. Diwakar, concluded that ‘the institution had not been functioning there in any real sense of the term’ (Diwakar, 1963)118. Panchayats as the basic units of SelfGovernment at the village level are expected to bring about an element of transparency between the people and the Government system. Accordingly, all activities carried out by the village Panchayats have to get the approval of Gram Sabha which consists of all the adult members of the area. S.P.Jain (1997)119 says, “The concept of Gram Sabha comes with the 113

R. Aloop, Krishnana, A. and Sjoblom, D., (2002), ‘Are Gram Panchayats? Report of a study conducted in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh’, Background Paper No.3, World Bank Unpublished Overview of Decentralisation in India, Volume 3. 114 S.V. Deshpande and Venkatesh Murthy G.B., (4th May 2002), Pressures From Below: Decentralize Governance in Karnataka, Economic and Political Weekly. Vol 37, No 18 115 Maitreesh Ghatak and Maitreya, Ghatak, (2002), ‘Recent Reforms in the Panchayats system in West Bengal: Towards Greater Participatory Governance?’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.37, No 1. 116 Malini Nambiar, (2001), ‘The Civil Society and Panchayats Raj Institutions’, Journal of Rural Development, Vol. 20(4), pp 615-634, NIRD, Hyderabad. 117 Balwantrai Committee has appointed to examine the working of the Community Development Programme and the National Extension Service. 118 R. Diwakar, (1963), Report of the Study team on position of Gram Sabha in Panchayats Raj movement, Government of India, India. 119 S.P. Jain, (1997), ‘The Gram Sabha: Gateway to Grassroots Democracy’, Journal of Rural Development, Vol. 16(4), pp 557-573, NIRD, Hyderabad.

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specific purpose of handing over certain specific responsibilities to the people with which people would be empowered”. Later on, endorsing the view of Gandhi, Jay Prakash Narayan120 had said: "To me Gram Sabha signifies village democracy. Let us not have only representative Government from the village up to Delhi. In one place, at least let there be direct Government, direct democracy. The relationship between Panchayat and Gram Sabha should be that between Cabinet and Assembly". Rajini Kothari (1999)121 has visualized the role of Gram Sabha as follows: “Representative bodies have their inherent dynamics of power politics and willy-nilly ends up vesting effective authority in the politician–bureaucrat nexus. The only way of making this nexus responsible and accountable is to provide larger citizen involvement in new variants of old institutions like the Gram Sabha which can combine older form of informal consensus-making mechanism with more formal, institutionalized and legal form decreed by legislation. With the new awakening in the rural areas, these bodies have the potential of overseeing the work of elected bodies, and over time, with the growth of confidence that they cannot be brow beaten by dominant individuals or castes, become a force to reckon with”

Gram Sabha is the ultimate body to decide the development works for the Panchayat. “Among the local institutions, the Gram Sabha or Village Panchayat is the most important one and exists from time immemorial. This is an institutional form of Participatory Democracy” (Y.V.Rao, 1998)122. However the people are even kept in dark about the provisions under Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) and the benefits are going into the hands of few. The people are unaware about the importance of their presence in the Gram Sabha meetings. Further, the low attendance from the members makes the job easy for the misdeeds. The basic question that has been often asked is how the PRIs are going to be strengthened. Bureaucracy has hardly shown any interest and the political parties too appear to be reluctant, because the decentralization of powers would 120

Jaya Praksh Narayan, (1961), Swaraj for the people, Varnasi, Serva Seva Sangh. 121 Rajini Kothari, (1999), ‘Issues in Decentralize governance’, in S.N. Jha and P.C.Mathur (Ed), Decentralisation and Local Politics, New Delhi, Sage Publications. 122 Y.V. Rao, (1998), ‘Functioning of Gram Sabha: A Study in Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh’, Journal of Rural Development, Vol. 17(4), pp 703-728, NIRD, Hyderabad.

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transform the Panchayat Raj Institutions into a more powerful, grassroots level institution. In contrast, voluntary and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have been viewed as an alternate to promote development and democracy at the grassroots level. The developments in voluntary and NGOs networking at different levels clearly indicate this. NGO's initiatives at the grassroots level in promoting Self Help Groups, Dalit, Tribal and target group associations are on the increase. Moreover, the efforts of the NGO's due to their better rapport with the grassroots and flexibility in functioning have yielded better results for the people at the grassroots level. The Gram Sabha listed a number of procedural issues, viz., absence of a common venue, selection of inconvenient time, inadequate publicity and reluctance of the members of the Panchayat to convene the meetings - all these had reduced the attendance in the Gram Sabha. Lack of awareness of the functioning of Gram Sabha and the apathy of the villagers are also responsible for the poor turnout. The committee also concluded that certain basic obstacles to the effective functioning of the Gram Sabha can be derived from the nature of village communities and politics in India (Diwakar 1963)123. “Gram Sabha has not been successful. It does not evoke substantial public participation and there has been almost total failure in fulfilling the vested functions” (B.K.Chakaravarthy, 1984)124. Inbunaathan (1999)125 says that ‘the elite wiled power and influence whether they were elected or not, and the participation of certain socioeconomic groups for whom reservation has been made is neither effective nor independent”. Moreover, the Gram Sabha meetings are not conducted regularly. The study on Karnataka by Srivastava (1999)126 says, “In some cases, the Gram Sabha turned out to be a farce, owing to factional feuds. In certain other cases, the attendance was thin and therefore the meeting could not take place. Yet another kind of instance also came to light where elected leaders themselves disrupted the meeting when uncomfortable questions

123

R. Diwakar, (1963), Report of the Study team on position of Gram Sabha in Panchayats Raj movement, Government of India, India. 124 B.K. Chandrasekhar, (1984), ‘Panchayat Raj Law in Karnataka : Janata initiatives in Decentralisation’ , Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 19(16), pp 683-92. 125 Inbunathan, (1999), ‘Decentralisation and Affirmative Action’, Journal of Social and Economic Development, Vol. 11(2), July-December, pp 269 ff. 126 B.N. Srivastava, (1997), Panchayats in Scheduled Areas, Hyderabad, NIRD.

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were posed to them”. Joshi (1995)127 has given similar conclusion. He found that in Mangalore taluk village, the average attendance was only 29.6 persons per Gram Sabha. A similar study in Dharwad District revealed that the attendance was only 5.2 percent in 1987, declined to 2.1 percent in 1991 (Bharghava and Raphael 1994)128. The quality of participation was also far from satisfactory due to domination by the rural elite, low attendance of SC and ST communities and women and politicization of the meetings. Poor participation has been a common feature of the experience of Gram Sabha, both in numbers and quality. Explanations for poor participation in the Gram Sabha include: limited benefits of participation, opportunity costs, particularly on the part of the very poor groups; fear of disrupting existing patron-client relations, corruption, agenda fixing, factionalism, fear of exclusion from community. (Alsop et al.,2000; Nambiar,2001); The Karnataka experiment envisaged that the direct participation of villages through Gram Sabha in suggesting proposals proved to be a ‘Non-Starter’ (Joshi, 1995)129. Jain (1997)130 says that Gram Sabha meetings had been called mostly on the direction of the Zilla Parishad. More often the sarpanches convened these meetings under pressure from higher levels of administration viz., Panchayat Samitis or the Zilla Parishad. Meetings called were mostly without prior or adequate notice. “Gram Sabha is a cosmetic institution and people do not feel enthusiastic to attend its meeting or participate in discussions” (George Mathew, 2002)131. Jain (1997)132 examines the relation between Gram Sabha and Grama Panchayats: according to him, there is a greater possibility of establishing direct democracy at the village level where the Gram Sabha will function as the parent body and Grama Panchayat will function as its executive committee. The other view is that both the Gram Sabha and Grama Panchayat should be recognized as separate entities so that each one can 127

G.V. Joshi, (1995), ‘Gram Sabha in Karnataka: A Non-Starter’, Kurukshetra (special Issue), Vol. 43(7), pp 113-117. 128 R.S. Bhargava and Raphel C.Jose, (1994), Working of Gram Sabha in Karnataka- A Study at Micro Level, Journal of Rural Development, Vol.13(1), pp 145-157, NIRD, Hyderabad. 129 G.V. Joshi, (1995), ‘Gram Sabha in Karnataka: A Non-Starter’, Kurukshetra (special Issue), Vol. 43(7), pp 113-117. 130 S.P. Jain, (1997), ‘The Gram Sabha: Gateway to Grassroots Democracy’, Journal of Rural Development, Vol. 16(4), pp 557-573, NIRD, Hyderabad. 131 George Mathew, (Jan- Feb 2002), ‘Panchayat Raj Falters’, Advocacy Internet, Vol. 4, No. 1. 132 S.P. Jain, (1997), ‘The Gram Sabha: Gateway to Grassroots Democracy’, Journal of Rural Development, Vol. 16(4), pp 557-573, NIRD, Hyderabad.

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function independently within their respective statutory limits. Keeping in view the ground reality, it is felt that both these institutions have to be recognized separately. However, he contends that one cannot deny the fact that Gram Sabha cannot function as a powerful body unless it has power to control the Gram Sabha. Further, it is indicated that the relationship between Gram Sabha and village Panchayat may be similar to that between legislature and Government. It is also held that “the Panchayats, being the executive arm of the Gram Sabha is admittedly a subordinate body”. Such propositions about the prominence of ‘legislature’ at this level can create complexities. If Gram Sabha does not meet on time, which is not usual deducing from the past experience, no programme can be initiated, much less implemented. Joshi (1995)133 has examined the relationship between Gram Sabha and voluntary organizations. In his view: the role of informal sector in the development is being increasingly recognized and hence, efforts are being made at all levels to promote the informal sector. It is appropriate only if formal and informal linkages are developed between Panchayats /Gram Sabhas and voluntary organizations. The Gram Sabha and voluntary organisations will go a long way in facilitating development process at local level. The question however, remains: how facilitation of development process can be achieved? For doing so, one can visualize immediately the following ways - Forging formal links for utilization of each others resources, experience and methodology, having greater participation of the informal sector in the Gram Sabha meetings, etc., thereby making the activities of Panchayats more transparent and accountable besides generating awareness and performing watchdog function. Various provisions are made in the Indian Constitution for the welfare and protection of the tribal people. Correspondingly, varied approaches for their development have been adopted in the post colonial period. However, they are not effectively implemented due to lack of political will and commitment on the part of the Government machinery and also due to people’s ignorance about their rights and duties. The 73rd Constitutional amendment of 1992 and its subsequent extension to Scheduled Areas in 1996, with certain modifications is another landmark in the direction of empowering the tribal people. The act has been an important landmark in the direction of tribal self-rule. However, there are mixed feelings about its 133

G.V. Joshi, (1995), ‘Gram Sabha in Karnataka: A Non-Starter’, Kurukshetra (special Issue), Vol. 43(7), pp 113-117.

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impact. These are both encouraging and depressing. As such, it is proposed to take a brief stock of the situation and examine the reality of tribal self-governance today. Based on the study of Soaras of Andhra Pradesh, Suryanarayana (1972)134 showed that the newly introduced Panchayat Raj bodies could not effectively replace the traditional political system of Soara tribals. O.K.Moorthy (1972)135 discussed the malpractices of moneylenders, problems of shifting cultivators functioning of Muttadari system and reviewed various measures taken for the amelioration of the tribal communities. While constituting Panchayat Raj bodies for tribal areas, the existing traditional institutions were not taken into account. But the traditional leaders who were dominant in the local areas got themselves elected to the modern institutions. Sachidananda (1967)136 observes co-existence and conflict during changes of leadership from traditional to modern Panchayats. A study conducted in the tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh pointed out that “as the tribal people are not civic conscious; the leaders of the Panchayat Raj bodies are free to act according to their whims and fancies” (Sachchidanadan1967: 49) The study team of the Planning Commission (1969) found that the participation of tribal people in the local bodies is poor as the Panchayat Raj bodies that were set-up did not conform to their customs and were looked down upon by them as both alien and incongruous (1969 :94)137. Based on the study conducted on Saora tribe of Andhra Pradesh, Suryanarayana (1972)138 cautioned that in illiterate societies like that of the tribals, the introduction of democratic institutions could lead to concentration of power in the hands of traditional tribal leaders. Raghava Rao (1974) observed that the leaders like Muttadar and Village Chiefs 134

M. Suryanarana, (1972), ‘The saoras of Andhra Pradesh in democratic Set Up’, in Suresh Singh (Ed), Tribal Situation in India, Indian institute of advanced study, Simla,India pp 523-27. 135 O.K. Moorthy, (1972), ‘The Tribal Situation in South India’, in Suresh Singh (Ed), Tribal Situation in India, Indian institute of advanced study, Simla,India pp 213-27. 136 Sachchinanda, (1967), ‘Leadership and Culture change in Kulu’, in L.P.Vidyarthi (Ed), Leadership in India, Asia publishing house, Bombay 137 Report of the Study Team on Tribal Development Programmes, Committee on Plan Project, Planning Commission, Government of India, New Delhi, 1969. 138 M. Suryanarana, (1972), ‘The saoras of Andhra Pradesh in democratic Set Up’, in Suresh Singh (Ed), Tribal Situation in India, Indian institute of advanced study, Simla,India pp 523-27.

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who are exposed to non-tribals and are in touch with employees, have realized the importance of Panchayat bodies.

2.6 Summing up The present chapter aimed at understanding the concept of civil society in the development context. It also delineates civil society’s relation with State in general and NGO’s role in Panchayats in particular. The chapter states that the civil society in the development context needs several fundamental things from government. Most importantly, it needs a certain civic space within which it can operate. Hegel also believed that “the State is necessary to guarantee the civility of civil society”. On the other hand, civil society also provides the States, various things, which clearly enhance the importance of State. In a nutshell, civil society can be characterized as the bridge between the State and citizens, institutional builder, information and ideas producer and social capital builder. Civil society initially needs the State to provide the civil space which becomes the basis for civil society’s activities. Once established and active, it is likely to become integral to the functioning of governments, as in the advanced democracies. Civil society provides the civil body which fills the civil framework provided by the State. They become interdependent and at times almost indistinguishable. The state therefore is crucial at the beginning of the process of development and its involvement becomes increasingly crucial as development progresses. Then the interaction between State and civil society will necessarily become more numerous, more intense and more complex. Civil society brings more groups and individuals into the ‘empowered fold’ and more the citizens get involved, directly or indirectly, in decision making structures, the better. Civil society does not create development. Though it appears to be a constituent part and contributes to development it can also undermine it. Similarly civil society does not create democracy, though it plays a big role in building or consolidating it. However, civil society strengthens the State.

CHAPTER THREE GOVERNANCE IN SCHEDULED AREAS IN ANDHRA PRADESH

The situation in tribal areas in respect of self-governing institutions was quite different from the general areas. The tribal people have a strong community organization. Therefore, the introduction of formal Panchayats created an anomalous situation. The people have largely ignored these formal institutions. They did not have much significance for their day-today life. In cases where the new leadership of formal Panchayats tried to assert its authority, there was confrontation. The prevailing confusion is a direct result of ignoring the ground reality in the process of creating new structures. The question about the structure of self-governing institutions in the Tribal Areas, therefore, came up for specific consideration at the time of making the new provisions for Panchayats and Nagarpalikas in the Constitution. It was agreed that the general law in this regard will not be suitable for the Scheduled Areas in view of the strong local tradition still having its way amongst the tribal people. The Scheduled Areas therefore were kept outside the purview of both these Parts. It was decided that these provisions may be extended to the Scheduled Areas with such exceptions and modifications as may be considered suitable by the Parliament.

3.1 The Legal Perspective on Panchayats and Scheduled Areas The 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments, forming a separate part (Part IX) of our Constitution, with provisions for local Self-Government Institution for rural and urban areas were epoch making events. The 73rd amendment concerning Panchayats contained a provision under Article 243 (m) of the Constitution that excluded its applicability in respect to Tribal dominated Scheduled Areas (article 244 and V Schedule to the Constitution) and Tribal Areas (VI schedule). Eight States, namely, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya

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Pradesh, Orissa, and Rajasthan have Scheduled Areas. Now two more States, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh are included in the Scheduled Areas. The 73rd Constitutional Amendment made clear that it was not applicable to the Scheduled Areas and the Tribal Areas referred to in Article 244 of the Constitution. However, The Parliament had discretion to extend the provisions of Part IX to Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas referred to in Article 244, with such exceptions and modifications as may be specified in such a law. Notably, the State Government in Andhra Prasad misinterpreted the provision that “Parliament may, by law, extend the provisions of this Part to the Scheduled Areas and the tribal Areas”, (Article 243M) to mean that it does not prohibit State legislatures to have a similar structure in Scheduled Areas as the legislative competence of the States under entry 5, list III had remained unaltered. It required a judgment of Andhra Pradesh High Court (dated, March 23, 1995) that declared the State Government’s verbatim extension of 73rd Constitutional amendment Act to Scheduled Area unconstitutional, to clear the confusions in this regard. A Committee of Select Members of Parliament and Experts (led by Shri.Dilip Singh Bhuria) examined question of Panchayat Raj in Scheduled Areas in detail. The committee recommended an alternative system built on the foundations of traditional institutions. It also recommended a harmonious blending of various Constitutional provisions particularly those of the Sixth Schedule and the Directive Principles. Accordingly the Extension law has been enacted extending the provision of the Part IX of the Constitution concerning Panchayats to the Schedule Areas. Article 243 (M) of our Constitution provided that: in order to make the provisions of 73rd Constitutional Amendment applicable to Schedule and Tribal Areas, with such modifications as deemed fit, the Parliament could make a law to that effect. As a first step towards enacting such a law, the Government of India appointed a Committee of Members of Parliament belonging to Schedule Tribe communities and experts, under the Chairmanship of Dilip Singh Bhuria, M.P from Madhya Pradesh. The committee consisted of 22 members of whom 15 were Members of Parliament (including the Chairman) and others were experts and serving Officers in the Government of India. The committee known as Bhuria Committee submitted its report in January 1995. It inter-alia dealt with the issues of participatory democracy, effectiveness of customary laws, community control over resources and appropriate administrative frame work for the Schedule Areas. The committee felt that while establishing the new Panchayati Raj structure in Tribal Areas, it is desirable to blend

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the tradition with the modern by treating the traditional institutions as the foundation on which the modern super structure is to be built and to take cognizance of their indigenous institutions and ethos while considering democratic decentralization in the tribal areas. The following are some of the major recommendations of the Bhuria committee: The committee recommended a Three-Tier Structure, which resembled the provisions of Part IX of the Constitution. Recommendations regarding the powers were quite elaborate. The committee recommendation envisaged that the powers to be given to the Panchayats in the Schedule Area should aim at combating and preventing the exploitation of Tribals and building of political, economic and social strength of the tribal communities. It also envisaged that these Panchayati Raj Institutions should also be vested with adequate powers to deal with the emerging problems such as growing indebtedness, land alienation, deforestation, ecological degradation, displacement, excise policy, water resources etc. Further, these powers should emanate from the Constitution and not left to the discretion of the States. The recommendations of the Committee with regard to the powers and functions of Gram Sabha, Gram Panchayats, Intermediate Panchayats and the Autonomous District Councils were comprehensively spelt out. The provisions of Panchayats (extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 were primarily based on the recommendations of Bhuria Committee Report.

3.2 Powers and Authorities of the Gram Sabha and Panchayat •

• •



A village in a Scheduled Area has been defined as a habitation or a group of habitations or hamlets, or a group of hamlets of a community who are managing their affairs as per their traditions and customs. Since the tribal settlements are scattered and they live in small units, each unit can be declared as a village for this purpose. Every village shall have a Gram Sabha consisting of persons whose names are included in the electoral rolls for the Panchayats at the village level. Reservations for the Scheduled tribes (STs) shall not be less than half of the total number of seats in all the tiers of Panchayat. Reservations for tribal communities shall be in proportion of their population; The offices of chairpersons at all levels of the Panchayats shall be reserved for STs. In case some ST communities have no

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representation in intermediate or district level Panchayats, the State Government shall nominate such under represented STs but such nominations should not exceed one-tenth of the total elected Panchayat members. Any legislation on the Panchayats in the fifth Scheduled Area shall be in conformity with the customary law, social and religious practices and traditional management practice of the community resources.

Mandatory Powers 1. A Gram Sabha shall be competent to safeguard and preserve the traditions and customs of people, their cultural identity, community resources and customary mode of dispute resolution. 2. A Gram Sabha is empowered to approve plans, programmes and projects for social and economic development, to identify persons as beneficiaries under the poverty alleviation and other programmes, to give certificates for utilization of funds for various plans and programmes. Consulting Powers: 1. Gram Sabha / Panchayat at appropriate levels would be consulted before making the acquisition of land for developmental projects and before resettling or rehabilitating persons affected by such projects. However actual planning and implementation of projects shall be coordinated at the State level.

Recommendatory powers 1. Grant of prospecting license or mining lease for minor minerals, 2. Grant for the exploitation of minor minerals by auction.

Endowment Powers With a view to ensure the Panchayats at appropriate level and the Gram Sabha function as institutions of Self-Government, they are endowed with the following functions: • Power to enforce prohibition or to regulate or restrict the sale and consumption of any intoxicant. • Ownership of minor forest produce. • To prevent alienation of land. • To manage village markets. • To exercise control over money lending.

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To control over local plans and resources for such plans including Tribal sub-plans. Power to Plan and manage minor water bodies (shall be entrusted to the Panchayats) at the appropriate level.

Special powers The vital matters about which specific powers have been bestowed on the Gram Sabha and /or the Panchayats are the following.

3.3 Andhra Pradesh Conformity Act - PESA Andhra Pradesh is one of the eight States covered under the V schedule of the Constitution in the year 1972. Although 73rd Constitutional amendment Act, 1993 insisted upon uniform structure of PR system throughout the country, section 243-M of the Act restricted the application of the provision in the Act automatically to the Scheduled Areas, which are generally known as Tribal Areas. It is also referred to in the Article 243M (4). In 1996, the Extension of Panchayats to Scheduled Areas Act (PESA) was enacted which instructed the States to follow up the action by bringing further amendment in their respective State legislations within a year. The Government of Andhra Pradesh appointed a sub committee to examine various aspects of the Central Act. The convener of the cabinet subcommittee was the Minister for Panchayat Raj and Rural Development. Based on the recommendations made by the committee, the State legislature passed amendment to this 1994 Act as Act No 7 of 1998 on /January 16, 1998. Thus, the Panchayats in the Scheduled Areas are brought in conformity with the Central Act, 1996. Under the Andhra Pradesh (Second Amendment) Act 1997, Gram Sabha is vested with the authority to safeguard and to preserve traditions, customs, their cultural identity etc. The Gram sabha is empowered to approve plans; programmes and projects for social and economic development, and also to select beneficiaries under the poverty alleviation programmes and other schemes. The sabhas can issue certificate of utilization of funds for the Panchayats. The Mandal Parishads in Scheduled Areas shall be consulted before making the acquisition of land in Scheduled Areas for development projects and before rehabilitating persons evicted by such projects. Further planning and management of minor minerals, water bodies in Scheduled Areas are entrusted to Gram Panchayats, Mandal Parishads or the Zilla Parishads as the case may be.

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The Panchayats shall be consulted before issuing of license for mining, lease for minor minerals in the Scheduled Areas. The Gram Panchayats can also exercise powers for enforcement of prohibition of regulation or restriction of sale and consumption of any intoxicant, ownership of minor forest produce, prevention of alienation of land in the Scheduled Areas and its restoration, management of village markets, exercise control over money lending etc. The following table is the comparsion of Central Act and Andhra Pradesh conformity act on PESA. Central Act 1

2

3

4

5

Every Gram Sabha shall be competent to safe guard and preserve the traditions and customs of the people, their cultural identity, community resources and the customary mode of dispute resolution Every Gram Sabha shall approve the plan programmes and projects before those are taken up for implementation by the Panchayats, identify beneficiaries under the poverty alleviation and other programmes and issues certificate of utilization of funds by the Panchayats for these programmes Prior consultation of Gram Sabha or the Panchayat before making the acquisition of land for development projects and before resettlement or rehabilitation of persons affected by such projects in the Scheduled Areas. Planning and management of minor water bodies by the Panchayats at appropriate level Prior Recommendation of the Gram Sabha or the Panchayats at the appropriate level, made mandatory for; A. Granting of Prospecting license or mining minerals lease for minor minerals in the Scheduled Areas. B. Grant of Concession for the Exploitation of minor minerals by auction

AP conformity Act Gram Sabha is made complement subject to the conditions “without detriment to any law for the time being in force”. Provisions made

With Mandal Panchayats and not with Gram Sabha

Gram Panchayat, Mandal Panchayat, or Zilla Panchayat as the case may be. Gram Panchayats

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8

The Panchayats at the appropriate level and the Gram Sabha are endowed Specifically with powers to: a. Enforce prohibition or to regulate or to restrict the sale and consumption of any intoxicant. b. Ownership of minor forest produce c. Prevent alienation of land in the Scheduled Areas and to take appropriate Action to restore any unlawfully alienated land of a ST d. Manage village markets e. Control money lending to STs f. Exercise control over institutions and functionaries in all social sectors. g. Control over local plans and resources for such plans including Tribal sub-plans State legislation shall make necessary provisions to enable the G.S to function as institutions of Self-Government and shall provide safeguards to ensure that Panchayats at higher level do not assume the power and authority of any Panchayats at the lowest level of the Gram sabha. The State legislation shall endeavour to follow the pattern of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution while designing the administrative arrangements in the Panchayats at District level in Scheduled Areas.

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Gram sabha or the Gram Panchayat as the case may be, except control over local plans and resources – for this the powers have been given to Mandal Parishad.

No safeguards are provided in the Act

No provisions are made.

The GS has to be understood as distinct from the Panchayat. The ‘Panchayats at appropriate level’ – a phrase profusely used by PESAmeans an institution, by whatever name called, of Self Government constituted in every State at the village, intermediate and district level, in accordance with the provisions of Part IX of the Constitution of India (see Article 243B). Therefore, Panchayat is necessarily an institutional arrangement, representative in character and where the GS directly elects the lowest tier –the Gram Panchayats –. On the other hand, GS is a body consisting of persons listed in the electoral rolls of a village comprised within the Area of the Panchayats at the village level. Often, GS and GP are inter-changeably used which is legally incorrect.

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Development Planning and the GS Further, every GS shall approve the plans, programmes and projects for social and economic development, before such programmes and projects are taken up for implementation by the Panchayats at the village level. The phraseology of the Act makes clear that the GS has no role to play in the formulation of the plan, and its role is being restricted to granting approvals to ‘decide plans’. However, PESA fails to mention the consequence of non-approval in this regard. Every GS shall also be responsible for the identification or selection of persons as beneficiaries under the poverty alleviation and in other programmes. However, no guideline/principles are provided for identification and selection of beneficiaries. Even the Bhuria Report recommended, while proposing the powers and functions of GS in the tribal areas, the need for “laying down principles for identification of beneficiaries for poverty alleviation and other programmes”1. This becomes further blurred when the beneficiaries of “other programmes” are also identified and selected by the GS. It is not clear whether other programmes include every programme at the village level or only those programmes, which relate to poverty alleviation. Other programmes could include programmes on Joint Forest Management, Watershed Management, Self-Help Groups, Education, Health, Income Generation, etc. At present, the powers of identification of beneficiaries etc. of such other programmes are not vested with the GS. They are based on either State guidelines or memorandum of understanding between the Government and the village institutions or understanding between agencies and Government among others. The PESA further provides that every Panchayat at the village level shall be required to obtain a certificate of utilization of funds by that Panchayat for the plans, programmes and projects referred to it by the GS. This means that GS acts as an auditor for the Panchayats at the village level. Again, it is not clear as to what happens in case such a certification is not given or what are the criteria that are needed for awarding certificate of utilization of funds. Further, it is critical to explore whether the GS should be involved in budget making process too; rather than limiting its role to granting of certificate of utilization of funds.

1

See Points 11 and 12 under Annexure A of the Report of the Committee of Members of Parliament of Experts constituted to make recommendations on Law concerning extension of provisions of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 to Scheduled Areas, Ministry of Rural Development, January 1995.

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The GS can be, especially, involved in the management of the market because, on aspects of collecting and maintaining information related to market intelligence, the GS can be said to be more capable than any other body. Besides, the State legislation is also required to ensure that the Panchayats at appropriate level and the GS need to be empowered to exercise control over money lending to the Scheduled Tribes. The Act however does not specify as to how precisely the Panchayats and GS would intervene. In view of the long history and entrenched problem, it becomes imperative that the role of GS and Panchayat should be clearly delineated. This is important because if the PRIs are not adequately empowered it would have no option but to go back to the same institutions which have failed in the past to contain the exploitations through money lending.

Recommendatory powers of the GS The PESA makes it mandatory for the GS or the Panchayats at appropriate level to be consulted before grant of prospecting license or mining lease for minor minerals in the Scheduled Areas as well as for grant of concession for the exploitation of minor minerals by auction. It is interesting to note that while making of recommendations has been made mandatory, whether these recommendations itself are binding or not is unclear. In case of non-binding recommendations, there is also no provision for providing reasons thereof. Further, the Act empowers the State Legislature to decide whether these recommendations should come from GS or Panchayats at appropriate level, which may in practice, end up with granting these recommending powers to the higher tiers of Panchayat. Sub section M (v) envisages that ‘the Panchayat at the appropriate level and the Gram Sabha will be endowed specifically with the power to exercise control over institutions and functionaries in all social sectors. The State Legislatures should take into consideration the following aspects while amending their respective Panchayats Acts: Gram Sabha should be made ‘Head’ and ‘Heart’ of entire scheme of Decentralization by way of according independence in managing, protecting and preserving natural resources and formulation of plans, projects and schemes for holistic development of Tribal people. Panchayats should take approval of Gram Sabha in all matters affecting the tribal economy and society. In other words, the relation between the Gram Sabha and Panchayats should be similar to the one existing between the Legislatures and the Government.

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The underlying spirit of the Extension Act is Devolution, instead of giving more powers and authority to the Gram Sabha. It aims to promote participatory democracy rather than merely empowering the representative decentralized democracy. While devolving powers and authority to the panchayats or Gram Sabha, State Legislatures should ensure that Panchayats at higher level do not assume the powers and authority entrusted to any Panchayat at the lower level or to the Gram Sabha.

Management of community Resources and its Scope The community resources naturally comprise the entire habitat including land, water and forest resources within the area of command of the community on which the concerned people depend for their living. This is also the quintessence of the hoary tradition of the tribal people concerning its management. Such a provision, therefore, has to be deemed to cover all aspects of resource management. There is nothing in the Act that may be construed as placing any limitation on this formation.

3.5 PESA and Common Property Resources (CPR) Today CPRs particularly, the village commons are the locus of conflict between the people and the Government, the conflict rests on the issue of legal ownership and access to CPRs. In traditional Tribal communities, property was common and private ownership unfamiliar. Common property was regulated by customary or unwritten law which was not recognized by the British as they firmly believed in written laws and private property. No efforts have been made after attaining independence to reverse the legislations made during the colonial rule. Instead, the principle of eminent dominion has been further strengthened in legislations pertaining to CPRs. Though access to CPRs is denied in many cases (Forest is good example), people still continue to use them, as their daily livelihood depends on them. This has often led to conflict on a regular basis and continual hardship for the people. An unfortunate result of the conflict of ownership is the progressive degradation of CPRs. The provisions of National Water Policy and State Water Policies are at variance with PESA when it comes to the management of CPRs, particularly relating to the minor water bodies. The PESA is focused on community’s traditional and customary rights over CPRs and seeks empowerment of the Gram Sabha to manage these, leaving water policies to the Panchayats. To this extent, the National water policies also entrusts Panchayats with planning and management of minor water bodies. Since

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the term ‘minor water bodies’ remains vaguely defined in the larger body of laws governing water and water bodies, it created a scope for confusion at the local level. Further, the national water policy upholds private sector participation under the guise of planning, development and management of water resource projects, the policy encourages private sector ownership at the cost of community ownership of water resource. An overview of these laws shows that in most States only planning and management of such minor water bodies are being entrusted to Panchayats whereas the question of ownership is left unaddressed.

Water Resources The management of water resources is becoming vital, as there are competing claims for it from many sides, viz., agriculture and industry, urban centers. It is an irony that even though tribal areas are sources of all major river systems, their own needs are nowhere in the picture of its distribution and management. A number of anomalous and conflicting situations are arising, and there is a growing unrest in many other areas on this count. Therefore significant beginning has been made in the new law as Section (i) of Section 4 envisages that “planning and management of minor water bodies in the Scheduled Areas shall be entrusted to Panchayats at the appropriate level”. The different enactments in Andhra Pradesh indicate a clumsy legal framework for CPRs and water bodies. The crucial question of ownership and control of Panchayats is a grey area despite some of the progressive provisions under the A.P Panchayat Raj Act of 1994. The adoption of PESA in the State also leaves much to be desired. Unless the State Government comes up with the relevant rules, PESA provisions under minor water bodies cannot be implemented. Although PESA ensures the Gram Sabha’s approval of plans, programmes and projects for social and economic development, the Gram Panchayat has no role to play in the formulation of development plans. Its role is restricted only to the approval of pre-conceived plans. There is no further course of action if the Gram Sabha happens to reject a plan. However the Gram Sabha veto does not nullify any socio economic plan or project. Therefore, State laws on PESA must specify the role of Gram Sabha in the formulation of plans that affect them. They should prescribe procedures and guidelines to meet different kinds of exigencies.

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All Resources The Act seeks decentralization of planning in unequivocal terms. The resources relating to the concerned local plans will also be under the control of the Gram Sabha and the Panchayats at the appropriate level. Moreover, the Gram Sabha is vested with ‘the power to exercise control over local plans and resources for such plans, including tribal sub-plan.

Land alienation Section 4(m) (iii) envisages that a State Legislature shall ensure that Panchayats at the appropriate level and the Gram Sabha are endowed, specifically with the power to prevent alienation of land and to take appropriate action to restore any unlawfully alienated land of a Scheduled Tribe. The message is clear and categorical. Hereafter, the tribal people need not wait for the concerned authorities to act in the vital matter of land alienation. They can be on their own and take necessary measures as a community, which is through the Gram Sabha, to defend their lands and retrieve that has been lost in the interregnum. The Act has a specific provision to restrain the intrusions by the State, which it enjoys by the virtue of the principle of Eminent Domain. The Act, however, adopts the middle path. Sub-section (i) of the Section 4 envisages that the Gram Sabha or the Panchayat at the appropriate level shall be consulted (emphasis added) before making the acquisition of the land in the Schedule Areas for the development projects. It is perhaps in deference to the principle of eminent domain that the provision envisages only “consultation” and not consents. It may be noted that the courts have repeatedly interpreted all such provisions envisaging consultation, in cases concerning the fundamental rights of the people, as a mandate for obtaining consent and not mere performance of a ritual of reference. Under PESA, the GS or Panchayats at appropriate level shall be consulted before making acquisition of land in Scheduled Areas for development projects as well as before resettlement or rehabilitation of persons affected by such projects in Scheduled Areas. It may be noted here that the word used is ‘consultation’ and not ‘consent’. For instance, if the GS or the Panchayats is consulted and they deny a proposed acquisition, then what recourse is available to either the State or to the project proponent is not clear. It is also important to note that the Bhuria Committee report had advocated for prior consent of the GS/Local village community before making acquisition of land in Scheduled Areas.

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The use of the word ‘consultation’ under PESA instead of ‘consent’ significantly waters down the power vested with the Panchayat.

Command over Mineral Resources The power of the State Government stands constrained under the new law. Sub-section (k) of sec.4 envisages that the recommendations of the Gram Sabha or the Panchayats at the appropriate level shall be made mandatory prior to grant of prospecting license or mining lease for minor minerals in the Scheduled Areas. Further under Sub-section (k), the prior recommendations of the Gram Sabha or the Panchayat at the appropriate level shall be made mandatory for grant of concessions for the exploitation of minor minerals by auction. A middle path has been adopted in respect of command over mineral resources. While the right of the community has been conceded in respect of minor minerals, major minerals are outside its ambit. The State’s authority to that extend has been retained.

Acquisition of Land in Scheduled Area for Mining and Development Land and land based resources are technically community resources. However PESA provides special provisions for land acquisition. This is definitely an area of conflict (the provisions on public purposes v/s the provisions of PESA). All acquisitions, whether of private or public lands or traditional village forest lands, require the Gram Sabha consultation and permission must include a clause making the mine owner responsible to the Gram Sabha despite acquiring the no objection certificate.

Minor Forest Produce The management of forests in general is covered by the provision of section 4 (a) of the Gram Sabha under Section 4(d). While the traditional management practices of community resources have been acknowledged by the State, which includes forests of all descriptions, yet the precise relationship between the communities that is the Gram Sabha and the State still needs clear formulation. However a specific provision has been made for minor forest produce which has special significance in tribal life. Section 4(m) (iii) envisages that State Legislature shall ensure that Panchayats at the appropriate level and the Gram Sabha are endowed specifically with the ownership of minor forest produce. In other words, as

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far as forests are concerned, the State accepts the communities’ rights over minor forest produce unequivocally.

Ownership of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) Section 4 (M) of PESA authorizes the Gram Sabha to Act in all areas where the Tribals face threat to survival as a result of exploitation. The PESA creates legal space for direct community Action. Hence, PESA directly confers ownership on MFP to the Gram Sabha as it is a major source of survival. But the studies show that this right is more in breach than in observance. While States have amended P.R Acts endowing the Gram Sabha/ Gram Panchayat with ownership of MFP, these have not been made functional. As the commercial value of MFP items is appreciated, the States are nationalizing and /or commercializing operations for optimizing State’s revenues. Hence, though ownership of MFP is vested with the Gram Sabha, the State Governments have taken care to ensure that the right granted by PESA is effectively scuttled. Effective implementation requires MFP to be properly and legally defined, without any ambiguous terms such as harvestable in a sustainable or non-restrictive manner. Ownership rights over MFP should remain with Gram Sabha and all forest produce including Tendu leaves should be declared as MFP. Ownership, control and management of MFP is closely linked with the issue of Forest management and requires amendment of existing Forest Acts / rules, P.R Acts / rules to bring them into conformity with PESA. Secondly, the States have to accelerate steps for direct transfer of MFP ownership to the Gram Sabha, elimination of middlemen and promotion of cooperative endeavours for value addition. The implementation of PESA in letter and spirit calls for forestry activities to reflect the economic priorities of tribals, partnership building with the forest administration, encouraging traditional skills enhancement and supporting capacity building as an essential part of forest management. Some studies reveal that about 99 percent of the Gram Sabha and the elected representative of the PRIs and about 90 percent of the official functionaries working at the village and block levels admit of being unaware of State and Central PESA Acts and their provisions, which aim at giving specific protection to the economic rights of the Tribal people living in Schedule Areas. The State Governments have not utilized the role of Gram Sabha in creating awareness though it is the forum where villagers meet at least four times a year and discuss concerned developmental issues.

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Money Lending Gram Sabha is specifically endowed with the power to exercise control over money lending to the Scheduled Tribes. The term ‘money lending’ is generic and has been so used here in that sense without limiting its scope to certain specific items or types of money lending. Therefore, the provisions cover all transactions related to lending of money to the tribal people, private or institutional, including loans and advance by cooperatives and Government.

Village Market Market is at the center of not only the economic but also the social life of the tribal people. The new Act places the responsibility of keeping an effective check on the market of the community. Section 4(m) (iii) envisages that the Panchayat at the appropriate level and the Gram Sabha will be endowed with the power to manage markets by whatever name called.

Intoxicants Under the PESA, the GS or the Panchayats at the appropriate level have been vested with the mandatory powers to enforce the prohibition or to regulate or restrict the sale and consumption of any intoxicant. Notably, the Bhuria Committee report had recommended that the powers of the GS should not be restricted to enforcing prohibition and regulating sale but should extend to regulation of manufacture of intoxicants. Section 4 (m) (I) unequivocally envisages endowment of power in this vital matter, on Panchayat/Gram Sabha at the appropriate level. Planning from below: Sub section (f) of Section 4.envisages that every Panchayat at the village level shall be required to obtain from the Gram Sabha a certificate of utilization of funds by the Panchayat for the Plans, Programmes and Projects. The implication of this formulation is clear and loud.

3.6 General view - PESA The extension Act has provided that the State may endow Panchayats with the powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as institutions of Self-Government. Surprisingly, none of the State Legislatures have made any specific provisions for making

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Panchayats the Institutions of Self Government by providing adequate safeguards so that the Panchayats at higher levels does not assume powers and authority of the Panchayats at the lower level of the Gram Sabha. This is a serious omission. The most important, distinguishing feature of the new provision concerns the place of community in the proposed system of selfgovernance, which is reasonably reflected in the composition and the role of Gram Sabha. It may be noted that the primary institution of the selfgoverning system, as envisaged under Article 40, is Village Panchayats. The term ‘Panchayat’ used in Article has been construed to mean a formal elected body in the system, which was established in the pursuance of the directive. This was at variance with the intention of the founding fathers. Panchayat in their perception was the collectivity of all the people living in a village. However, this collectivity which comprises the community at the village level, the gram samaj or the real Panchayat, remained an unconcerned bystander in the entire drama of the so-called Panchayat Raj. Gram Sabha as defined in Article 243(b) is a formal institution. It is not being constituted for every village. The village, in turn, is not envisaged as a natural social unit but is a formal entity; it is to be notified by the Governor under sub-clause (9). The village so notified may or may not be coterminous with the collectivity of people living in a habitation or a group of inhabitations as a community. The administration in defining such entities generally goes by the population norms, with no concern for the social reality. The result is that a number of habitations may be brought together mechanically just for the limited purposes as may be specified in the law and no others. Such a conglomeration tends to be a crowd with no trace of community sense. The simple formulation of Section 4 (d), that is, “every Gram Sabha” shall be competent to safeguard and preserve the traditions and customs of the people, their cultural identity, community resources and the customary mode of dispute resolution. This can be considered as the Magna Carta of Gram Samaj, the village community, the real building bloc of the nation, which has been totally forgotten and mischievously designed by the ruling elite in our country. A brief reading of the Central Act shows that PESA is grounded in the principle of participatory democracy at the basic unit of governance, that is, the Gram Sabha. Empowerment of the Gram Sabha is the core principle of PESA and this sanction of Gram Sabha stands on entirely different footing from the empowerment of a Gram Panchayat; though the two terms ‘Gram Sabha’ and ‘Gram Panchayat’ are being used interchangeably. Most of the State Legislations, reading the two terms as synonymous, have

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empowered the Panchayat, which for all practical purposes actually did empower the Gram Sabha. Hence, while adopting PESA, the States must be aware of this ambiguity and discern the two institutions in the right sense. At the ground level, real devolution of power is evident in the Panchayat control at every tier, over schemes devolved by the State, Center or externally aided agencies. In most State laws, Gram Sabha control is only over schemes and programmes sanctioned from above rather than over intrinsic and systematic changes from below which help to achieve real empowerment. In such a scenario, the role of Gram Sabha had been put on a backbench. A general grievance among all the States is that there was no consultation whatsoever at the local level prior to Amendment / Enactment of the State PESA. Various State Departments, particularly the Forest Departments expressed similar reservations about the consultation aspect. It is strongly felt that the State Legislation on PESA should be small and single legal document, which should be prepared after a comprehensive examination of the other relevant State laws and their inconsistencies. The critical component of the PESA is the Gram Sabha or the village Assembly. The Gram Sabha became an integral part of the Constitution post 73rd Amendment that incorporated the Village. PESA made a significant departure from all the previous precedents of the colonial dispensation where a village was created by the administration. PESA integrates the first principle of self-determination of the village with the community itself as Participatory Democracy. The second critical component of PESA can be practiced only in a Self Governing village, like the two sides of a coin. The current status of the various State PESA laws leaves much to be desired. The State laws are at loggerheads with the Constitution and of section (5) of PESA. It is rather strange that the Central Government and its concerned Ministry have turned a Nelson’s eye to this fact. The implementation aspect is equally bleak, as none of the States have evinced a keen interest in enforcing the required provisions of the PESA. A faithful implementation of the PESA will go a long way in the realization of genuine tribal identity. But as things stand, it would suffice to say that competent authorities take cognizance of the facts.

3.7 Positive View- PESA 1. The 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act does have a provision for the Constitution of the Gram Sabha, but the powers and functions have to be

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felt out by the State legislatures (Article 243 A). But in the Central Extension Act, the Gram Sabha has been made the soul of the Democratic decentralized administrative structure; the palladium of tribal identity, traditional customs and practices, and community assets and in resolving local disputes. 2. According to this Act, participation will be more meaningful and effective if the communities are statutorily involved in managing their own affairs and decision-making processes. It is an important stabilizing element for the future of local Government and people’s growing stake in the community development. 3. This provision is likely to restrict the misuse of power by the political leadership or bureaucracy in the implementation/management of developmental programmes. It would also bring in a measure of transparency and accountability in the system and will lead to closer monitoring by the people. 4. The Extension Act has taken care of the perennial problems such as growing indebtedness, land alienation, forest related problems, problems of displacement, alcohol and other natural resources. Further, it has been mandated that either the Gram Sabha or the Panchayats at the appropriate level have to be consulted before the Acquisition of Land in these Areas. 5. The Act stipulates that at least half of the seats should be reserved for the Tribals at all the tiers because the population of the Scheduled Areas is predominantly tribal. If some Scheduled Tribes failed to secure membership at the Intermediate or District level Panchayats, the State Governments can nominate such Tribes to these bodies. 6. All the Chairpersons of the Panchayats at all levels will be Tribals. This provision is likely to help the Tribals to govern the bodies and maintain the tribal character of the Schedule Areas.

3.8 Negative Aspects - PESA 1. The Act is applicable to the V Schedule Areas only. It does not cover the VI Scheduled Areas. Moreover, there are some Tribal Areas in the country, which are covered under neither the V nor the VI Schedule. 2. The VI Schedule Area, which is out of the purview of the Act, has the structure of Autonomous District Area, which is not necessarily co terminus with the administrative District boundaries. They do not have any statutory body below it, that is, at the intermediate level (block level) or at the village level. 3. Under the Provisions of the V Schedule, a Tribal Advisory Council (TAC) is to be constituted to advice on matters pertaining to the welfare

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and advancement of the Schedule Tribes in the State. The question here is whether the TAC will become an obstacle in the growth of the Panchayat Raj Structure at Local level, because if TAC is constituted the functional domain of Panchayats will be curtailed and they may perceive TAC as a rival center. Further what will be the linkage between the TAC and the Panchayats? 4 While modifying the State Panchayat Acts, it should be ensured that they are in consonance with the customary law, social and religious practices etc. These aspects have many variations among various Tribes within each State. However, it may not be possible to have different Legislations for each of the Tribes within a District or State. Also, the customary laws are not properly codified and documented. 5. The term community is not clearly defined in the Act and therefore it would be difficult to delimit a village leading to various complications and confusions. 6. Under the Provisions of Part IX, reservation has been provided to S.Cs, S.Ts and women. Regarding the reservations for backward class communities, it has been left to the State Legislatures to decide upon. Here again, the term community has been used in a wider sense, which includes community other than the tribal community. 7. The chairpersons at all levels of Panchayats shall be reserved for the Scheduled Tribes. This implies that, the office of the chairperson of Panchayats at the three tiers will be permanently reserved for STs, which may go against the judicial verdict. 8. In the extension Act, functions, powers and responsibilities have been assigned to “Gram Sabha and Panchayats” or “Gram Sabha or Panchayats”. Thus, one can infer that a particular function given in the extension Act has to be first approved by the Gram Sabha and then executed and /or implemented by the Panchayats. In some States, words like “every Panchayats” have been used, which created confusion because it does not specify which tier would perform which function.

3.9 Summing up To sum up, the chapter talks about the genesis of PESA act and its merits and demerits. PESA is the first law which is grounded on the principal of participatory democracy at the basic unit of governance namely the Grama Sabha. Hence PESA is unambiguous that ‘empowerment of the Gram Sabha’ is its primary focus and stands on a different footing from the empowerment of Gram Panchayat. State law makers and even tribal representatives, however argue, that the real

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devolution of powers to the people within framework of PESA is not possible as the people are not capable of governing themselves. It will result in a frightening scenario given the fact that PESA is the first attempt made by the Constitution to create a framework for participatory democracy, for its legislators and functionaries to democratize themselves or for real empowerment of the tribal poor which would enable them to take accountable steps to protect their homelands, culture, ethos and their lives themselves. Democratic decentralisation reached its logical conclusion by directly empowering the ‘citizen’ through the ‘participatory democracy’. PESA moved from ‘development delivery’ to ‘empowerment’ from implementation to planning; from ‘circumscribed involvement’ to ‘Conscious Participation’. A critical analysis of both the Central Act and the State Act brings to light the fact that with regard to the control and management of local natural resources like land, water and forest, rather than giving power to the community through Gram Sabha, almost all the powers have been engulfed by either the Gram Panchayat or the Zilla Parishad which is not even required to consult the Gram Sabha or the Gram Panchayat. Moreover, by defining the Gram Sabha as a community or ‘communities’ consisting of large number of people with different culture and customs, the state also has not bothered to safeguard and preserve the traditions and customs of people, their cultural identity, community resources and the customary mode of dispute resolution. PESA intends to enable tribal society to assume control over their own destiny to preserve and conserve their traditional rights over natural resources. PESA is unique in that it gives radical self governance powers to the tribal community and recognizes its traditional community rights over natural resources. In reality, however, since its passage it has been almost forgotten and has not become part of mainstream political or policy discourse. The tribal communities when informed about the provisions of the law greeted it with enthusiasm but found themselves progressively handicapped due to lack of actual preparedness to negotiate development and democratize in the manner envisaged by the law. PESA is a path breaking Act which attempts to empower the Gram Sabha. It respects the cultural and traditional customs of tribal communities. PESA will remain merely a good intention on paper unless deliberate efforts are made to operationalise various provisions of the Act. The existing contradictions and overlapping of powers and functions of Gram Sabha and many government departments are yet to be sorted out.

CHAPTER FOUR PANCHAYATS AND THE TRIBALS

The present chapter provides a detailed description of the profiles of the District, Mandals and the Village Panchayats. The rationale behind the selection of the villages’ choosen for the study is aimed to provide the detailed description of the important tribals of these selected villages viz Laxmipuram, Kilagada and Vanjangi. The chapter maps out the important programmes which are being implemented in the Scheduled Areas. The study was conducted in Visakhaptanam of Andhra Pradesh which accounts for a siginificance presence of the tribal population. However, within the district, Paderu and Munchingput Mandals were selected. The reasons behind the selection of these two mandals are, first, Munchingput Mandal is an interior Mandal and borders Orissa and the illiteracy rate is also high. Munchingput Mandal was in Muttadari rule for sometime and still padals hold dominant positions, second, Paderu is the centre for ITDA. This Mandal has highest literacy rate. The Mandal has mixed population of tribals with non tribals.

4.1 Visakhapatnam- A Profile The Visakhapatnam district presents two distinct geographic divisions. This belt of land along the coast and the interior called the plains division and the hilly area of the Eastern Ghats nearby it on the North and West called the Agency Division. The Agency Division consists of the hilly regions covered by the Eastern Ghats with an altitude of about 900 meters dotted by several peaks exceeding 1200 meters. Sankaram Forest with block topping of 1615 metres embraces the Mandals of Paderu, G. Madugula, Pedabayalu, Munching put, Hukumpeta, Dumbriguda, Araku Valley, Ananthagiri, Chinthapalli, G.K. Veedhi and Koyyuru. Machkhand River enters erstwhile Paderu, Araku Valley and Chinthapalli taluks which on reflow becomes Sileru drains. It waters the area in its flow and reflows and is tapped for power generation. The other division is the plains division with height nowhere exceeding 75 metres, watered and drained by Sarada, Varaha and Thandava Rivers and revulets: Meghadrigedda and

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Gambheeramgedda. Since no major irrigation system exists, significant sub regional agronomic variations exist in this division. Along the coast, lies a series of salt and sandy swamps.

4.2 Munching Put Mandal- A Profile The Munching Put Mandal is very backward and interior, dominated by the Primitive Tribal Groups and is located on the Andhra – Orissa border. The dominant tribes inhabiting the Area are Bhagatha, Porja and Khond. Cultivation is their main occupation. Podu- the most primitive pattern of cultivation, characterized by the slash and burn technique is still highly prevalent even today. They also collect NTFP (Non-Timber forest produce) and sell it to Girijan Cooperative Corporation (GCC). Paddy, Jowar and Millets are their major crops. The major dialect is Adivasi Oriya followed by Telugu. Literacy rate is very low accounts for 24.79%. The Mandal is full of hilly terrain with some areas situated as high as 4,000 feet. The target community of the Mandal consists of major tribes namely Bhagatha, Kummari, Kondh, Porja and Valmiki. Kondh, Didoi and Porja are regarded as Primitive tribes. The inhabitants of the Mandal are mostly dependent on forest and forest produce for their livelihood. The Mandal consists of 23 Gram Panchayats and there are 362 tribal habitations/ villages. Total number of households is 9544 out of which Primitive Tribal Group (PTG) household constituted up to 5900. The total population of the Mandal is 40,711, out of which male population is 20,932, and female population is 19,799. The distance of the Mandal from the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) headquarter is nearly forty kilometers and Mandal shares its boundary with the Orissa State on its northwest side. Munching Put Mandal has derived its name from Munchangi a surname for the original inhabitants of the Mandal. During the British reign, the area was under the Zamindari of G. Madugula and he had bestowed it with the Muttadari which reigned over the area. After independence the whole area was bifurcated into blocks. It was in 1969 that Munchingput Mandal was established as a separate Mandal and it was transferred from Sujankota where it was originally thought of. The Mandal also presents two distinct geographical divisions -the strip of land along the Machkund River called the plains; and the hilly areas of the Eastern Ghats flanking it on the north and the west. The Mandal consists of hilly regions covered by the Eastern Ghats with an altitude of about 800 meters dotted by several peaks exceeding 1,000 meters. Sankaram forest with block topping of 1200 meters embraces the Mandal.

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The entire Mandal is crisscrossed by a number of streams, which often dry in the summer months. The major lifeline of the Mandal is the Machkund River and a number of villages are situated along the banks of the river. The population of the Mandal is 41,817 as per 2001. The total Area of the Mandal is 561 Sq. km and the number of villages in the Mandal is 362 while the number of hamlets of the Mandal is 122. The density of population per Sq. km is 64 and the sex ratio [females per 1000 males] stands at 1001. Table 4:2.1. Population of Munching Put Mandal Name of the Mandal

Total Population

Tribal Population

Total

Male

Female

Total

Male

Female

Munchingi Puttu

43918

21851

22067

41636

20697

20939

In respect to the literacy standards, Munching Put Mandal has one of the lowest literacy rate compared to the other Mandals of the State. The male literacy rate of the Mandal is 24.79% while the female literacy rate is at a dubious rate of 5.97%. Agriculture is still the most predominant occupation found among all the tribals. Other than agriculture, many are engaged in wage labour and other kinds of activities such as petty business, service, minor forest produce collection, cattle herding, basket making, carpentry etc. In our study, we gathered data on the major occupation of the individuals. It does not mean that they do not involve in other occupations. In fact, they have a multidimensional occupational structure and most of the times they are involved in more than one occupation at the same time. Almost all the families are engaged in minor forest produce collection during nonagricultural seasons. A significant proportion of the tribals are found to be dependents. Most of the dependents include children below school going age, school going children and aged persons. Dependents do not imply that they do not do any work. Most of the times, they play an important role in managing the affairs of the family enterprise. By and large, the tribals are subsistence oriented and commercial agriculture as well as outlook for profit making is still a far cry. The cropping patterns still reflect their attachment to traditional way of life, though it is changing.

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4.3 Laxmipuram Gram Panchayat: A Profile Laxmipuram Panchayat is one of the remote Panchayats in Munching Put Mandal. Bhagatha and Porja Tribe dominate this village Panchayat. It has 21 villages and this village Panchayat is located 26 kilo meters from Mandal headquarter. This village doesn’t have any basic infrastructure facilities like Road, Electricity and Transport. Laxmipuram Village Panchayat has 10 kilometers Kacha (Mud) road. The dialect of the people is Adivasi Oriya and Telugu. Table 4.3.1: Basic statistics about Laxmipuram Population Male Female Household Literacy Road facility Schools Electricity Hospitals Wetland Dry land Podu Bajnar Land Landless Ration Card holders Patta land No land holders Coolies

2574 1250 1324 577 37.2 Mud Road 6 Yes No 302 755 468 355 154 505 497 90 154

Community coordination Network (CCN) The initiatives for Sahayog Community Coordination Network (CCN) which is now popularly known as CCN in the tribal agency areas of Paderu Division in Visakhapatnam District, AP started in the year, 1991 when the GCC Ltd. recruited young professionals from reputed Institutes and placed them in interior tribal pockets of Andhra Pradesh with the basic objective of promoting sustainable people centered and managed Institutions. These young professionals were designated as commodity

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coordinators and were required to initiate and promote commodity based cooperatives in the tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh. CCN an NGO has been working in this Village Panchayat since 10 years. The motive of this NGO is to motivate tribals to manage their own affairs. The NGO brought drastic change among the tribals. The NGO has been giving training to tribals in all the aspects The CCN’s work revolves around bringing in and training the dedicated young professionals and placing them in the tribal areas to form small teams with local youth called as Community Coordination Teams (CCTs). The CCT is to focus on small areas and work on activities which are given priority by the tribals, placing emphasis on community participation in decision-making and implementation of various programmes like Thrift and Credit, Grain Banks, Health, Education etc. In this Village Panchayat the main objective of CCTs is to, “bridge the knowledge gap in communities and develop their capabilities to manage their affairs on their own and help them to demand for better services”. The overall objective is to improve the quality of life of the poorest of the poor and most disadvantaged members of tribal society on a sustainable basis through community empowerment. The Community Coordination Team (CCT) operates with its Head Quarters at Laxmipuram which is the focal point for about 70 villages spread over 4 Panchayats namely, Laxmipuram, Barada, Bongaput and Rangabayalu. When the CCT-Laxmipuram was headed by Mr. Lakhi Deuri, Executive Director, CCN, the Community Coordinator in the year 1991, felt the need to ensure local community participation in the developmental activities including education. In the beginning, the role of CCT in the field of education was to encourage tribals to send their children to schools. These pressure groups acted as very effective means of monitoring the schools and this was the only method for inquiring whether the teachers attend the schools regularly in these remote areas. The CCT is also involved in getting admissions for children in Government Residential Schools, obtaining caste certificates for them and informing the villagers about the time of admissions in schools.

Primary Education The status of education and literacy levels were very poor when CCN started its activities in the tribal areas. The attendance was poor, dropout rate was high and Government Schools were irregular and badly functioning. After an informal survey of the existing situation, the CCN adopted a four-fold strategy to combat the problem.

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1. Strengthening the existing (Government) Schools by spreading awareness and instilling a feeling of responsibility among the elders and parents of the community. 2. Setting up Community Schools in the schoolless habitations 3. Starting Bridge Schools for dropouts of 7th and 9th Std. 4. Encourage tribal youth to manage the Community Schools and help the community to monitor Government Schools. To give fresh insight in bringing quality education through the community schools, CCT-Laxmipuram revived the old concept of Community Schools, wherein the community was motivated to send their children to their own school, their own teacher, paid by themselves and answerable to them. The CCT-Laxmipuram was successful in this endeavour. In the process, the CCT-Laxmipuram took advantage of the novel concept of Village Tribal Development Agency (VTDA, here after VTDA) and went ahead to start the community managed schools at habitation level where there were no Government schools. It also took over the defunct Government schools and monitored other development schemes initiated by the Government to reach the unreached through the VTDAs. The CCT had also realized that the VTDAs must be strengthened at village level to fulfill the ultimate goal of "Grama Swaraj' and found that there was tremendous potential in the VTDAs and with proper guidance they could take up any development activity. Village Level Committees (VTDA’s) monitor the schools either led by the Government or the community in their area. An apex organization formed by the federation of VTDA’s – FOVTDA (Federation of VTDA) has taken over the total management of an Ashram School (Government) at the village Laxmipuram, and today its performance and strength has become four fold. For the first time in the history of Andhra Pradesh, the Government Tribal Ashram School has been taken over and managed by the tribal community. In the CCT-Laxmipuram area, out of 54 habitations, 47 habitations had community schools managed by Village Committees and at cluster level, each Panchayat was having 3 VTDAs. Therefore, 9 VTDAs were to be integrated and run as network to act as Tribal Organization. Thus, the federation concept came into limelight as an apex body. It started functioning from 1995 absorbing all the groups and subgroups to address the common issues existing in these 4 Panchayats by providing a platform in the name of FoVTDA (Federation of Village Tribal Development Association]

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At the same time, the VTDA (Village Tribal Development Association) came into existence in the year 1990, initiated by ITDAs and GCC Ltd. in Andhra Pradesh for the implementation of program activities of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) supported project. The main objective of VTDA is to act as a tribal body at village level to utilize IFAD funds effectively and take up governance through self-initiatives. To achieve this objective, ITDA and GCC Ltd. have spread this concept in all tribal areas in Andhra Pradesh so that they could eliminate contractors and reduce the bureaucracy and empower the tribal community in the process of various development activities. Table 4.3.2: Different committees in Village Panchayat Committees Vana Samrakshna Samithi Village Education Committee Watershed committee Mothers Committee GrainBank Committee

President Sahadev K.Jagatharai K.Jayaram V.Depai K.Bisnath

Tribe Poorja Valmiki Gadaba Kondu

The CCT-Laxmipuram has also concentrated on organizing the tribals into self-reliant groups so as to make them less dependent on external forces and to reduce their exploitation. The formation of thrift groups, grain banks and promoting/strengthening of Community Based Organizations are steps in this direction.

Community Forest Management The prosperous forest cover in tribal areas has been on a decline. Poverty and ignorance has forced the tribals to chop-off more and more of the forest area, for their traditional practice of Podu cultivation on the hill slopes. This is resulting in forest depletion, soil-erosion and low crop production. CCN has sensitized the community to protect their own forest to promote CFM, which has evoked the interest of tribals and they have come forward to participate in the plantation and protection activities. The Laxmipuram Panchayat is lead by Sri K. Dasu who is recognized as one of the best Sarpanchs by the Project Officer-ITDA. The Sarpanch, who was elected due to his education and a sizable number of votes from households, since most of them belong to his extended family. Being a person who is supported by the NGO, the Sarpanch has been using

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effective powers in the Panchayat. In practice, the Panchayat is managed by all ward members too; who, with the support of the Sarpanch, take decisions regarding individual benefits as well as prioritizing community works. There are many small issues being taken up by the community at village level, like Sogortha, petty-quarrel, community initiated activities like repair of well, daily requirement depots (DR Depots) etc. Apart from the above activities, Laxmipuram Panchayat has passed resolutions to have control over the natural resources and forest produce like Bamboo and Fuel Wood. Mandal Level Sarpanch Forum and Ward Members Forum are formed in Munching Put Mandal to strengthen Panchayat Raj Institutions. Grama Sabhas are organized in the village on scheduled dates. During these Grama Sabhas, information on activities of CPRs taken up and completed since the last Grama Sabha are provided and approval obtained from the entire village on works to be taken up for the next half year. These meetings also take up detailed plan of activities of CPRs. The progress report of the previous half-year is distributed to all the families in the village as also to the Sarpanch, Village Secretary, MPDO, MRO, Project Directors of ITDA, District Collector, MPTC, ZPTC, MPP, etc. All the works are taken up through user groups under the guidance of committees. Minor problems are settled through discussions in the Gram Sabha Meetings, Trainings and Disbursement of Bills are done in the Panchayat office. Various developmental programmes are discussed and problems are solved in the premises of Panchayat Office itself. This is mainly to promote self-governance in tribal area of Munching Put Mandal. During the period, meetings were organized with community and Panchayat Raj elected representative for control of natural resources and community development activities. As a result, a check-post was erected at Panchayat on experimental basis towards community control over natural resources. It has become one of the important means for control of vehicular traffic to check the pilferage of Non Timber Forest Produce (NFTP) and Minor Forest Produce (MFP) from the area. Thus, it is preventing pilferage of valuable forest produce by non-tribals and has also become an income-generating source to Laxmipuram Panchayat Tribals in Laxmipuram organized under the VSS collect minor forest produces from the nearby forest. Because of wild animals tribes do not prefer to go individually. They go by group to the forest and sell to the GCC. The Village Panchayat, supported by the CCN does not allow the middle men to buy the MFP products. The CCN negotiates with the GCC for a fair price. Panchayat has taken the decision to eliminate the middle men in Grama Sabha.

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Bush clearance work belonging to Panchayat lands was done by the village Panchayat. This has helped the labourers to get wage employment and thereby preventing their migration and taking up better farming instead. As several programmes were undertaken under the Food for Work Programme, the labourers were able to get rice, which mitigated their food scarcity. Coffee plantation has helped the villagers to get additional income and has further helped them to reduce the losses incurred from the main crops. Laxmipuram Village Panchayat is the only Village Panchayat to get 14 watersheds in the entire Paderu division. Under this programme, the people of Laxmipuram constructed many check dams and one innovative project with the help of CCN to bring water from the hill to the village. Now all the households of this Village Panchayat have benefited by this innovative project. Under Watershed Development Programme, the CCN has taken up many works like drought proofing, renovation of traditional water bodies in Panchayat lands, etc., which are basically employment generating scheme. CCN has also encouraged the farmers to adopt modern agricultural methods, which are more productive than the traditional methods of agriculture. The watershed committees in Laxmipuram village consist of an executive committee with 12 members (seven male and five female) and with a chairman to head the committee. The caste composition of the present committee is three PTGs (including chairman), six Kummara and two Bagatha members.

Community Based Organizations FOVTDA is a federation of VTDAs (Village Tribal Development Associations) and it plays a nodal role in monitoring all the developmental activities initiated and implemented by CCN and Government. It fights for the Rights of the Tribals and with CCN addresses any social and legal issues that come up in relation to the interest of tribal community. In addition to this, it manages and monitors the Government Ashram School. Joi-Sangham is a group of 315 adolescent girls and women volunteers to advocate social issues related to women and girl children. Gram Abhivrudhi Desia Sangham (GADS) is a group of 115 like minded tribals to represent the community and ensure that the various Government programmes reach the right beneficiaries. A Community Managed Health Center (CMHC) has been established in Laxmipuram to provide basic health services to the community. A series

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of training programmes have been conducted with different groups, ANMs, pregnant women, lactating mothers, adolescent girls, youth volunteers and building up health awareness among them. Aganwadi Centers’ have been strengthened through training and been made more systematic and vigilant in Mother and Child Health Care.

4.4 Kilagada Village Panchayat- A Profile Kilagada, 47 kilometers from Paderu, close to the Orissa border, is a multi-caste village in which the Bhagatha dominate over the other caste, the Kondadoras, Nukadoras. Gouds, Porjas, Kammaras, Kodus and Valmikis. It was the main village of a former Muttadar whose lineage had the same name. After the abolition of Muttadari system, the site of a Mandal HQ was later shifted elsewhere. This village has all facilities like– a bank, post office, a mobile medical unit, a Panchayat office, residential school, and a library (with no books). Out of the 259 households in the village, the villagers ranked 10 percent as ‘rich’, 15 percent ‘middle income’ and the rest ‘poor’. Table 4.4.1: Profile of the Kilagada Village Panchayat Population Male Female Household Literacy Road facility Schools Electricity Hospitals Wetland Dry land Podu Bajnar Land Landless Ration Card holders Patta land No land holders Coolies

2679 1338 1341 645 47.2 Yes 8 Yes P.H.C 153 444 688 39 29 180 197 22 0

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Kilagada Panchayat covers eleven villages. All of the villages are socially heterogeneous comprising members of different tribes. The inhabitants are from the scheduled tribe, and only a few households in the Panchayat are made up of non-tribals. Village and Panchayat politics are governed by the Muttadar, who is the main and large landowners. The Sarpanch comes from a highly regarded Bagatha household, and is the traditional village leader of the main village. When electing the Sarpanch, people had high hopes of equity and inclusion of marginal groups in the benefits provided by the Panchayat. However, the Sarpanch soon began indulging in corrupt practices. In particular, he sanctioned individual benefits to ward members who supported his resource allocation and political decisions and to individuals who were more or less bonded laborers of his household. Rising discontent among the villagers resulted in a decision to raise a no confidence motion against the Sarpanch. However, when voting was about to take place, the Sarpanch ensured that a critical group of ward members were away from the village so a valid motion could not be passed. The Sarpanch subsequently granted certain benefits to other ward members to ensure that such a challenge to his position would not recur. Later about 20 villagers approached the district administration to report the mismanagement of the Panchayat to government officials. However, the official met was not helpful and said that there were so many complaints against the Sarpanch that he could not take all of them seriously. People have now lost hope of removing the Sarpanch from office. Elections are soon due and the perception is that things may improve with new representatives. No regular elections were conducted for the different committees. As a result membership and participation of tribals in the process of governance was almost negligible. Tribals in Kilagada collect the MFP from the forest and sell it to local middlemen. The Sarpanch and Muttadar share close relationship with the non tribe who owns local shops. Sarpanch and other dominate Bagatha tribes advice the local PTGs to sell their MFP products to middlemen. Important forest produce like adda leaves, tamarind, broomsticks are collected during the summer when there is not much agricultural activity or any other income generating source. The contractors play a vital role. Private contractors form another category of exploiters of the tribals.

Impact of Muttadari System The only important Rajah as far as tribal areas of former Visakhapatnam district comprising of present day Visakhapatnam, Vizinagaram and Srikakulam districts, appear to be the Rajah of Jeypore.

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The Jeypore estate was part of Vizagapatnam district till 1936 when it was transferred to the newly formed State of Orissa. Most of the Zamindars in these two tribal areas owe their existence to the Rajah of Jeypore who appointed them. The smaller Zamindars also called themselves Rajahs in the traditional setting collected the rents from Muttadars. These Muttadars or Samuthudars appear to have come from upper strata of tribal society of the area. In the multi-lateral area of Visakhapatnam district, most of the Muttadars are from the Bhagatha tribal community, which claims highest social status in the tribal hierarchy of the area. The British records referred the Bagathas as plains kapu castemen who migrated to tribal areas. Attempts made to know the background of this community led to several administrative problems because they are now listed as Scheduled Tribes. Moreover, the scope of the study also does not permit such an analysis. In Muttadari System, rich individuals from regionally dominant Bhagatha tribe were made as Muttadars (chiefs) over groups of villages called Muttas. The position of Muttadars is very significant due to the functions vested with them such as collection of revenue, law and order maintenance and looking after other administrative functions. The Muttadars are expected to process minor disputes, report breaches of law and implement decisions taken at higher level. As agents to the rulers, the Muttadars held the power to re-allot the land. In this process, the Muttadars and their kinsmen became owners of all the best lands. Bagathas, who held positions of Muttadars in many Muttas and who are also owners of large tracts of fertile lands in the area could, succeed over others when democratic bodies were introduced. Bagathas belonging to Muttadar families hold the positions of President and Vice President of the Panchayats since its inception. In Muttadari System, the Mutta level councils use to look after such affairs. Table 4.4.2: Different Committees in Kilagada Committees Vana Samrakshana Samithi Village Education Committee Watershed committee Mothers Committee Grain Bank Committee

President Mandhu Padal Chinna padal Samudram Narisimma Devulamma

Tribe Bagatha Bagatha Bagatha Poorja Gadaba

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Entry of Shandies: (Trade) Some Shandies also came to settle down in the village for trading. Unlike the employees of the different departments who were posted to the village, these Shandies were attracted by the Central location of the village in an area with good business prospects. The location of the villages on road point and the availability of non-tribal company were an additional attraction for the Shahukars. While some Shahukars settled down in the village, others preferred to visit the village on Shandy day. All the units of Government departments, the non-tribals in the form of employees and Shahukars are located in the main village. At all the Shandy centers, the Shahukars got huts constructed for their overnight stay and for keeping their merchandise. Other individuals got themselves established in Shandy centers by running small tea stalls, sweet meat shops and grocery even on non-shandy days and thus developed them into points of contact round the year. It helped them to develop contacts with the tribals. The control of Shandies continued in the local scene despite the functioning of Girijan Co-operative Corporation. Plagued are deputations and personnel who are bitter about the working conditions, the Girijan Cooperative Corporation could not inspire the tribals to take advantage of it. Irregularities of personnel and the pricing policy are the main complaints made by the tribals over the Girijan Co-operative Corporation. On the other hand, by offering various attractions the Shandies were able to continue their grip in the business. The G.C.C is almost surviving on the basis of monopolies acquired by it, viz., monopoly on selling consumer items to Ashram Schools and monopoly on purchase of important minor forest produce. Shandies settled down and made it a center for their trading and money lending activities. With the co-operation of local traders, the Shahukars got themselves established in the sale of consumer items and in the purchase of agricultural produce. Their money-lending activity is restricted due to the protective legislations and the purchase of important minor forest produce was monopolized by the GCC. They specialized in the purchase of agricultural produce and sale of consumer goods. The Shahukars established contacts in the village by offering various advantages. The Shahukars who were supposed to be eliminated by the GCC were found to be making use of the sale depo by purchasing controlled items in bulk and reselling them to tribals’ at large profits. From the Shahukars point of view, establishment of a shop in the village was doubly advantageous to them as they can develop good rapport and acquire various produce that are available round the year. In addition

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to trading, the Shahukars adopted the practice of money-lending insisting on repayments in kind with stipulated interest rates. Their presence motivated the tribals to buy the plains items as and when they desired. The Shahukars who were earlier afraid of the alien conditions of the agency started visiting the tribal areas in groups. These visiting groups of Shahukars used to pass through certain regular routes seasonally, thus covering villages en route. During these trips the Shahukars used to take the help of local leaders like Naidus and Muttadars. The tribals in the interior villages used to get their produce for exchange to the villages covered by the traders. Thus, trade spread a number of items of the plain areas starting from salt and cloth to iron implements and ornaments. The tribesmen considered the establishment of a shop by Shahukars as a sign of development of their village as they can get their requirements whenever they need. Further, they felt that this makes their village a center with neighbouring villagers coming to their village for buying their requirements. How the Shahukars, who later turned into exploiters, was first given a warm reception by tribals in the neighbouring Srikakulam agency was described by Prasada Rao (1971)1. Indeed many of the village headmen welcomed the settling of the Shahukars by readily permitting them to construct their houses. Kilagada shahukars organize the shandy in every season by announcing the date for the beginning of purchases. Before announcing the date, they tour different villages to assess the position of crops and harvest. Form the announced date; they arrive at Kilagada regularly on every Wednesday till the arrival of the produce dwindles down at the end of the season. Villagers of the respective areas sell their produce to the Shahukars who operate in their area, some under the obligation of a loan or advance, others due to sheer familiarity, easy accessibility and habit.

Shahukars and Exploitation Shahukars, after settling down in the village started engaging themselves in a variety of activities through which they derived huge profits. After the entry of monetary economy, the dependence of tribals on money increased. Tribals need money for variety of reasons such as for consumption expenditure in lean periods for paying ‘Oli’ (Bride wealth), for socio-religious activities like life-cycle ceremonies, festivals and other calamities, which involve much expenditure. The Shahukars are ready and 1 D.L. Prasada Rao, (1971), ‘Shahukars in Tribal Society’, Tribe, VIII(3&4),pp 713.

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speedy sources of credit for all these activities. In all their transaction, the Shahukars insist on repayment in kind. The interest rates are compounded every year. As awareness about the Land Transfer Regulation was on a gradual increase especially in the last decade the Shahukars did not make any attempt to acquire lands in their vicinity. Due to their illiteracy, the tribals got themselves into disadvantageous position whenever they took loans. It is observed that the tribals approach the Shahukars whenever they are in need of ‘Aruru’ (cash credit). The tribals do not keep any account of the amount and the Shahukars maintains the accounts, which they manipulate to their advantage. The conditioned loans are given in terms of giving a certain produce to the Shahukars at a predetermined rate irrespective of the market price. The Sundi gives credit for arrack, which is in demand among tribals. Many of his consumers cannot remember how many glasses they consumed on a particular day. The money lending and other related practices of the Shahukars make it obligatory on the part of the tribal to sell their produce to a particular Shahukar who also felt that he had such right. Even after the repayment of loan, the tribals feel it easy to deal with the same Shahukars out of familiarity. Shahukars always make it a point to speak soft words to their clients. In the sale of produce, the tribals are cheated through false weigh machines and measurement. For measuring produce, empty milk powder tins are used and they are equated with old British system of measurements. The usual practice of Shahukars is to purchase head loads of grain or produce like Ginger by weighing them with spring balance which they always keep in their coat pocket as it is easy to carry. Most of the tribals do not know how to read the indicator of the spring balance. The Shahukars unite to control the prices to their best advantage. The tribals have no option but to sell their produce to these Shahukars in the absence of any dependable alternative. The Shahukars diverted their activities more on trade while continuing money lending in a limited scale as a part of the trade. This situation is very well made use of by the village leaders and rich Bhagatha. These leaders are rich Bagathas and became ‘tribal Shahukars’ and they do not possess the disadvantage of Shahukars as the existing law cannot punish them even if they attach the land of the debtors. These tribal creditors advance loans under “Gotti” system also (a kind of bonded labour). Some studies indicated that Shahukars deprived tribals of their land with the help of local leaders like Pettamdars and Muttadars. (Raghava

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Rao1974)2. Without the co-operation of the Naidu and Peddalu, the Shahukars could not have settled down in Kilagada nor could the shandy have been established. For all monetary transactions such as issue of loans and advances, the presence of Peddalu is sought as witness. In case of nonpayments, the Shahukars approach either President or Peddalu Panchayat. Among Peddalu, President is closer to Shahukars and his cooperation is sought while making important deals. In case of any trouble from the villagers, his intervention is sought for. The President collects petty cash from local Shahukars and those who attend the shandy, on pretext like repairing of village well, for getting streetlights to the village, etc. Kula Panchayat is the body consisting of all-important member of the particular tribe to consider issues such as violation of customary norms, prohibition etc., of the members of the particular tribe. Village level issues and issues concerning persons from different tribes fall under the purview of village elders’ council. In the villages where a Kula Panchayat is absent due to lack of sufficient strength of the tribe, the Peddala Panchayats looks after both intra-and inter-tribal affairs. The manner in which these deliberations take place brings in a feeling of participation among the villagers, in decision-making concerning the village life. Though all participate in the discussion, the Naidu and Peddalu decide the nature of punishment or the terms of settlements jointly. Sometimes, after the Peddalu spelled out the decision, the parties do debate on the fairness of punishment and through further deliberations, it may be changed if reasonable opinions are put forth. The decisions of the Peddala Panchayats are respected as the decision of the village. All the Peddalu are wealthy, and are active in village affairs. Usually they act as host to guests of the villages and are known for their knowledge and experience. Peddalu occupy a position of honor next to Naidu in village celebrations and family functions like marriages. The Peddalu can influence Naidu in his decisions concerning the village. The villages of Paderu Area especially in Kilagada, is characterized by the existence of elders’ councils known as ‘Peddala Panchayats’. These are informal bodies dealing with socio-religious affairs and other secular matters. These Panchayats deal with all complaints regarding violations of customary norms, divorces, compensations, property disputes and other conflicts within and outside the village. Decision making regarding nature of collective sacrifices, celebration of festivals etc., is vested with these Panchayats. The villagers have little idea about Panchayat meetings. But a 2 D.V.Raghava Rao, (1973), Marketing of Produce and Indebtedness among Tribals, Waltair, Agro-Economic Research Centre (Mimeographed).

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meetings book is being maintained which shows resolutions passed by the members ratifying the expenditure incurred by President on various items. Also resolutions were passed asking higher officials for various facilities, urging the villagers to send their children to school, etc. It is admitted in the village that meetings are not being held regularly and properly. The general pattern of political organization in the village in Paderu and Araku area is that it is apparently held to be in the hand of the village headman who works with a group of elders in the village who are collectively called ‘Peddala Panchayats’. From the sequences observed in the recent settlement, we can infer that the first settlers probably came to possess large areas of fertile lands as well as positions in the community. These rich influential persons were recognized by the Zamindars and local rulers as their representatives in the village for looking after collection of revenue and law and order maintenance. Such representatives are variously called as Naidu (A short term for ‘Naikudu’ – meaning leader) or Pettamdar (‘Pettanam’ means authority and the term ‘Pettamdar’ denotes the person who possesses the authority).

4.5 Paderu Mandal- A Profile Paderu in the Eastern Ghats is referred to as the agency area of Vizagapatnam district. In the hills above Vishakapatnam, there was a tangle of different States: some large kingdoms and some small Zamindari. Paderu was the first site of the Madgole Zamindari which owed suzerainty to the Vizianagaram Kingdom. Almost 90% of Paderu population consists of Scheduled Tribes. In Paderu, most of the Muttadars were Bhagatha, and although eStates were abolished in 1948, the Muttadars were retained till 1969. Land was surveyed between 1971 and 1974 and title deeds given to the landholders (Sastry and Reddy 1991). Table 4:5.1 Tribal Population in Paderu Mandal Name of the Mandal

Total Population

Tribal Population

Total

Male

Female

Total

Male

Female

Paderu

53329

26400

26929

43482

21319

22163

Cultivation is their main occupation. Podu- the most primitive pattern of cultivation, characterized by the slash and burn technique is still highly prevalent. They also collect NTFP (Non-Timber Forest Produce) and sell

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it to GCC. Paddy, Jowar and Millets are their major crops. The major dialect is Telugu .The forests in Paderu are classified as southern tropical moist deciduous forests and dry savannah forests, with few big trees; almost all forest cover is of secondary origin, having regenerated after shifting cultivation, grazing and burning. Common species include mango, dhaora, sahaj, with an under-story of bamboo dendracalmus strictus. Several plantations of silver oak, coffee and pepper can be found en route to Paderu from Vizagapatnam. Every area in Paderu, is surrounded by hills, covered with the signs of podu or shifting cultivation, brown and bare after the harvest and covered with a swathe of green during the monsoons. Podu, in this area, is not the ecologically sound affair as it can be in the areas with dense forests and enough time to regenerate. Here, the limited scrub and grass that is available to be burnt is not enough to add fertility to the soil and production per acre has declined to half of what it used to be about twenty years ago. Nonetheless, it remains an important source of local subsistence (Rao 1993:155)3 The Mandal is full of hilly terrain with some areas situated as high as 4,000 feet. The inhabitants of the Mandal are mostly dependent on forest and forest produce for their livelihood. The Mandal consists of 18 Gram Panchayats and there are 320 tribal habitations/villages. Total population of the Mandal is 53,329 out of which male population is 26,400 and female population is 26,929. ITDA headquarters are in this mandal. Paderu is Legislative Assembly Constituency. Local Member of Legislative Assembly is from Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP). In fact, the first time BSP has won the assembly constituency in Paderu as well as in Andhra Pradesh. With respect to literacy standards, Paderu Mandal has one of the highest literacy rates compared to the other Mandals of the agency area. The total literacy rate in the mandal is 46.0%. The Male literacy rate of the Mandal is 58.9 %while the female literacy rate is at a dubious 3.33%. We have covered three village Panchayats in these two mandals. The Study was conducted in 3 gram Panchayats in Paderu block. 306 respondents have participated from all three Panchayats in the study.

4.6. Vanjangi village Panchayat- A Profile The Vanjangi Panchayat comprises of 18 villages. The main village and its hamlets together constitute the Vanjangi Gram Panchayat. The 3 P.Venkat Rao, (1968), Institutional Frame work of Tribal Development, Inter India publications , New Delhi

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hamlets of Vanjangi are scattered over a radius of five kilometers from the main village. Politically and economically the village is dominated by Bagathas (approximately 35 percent), who are known as a progressive farming tribe. The rest of the population forms a mixture of other tribes, including primitive tribal groups. The Sarpanch is a woman from the Bagatha caste. However, it is her husband and his relatives who largely carry out her duties. In comparison with other Gram Panchayats, people in Vanjangi are not too dissatisfied with the community works implemented by the Panchayat. Gutters, roads and tube-wells have been built in various parts of the village during the last five years. However, there is a commonly held perception that individual benefits can only be accessed by people who have a relationship with the Sarpanch’s family. Such relationships are formed on the basis of frequent labour work for the Sarpanch and her kin, purchasing goods from shops owned by them and voting in their favour. Many of these people are dependent on the Bagatha for their livelihood. The people who feel excluded from the individual benefits of the Panchayat emphasize that they do not know what to do to change the situation or whom to turn to outside the Panchayat. One scheduled tribe ward member said that he has no powers but that he and other ward members have to go along with whatever the Patel decides in the Panchayat as many of them are also dependent on the Patel for employment. A few villagers stressed that it is not in their hands to improve the Panchayat and that turning to higher officers will not help as they will say that it is not their business and direct them back to the Gram Panchayat. The level of political engagement is low in all villages with Gram Panchayat elections driven largely by the choice of party of dominant individuals in the village. In those cases where more than one dominant family had political aspirations, the entire village was aligned as followers with rival political parties. The choice of party of the dominant person or family is driven by his/their assessment of future prospects by virtue of his/her political contact. There was no political competition at the village level for ward posts; families appointed certain individuals as their candidates. In any case, Gram Panchayats were found to be essentially Sarpanch-driven with ward members playing a minimal role. Political competition and the basis for local political engagement are still very under-developed in the study village.

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Table 4.6.1: Profile of Vanjangi Village Panchayat Population Male Female Household Literacy Road facility Schools Electricity Hospitals Wetland Dry land Podu Bajnar Land Landless Ration Card holders Patta land No land holders Coolies

2060 1124 936 523 42.7 Yes 4 Yes P.H.C 140 344 350 59 57 355 206 45 125

The main village lies adjacent to the road and all the hamlets are connected to the main village by footpaths passing through fields and hill slopes. During heavy rains, the hill-stream gets flooded and it is not possible to reach the hamlets. The Gedda (stream) located within a distance of half a kilometer, is the water source for all the hamlets. But in the main village, two wells are used for drinking water, and the hill-stream is used for other purposes. The agricultural lands of Vanjangi are mostly rain-fed. Though the Gedda passes through the midst of these lands, its water level is lower, while agricultural lands are at a higher elevation. Rainwater from the hill slopes passes through the agricultural lands to join the Gedda. The lands of the main village are advantageously situated in the lower area of the valley and are more fertile. Rainfall in the area is caused by North-East Monsoon in October-December and South-West Monsoon in June-September of which the latter is the major source of rainfall

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Table 4.6.2: Different Committees in Vanjangi Committees Vana Samrakshna Samithi Village Education Committee Watershed committee Mothers Committee Grain Bank Committee

President K. Narasimha Murthy K. Kanthamma Kadeli Ramaiah Janakammma Sankulamma

Tribe Bagatha Valmiki Bagatha Kodu Poorja

It was observed that the traditionally dominant caste groups remained in control and were able to extend their domination to include, watershed and JFM Committees. However, this was often not in terms of direct capture; in fact the mode of domination varied significantly. Direct economic gains lead to direct domination of the resource management committees. The Peddala (Village Elders) Committee of Vanjangi controls the membership and decisions made by the formal watershed committees as well as the Panchayats. The domination of the Peddala Committee over administratively created committees and the contacts of the Bhagatha families with prominent politicians ensure that it is able to attract large development expenditure towards the village. The village has not less than 6 watershed projects, which focus more on private land treatment and less on common lands. Communities that depend on common resources (land, water and forest) have not benefited from the watershed projects at all. Three existing kuntas (Stream) have been neglected by the projects and the benefits of water harvesting structures built under the project are being captured by the dominant families. In Vanjangi village, there were few canals but agriculture was not practiced on a wide scale. Only podu (shifting cultivation) was done and bajra was widely grown. Due to the watershed programme, water is stored every where and the water level has increased. This has led to an increase in agricultural yield. This watershed programme has been initiated by the organization KOVEL. KOVEL has also encouraged women to form savings groups and has helped them to enhance their role in the management of Community Property Resources. Attendance of women in the meetings is high. There is a watershed committee which meets once a month to discuss what needs to be done, repairs to be undertaken for the pond and also uses the money from the village reserve fund for respective works. Women are also active in this village. Not only do they actively participate in the

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meeting but also work as members in all the committees where they are part of the decision making process. Tribals in Vanjangi collect MFP from the local forest. They go in groups to the forest and collect adda leaves and tamarind and sell to both GCC and Middlemen. Non tribals act as middlemen and collect MFP for cheap price. GCC store is not operational on a regular basis and on the other hand middlemen offer attractive rates. Panchayat is ineffective in managing to keep GCC store open on a regular basis. It is also in no position to eliminate the role of middlemen in buying MFP items. The village reported conflict between the villagers and the forest department over land where there used to be forests in the past. The landless villagers used to practice podu here in the past but now the forest department has stopped them from carrying out any agricultural activity in this area. In general, Panchayats are controlled and guided by the tribal heads in all affairs. The membership of these (Tribal heads) Panchayats is arbitrary as it generally includes all accepted elders of the village along with the village headman (Pettamdar or Naidu), Priest (Pujari) and Village Messenger (Barika). Besides plaintiff and the accused, all villagers can participate in the discussion. The verdict that is given is generally based on consensus. Punishments range from payment of fines to excommunication in extreme cases.

Naidu Naidu is considered to be a very important position. Though after the abolition of Zamindari/Muttadari system the official powers of the Naidu are lost, he still enjoys dominant position different from the others and it may be characterized as ‘first among the equals’. In the traditional political organization, Naidu was the head of the village and was responsible for the administration of the village. This official position of the Naidu was hereditary subject to the satisfactory fulfillment of his duties. The Naidu used to play a dual role as the administration head of the village and as member of Peddala Panchayats, which has secular and religious authority. Earlier, as representative to Muttadar, Naidu used to convene the meetings of the Peddala Panchayats to pronounce punishments on offenders and also possessed power to remove any member from Peddala Panchayats. He could take away lands of any individual to reassign to his followers or keep under his control. He is always an important person of the Peddala Panchayats. Even now the Pujari informs the Naidu when celebration of a festival or performance of a collective rite approaches. The Naidu in consultation with Pujari and

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other elders fixes the date and other details of the celebration. Naidu represents the village in dealing with outside villages and agencies. Naidu is considered as the most knowledgeable person in the village. Naidu feels the responsibility to look after the affairs of the villagers. Whenever any calamity, like, death or accident occurs, Naidu visits the affected. He is also consulted for many things and his presence is needed for all important events. He receives the first cup of toddy during marriage and funeral drinking bouts. He also receives small cash gifts during certain occasions. During collective sacrifices, Naidu receives the best portion of sacrificial meat.

Patel System The Patel system is a hereditary system of village administration, whereby there was a Patel (Village Head) who was in charge of village affairs. The “Patel” managed all intra village disputes, Community Property Resources (CPR) etc., with the assistance of village pujari (also hereditary). While the “Patel” was not democratically elected, some villages seemed happier with that system. The system is no longer prevalent especially in the context of management of CPR in the villages studied. The Patel system is still prevalent. Based on the decisions taken by the village head, all the villages used to work together. Patel and village priest used to act as village heads. Lease (kowlu) agriculture was practiced. The landless tribals benefited through this system. Any agricultural work in the village like building and diverting water from the streams flowing through the village or household works were done through “Vetti” (Bonded Labour) system. Village forests were available to meet the village needs. The villagers used to get wood for household purposes, firewood, etc., from the village forests only. But due to the changes brought about by the forest department through the Forest Act, after 1988 and the participation of the villagers through the ‘joint forest management’ programme, ‘ Vana Samrakshana Samithis’ (VSS) were formed and the village forests were merged into ‘protected reserve forest’. In Paderu Block, these informal councils are persisting even after the introduction of Gram Panchayats. The persistence of these councils can be attributed to factors such as the informal nature of the councils and respect for traditional practices. Though the Gram Panchayats are permitted statutorily to process disputes, they could not emerge as an alternative to the traditional councils. Further, the statutory Panchayats are dominated by traditionally dominated tribes such as Bagatha and these tribal leaders

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prefer to sort out disputes and other village affairs through the Peddala Panchayats. In constituting Panchayat Raj bodies for tribal areas, the existing traditional institutions were not taken into account. But the traditional leaders who are dominant in local areas got themselves elected into the modern institutions. In Vanjangi Area, the village councils through which the traditional leaders dominate the decision making process at village level are found to be persisting even after the introduction of democratic bodies. Individuals belonging to the families of traditional leaders, like Muttadars and Naidus got themselves elected to various democratic bodies. The local dominant Bagathas and the resourceful Valmikis occupied most of the positions. Thus, the Panchayat Raj bodies helped the rich individuals and traditional leaders to consolidate their position. The Gram Panchayats are handicapped by the absence of sufficient resources to take up civic and developmental activities It is important to note that in almost all the tribes, both within and across the States, the traditional councils are in operation. Their functioning varied based on the composition of their settlement. In a settlement where only one particular tribe resides, the traditional Panchayats are functioning very effectively. In contrast, in villages where there are other tribes or castes present, the traditional councils are relatively less effective. In some cases, the heterogeneous villages have joint councils to deal with the inter-tribal or tribe caste disputes. Most of the studies have indicated the traditional institutional mechanisms, by and large, overlap between traditional Panchayats and modern statutory Panchayats. In quite a few cases, however, the hereditary leadership still holds a sway and enforces the law of the village/tribe. The traditional council does not deal with the disputes related to the forest, mining, revenue and other departments. However, in case of serious disputes with any of the Government departments the village leaders negotiate with them. In general, the traditional council deals with the distribution of lands under Podu cultivation as they are communally owned and controlled by the tribals. Disputes pertaining to individual lands are also dealt with if the intervention of the traditional council is sought. The traditional institutions that are involved in dispute resolution are known under different names such as sadaru among Gadabas, gotti sabha among Konda Reddy. This Traditional Panchayat is called when any disputes are referred to them. The meetings of traditional Panchayat was held, in most of the cases, at a fixed place and they are known among different tribes by different names.

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Traditional Panchayat takes up any case that is referred to the village head. In case the dispute cannot be resolved at the village level, it will be referred to the next level of appeal, i.e., statutory Panchayat or regional council or tribal council. Even after this, if they are not able to resolve, they approach the police and law courts. Penalties usually are in the form of compensation only. If the judgments passed by the traditional council were flouted, the extreme form of punishment imposed on the defaulting party would be communicated. Any conflict/quarrel that erupts in a family or between members of different families may not become a dispute until it was brought to the notice of the traditional council. Thus, a kulapedda (Village Headman) never interferes in any dispute that goes on in a family or village until they become serious enough and only when one of the people involved in the disputes complaints to them. Among tribes, the complainants have to approach kulapedda who asks the villagers to assemble at Rachha Banda, the place of village meetings, in the evening. Messages are sent through children. Women are allowed to be present at a distance but cannot participate in the deliberations, except as witnesses. Most of the times, they prompt their husbands to raise issues. In the assembly, the villagers (men) are free to cross-examine the complainant. Kulapedda (head) and other elders analyze the dispute in front of the entire village assembly and witnesses are cross-examined. .Kula Pedda delivers judgment and asks the culprit to pay the compensation amount to the other party involved in the dispute. Generally, the punishments are in the form of compensation to the others involved in the dispute. In this, most of the times, Kulam will retain half of the money and the rest is given as compensation. Kulam spends this money on buying goat/pig for collective feasting. Traditional Panchayats involve most of the village population while arriving at any judgment. It is a sort of democratic organization where in the participation of the members is ensured by practice. Any absenteeism without any valid reason is treated as an offence and penalty is imposed on the defaulter. The traditional council in this village also decides the beneficiaries under various schemes of the Governmental development programmes. Widow Remarriage and divorcee remarriage is in vogue in the community. In the case of divorcee remarriage the new husband has to pay the bride price to the old husband. Any violation of these customs incurs the penalty from the Panchayat.

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4.7 Major Tribes in Study Area Bhagatha Bhagatha is one of the numerically preponderant and ethnically significant tribes of Andhra Pradesh. They are spread across the Scheduled Areas of Visakhapatnam district. Majority of the former Muttadars and traditional village headmen in the tribal Areas of Visakhapatnam district belong to this tribe. They occupy highest rung in the local social hierarchical ladder. It is a Telugu speaking community with a population of 1,33,434 as per 2001 census constituting 2.7% to the total tribal population of the State. Literates constitute 40.80% among Bhagatha. The percentage of female literacy is low with 26.76% when compared to male literacy rate, which is 54.72% among Bhagatha as per 2001 Census. Bhagatha tribe is divided into a number of unilateral agnatic king groups called “Gothram” or “Vamsams” such as Korra (Sun), Killo or Bagh (Tiger), Gollari (Monkey), Pangi (Kite) etc., and the members of each gothram presume that they have descended from a common ancestor. These gothram are further divided into a number of surnames (Intiperlu). Based on their legends and historical traditions, they claim that their ancestors were a class of warriors who served the Madugula chieftains in Vishakapatnam district and as they served their masters with devotion, they got the name Bhakta (devotee). The socially approved modes of acquiring mates include marriage by negotiation, marriage by capture, marriage by mutual love and elopement and marriage by service. Out of these, marriage by negotiation is widely practiced and marriage is performed in the groom’s house. The custom of paying bride price to the bride’s parents is in vogue in this community. Monogamy is common form of marriage while polygamy is rarely practiced. Levirate and sororate are in vogue. Widow Remarriage is permitted. Divorce is socially accepted. Nuclear families are predominant over joint families among Bhagatha. They are patriarchal and patrilineal in the absence of a son; daughter inherits the property of father. Bhagatha worship plethora of Gods and Goddesses such as Sanku Devatha (village deity), Jakara Devatha (goddess of rain and crops), Bali Devatha (goddess of group of villages or Muttas), Durga, Nandi devatha, etc., and attribute all the events in their daily life to the kindness or wrath of the deities. They celebrate the festivals along with other local tribal communities. Some festivals are celebrated before consuming produce like Korra Kotha Panduga, Kandi Kotha Panduga, Sama Kotha Panduga, Mamidi Kotha Panduga, etc.

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There are traditional councils at village level and they are headed by a representative called “Peddamanishi” (Village Headman). These traditional councils settle most of the internal disputes and penalty will be imposed on the culprits.

Gadaba They are a primitive tribal group, predominantly found in the agency areas of Vishakapatnam, Vizianagaram, and Srikakulam districts. Their population according to 2001 census reports is 36078. The total literacy rate among Gadabas is 36.63. They are also found in the adjoining States of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. Gadabas speak their own dialect. Nuclear family is the most predominant form of family among the Gadabas. The head of the household is the oldest male member of the family as Gadabas are patrilineal. Only sons inherit the property and it is divided equally amongst them. Eldest son succeeds the position of his father. In the absence of any heir, the property and position goes to either of the brothers of the heir. In some case, the youngest daughter whose husband moves over to his father-in-law’s place and looks after them inherits the property. The Gadaba tribe is divided into different sub divisions viz, Bodo or Gutob, Katheri, Kolloyi etc, each sub division which is endogamous is divided into various exogamous clans. The modes of acquiring mates among Gadabas are marriage by negotiation, by mutual love and elopement, by capture and by service. Family is nuclear. Widow remarriage and divorce are permitted. At present, Gadabas are cultivators and agricultural laborers. Those who inhabit the hilly areas practice shifting cultivation and they cultivate Ragi, Red Gram and Niger in their Podu lands. They collect Non-Timber Forest Produce for household consumption and sale. Gadabas practice podulmettu (terrace) cultivation. They also work for wage labour in other’s fields. During non-agricultural seasons they collect minor forest produce and also sell them to the Girijan Cooperative Corporation (GCC) or in Shandy (shanta) They worship Sankudevudu, Peddadevudu, Modakondamma, Jakaridevatha, Ippapolamma etc., and they celebrate festivals like, Eetelapanduga, Ashadapanduga (Korrakotha), Kothamasa and Maridamma Panduga. In addition to the above festivals, they also worship the spirits of their ancestors. Gadabas have their own traditional council headed by a traditional village headman known as “Naiko”. His office is hereditary. He is assisted by ‘Challan’, (messenger) and ‘Barika’ (Village servant). In the

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field of religious activities, ‘Desari’ or “Pujai” (Prist) officiate all the religious ceremonies. Gadabas are recognized as the Primitive Tribal Group in Andhra Pradesh.

Kammara Kammara is a Scheduled Tribe inhabiting the Scheduled Areas and adjoining Areas in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari and West Godavari districts. They are also called Konda Kammaras and Ojas. Their population as per 2001 census is 45010. The total literacy rate among Kammara is 39.68 as per 2001 census. Even though traditional occupation of Kammaras of Scheduled Areas is black smithery and carpentry, most of them gave up their traditional occupation and are resorting to shifting cultivation and settled cultivation. Kammara tribe is divided into a number of totemic clans, which regulate marital relations among the Kammaras. Some of the popular clans are Korra (Sun), Killo (Tiger), Bhalu (bear), Samardi (flower), Pangi (Kite) etc., and their surnames are identical with surnames of other tribal groups in Visakhapatnam district. Marriage by mutual love and elopement, marriage by capture, marriage by service and marriage by negotiation are socially approved forms of acquiring mates. Both levirate and sororate are in vogue. Kammaras eat beef and pork. Kammaras worship Nisahani devatha, Sankudevata, Jakiri devatha and Gangalamma. They perform festivals like Chaitrapurab, Gangalamma Panduga and new fruit crop eating ceremonies such as Mamidikotha, Kandikotha, Korra, chikkudotha and Samakotha. They perform Dimsa folk dance along with other tribal groups. They have traditional tribal council of their own which regulates the social life of Kammaras and settle their disputes. Kammaras have been living in symbiosis with other tribals of the area. They manufacture agricultural implements and supply them to other tribals of the village and receive in kind for their services.

Konda Dora The Konda Doras are found chiefly in the Scheduled Areas of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and East and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh. Their population according to 2001 census is 2, 06,381 and the total literacy rate among Konda Dora is 35.09.

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They call themselves as ‘Kubing’ or ‘Kondargi’ in their own dialect, which is called ‘Kubi’. The Konda Doras of Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and East Godavari have forgotten their own dialect and adopted Telugu as their mother tongue. Konda Doras living in Visakhapatnam speak Adivasi Oriya and Telugu. The word “Konda Dora” implies hill rulers and they are divided into two major groups, Pedda Kondalu (big hills) and Chinna (small) Kondalu. Of these, the former have retained their semiindependent position, whereas the latter are believed to have come under the influence of Telugus. The Chinna Kondalu is influenced by the Bhagatha. They have adopted the Telugu system of intiperulu (surnames), whereas Pedda Kondalu has retained the totem divisions. Martial alliances do not take place between the two and inter-dining is also prohibited among them. Konda Dora tribe is divided into a number of clans such as Korra, Killo, Swabi, Ontalu, Kimudu, Pangi, Paralek, Mandelek, Bidaka, Somelunger, Surrek, Goolorigune, Oljukula etc., and Levirate type of marriage is customarily practiced in this community. Polygamy is also in vogue. Marriage by capture, marriage by elopement, marriage by negotiation and marriage by service are traditionally accepted ways of acquiring mates. Divorce is socially permitted. They eat beef and pork. Nuclear family is the most prevalent form of family and locus of authority at the family level is father, as the Konda Dora follows the rule of patrilineal descent, patriarchal authority and patrilocal residence. Female members have no right over property unless their father gives them as gift. Otherwise all the property gets transmitted to their siblings after the death of both husband and wife. They follow shifting cultivation. But they are adopting settled cultivation. They collect and sell non-timber forest produce. They depend upon agriculture and forest products for their subsistence. The cultivable land is broadly classified as ‘garuvu’ (flat land) available for cultivation at foothills and ‘konda podu’ (hill slopes). Their agricultural produce lasts for about five to six months, after which they depend on the forest edibles for their livelihood. They grow paddy, millets like chodi, sama, ragulu and vegetable; and gather tamarind, wood, roots, tubers, jeelugu kallu etc., from the forest and sell them in the weekly Shandy. They earn their livelihood by working as wage labourers for the rest of the year. The staple food of the villagers is chodi, which is cooked in a variety of combination with rice and sama. They worship ‘Boda devatha’, ‘Sanku devata’, ‘Nisani devata’ and ‘Jakara devata’ and offer sacrifices. They celebrate ‘Chaitra Panduga’, ‘Balli Panduga’, ‘Korra and Sama Kotha’, ‘Chikkudu Kotha’, and pusapandoi (ceremonial eating of adda nuts). The most

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important festival is ‘Kada Pandoi’ (seed charming festival) and hunting festival follows this festival. They perform the famous community dance called ‘Dimsa’, during ‘Vetting’ festival and on marriage occasions. The traditional musical instruments used are tudumu, dappu, Kiridi and Pirodi. The traditional Panchayat is headed by the headman, ‘Guruvakadu’ the cases such as divorce, minor civil and social disputes are dealt and the decision of the headman is final. The hierarchy of tribal leaders among the Konda Reddys is: Kula Pedda (village headman) or Patel, Pina Pedda (leader of the youth and assistant village headman in conducting enquiry) Bantortu (messenger), and Pujari (village priest). All the above four leaders constitute the members of the traditional tribal council. Patel stands above all these persons and acts as the judge of the tribal council. Their traditional council is not an exclusive body but an informal gathering of all the heads of the households and the voice of the elders carries most weight.

Khonds Khonds chiefly reside in the densely wooded hill slopes in the Scheduled Areas of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh. They are also known as ‘Samantha’, ‘Kodu’, ‘Jatapu’, ‘Jatapu Dora’, ‘Kodi’, ‘Kodhu’, ‘Kondu’ and ‘Kuinga’. These terms are used for Khonds in different areas of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts. The Khonds call themselves in their own dialect as ‘Kuinga’ or ‘Kui Dora’. Their population according to 2001 census is 85,324 and the total literacy rate among Khond is 17.81.The Khonds are divided into the following sub-tribes. Dongria Khond, Desya Khond, Kuttiya Khond, Tikiria Khond, Yeneti Khond. Each sub tribe of Khond tribe is divided into a number of clans. Each clan has a distinct name and matrimonial alliances are permitted based on clan names. Monogamy is the rule and polygamy is rare. Both levirate and junior sororate are in existence. Marriages by exchange, mutual love and elopement and by service are socially approved ways of acquiring mates. The consumption of beef and pork is not traditionally forbidden. They have their own dialect called ‘Kui’ or ‘Kuvi’. But the Khonds living in Srikakulam are equally proficient in Telugu and Khonds in Araku and other bordering areas are multilingual. The Khonds have a tribal council usually consisting of four or five members headed by a man called ‘Havanta’, whose office is hereditary. The members of the council are selected. The main functions of the

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council are settlement of disputes on marriage, land and other property related issues. The Khonds mainly subsist on cultivation. They are experts in Podu cultivation. They grow millets like Ragi, Sama and Korra and oil seeds like Niger, Castor and pulses like red gram in podu fields. They are adept in hunting and fishing also. They are well versed in the preparation of handicrafts like basket, mat weaving, oil extraction, etc. They celebrate festivals called ‘Hira parbu (seed charming) ‘Maha parbu (new mango fruit eating), Kumda parbu (consuming maize and pumpkin products) etc. Khonds perform a folk dance called ‘Mayura’ (peacock dance) which is an imitation of movements of peacock, on every festive and marriage occasions.

Kotia Kotia tribe is chiefly found in the tribal Areas of Visakhapatnam district in Andhra Prasad. Their population as per 2001 census is 48,408. The total literacy rate among Kotia is 40.95 as per 2001 census. Kotia tribe is divided into the following sub divisions or sub groups (1) Bodo Kotia, (2) Sano Kotia, (3) Putia Poika and (4) Dhulia. In Visakhapatnam agency, Bodo Kotias are also called Doras and claiming equal status with Bhagatha, a tribe with higher social status. Bodo Kotia people do not accept cooked food from Sano Kotia people as they are considered inferior in social status. Similarly, Sano Kotia people also do not accept food from those of Putia Poika. Kotia tribe is divided into various totemic clans and each clan is further divided into different surnames. Some of the clan names are Matya (Fish), Naga (Snake), Geedh (Eagle), Gorapitta (a kind of bird) etc. All the sub divisions of Kotia community speak corrupt form of Oriya. Four types of acquiring mates are in vogue in this community. They are ‘Bodobiba’ (marriage by negotiation), ‘Udaliyajibar’ (marriage by mutual love and elopement), ‘Dangdigikbar’ (marriage by capture) and ‘Gorjuvai’ (marriage by service). Both levirate and sororate are socially accepted. Divorce is permitted. Widow or widower re-marriages are permissible. Traditional mechanism of social control among Kotias is called ‘Nayaklok’ and a traditional leader called ‘Nayak’ heads it. The messenger is called ‘Barika.’ They settle disputes like theft, divorce, land disputes, quarrels, etc. The principal deities worshipped by Kotias are ‘Pedda demudu’ ‘Sanku demudu’, ‘Nandi demudu’, ‘Jakari demudu’ and ‘Ganga devatha’.

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They celebrate festivals like “Puspurab”, “Soyuth purab”, “Nandi purab”, “Ashada Jathara”, “Gairam Panduga”, “Pedda demudu panduga”, “Bheema demudu panduga” and first new crop eating festivals like “Korra-samakotha’’, “Metta dhanyam kotha”, “Mamidi kotha” etc. Kotias are agriculturists and raise food crops like ragi, jowar, maize and paddy and vegetables like cabbage, brinjal, tomato, potato etc. Kotias also raise vegetables like beans, chilies, ladies finger, ginger etc, in the back yards of their houses. They collect non-timber forest produce items like adda leaves, tamarind sheekai, broom sticks, mohwa flower, etc., and sell to Girijan Cooperative Corporation.

Kulia Kulia is numerically very small tribe inhabiting the tribal areas of Visakhapatnam district. Their settlements are confined to the wooded tracts of Araku, Paderu, Pedabayalu and Munching Put Mandals of Visakhapatnam district. They are also called ‘Mulias’. Their population according to 2001 census is 368 and their total literacy rate is 41.44 % Kulias are divided into a number of exogamous patrilineal clans. The major clans are 1) Naga, 2) Surjo, 3) Matya, 4) Killo, 5) Hanuman or Gollori and 6) Pangi. The institution of “Nestam” (bond friendship), which is also called “Goth band bar” is in vogue. Kulias observe clan exogamy. Though marriage by negotiation is the most common form of marriage, marriage by capture and marriage by elopement are also in practice. Polygamy is also in vogue. Both levirate and sororate are permitted. They speak Oriya among themselves, but are equally proficient in Telugu. They celebrate “Korra-samakotha’, “Mettadhanyamkotha”, “Chikkudukotha” and “Mamidi kotha” festivals. Their traditional occupations are agriculture, selling bangles, beeds and trinkets. They also collect minor forest produce and sell in the weekly Shandies.

Porja Porjas are found predominantly in the tribal areas of Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh. Their population as per 2001 census is 32,669 among whom males are 16,132 and females are 16,537. The total literacy rate among Porja is 26.55 % according to 2001 census. They are recognized as Primitive Tribal Group. They have their own dialect. In addition to their own dialect, they speak Telugu as well as Adivasi Oriya. Porja tribe is divided into following endogamous sub-divisions or sub-

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groups. Parangi Porja, Jhodia Porja, Gadaba Porja, Banang Porja, Pangu Porja, Kolloi Porja, Didoi Porja. The Porja family is generally nuclear. These people are patrilineal, patriarchal and patrilocal. Cross-cousin marriages are permissible among them. They marry after attaining adulthood. Monogamy is prevalent. Polygyny is rare. Divorce is permissible among them. Widow remarriages are socially accepted. Marriage by negotiation, marriage by elopement, marriage by capture and marriage by service are socially accepted ways of acquiring mates, but negotiation is considered most prestigious and is common. The marriage ceremony takes place at groom’s house and is always accompanied by a feast and a dance. As soon as the marriage is over, the son separates himself from the family of origin and sets up his family for procreation. Porjas worship “Bododevatha”, “Sankudevatha” or “Nishanidevatha”, “Jakara devatha”, “Nandi devatha” etc., in addition to the spirits of their ancestors on every festive occasion. The ancestor worship is paramount in Porja religious life and they offer sacred food and sacrifice fowls to appease the spirits of ancestors. They celebrate festivals like “Giliab Parbu (hunting festival)”, “Poduja” (sowing festival)”, “Gotnakiya (ploughing festival)”, “Amflishuva (new mango eating festival”), “Bandaponpuras, Nandi Purab”, “Volpoda”, “Bali devatha panduga” etc. Porjas perform a folk dance called jhodia nat or Nandinat at the time of Nandi devatha festival. It is also known as Jillinat because the songs which are sung during this dance performance are full of expressions of love and romance. Jilli in Porja dialect means love and romance. The entire movements of dance resemble the movements of Dimsa dance but swift movements which are found in Dimsa are not found in Jhodia nat. There is a headman for each group in a village and a leader called ‘Naidu’ for each village, the offices of which are hereditary and these office bearers bear the responsibility of maintaining social order within the community. The inter-village disputes and disputes among the community people are settled by their traditional village council. Most of the Porjas who are living in the interior places are largely subsisting on podu cultivation and collection of minor forest produce. They practice podu cultivation on hill slopes and use primitive implements like hoe cum digging stick, hand axe and sickle. They also practice plough cultivation on flat fields and irrigated terraces. The landless sections of them work as agricultural labourers. There is a headman for each group in the village and the leader is called Naidu for each village. The posts of Naidu are hereditary and these office bearers bear the

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responsibility of maintaining social order within the community. The Porjas are non-vegetarians and consume beef and pork.

Valmiki Valmiki, living in the agency tracts of Andhra Pradesh, is the only tribe notified as Scheduled Tribe. They are found in the agency areas of Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts. They claim that they are descendants of the famous sage Valmiki, the author of Ramayana. According to 2001 Census, their population is 66,814. The total literacy rate among Valmiki is 58.22 % as per 2001 census. The Valmiki tribe is divided into various ‘gothram’ in order to regulate the marriage institution in Visakhapatnam tribal Area. The gothrams are “Nagabowse (snake)”, “Matsyabowse” (fish), “Pangibowse” (kite), “Jillabowse” (tiger), “Vantala bowse” (monkey), “Korrabowse” (sun),” Bhallubowse” (bear), “Poolubowse” (flower) and “Chillibowse” (goat). But these clan names are absent in tribal areas of East Godavari district. Marriage by mutual concent and marriage by elopement are the ways of acquiring mates. Widow Remarriage and divorce is permissible. Valmikis are agriculturists and forest labourers. Some of them became traders and petty moneylenders. They also sell earthen pots in the Shandies. They practice podu cultivation on the slopes of hills.

4.8 Socio – Demographic Profile of Study Area Gender Profile There were a total of 306 respondents (296 Male and 10 female) spread over the three village Panchayats. As most of the respondents were the heads of the family, male respondents outnumbered female ones. Only in Vanjangi, I managed to interview more female respondents than in the other village Panchayats.

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Table 4.8.1: Gender Profile Village Laxmipuram Kilagada Vanjangi Total

Male 101 99.0% 97 96.0% 98 95.1% 296 96.7%

Female 1 1.0% 4 4.0% 5 4.9% 10 3.3%

Total 102 100.0% 101 100.0% 103 100.0% 306 100.0%

Age Profile In Laxmipuram, 40.2% of the respondents (41) were within the age group of 35-60 years while the share of respondents from the age group of above 50 and 15-35 years was 38.2% (39) and 21.6% (22) respectively.. Maximum number of respondents in Kilagada was within the age group of 15-35 years with 45.5% (46), while 28.7% and 25.7% of the respondents from the age groups of above 50 and 36-50 years respectively. In Vanjangi, the highest number of respondents (50) was within the age group of 36-50 constituting 48.5%, while 27.2% and 28 % of the respondents were from the age groups of 15-30 and above 50 years respectively. Table 4.8.2. Age Particulars Village Laxmipuram Kilagada Vanjangi

Total

15-35 22 21.6% 46 45.5% 28 27.2% 9.2% 96 31.4%

36-50 41 40.2% 26 25.7% 50 48.5% 16.3% 117 38.2%

50 and above 39 38.2% 29 28.7% 25 24.3% 8.2% 93 30.4%

Total 102 100.0 101 100. 103 100. 33. 306 100.

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Income Profile Since majority of the family members were wage labourers and large number of respondents were dependents, 56.2% of respondents were in less than Rs.5000 income group followed by 32.4% in the income group of Rs.5000- Rs.10,000 and very small section of respondents (11.4%) in above Rs.10,000 income group in all the three village Panchayats. In Laxmipuram, 80 and 22 respondents were in less than Rs.5000 and Rs.5000-Rs.10,000 respectively, with no single respondent in the income group of above Rs.10,000/- . In Kilagada, while 55 respondents were from the Rs.5000 annual income group, 33 and 13 respondents were from Rs.5000-Rs.10,000/- and above Rs.10,000/- groups respectively. In Vanjangi, 44 respondents were in Rs.5000-Rs.10,000 annual income category, while 33 and 22 respondents were in the income groups of less than Rs.5000 and above Rs.10,000 respectively. Table 4.8.3 : Annual Income Village Laxmipuram Kilagada Vanjangi

Total

Less than 5000 80 78.4% 55 54.5% 37 35.9% 12.1% 172 56.2%

500010,000 22 21.6% 33 32.7% 44 42.7% 14.4% 99 32.4%

Above 10,000 0 0.0% 13 12.9% 22 21.4% 7.2% 35 11.4%

Total 102 100.0% 101 100.0% 103 100.0% 33.7% 306 100.0%

Education Profile Paderu block is underdeveloped and illiteracy rate is higher in all three village Panchayats where 67.2 % of the respondents were found to be illiterates and only 32.8% were literates. In Laxmipuram, the numbers of literate respondents were 40 which were slightly higher than the remaining two village Panchayats. In Kilagada, the numbers of literates were 30 and illiterates 70. In Vanjangi also, the literates were 30 and illiterates 73. Paderu block is less literate and this can be inferred from the literacy levels of the respondents in the three village Panchayats with only 32.8%

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respondents being literate and the rest 67.2% illiterate. In Laxmipuram, the number of literate respondents (40) were slightly higher than the other two village Panchayats- Kilagada (30 literates and 70 illeterate) and Vanjangi (73 illeterate and 30 literate). Table 4.8.4 : Education levels Village Laxmipuram Kilagada Vanjangi Total

Illiterate 62 60.8% 70 70.0% 73 70.9% 205 67.2%

Literate 40 39.2% 30 30.0% 30 29.1% 100 32.8%

Total 102 100.0% 100 100.0% 103 100.0% 305 100.0%

Marital Status The rate of divorce and remarriages of widow/widower is significant in the three village Panchayats. In all three village Panchayats, majority of the respondents were married and very less number of respondents unmarried. Out of 306 respondents, 295 were married and remaining 9 unmarried. Table 4.8.5 : Martial Status Village Laxmipuram Kilagada Vanjangi Total

Married 99 97.1% 96 97.0% 100 97.1% 295 97.0%

Unmarried 3 2.9% 3 3.0% 3 2.9% 9 3.0%

Total 102 100.0% 99 100.0% 103 100.0% 304 100.0%

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Occupational Background Agriculture is the main source of income as most of the respondents were dependent on agriculture and allied activities. Podu cultivation is also one of the main activities among most of the primitive tribal groups. Large numbers of respondents (109) in the entire three village Panchayats were in agriculture, processing their own lands in the Scheduled Areas. 99 respondents, mostly from the primitive tribal groups were agriculture labourers, while only few respondents mostly from the Kammara and other castes were from the skilled labour category. Table 4.8.6 : Occupation Village Laxmipuram Kilagada Vanjangi Total

Agriculture 32

Agriculture labour 0

Podu 51

Skilled labour 19

Unskilled labour 0

Total 102

31.4%

0.0%

50.0%

18.6%

0.0%

100.0%

31

54

12

4

0

101

30.7%

53.5%

11.9%

4.0%

0.0%

100.0% 103

46

45

8

3

1

44.7%

43.7%

7.8%

2.9%

1.0%

100.0%

109

99

71

26

1

306

35.6%

32.4%

23.2%

8.5%

0.3%

100.0%

In Laxmipuram, 51 respondents were podu cultivators and owned lands while the other 19 were skilled labourers. In Kilagada, while 31 respondents had their own land, 54 respondents mainly from the primitive tribal groups were agricultural labourers and only 4 respondents were from the skilled labour category. In Vanjangi, 46 respondents had their own lands and 45 respondents were agricultural labourers, while 3 and 1 respondents were skilled and unskilled labourers respectively.

4.9. The Socio-Political Profile of Study Area The main tribal groups in the three village Panchayats are Bagatha, Poorja, Kondh, Gadaba, Valmiki and Kammara. I found that these tribal groups were socially differentiated between each other in similar way as to the distinction they make between tribals and non-tribals groups. In all the villages except in Laxmipuram, power and influence was exerted by the Bagathas as they have the majority landholdings.

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Table 4.9.1 Socio- Political Profile Social Aspects Tribe composition of the village

Land Distribution

Largest landholder in the Village Landless in the Village Situational context of the village

Laxmipuram

Vanjangi

Kilagada

Bagathas Poorja Kondh Gadaba Valmiki Kammara There are no landlords in the village. Land is distributed under Indira Prabha scheme. -

Bagathas Poorja Kondh Gadaba Valmiki Kammara Bagathas and Valmiki are the large landlords

Bagathas Poorja Kondh Gadaba Valmiki Kammara Bagathas are landlords in the village.

Bagathas and Valmiki

Bagathas

Landlessness among all tribes

PrimitiveTribal Groups(PTGs) are landless Located within the forest Area. Large number of households are dependent on wage labour.

All PTGs are landless in the village Situated on the main road and linked to both Munchingput and Pedabayalu Mandal

Laxmipuram is an isolated interior village. It does not have road connectivity.

In Scheduled Area, the source of power and influence still lies in the traditional mix of dominant tribe and higher economic classes who also control the political space. In fact there is little or no empowerment of the primitive tribal groups in both Kilagada and Vanjangi Panchayats whereas in Laxmipuram their condition is good when compared to the other two village Panchayats.

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Table 4.9.2: Influential persons identified in Study Area Village Laxmipuram

Vanjangi

Kilagada

Most influential Persons • The influential person identified at Laxmipuram is Mr. Raju. He belongs to primitive Tribal Group called Poorja. He was elected as Sarpanch with the help of local NGO called CCN. He worked as NGO volunteer before he was elected as Sarpanch. • CCN, an NGO which is most influential in Laxmipuram, provides employment to villagers and also encourages them to participate and derive benefits from the community based organizations. • Mr. Raju provides employment to a number of households in the village. • Mr. Raju was elected as the best Sarpanch in Paderu region • Mr. Raju is most influential and he is the only Sarpanch who set up 14 watersheds in the Laxmipuram. • The village is heterogeneous in terms of tribe composition. The dominant group in the village is that of Bagathas. Within Bagathas, it is very difficult to specify the person or the family whose opinion is critical in decision making. • As a group, Bagathas own three-fourth of land in the village and provide employment to a large number of families especially to their followers. • The village people are divided in two party groups. That is Telugu Desam and Congress. The Sarpanch is from Congress and Member of MPTC is from Telugu Desam. Both Sarpanch and member of MPTC belong to Bagatha community • The largest landowner is the traditional leader in this village Panchayat and his opinion is final in decision making. • Bagathas by virtue of their upper caste status and economic status are dominant group in the village. • Within Bagathas, the largest landowner is the traditional leader called Mandhu Padal who is ex Muttadar and MPTC of this Mandal. He enjoys power and has his say in most of the decision –making processes of the village. • The Padal family has access to information and the mechanism that helps to derive benefit from the Government schemes. • The villagers also identified the moneylenders (shundies) who were exerting their influence in the village. However the influence is often channelised through the dominant group called Bagathas.

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4.10. Development Programmes in Study Area The Government of Andhra Pradesh has taken initiatives for development of model villages and towns with an intention to saturate certain identified basic needs of the people and the village/town Infrastructure in an integrated and focused manner. This is planned to be achieved in a period of three years. The new model of development is named as "INDIRAMMA" (Integrated Novel Development in Rural Areas & Model Municipal Areas). The objective of this programme is to saturate the basic needs in respect of the identified activities in all the Villages and Towns over a period of Three years. Such development model will ensure overall development of the Villages/Towns in a transparent manner covering additional areas every year. This process will remove the uncertainty and skepticism in certain quarters with regard to coverage of all eligible beneficiaries and the infrastructure needs since all the Villages/Towns would be covered over a period of three years. The primary aim of this programme is to provide in every village pucca houses, drinking water supply, individual sanitary latrines, drainage, power supply to every household, road facilities for transport, pensions to eligible old age persons, weavers, widows and the disabled, primary education to all, special nutrition to adolescent girls/pregnant and lactating women and better health facilities in all the villages over a period of three years in a saturation mode. This shall improve the living standards of the people significantly. This programme will be taken up in all the mandals simultaneously. Taking up Gram Panchayats covering one third of the population in the mandal every year, all the Gram Panchayats will be covered over a period of three years from 2002-2005. 8026 Gram Panchayats have been selected for the first phase of the programme starting on 1st April 2006 and the remaining Gram Panchayats will be covered during subsequent two years. "Aarogyasri Health Care Trust", recently setup by the State Government for implementation of this scheme, aims to assist the insurance company / TPA / beneficiaries and coordinate with Medical and Health Department , District Collectors, Civil Supplies Department etc. The main objective of the programme is to improve access of BPL families to quality medical care for treatment of diseases involving hospitalization and surgery through an identified network of health care providers The activities of DWCRA and Velugu were integrated under a programme called Indira Kranti Patham. The basic objective of this integration is to implement various programmes for strengthening of Self-

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Help Groups with similar implementation strategy. The new scheme Indira Kranti Patham had been designed by clubbing Women Empowerment with Poverty Alleviation Programmes. The National Rural Employment Act 2005 provides enhancement of livelihood security, giving atleast 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in every financial year to every household, whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. Panchayats at districts, intermediate and village levels will be the principal authorities for planning and implementation of the scheme.

4.12 Summing up This chapter talked about the profile of the three village panchayats in Visakhapatnam district. Laxmipuram Panchayat is one of the remote Panchayats in Munching Put Mandal. This village panchayats is dominated by Bagatha and Poorja tribe. CCN an NGO has been working in this village panchayats since 10 years. The motive of this NGO is that to motivate tribals about their own affairs. The NGO brought drastic change among the tribals. The NGO have been giving training to tribals in all aspects The CCN’s work revolves around bringing in and training, dedicated young professionals and placing them in the tribal areas, to form small teams with local youth called as Community Coordination Teams (CCTs). The CCT is to focus on small areas and work on activities, which are considered priority by the tribals, placing emphasis on community participation in decision-making and implementation of various programmes like Thrift and Credit, Grain Banks, Health, Education, etc. Kilagada is situated in Munching Put Mandal of Vishakhapatnam District; it constitutes 11 hamlets spread over an area of nearly 10 Kms. The Bagathas are dominating in this village panchayat. In fact all the posts like Sarpanch, MPTC, VSS President and Education Committee Chairman are all from the Bagatha Caste group. In this village, the Muttadari system still prevails. Muttadar is also MPTC of this village panchayat and enjoys all the powers like selection of beneficiaries, nature of work, conduct of Grama Sabha and agenda of Grama Sabha. He and the Sarpanch handle every thing in the entire village panchayat even though they are from two different political party backgrounds. The PTGs (Primitive Tribal Groups) stay far away from the village panchayats. Non-Tribes are also residing in this Gram panchayat most of whom are Traders & Money-lenders. These non-tribes hail from Orissa. They occupy more land in scheduled land even though Scheduled Area Acts Strictly prohibits them.

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The Vanjangi village panchayat is situated near the Paderu, the divisional head quarter. Political parties are active in this village panchayat. Both the Zilla Parishard chairperson and Mandal Parishad Chairman hail from this village panchayat. Bagathas are dominating the entire the village affairs. The Mandal Chairperson is from Telugu Desam Party and the Zilla Parishad Chairperson from Congress Party. Hence there is party politics in this area. Traditional panchayats are active in this village panchayat.

CHAPTER FIVE HOW GOVERNACE WORKS: LESSONS FROM FIELD

This chapter analyses and explains the awareness and participation of tribals in Panchayats in general and Gram Sabha in particular. Tribals’ perception on the local Government’s performance and the impact of different schemes related to their lives on them has also been dealt with. Much light has been thrown on the importance of PESA act and the awareness and relevance of the act among Panchayat members and the tribal respondents. Participation has contributed positively to changes in social relationships not only within the State and at the grass-roots institutions, but also among the tribal people themselves, as well as between tribal people and other actors in the informal economy, such as moneylenders, traders and other service providers. The evaluation recognizes that the State, too, has a crucial and concurrent role to play in shaping and promoting participatory processes, in particular, by promoting a favourable environment that can lead to the erosion of the 'dependency culture' that is deeply rooted in tribal societies, which are accustomed to receiving services and resources from the 'top'. This 'dependency' among Scheduled Tribes not only emphasizes the need to develop self-reliant tribal communities that can take charge of their own decisions and their own resource allocation, but also refers to the 'dependency' that has arisen in the Government apparatus and among Government officers supporting tribal development, ITDA staff and others whose performance is largely assessed on the basis of the 'results achieved' in tribal development.

Tribals and Panchayats Panchayat Raj Institutions – the grass-roots units of Decentralized have been proclaimed as the vehicles of socio-economic transformation in rural India. Effective and meaningful functioning of these bodies would depend on active involvement, contribution and participation of Tribals. The aim

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of every village being a republic and Panchayats having powers has been translated into reality with the introduction of the three-tier Panchayat Raj system to enlist people’s participation in rural reconstruction. The following indicators were chosen for assessing the prevailing situation in tribal areas.

5.1 Awareness - Panchayat Raj Taking the three Village Panchayats, the awareness levels regarding Panchayats is high in Kilagada village Panchayat (97%), followed by Laxmipuram (89%) and Vanjangi (77%). Looking into the tribe-wise awareness levels in each of the three villages individually, In Laxmipuram except Gadaba (50%) and Koodu (73.9%) all the remaining tribes are 100% aware of the existence of Panchayat. But in Kilagada, almost all the tribes in the sample are aware (i.e. 100% except Poorja 91.8%) of the existence of Village Panchayat. This shows that the roots of awareness level is very high among all the tribes represented in the sample with regard to their population In Vanjangi, the lower level of awareness of Panchayat is also reflected in the awareness among the different tribes. Gadaba, Koodu, which are Primitive Tribals are less aware when compared to other tribes. One more thing is that Konda Dora that occupies a predominant place in tribal hierarchy is less aware about the existence of Panchayats (59.3%) even when compared to PT Gram Sabha. In Kilagada Village Panchayat, member of the Gram Sabha was unhappy with the fact that Gram Sabha meeting were not held properly. Instead of meaningful discussion, addressing individual petitions regarding ration cards and pensions took priority.

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Table 5.1. Awareness of Panchayat Raj Panchayat Laxmipuram

Kilagada

Vanjangi

Tribe Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Koodu Valmiki Total Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total

Yes 14 (100) 3 (100) 31 (100) 5 (100) 1 (50) 34 (73.9) 1 (100) 89 (87.3 22 (100) 6 (100) 2 (100) 45 (91.8) 19 (100) 3 (100) 97 (96) 24 (96) 32 (59.3) 10 (90.9) 2 (100) 2 (66.7) 2 (66.7) 5 (100) 77 (74.8)

No

1 (50) 12 (26.1) 13 (12.7)

4 (8.2)

4 (4) 1 (4) 22 (40.7) 1 (9.1) 1 (33.3) 1 (33.3) 26 (25.2)

Total 14 3 31 5 2 46 1 102 22 6 2 49 19 3 101 25 54 11 2 3 3 5 103

5.2. Awareness of Panchayat Programme With regard to Panchayat Programmes (PP) in the village Panchayat, the awareness levels among the different tribes in the three Village Panchayats are as follows: The awareness levels in Laxmipuram about the P.P is quite high i.e. 74.5%. Analyzing the data with reference to different tribes in Laxmipuram, all the tribes except Poorja, Gadaba, and Koodu are highly aware (i.e. 100% aware, except Kammara 83.9%) of the Panchayat programmes. Among the PTGs, the awareness levels regarding Panchayat programmes is comparatively less than the other tribes, out of the total sample 100% of Gadabas are not aware of P.P where as the awareness

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levels is less among Koodu (58.7%) and Poorja (60%). In Kilagada V.P, the awareness levels about the P.P are not corresponding to the awareness about Panchayats. About 96% of the respondents are aware of Panchayats in Kilagada but when it come to awareness levels regarding P.P it is quite low i.e 60.4% only. The awareness levels is highest only among non PTG tribes like Bagata (95.5%), Valmiki (100%) and Konda Dora (50%), the only exception being Kammara where 100% of the respondents are not aware of Panchayat programmes even though all the 100% were aware of Panchayats. Table 5.2. Awarness of Panchayat Programmes Panchayat Laxmipuram

Kilagada

Vanjangi

Tribe Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Koodu Valmiki Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki

Yes 14 (100) 3 (100) 26 (83.9) 3 (60) 2 (100) 27 (58.7) 1 (100) 76 (74.5) 21 (95.5) 3 (50) 23 (46.9) 11 (57.9) 3 (100) 61 (60.4) 24 (96) 22 (40.7) 6 (54.5) 1 (50) 2 (66.7) 2 (66.7) 5 (100) 62 (60.2)

No

5 (16.1) 2 (40) 19 (41.3) 26 (25.5) 1 (4.5) 3 (50) 2 (100) 26 (53.1) 8 (42.1) 40 (39.6) 1 (4) 32 (59.3) 5 (45.5) 1 (50) 1 (33.3) 1 (33.3) 41 (39.8)

Total 14 3 31 5 2 46 1 102 22 6 2 49 19 3 101 25 54 11 2 3 3 5 103

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In Vanjangi Village Panchayat, the awareness levels of Panchayat programmes is only 60.2% which is less than the other two village Panchayats. Viewing the data tribe wise, we can note that except Bhagata and Valmiki (100%) the awareness levels among all the other tribes is comparatively less. Except Gadaba and Koodu (both 66.7% each) all the other tribes showed less interest in Panchayat Programmes.

5.3 Sources of Information about Panchayat Programmes Comparing all the three villages in totality, we can infer that the sources of information for most of the people regarding PP are Elected members (34% for total three villages), next in the list is NGO which emerged as the second biggest source of awareness (13%), but NGO as the source of awareness is mainly concentrated in Laxmipuram. Another interesting inference is that very less percentage of the respondents knew about the PP on his or her own. In Laxmipuram village Panchayat, the biggest source of awareness is NGO (37%) this is mainly concentrated among Kammara (58%), Gadaba (50%) and Kodu (37%). It is interesting to note that for all the respondents from the Bagatha tribe, the source of awareness of PP is only through elected members (100%), who are none other than Bhagatha people. Bagathas in the three Gram Panchayat are aware of the PP mostly through their elected members (100%, 45% and 56% in Laxmipuram, Kilagada and Vanjangi respectively). The next source of awareness to them is themselves, which is 50% and 40% in Kilagada and Vanjangi respectively. Konda Dora also show the same trend, as 100%, 50% and 56% of Konda Dora from Laxmipuram, Kilagada and Vanjangi respectively identified elected members as their chief source for awareness about Panchayat Programmes. But among the PTGs like Poorja, Koodu and Gadaba awareness has been created mainly through NGO in areas where they exist and are active.

Kilagada

Panchayat Laxmipuram

Tribe Bagatha KondaDor Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total Bagatha KondaDor Kammara Poorja Koodu Valmiki Total 4 (8.2)

4 (4)

3 (100) 19(18.8

37(363

18(58.1 1 (20) 1 (50) 17 (37)

NGO

5 (10.2)

11(50)

Own

34(33.7)

10(20.4) 11(57.9)

9 (19.6) 1 (100) 34(33.3) 10(45.5) 3 (50)

Member 14(100) 3 (100) 5 (16.1) 2 (40)

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5.3 Sources of Information about Panchayat Programmes

140

4 (4)

4(8.2)

4(3.9)

1(50)

3 (9.7)

Friend

1(1)

1 (2.2)

Sec

40(39.6)

26(25.5 1 (4.5) 3 (50) 2 (1000 26(53.1 8 (42.1)

19(41.3

5 (16.1) 2(40)

None

Total 14 3 3 5 2 46 1 102 22 6 2 49 19 3 101

Vanjangi

Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total 18(17.5

10 (40) 8(14.8)

1 (1)

1(33.3) 5 (100) 39(37.9

14 (56) 14(25.9) 6 (54.5)

4(3.9

1(9.1) 1 (50) 2(66.7)

How Governace Works: Lessons from Field

1 (1)

1(33.3)

40(38.8

1 (4) 32(59.2) 4(36.4) 1 (50) 1(33.3) 1 (33.3)

25 54 11 2 3 3 5 103

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5.4 Panchayats - Major activities In Laxmipuram, the majority of the respondents (32%) felt that AntiPoverty Programmes is the major activity of Panchayat. The other major responses are Rural Development (24%), Land Distribution (22.5%), VSS (11.2%) and Food for Work (10.8%) in that order. In this Gram Panchayat, 100% of the respondents from Bagatha, Konda Dora and Valmiki have listed Rural Development as the major activity of Panchayat. Whereas among Kammara, 52% listed anti poverty programmes and 35% Land Distribution. Most of the respondents in Poorja (40%) identified Land Distribution as the major activity of Panchayat, next in the list for them is Food for Work and anti poverty programmes both 20% each. Among the Gadaba tribe, the respondents are equally divided (50% each) between anti poverty programmes and Food for Work. The highest response from Koodu is Land Distribution (21.7%). In Kilagada, majority of respondents (51.5%) have identified Rural Development as the major activity of Panchayat. Except Bagatha and Valmiki, all other tribes like Konda Dora (50%), Poorja (55.1%), and Koodu (63%) have listed Rural Development as the major activity of Panchayat. 45% of Bagatha, and 67% of Valmiki have listed Anti-poverty programmes as the major activity. In Vanjangi Gram Panchayat, the majority of respondents (32%) have identified Food for Work programmes as the major activity of Gram Panchayat. Among Bagathas, 44% identified Food for work followed by Rural Development (20%) and Anti Poverty Programmes (16%). Among Konda Doras 33.3% have identified Food for Work, whereas 29.6% Watershed and 19% Anti-poverty programmes as the major activity of Panchayat. Among Kammara, the majority of the respondents (54.5%) have identified Rural Development. While taking into consideration the Poorja tribe, the respondents are evenly distributed (50% each) between anti poverty and land distribution.

Tribe

Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki

Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Koodu Valmiki

Panchayat

Laxmipuram

Kilagada

5 (10.2) 1 (5.3) 2 (66.7) 19(18.8)

33(32.4) 10(45.5) 1 (16.7)

16(51.6) 1 (20.0) 1 (50.0) 15(32.6)

AntiPover

10 (9.9)

9 (18.4) 1 (5.3)

11(10.8)

1(20.0) 1(50.0) 9(19.6)

Food for Work

Table 5.4 Major Activities of Panchayat Watersh

27(55.1) 12(63.2) 1 (33.3) 52(51.5)

4 (8.7) 1 (100) 24(23.5) 9 (40.9) 3 (50.0)

14 (100) 3 (100) 1 (3.2) 1 (20.0)

Rural Devel

7 (6.9)

4 (80.2)

11(10.8) 3 (13.6)

8(17.4)

3(9.7)

VSS

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23(22.5)

10(21.7)

11(35.5) 2 (40.0)

Land Dis

13(12.9)

2 (33.3) 2 (100) 4 (8.2) 5 (26.3)

None

14 3 31 5 2 46 1 102 22 6 2 49 19 3 101

Total

143

18(17.5)

2 (66.7) 1 (33.3) 1 (20.0) 33(32.0)

1 (33.3) 1 (20.0) 21(20.4)

2 (8.0) 16(29.6)

11(44.0) 18(33.3)

4 (16.0) 10(18.5) 4 (36.4) 1 (50.0)

Vanjangi

Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki

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144

3 (60.0) 24(23.3)

5 (20.0) 10(18.5) 6 (54.5)

3 (2.9)

3 (12.0)

4(3.9)

1 9.1V 1(50.0) 1(33.7) 1(33.3)

25 54 11 2 3 3 5 103

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5.5. Panchayats -NGOs In Laxmipuram Gram Panchayat, all the different tribes are aware of the presence of NGO working in their Gram Panchayat. All the tribes have identified CCN as the NGO working in the Village (100%). In Kilagada the majority of respondents (42%) have identified CARE as the chief NGO working in the village, this is more among the tribes, Poorja (76%), Valmiki (33%) and Konda Dora (16.7%). It is to be noted that the same percentage of respondents (42%) are not aware about NGO present in the village. Infact majority of the respondents among the tribes like Kammara (100%), Valmiki (66.7%), Konda Dora (66.6%) Bagatha (63.6%) and Koodu (42%) are not aware of the presence of NGO. Only Poorja (76%) of all the respondents are well aware of the presence of NGO. In Vanjangi, the majority of the respondents (41%) have identified CARE as the chief NGO present in the Gram Panchayat. This is more among the tribes Bagatha (44%), Konda Dora (44%), Gadaba (100%) and Valmiki (40%). In this Gram Panchayat, the significant percentage of respondents (33%) are not aware of the presence of NGO, this is more among Bagatha (48%), Valmiki (60%), Kammara (45.5%). Other significant point is that 16% of the respondents all belonging to Konda Dora have identified the presence of another NGO KOVEL. Only Poorjas and Koodus in totality (100%) have identified CCN as the NGO working in the Gram Panchayat.

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Table 5.5. NGOs working in study area Panchayat Laxmipuram

Tribe Bagatha

No

Yes Care

Total 14(100)

3(100)

3(100)

Kammara

31(100)

31(100)

5(100)

5(100)

Gadaba

2(100)

Koodu

3(6.5)

43(93.5)

46(100)

1(100)

1(100)

5(4.9)

97(95.1)

102(100) 22(100)

Valmiki Total

Vanjangi

KOVEL

KondaDora Poorja

Kilagada

CCN 14(100)

2(100)

Bagatha

14(63.6)

2(9.1)

6(27.3)

KondaDora

4(66.7)

1(16.7)

1(16.7)

Kammara

2(100)

Poorja

12(24.5)

Koodu

8(42.1)

1(5.3)

Valmiki

2(66.7)

1(33.3)

6(100) 2(100)

37(75.5)

49(100) 10(52.6)

19(100) 3(100)

Total

42(41.6)

42(41.6)

17(16.8)

101(100)

Bagatha

12(48.0)

11(44.0)

2(8.0)

25(100)

KondaDora

14(25.9)

24(44.4)

Kammara

5(45.5)

2(18.2)

Poorja Gadaba

16(29.6)

11(100)

2(100)

2(100)

3(100)

Koodu

3(100) 3(100)

Valmiki

3(60.0)

2(40.0)

Total

34(33.0)

42(40.8)

54(100)

4(36.4)

3(100) 5(100)

11(10.7)

16(15.5)

103(100)

5.6. Awareness—Community Property Resources (CPR) There is discussion regarding CPRs, certain decisions are taken by the Panchayats in consultation with the Gram Sabha. This has happened largely due to the efforts of a local NGO, which is conducting awareness programmes on PESA in the villages. Now the villagers come together to discuss on village issues. For example, for election of VSS members, the villagers were unaware of the process. Now they sit together in the Gram Sabha, discuss and elect the chairperson and vice chairperson and the forest department also acknowledges the process of Gram Sabha at least in

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some of the villages. The Gram Sabha is more active after PESA. The Gram Sabha in some places is coming together and discussing on how to improve their CPRs and where to access funds for the same. They are able to make the secretary also sit through the Gram Sabhas. According to Laxmipuram Sarpanch for the last two years, the Gram Sabha is functional and meets every month. The meeting takes place in the center of the village and is attended by Sarpanch, Panchayat Secretary and members of the thrift groups. The Gram Panchayats takes important decisions regarding development works in the village, viz., roads, water and education. It stressed the need for educating the villagers on the special laws applicable in their area, like PESA. Table 5.6. Awareness - Community property Resources Panchayat Laxmipuram

Kilagada

Vanjangi

Tribe Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Koodu Valmiki Total Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total

Yes 14 (100) 3 (100) 24(77.4) 1 (20.0) 18 (100) 1 (100) 61(59.8) 14(63.6) 1 (16.7)

None

1(20.0)

1 (1.0)

4 (8.2) 10(52.6) 1 (33.3) 30(29.7) 3 (12.0) 16(29.6) 5 (45.5)

2 (8.0) 1 (1.9) 3(27.3)

2 (66.7) 2 (40.0) 28(27.2)

2(40.0) 8 (7.8)

None/NA

7 (22.6) 3 (60.0) 2 (100) 28 (60.9) 40 (39.2) 8 (36.4) 5 (83.3) 2 (100) 45 (91.8) 9 (47.4) 2 (66.7) 71 (70.3) 20 (80.0) 37 (68.5) 3 (27.3) 2 (100) 3 (100) 1 (33.3) 1 (20.0) 67 (65.0)

Total 14 (100) 3 (100) 31 (100) 5 (100) 2 (100) 46(100) 1 (100) 102(100) 22 (100) 6 (100) 2 (100) 49 (100) 19 (100) 3 (100) 101(100) 25 (100) 54 (100) 11 (100) 2 (100) 3 (100) 3 (100) 5 (100) 103(100)

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5.7 Awareness - Government officials and people Representatives Visits made by Government officials to villages in the Schedule V Areas, can create a high level of awareness among people about the PESA Act. However, it was found that more than 76% of the total number of respondents said that the Extension Officers (EOs) did not make official visits to the villages during the last one year. Among the sample Gram Sabha members, more than 92% of them said that the Executive Officer( EO) did not make any official visit to their village during the said period. Among the female respondents, this share was a little higher. Similarly, around 16% of the respondents reported that the Village Level Workers (VLWs) and Mandal Parishad Development Officers (MPDOs) did not pay any official visit to their village during the last one year. This percentage was comparatively higher among the sample Gram Sabha members. M.D.O and other Extension Officers dominate the meetings with their reading of reports and proposals for acceptance, approving the budget from the common activities of these meetings. It is only two or three vocal members who speak in these meetings and instead of evaluating the work of employees they talk to claim some benefit to their areas. The procedure of meetings as told by Kilagada Gram Panchayats President reveals the situation. “They will tell us what they are going to do – and we convey our approval to it.” The M.D.O and extension officers as per the allotments and their convenience do all the planning, and the Parishad accepts the Budget prepared by them with few modifications in allocation of schemes. Bhagatha leaders dominate in suggesting such alterations as they are in majority and the President and Vice-President belong to the Bhagatha community. In order to achieve the objectives of democratic decentralisation, role of local leaders in social welfare and dynamic participation by people in the implementation at grassroots, an attempt has been made to examine the delegation, de-concentration and devolution of administration reorganization. In the Gram Panchayats, Presidents family is in the forefront of taking advantage of each and every scheme implemented in the village. Being in an advantageous position, the President was able to grab a few developmental benefits that reached the village for himself and his followers. Criticism was leveled against President that he is becoming an accessory to Forest and other departments. Many villagers are aware of the fact that the President is keeping for himself the best part of seeds, fruit plants that were given for distribution in the village.

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The introduction of Gram Panchayats based on democratic principle also could not bring much change in the power positions in the tribal villages. Of the seven members of the Statutory Panchayat, all the four members from the main village are members of Peddala Panchayats. The two other members are dominant persons (Naidu’s) from two hamlets in Kilagada. For Naidu, it was very easy to achieve the position for his son as his Family was earlier regarded as the leaders of the village and hence anybody from the Family getting to the power position was considered to be natural by the villagers.

Kilagada The role of President sharply differs from that of the Naidu. Though Naidu used to make use of any opportunities that arose for his own interest, he used to act on behalf of the whole village. Naidu’s position epitomized the village unity and harmony and is responsible for the welfare of the village as a whole. In contrast to the role of Naidu, the role of Panchayat President does not have any traditionally recognized responsibilities towards the village and the villagers are not completely aware of the statutory role. Thus, the Panchayat Raj institutions meant for people’s participation became a tool in the hands of certain persons to perpetuate their social and political dominance on the village.

Vanjangi There is a greater need for making the functionaries of Panchayat Raj Institutions, well versed with the rules and regulations, their duties and responsibilities. Despite many shortcomings in Gram Sabha and little knowledge, they were leading the Gram Panchayat and were committed to the development of tribals in their areas. In Vanjangi Village Panchayat, people were not at all conscious. They knew little about the advantage of local self-governance. The Government officials exploit the secretary in these conditions. The secretary of Gram Panchayat is more powerful than the Sarpanch and in the Scheduled Area, secretary neglected the representative. Due to lack of interest, new beneficial schemes were not properly implemented. They felt that the Government did not provide any benefit to them except making presence in the meeting of Gram Sabha. Villagers complained to the officials about their grievances. Most of the people were illiterate. The problems of women were serious in Adivasi areas. There were local politics among the elected representatives. They were least cooperative to each other.

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Powers and functions of Ward Members The members help the officials in the selection of proper beneficiaries but they did not know much about their political power except the minimum facilities. They presided over all meetings conducted by Gram Panchayat to prepare proposals and present it to the Mandal Parishad. They helped the village people in providing facilities for beneficiary programmes. The members provided loan information and powers to poor and needy people, convened Gram Sabha meeting. They elected the chairman of their block. They had voting right over the proposals in Gram Panchayat meetings and they participated in the preparation of designing of action plan for Gram Panchayat and maintained communal harmony and law and order situation. In Andhra Pradesh, State Government gave only 16 out of the 29 powers under Schedule V Areas Act. Fund raising powers were not given to the Gram Panchayat. It was also observed that there was a lack of knowledge about PESA among Panchayat Officials in Scheduled Areas. They were basically unaware of the administration of non-Scheduled Area under the Scheduled Panchayat. In this regard, the officials need proper training about the provisions of PESA.

Role of Village Secretary in Kilagada The nature of relationship between the V.S who is entrusted with all the activities of the village development and the village leaders who are supposed to act in the interest of the entire village attains considerable importance in the developmental context. In Paderu Block, Naidus and Muttadars who are leaders in the traditional political system continued to occupy leadership positions in the modern political bodies also. As the Village Secretaries have to depend on these leaders to achieve their targets and other favours; in the distribution of developmental benefits the followers and kinsmen of the leaders were given preference neglecting the needy persons. These leaders have the capacity to protect the Village Secretaries, both at Mandal Level and at the Village Level. The leaders became more influential because of their association with the development personnel. Whenever the Village Secretary visits the village, he/she invariably sits at the President’s house and acquaints him with the happenings in Gram Sabha at the Mandal Office. The V.S, who is residing at Munching Put, sends his message through the President who frequently visits his place. Through the Village Secretary, the President was assigned with works like distribution of Jowar

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and maize seeds. The village secretary seeks the opinion of the President in selecting beneficiaries for various schemes. The President ignores the shortcomings of the Village Secretary, though he has ample opportunity to expose him in the Mandal Office and at the Block Office. The most important consequence of the association between the Village Secretary and Panchayats President and other leaders is assuming the mediating role between the villagers and developmental personnel. Already influential, their prestige further rose with their contacts with the Village Secretary and other employees. Now their help is being sought whenever one has to deal with any Government Institutions or employees. Not only the residents of Kilagada and Vanjangi, but also other tribals from many surrounding villages were found to seek advice of these leaders. The problems faced in dealing with institutions and personnel make these leaders an important channel of contact with development agencies.

Tribals – Gram Sabha The Gram Sabha is the most powerful foundation of decentralized governance by ensuring elected representatives are directly and regularly accountable to the people. The aim of the government has been to strengthen the Gram Sabha by introducing favorable policy changes. However, the Gram Sabhas are yet to become operational entities and to do justice to their potential for making the Panchayat system truly selfgoverned and a bottom-up structure. The key roles entrusted to the Gram Sabha are social audit and Panchayat functioning, ratification of Panchayat accounts, identification and approval of beneficiaries, and supervisory and regulatory functions. The following indicators were chosen for assessing the prevailing situation in the field:

5.8 Participation- Gram Sabha According to the 73rd Constitutional Amendment And PESA Act, the Gram Sabha members and PRI representatives must participate actively in the Gram Sabha. But in the study villages, PRI representatives reported that Gram Sabha members did not participate in the Gram Sabha meetings. The reasons may be: (i) most of the Gram Sabha members were ignorant of the various provisions of PESA Act; and (ii) Gram Sabhas are not organized as per the rules. Participation level is higher in Vanjangi (77.7%), followed by Kilagada (59.4%) and Laxmipuram (56.9%). The participation levels are

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more among Bagatha (100%, 95.5% and 96% in three Gram Panchayats respectively), Valmiki (100%, 66.7% and 100%), Konda Dora (100%, 68.5% in Laxmipuram and Vanjangi) and Gadaba (100% and 66.7% in Laxmipuram and Vanjangi) The participation levels are less among Kammara (87.4%, 100% in Laxmipuram and Kilagada respectively. Table 5.8. Participation in Gram Sabha Panchayat Laxmipuram

Kilagada

Vanjangi

Tribe Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Koodu Valmiki Total Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu

Yes 14 (100) 3 (100) 7 (22.6) 3 (60) 2 (100) 28 (60.) 1 (100) 58 (56.9) 21 (95.5) 2 (33.3)

Valmiki Total

No

23 (46.9) 12 (63.2) 2 (66.7) 60 (59.4) 24 (96) 37 (68.5) 9 (81.8) 1 (50) 2 (66.7)

44 (43.1) 1 (4.5) 4 (66.7) 2 (100) 26 (53.1) 7 (36.8) 1 (33.3) 41 (40.6) 1 (4) 17 (31.5) 2 (18.2) 1 (50) 1 (33.3)

Total 14 3 31 5 2 46 1 102 22 6 2 49 19 3 101 25 54 11 2 3

2 (66.7)

1 (33.3)

3

5 (100) 80 (77.7)

23 (22.3)

5 103

24 (77.4) 2 (40) 18 (39.1)

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5.9 Regularity of Gram Sabha In Laxmipuram regularity is more among the respondents (45% are attending Gram Sabha regularly) compared to Kilagada (26%) and Vanjangi (31%). In Laxmipuram 100% of the respondents from Bagatha, Konda Dora and Valmiki tribes regularly participate in Gram Sabha. Whereas the regularity in participation is only 60% among Poorja and 50% among the Gadabas. In this Gram Panchayat, the tribes that were significant proposition of respondents but have never participated in Gram Sabha are Kammara (77.4%) and Poojra (40%). In Kilagada, the percentage of respondents who never participated in Gram Sabha is high (40.6%) compared to their participation in some form or the other. Only among Bagathas (63.6%), Koodu (52.6%) and a significant population of Valmiki (33.3%) participation is regular. Where as lack of participation is high among the tribes, Kammara (100%), Konda Dora (66.7%), and Poorja (53.1%). In Vanjangi Gram Panchayat, the percentage of respondents who often participate is more (50%) compared to those who regularly participate (31%) and those who never participate (22%). The tribes in which the majority of the respondents regularly participate in Gram Sabhas are Koodu (66.7%), Poorja (50%) and Bagatha (48%). In almost all the other tribes like Valmiki (80%), Kammara (64%), Bagatha (48%) and Konda Dora (46%) the percentage of respondents who participate often is also significantly high.

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5.9. How regular to Gram Sabha Panchayat Laxmipuram

Kilagada

Vanjangi

Tribe Bagatha KondaDora Kammara

Regular 14 (100) 3 (100)

Ofently

6 (19.4)

1 (3.2)

Poorja Gadaba Koodu

3 (60) 1 (50)

1 (50)

17 (37)

13 (28.3)

Valmiki Total

1 (100)

Never

24 (77.4) 2 16 (34.8)

Total 14 3 31 5 2 46 1

45 (44.1)

15 (14.7)

Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja

14 (63.6) 1 (16.7)

7 (31.8) 1 (16.7)

Koodu Valmiki Total

10 (52.6) 1 (33.3)

2 (10.5) 1 (33.3)

26 (25.7)

34 (33.7)

Bagatha KondaDora

12 (48)

12(48)

12 (22.2)

25 (46.3)

Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total

2 (18.2) 1 (50) 1 (33.3) 2 (66.7) 1 (20)

7 (63.6) 1 (33.3) 1 (33.3) 4 (80)

31 (30)

50 (48.5)

23 (46.9)

42 (41.2) 1 (4.5) 4 (66.7) 2 (1000 26 (53.1) 7 (36.8) 1 (33.3) 41 (40.6) 1 (4) 17 (31.5) 2 (18.2) 1 (50) 1 (33.3)

22 (21.4)

102 22 6 2 49 19 3 101 25 54 11 2 3 3 5 103

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5.10 Presenting Agenda - Gram Sabha In Laxmipuram Gram Panchayat most of the people are aware of the fact that it is the responsibility of the Sarpanch to present the agenda in the Gram Sabha as 57.8% of the respondents responded in the above manner. Tribes wise in Laxmipuram our analsis shows that majority of the respondents from all the tribes are aware that the Sarpanch should present the agenda in the Gram Sabha. The data showed that 100% of Bagatha, Konda Dora, Valmiki and 80% of Poorja have responded in the said manner. Only among Kammara (67.7%) and Gadaba (100%) the response is negative as they responded that the Village Secretary should present/presents the agenda in Gram Sabha. Whereas in Kilagada and Vanjangi, 36.6% and 24% of the respondents respectively have opined that the Sarpanch should present the agenda. In Kilagada, except Bagatha (90%) and Koodu (57.9%) who were aware that Sarpanch should present the agenda, most of the other tribes, Koodu (100%), Konda Dora (50%), Poorja (49%) have opined that it is the Muttadar who presents the agenda. The significant inference from this data is that in Kilagada the majority of the respondents (36.6%) have said that Muttadar presents the agenda in the Gram Sabha due to the presence of Muttadari system in the Gram Panchayat In Vanjangi, majority of the respondents (63%) have said that it is the Village Secretary who presents the agenda in the Gram Sabha. Analyzing the data with reference to different tribes, it is significant to note that majority of respondents from different Gram Sabha in this Village (Poorja 100%, Gadaba and Koodu 66.7% each) have responded that Sarpanch should present the agenda. All the remaining tribes, (Bagatha 80%, Konda Dora 66.7%, and Kammara 45.5%) have responded that the Village Secretary should present the agenda. It is one of the important provisions in the PESA that an elderly person of the tribal community or the traditional headman of the village would preside over the meetings of the Gram Sabha. The idea behind it was to conserve the autonomy and identity of traditional Adivasi Panchayats. But in the present study it is found that the meetings of the Gram Sabha were presided over by the Sarpanch mostly with his unanimous domination.

Kilagada

Panchayat Laxmipuram

Tribe Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Koodu Valmiki Total 5(10.2) 11(57.9) 37(36.6)

2(2)

27(58.7) 1(100) 59(57.8) 20(90.9) 1(16.7)

Sarpanch 14 (100) 3 (100) 10 (32.3) 4(80)

Chapter Five

1(2)

28(27.5) 1(4.5)

21(67.7) 1(20) 2 (100) 4(8.7)

Secretary

Table 5.10. Who Presents agenda in Gram Sabha?

156

3(100) 22(21.8)

17(34.7)

2(33.3)

MPTC

37(36.6)

1(4.5) 3(50) 2(100) 24 (49) 7(36.8)

Mutadar

3(3)

2(4.1) 1(5.3)

15(14.7)

15(32.6)

None

Total 14 3 31 5 2 46 1 102 22 6 2 49 19 3 101

Vanjangi

Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total 1(20) 63(61.2)

1(33.3)

20 (80) 36(66.7) 5(45.5)

5(20) 8(14.8) 2(18.2) 2(100) 2(66.7) 2(66.7) 3(60) 24(23.3) 1(20) 11(10.7)

6(11.1) 4(36.4)

How Governace Works: Lessons from Field

4(3.9)

4(7.4)

1(1)

1(33.3)

25 54 11 2 3 3 5 103

157

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5.11 Mobilization - Gram Sabha In all the three Gram Panchayats, the biggest source of mobilization is friend, which is 43.3%, 41% and 25% in Laxmipuram, Kilagada and Vanjangi respectively. The next best source for mobilization to participate in Gram Sabha is elected member, which is 34%, 35% and 36% in all the three villages respectively. Among all the three Gram Panchayats, NGO as one of the major source happens to be in Laxmipuram (23.5%). In Laxmipuram Gram Panchayat, for the major tribal groups like Bagatha, Konda Dora and Valmiki, elected member are the biggest source (100% for all). Whereas, Kammara is mainly mobilized through Friend (77%). One significant aspect to note here is that for all the Gram Sabha, the major source of mobilization is through NGO, as 40% of Poorja, 50% of Gadaba and 32.6% of Koodu are mobilized through NGO. In Kilagada, Bagathas are mostly mobilized through elected members (50%) and on their Own (45.5%). While, Valmikis are mainly mobilized on their own (66.7%). Friend has been the major source of mobilization for the tribes -Kammara (100%), Konda Dora (67%) and Poorja (53%). One Significant aspect to note here is that none of the respondents from any of the tribes have been mobilized through NGO in this Gram Panchayat. In Vanjangi, the major tribes for which elected members are the major source of mobilization are Bagatha (52%), Koodu (66%), and Koodu (66.7%). Most of the well to do tribes are mobilized either through elected members are on their own. In Valmiki tribe about 80% of the respondents are mobilized to attend Gram Sabha on their own. The PTG in this village are either mobilized by NGO (Poorja 50%, Gadaba 33%) or through Friend (Poorja 50%, Gadaba and Kammara 33% each). Taking the combined data for the three Gram Panchayats and looking into the tribe wise source of mobilization, Bagathas were mostly mobilized through elected members (100%, 50% and 52% for the three Gram Panchayats respectively,i.e Laxmipuram, Kilagada, and Vanjangi), on their own (45% and 28% in Kilagada and Vanjangi). For Konda Dora the source of mobilization is also elected members (100%, 33.3% and 29.6% for the three Gram Panchayats respectively).For Poorjas the major source of mobilization are Friend (40%, 40% and 50% in all the three Gram Panchayats respectively) and NGO (40% and 50% in Laxmipuram and Vanjangi).

Tribe

Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki

Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Koodu Valmiki

Panchayat

Laxmipuram

Kilagada

2(66.7) 22(21.8)

10(20.4)

10(45.5}

Own

24

6(19.4) 2(40) 1 15

NGO

35(34.7)

10 (20.4) 12

14 (100) 3 {100) 1(3.2) 1 {20) 1 13 1 34 11{50) 2 (33.3)

Elected Member

Table 5.11. Sources of Mobilization for Gram Sabha

3 (3)

3 (6.1)

Secretary

How Governace Works: Lessons from Field

44 1 {4.5) 4(66.7) 2 (100) 26(53.1) 7 1(33.3) 41(40.6)

18

24(77.4) 2 (40)

Friend 14 3 31 5 2 46 1 102 22 6 2 49 19 3 101

Total

159

4(80) 26(25.2) 6(5.8)

2(3.7) 2(18.2) 1(50) 1(33.3) 1(33.3) 2(66.7) 1(20) 38(36.9)

13 (52) 16 (29.6) 5 (45.5)

7(28) 13(24.1) 2 (18.2)

Vanjangi

Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total

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160

8(7.8)

4 (16) 4 (7.4)

25(24.3)

1(4) 19 (35.2) 2 (18.2) 1 (50) 1(33.3) 1(33.3)

25 54 11 2 3 3 5 103

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5.12 Problems - Gram Sabha Out of the total 305 respondents in the three Village Panchayats, the main hindrance for attending Gram Sabha is the lack of information regarding the time and date of Gram Sabha (38.36%), next is distance (21.63%). Among the three Gram Panchayats in Kilagada and Vanjangi the main problem that is hindering attendance in Gram Sabha is lack of information, it is 60% and 33% respectively for the two villages Panchayats. In Laxmipuram Gram Panchayat, most of the respondents cited distance as the main hindrance (26.5%) followed by lack of information (24%). Distance has been the main hindrance mainly for Gadaba (100%), and Poorja (20%). Where as 100% of Valmiki, 57% of Bagatha, and 67% of Konda Dora cited lack of information as the main hindrance for participating in Gram Sabha. In Kilagada except Valmiki (66.7%), which listed time as the main hindrance, all the other tribes have identified lack of information as the main hindrance for participating in Gram Sabha (100% of Kammara, 67% of Konda Dora). This is very high among Gram Sabha when compared to others as 76% of Poorjas and 58% Koodu have identified lack of information as the main hindrance. In Vanjangi Gram Panchayat, the tribe which has identified lack of information as the main hindrance, is Konda Dora (54%), where as Bagatha (50%) identified distance as the main hindrance. In this Gram Panchayat, inconvienent time (37%) has been identified as the biggest hindrance. This is seen more in the tribes of Gadaba (66.7%), Koodu (66.7%), and Kammara (90.9%). Interestingly 80% of the Valmikis have also identified time as major hindrance.

Tribe Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki

Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Koodu Valmiki

Panchayat Laxmipuramm

Kilagada

1(2.0) 8(42.1) 1(33.3) 12(11.9)

27 (26.5) 1 (4.5) 1(16.7)

Distance 6 (42.9) 1 (33.3) 6 (19.4) 1 (20.0) 2 (100) 11 (23.9)

Table 5.12. Problems in attending Gram Sabha

162

60(59.4)

4 (8.7) 1 (100) 24 (23.5) 6 (27.3) 4(66.7) 2(100) 37(75.5) 11(57.9)

Not informedd 8 (57.1) 2 (66.7) 9 (29.0)

Chapter Five

7(14.3)

7(6.9)

2(66.7) 18(17.8)

Untouch

4(8.2)

18 (17.6) 11 (50.0) 1(16.7)

5 (10.9)

12 (38.7) 1 (20.0)

Time

4(4.0)

33 (32.4) 4 (18.2)

26 (56.5)

4 (12.9) 3 (60.0)

NA

Total 14 (100) 3 (100) 31 (100) 5 (100) 2 (100) 46 (100) 1 (100) 102 (100) 22 (100) 6(100) 2(100) 49(100) 19(100) 3(100) 101(100)

Vanjangi

Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki 1(33.3) 1(33.3) 1(20.0) 27(26.5)

12(50.0) 12(22.2)

33(32.4)

3(12.5) 29(53.7) 1(9.1) 2(66.7) 1(33.3) 4(80.0) 37(36.3)

8(33.3) 13(24.1) 9(81.8)

How Governace Works: Lessons from Field

5(4.9)

1(33.3)

1(9.1) 2(100)

1(4.2)

24(100) 54(100) 11(100) 2(100) 3(100) 3(100) 5(100) 102(100)

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5.13 Issues- Gram Sabha Among the three villages, Laxmipuram Gram Panchayat has the highest percentage of respondents, (43.1% from the total sample from the Gram Panchayats) they have identified that developmental issues are discussed in Gram Sabha. In Vanjangi 43.7% of the respondents have identified that Village Problems are discussed in Gram Sabha. Whereas in Kilagada, the highest percentage of respondents (52.5%) have said that Personal problems are discussed in Gram Sabha. In Laxmipuram, the tribes which have stated that Developmental issues are discussed in Gram Sabha are Bagatha, Valmiki, Konda Dora and Gadaba (100% each). Whereas 60% of Poorja respondents, 42.3% of Koodu and 38.7% Kammara respondents have said that personal problems are discussed in Gram Sabha. In Kilagada, the tribes in which majority of respondents have identified that developmental issues are discussed in Gram Sabha are Bagatha (59%) and Koodu (52%) only. Majority of the tribes have identified personal problems as the issues which are discussed in Gram Sabha. They are Kammara (100%), Poorja (77.6%), Konda Dora (66.7%) and Koodu (42%). In Vanjangi, the tribes in which the majority of the respondents have identified that developmental issues are discussed in Gram Sabha are Poorja (50%) and Gadaba (66.7%) tribes only. The majority of the tribes except Bagatha (where 60% have identified Village Problems) the rest, viz., Poorja 50%, Kammara 63.6%, Valmiki 60% and Konda Dora 42% have identified that personal problems are discussed in Gram Sabha. Taking the three villages combined, Bagathas and Konda Dora’s perceived that developmental issues are discussed in Gram Sabha, 100% of the respondents from Bagatha and Konda Dora from Laxmipuram said that developmental issues are discussed in Gram Sabha. In Kilagada 59.1% of Bagathas perceived developmental issues are discussed in Gram Sabha, while 66.7% said that personal problems are discussed. In Vanjangi 60% of the Bagatha respondents have identified Village Problems as the major issue, which are discussed in Gram Sabha giving second preference (28%) to Developmental issues. In Kilagada and Vanjangi more importance is given to personal and village problems than to developmental issues. In Laxmipuram 60% of Poorja and 41.3% of Koodu identified that personal problems are discussed in Gram Sabha. Whereas in Kilagada, 77.6% of Poorja and 42.1% of Koodu have identified the same as the major issue discussed in Gram Sabha. In Vanjangi, 50% of Poorja and

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165

33.3% of Gadaba and Koodu have identified the same. This shows that irrespective of village, the PT Gram Sabhas have identified Gram Sabha as a place to discuss Personal issues Table 5.13. Issues discussed in Gram Sabha Panchayat Laxmipuram

Kilagada

Vanjangi

Tribe Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Koodu Valmiki Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki

Dev 14(100) 3(100) 13(41.9) 1(20.0) 2(100) 10(21.7) 1(100) 44(43.1) 13(59.1) 1(16.7)

Village Prob

Personal prob

6(19.4) 1(20.0)

12(38.7) 3(60.0)

2(4.3)

19(41.3)

15(32.6)

9(8.8) 8(36.4) 1(16.7)

34(33.3) 1(4.5) 4(66.7) 2(100) 38(77.6) 8(42.1)

15(14.7)

53(52.5) 3(12.0) 23(42.6) 7(63.6) 1(50.0) 1(33.3) 1(33.3) 3(60.0) 39(37.9)

1(1.0)

11(22.4) 10(52.6) 1(33.3) 25(24.8) 7(28.0) 5(9.3) 1(9.1) 1(50.0) 2(66.7) 1(33.3.) 1(20.0) 18(17.5)

2(66.7) 22(21.8) 15(60.0) 26(48.1) 3(27.3)

1(20.0) 45(43.7)

NA

1(5.3)

1(33.3) 1(1.0)

Total 14(100) 3(100) 31(100) 5(100) 2(100) 46(100) 1(100) 102(100) 22(100) 6(100) 2(100) 49(100) 19(100) 3(100) 101(100) 25(100) 54(100) 11(100) 2(100) 3(100) 3(100) 5(100) 103(100)

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Tribals- PESA In 1996 the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act (PESA) became the most important piece of legislation for tribals since the 73rd constitutional amendment established special provision for tribal peoples under scheduling. In its true interpretation PESA significantly strengthens the position of tribal people in the democratic process through the self governance of the ‘village republic’ at Gram Sabha (village assembly). This would enable communities to assume control over their livelihoods, conserve and manage natural resources and protect traditional rights. Despite this success, implementation of PESA has not been realized and tribal communities remain oblivious to the enabling powers and provisions of the Act, while state governments have become uncomfortable with it and have been trying to reverse some of the provisions therein.

5.14 Awareness- PESA Act In Laxmipuram, the major source of information and prime source of awareness about PESA is NGO (58.8%), in Kilagada also NGO is the biggest source for awareness of PESA but to a lesser extent (18.8%). But in Vanjangi, the biggest source of awareness of PESA is Govt. officials (21.4%). Analyzing the data tribe wise, in Laxmipuram, NGO is the biggest source of awareness for all the tribes in the Gram Panchayat. 100% of the respondents from Bagatha, Konda Dora and Valmiki communities were aware about PESA only through NGO. For Kammara, though NGO is the biggest source (54.8%), elected members also contributed for a significant awareness i.e 41.9%. Among the PT Gram Sabha, Poorja and Koodu NGO has been the biggest source of awareness about PESA (40% and 50% respectively) In Kilagada, NGO is the biggest source of awareness for Koodu (52.6%) and Baghata (27.3%), where as the chief source of awareness of PESA for Valmiki’s are Govt. Officials (33.3%). In this village, almost all the tribes are unaware of PESA, especially the PTGs. In Vanjangi, Gadaba (100%), Bagathas (88.0%) and Konda Dora (72.2%) are least aware compared to others. For Poorja and Koodu, the chief source of awareness is NGO. (50% and 66.7% respectively.) The wide range of the various aspects of PESA constitutes the knowledge about the traditional system of self-governance of tribal people and its dimensions; power and utility of traditional Panchayats in dispute settlement in rural areas, the awareness about the powers to use the natural resources and its management; the feed back the merits and demerits of traditional system of self-governing tribal

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institutions; the reaction of non-tribal people over the implementation of PESA; the competent power of Gram Sabha for community resources and its development; the Gram Sabha’s right over natural resources, the Gram Sabha’s role in prevention and restoration of tribal land alienation and prohibition of consumption of intoxicants in tribal areas. In the villages, poor and illiterate people are deprived of the benefit of most of the public schemes/programmes. Educated servicemen and rich people of the village who have nexus with Government officials derived most of the advantages. The sanctioned development works are not implemented properly in the village. Though benefits should reach, they are not given to them. There is no scheme/programme for educated unemployed youth. The ward member of Vanjangi is a woman and is working for the past year and a half and her tenure is for five years. According to her, the Gram Sabha is functional and it meets twice every year. One of the meetings is mainly for discussions and the other for giving petitions etc since Government officials are also present in the meeting. There are no discussions on CPRs in these meetings. Resolutions passed by the Panchayats were mainly with regard to road works, streetlights and hand pumps for drinking water. She was not aware about PESA. The analysis of perception and understanding of PR representatives about powers and functions in relation to the self-governance provisions of PESA in tribal areas reveals that there is a wide gap between their powers and the capacity to exercise the given powers due to lack of awareness and functional capacity of governance about provisions especially in matters like mining, land acquisition, marketing of minor forest produce, etc.

Tribe Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki

Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Koodu Valmiki

Panchayat Laxmipuram

Kilagada

Table 5.14. Knowing PESA Act

168

Own

19(18.8)

2 (4.1) 10(52.6)

23(50.0) 1 (100) 60(58.8) 6 (27.3) 1 (16.7)

NGO 14 (100) 3 (100) 17(54.8) 2 (40.0)

4 (3.9) 5 (22.7)

16(15.7)

1 (33.3) 6 (5.9)

2 (4.3)

1 (3.2) 1 (20.0)

13(41.9) 2 (40.0) 1 (2.2)

Govt Official

Elected Member

Chapter Five

22 (21.6) 8 (36.4) 5 (83.3) 2 (100) 45 (91.8) 9 (47.4) . (66.7) 71 (70.3)

2 (100) 20 (43.5)

None/NA

5 (5.0)

2 (4.1)

3(13.6)

Friends

Total 14 3 31 5 2 46 1 102 22 6 2 49 19 3 101

Vanjangi

Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki 1(1)

1(4.)

8(7.8)

2(66.7)

3(27.3) 1(50.0)

2 (8.0)

2 (40.0) 22(21.4)

15(27.8) 4 (36.4) 1 (50.0)

How Governace Works: Lessons from Field

3 (100) 1 (33.3) 3 (60.0) 72 (69.9)

22 (88.0) 39 (72.2) 4 (36.4)

25 54 11 2 3 3 5 103

169

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5.15. Relevance - PESA In Laxmipuram Gram Panchayat, 60% of the respondents have reported that they are aware of the relevance of PESA; Awareness about the relevance is high among Bagathas, Konda Dora’s, and Valmikis (100% each) and among Kammara (77.4%). Among the Gram Sabha, awareness about PESA is non existent among Gadaba and very less among Poorjas (20%) and Koodu (39.1%). In Kilagada, awareness is high among Bagathas (63.6%), Koodu (52.6%) and Valmiki. In this Gram Panchayat, most of the Gram Sabhas are not even aware of PESA and hence the question of awareness about the relevance of PESA doesn’t arise. In Vanjangi, the awareness level about the relevance of PESA is high among Koodu (66.7%), Kammara (44.5%) and Valmiki (40%). The Gram Sabha Poorjas and Gadabas are not even aware of PESA and hence the question of its relevance does not arise in this village among them. Most of the PRI representatives were unaware of some of the provisions of the PESA Act. Therefore, a clear-cut response on the adequacy/effectiveness of the provisions of PESA Act could not be expected from them. More than 88 per cent of the PRI representatives were ignorant of this aspect. Village-wise, this share was highest in Kilagada where more primitive tribes reside. However, very less percent of the sample PRI representatives reported that the existing provisions of the State Act are adequate and effective to empower the Gram Panchayat/Gram Sabha. On the other hand, around 8 percent of them said the provision under PESA Act was inadequate and ineffective. However, they were unable to give exclusive suggestions in this regard. The two group discussions organized at Vanjangi and Kilagada Panchayats in Visakhapatnam highlighted the serious contradiction between the elected representatives and the Gram Sabha. While the Sarpanch claimed that the Gram Sabha meetings were being held regularly, all the participants contradicted the statement and forcefully mentioned that no Gram Sabha meeting had been held. It seems that the Gram Sabha meetings were held only to comply with the rules and regulations. During these group discussions, most of the participants mentioned that they were never informed about the dates of the meetings of Gram Sabha. Some of them also mentioned that the timing for the meeting between 10.00 am and 2.00 pm, clashed with their routine work schedule. Some members reported that the Gram Sabha never discussed issues such as selection of beneficiaries under anti-poverty programmes; hence they

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lost the interest to attend these meetings of Gram Sabha. The groups complained that since the Gram Sabha meetings were generally held at Panchayat headquarters, some villages of the Panchayats were located at a long distance and so they were unable to make it to the venue. In most of the group discussions, the participants invariably mentioned that women hardly attended the meetings; owing to their preoccupation with livelihood and household chores. Another significant aspect that emerged during these group discussions was the lack of knowledge about the special provisions of the PESA among the majority of the participants. However, some participants during the group discussions at Laxmipuram Gram Panchayats seemed to have understanding of the provisions related to land alienation. This was due to the active facilitation given by local NGO, organizing the tribals for protecting their land rights.

Tribals- NGOs The common masses in the Scheduled Areas should be made aware of the salient features of PESA and their rights and their role in the functioning of Gram Sabha and Panchayat Raj Institutions in Schedule V Areas. The civil society groups could be helpful in meeting out the training needs of Gram Sabha members and PRI representatives. In this respect, elected representatives should be aware of their duties and responsibilities towards tribal community. Practical training of proper functioning of Panchayat Raj Institutions was required for representatives. There is need for active cooperation between common masses, PRI representatives and sensitive civil society groups in the Schedule V Areas. Elected representatives seek flexibility in PR Act and Manuals. The Gram Sabha members asked for vocational and community development training with the commitment for social service and self-sacrificing values. On the other hand, elected representatives lacked the sense of duty and responsibility in public sphere of social and cultural life of tribal groups. It is also informed that Government officials do not consider the opinions and views of PR representatives because of their low educational qualification and lack of awareness about PRI laws and provisions of tribal self rule enshrined in PESA. Civil society groups asked for need based functional awareness building for an effective training of Gram Sabha members and Panchayat Raj Institutions in the Schedule V Areas. Civil society groups could help in imparting the short-term training programme for common people with PRI representatives also. The design of training module should be

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incoherence with the requirements of the people of a region. Suggestions made by the common people for civil society groups to cooperate and assist the Government training activities were under the effective coverage of PR functionaries. When the question regarding civil society does come up, concerns are raised as to: how can elected representative cooperate with Civil Society groups in the training programmes? Civil society groups play an important role in the system of governance in contemporary society. In view of the emerging significance of civil society groups, there is need for close cooperation and interaction between civil society groups and representatives of Panchayat Raj Institutions in the Scheduled Areas so that benefits of PESA could be enjoyed by all the Scheduled Tribes. In the awareness building and capacity building of the elected representatives and Gram Sabha members, the civil society groups should associate at different levels of planning and execution of training programmes. The views of three elected representatives are as follows. 1. Civil Society demands more facilities to spread awareness about the training programme to people. 2. Civil Society groups should provide practical training to the elected representatives for effective functioning and operation of Panchayat Raj Institutions in the Schedule V Areas. 3. The Civil Society groups should make the elected representatives aware of the rules and regulations for proper functioning of Panchayat Raj Institutions in the Schedule V areas. There should be practical training relating to preparation of Action Plan and writing of proceedings of Gram Sabha, etc.

5.16 Activities - NGOs In Laxmipuram Gram Panchayat, the majority of the respondents (93.1%) identified awareness/mobilization as the chief activities of NGO, and the rest of 6.9% identified SHG as the activity of NGO. Except among Poorja tribe, where the majority of the respondents (60%) have identified Self-Help groups (SHG) as the chief activity of NGO, the rest of the tribes in majority, identified awareness and mobilization as the chief activity of NGO. Only two tribes, Kammara (9.7%) and Koodu (2.2%), which is also identified with SHG in small numbers, the respondents in all the other tribes have identified only through their Awareness. In Kilagada Gram Panchayat, a high rate of the respondents (41.6%) is not aware of the activities of NGO. Of the remaining 58.5%, 34.7% identified awareness and 23.8% identified mapping as the chief activities of NGO. The tribes in which majority of the respondents have identified

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awareness are Bagatha (36.4%), Koodu (52.6%), Valmiki (33.3%). Majority of Poorjas (44.9%) identified mapping of the village problems giving second preference to awareness (30.6%), whereas 16.7% of Konda Dora’s have identified both awareness and mapping of the village problems as the chief activity of NGO. In this village Panchayat, the levels of awareness about the activities of NGO are very low in all the tribes. This low level of awareness is comparatively high among Kammar (100%) followed by Valmiki and Konda Dora (66.7% each). Significantly, majority of the Bagatha respondents (63.6%) are also not aware about the activities of NGO. The tribes where awareness levels are high in this Gram Panchayat are Poorja 76.5% and Koodu 58.9%. In Vanjangi Gram Panchayat, 37.9 percent of the respondents are not aware of the activities of NGO. Out the remaining 62.1%, the majority of (36.9%) the respondents identified mapping, whereas awareness 19.4%, SHG 3.9% and development (1.9%) got the next preference. The tribes in which majority of the respondents have identified mapping as the chief activity are Bagatha (40%), Konda Dora (46.3%) and Valmiki (40%). Awareness has been mentioned as the chief activity among the tribes Gadaba, Koodu (both 100%) followed by Poorja (50%). In this Gram Panchayat, awareness levels are very low among the tribes.

Kilagada

Panchayat Laxmipuram

Tribe Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Koodu Valmiki Total

Table 5.15. Activities of NGOs

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Dev

15 (30.6) 10 (52.6) 1 (33.3) 35 (34.7)

22(44.9) 1(5.3) 24(23.6)

1 (16.7)

Awareness 14 (100) 3 (100) 28 (90.3) 2 (40.0) 2 (100) 45 (97.8) 1 (100) 95 (93.1) 8 (36.4) 1 (16.7)

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7 (6.9)

1 (2.2)

3(9.7) 3(60.0)

SHG

14(63.6) 4 (66.7) 2 (100) 12 24.5) 8 (42.1) 2 (66.7) 42(41.6)

None

Total 14 3 31 5 2 46 1 102 22 6 2 49 19 3 101

Vanjangi

Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total 2(1.9)

2(3.7)

2 (40.0) 38(36.9)

10(40.0) 25(46.3) 1 (9.1)

20 (19.4)

2 (8.0) 7 (13.0) 4 (36.4) 1 (50.0) 3 (100) 3 (100)

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4 (3.9)

2 (3.7) 1 (9.1) 1(50.0)

3 (60.0) 39 37.9)

13 52.0) 18 33.3) 5 (45.5)

25 54 11 2 3 3 5 103

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5.17 NGO’s Intervention In the entire three Village Panchayats, there is an overwhelming advocacy for the intervention of NGO in the Gram Panchayat/Gram Sabha. This was highest in Kilagada where 96% of the respondents favoured NGO intervention, followed by Vanjangi 73% and Laxmipuram 67.6%. In Laxmipuram Gram Panchayat, 100% of Bagatha, Konda Dora, Gadaba and Valmiki tribes favoured active intervention of NGO. Among Porja, 80% of the respondents favored NGO intervention. Only among the Koodu tribe, there is a significant percentage (43.5%) against the intervention of NGO. In Kilagada almost all the tribes favored active intervention of NGO. In Vanjangi Gram Panchayat, except Gadaba (66.7%) and Valmiki tribe, (where a significant number 40% of the respondents were against NGO intervention) all the other tribes in majority favoured NGO intervention. Table 5.17. NGOs Intervention in Gram Sabha/ Panchayat Panchayat Laxmipuram

Kilagada

Tribe Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Koodu Valmiki Total

Yes 14 (100) 3 (100) 19 (61.3) 4 (80.0) 2 (100) 26 (56.5) 1 (100) 69 (67.6) 22 (100) 5 (83.3) 2 (100) 46 (93.9) 19 (100) 3 (100) 97 (96.0)

No

12 (38.8) 1 (20.0) 20 (43.5) 33 (32.4) 1 (16.7) 3 (6.1)

4 (4.0)

Total 14 (100) 3 (100) 31 (100) 5 (100) 2 (100) 46 (100) 1 (100) 102 (100) 22 (100) 6 (100) 2 (100) 49 (100) 19 (100) 3 (100) 101 (100)

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Vanjangi

Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total

20 (80.0) 36 (66.7) 11 (100) 2 (100) 1 (33.3) 3 (100) 3 (60.0) 76 (73.8)

5 (20.0) 18 (33.3)

2 (66.7) 2 (4.0) 27 (26.2)

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25 (100) 54 () 11 (100) 2 (100) 3 (100) 3 (100) 5 (100) 103 00)

5.18. Political Parties- Panchayats In Vanjangi Gram Panchayat, almost all the tribes are not aware of activities of political parties (PP). Only among Poorja, that too to a less extent (20%), the respondents felt that developmental works are the activities of PP. In Kilagada, most of the respondents (62%) identified none as the activities of PP. While 26.5% of Poorja have identified tribe politics as the main activity of PP, 16.7% of Konda Dora and 14. 3% of Poorja have identified party politics as the main activity. In Vanjangi only the awareness levels about the activities of Gram Panchayat is better (50.9%). Out of this, majority have identified party politics (27.2%) followed by caste Politics (10.7%). Majority of Valmiki (60%) and Kammara (45.5%) have identified tribe politics, whereas majority of Konda Dora (40.7%) and Bagatha respondents (16%) have identified party politics as the main activity of PP.

Kilagada

Panchayat Laxmipura

Tribe Bagatha KondaDor Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total Bagatha KondaDor Kammara Poorja Koodu Valmiki Total 13(26.3 1 (5.3) 14(13.9

7(14.3)

8 (7.9)

1(16.7)

25(24.5 16 72.7) 4 (66.7) 2 (100) 29(59.2 8 (42.1) 3 (100) 62(61.4

3 (2.9)

No

21(45.7

Caste politics

2 (4.3)

Party politics

3(9.7) 1(20.0)

Village politics

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1(20.0

Deve

Table 5.18. Activities of Political Parties

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17 (16.8)

10 (52.6)

None/NA 14 (100) 3 (100) 28 (90.3) 3 (60.0) 2 (100) 23 (50.0) 1 (100) 74 (72.5) 6 (27.3) 1 (16.7)

Total 14 3 31 5 2 46 1 102 22 6 2 49 19 3 101

Vanjangi

Bagatha KondaDo Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total 1(20) 7(6.8)

2(8.0) 3(5.6) 1(9.1)

4 (3.9)

3(12.0) 1 (1.9)

1 (20.0) 28(27.2

4(16.0) 22(40.7 1 (9.1)

3 (60.0) 11(10.7

1 (4.0) 2 (3.7) 5 (45.5)

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40(38.8

1 (33.3)

13(52.0 26(48.1

13 (12.6)

4 (36.4) 2 (100) 3 (100) 2 (66.7)

2 (8.0)

25 54 11 2 3 3 5 103

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5.19 Planning and Identification of the Schemes The State Act on PESA says that, ‘Every Gram Sabha shall be responsible for the identification and selection of beneficiaries under the poverty alleviation and other programmes’. But most of the respondents, including the Gram Sabha members, Ward Members, Sarpanchs, Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituencies and Mandal Praja Parishads reported that the beneficiaries for different programmes were not identified in the Gram Sabha. In most cases, the Sarpanch and Gram Panchayat Secretary prepared the final list of beneficiaries irrespective of the list approved by the Gram Sabha. Only fewer respondents reported that the Gram Panchayat identified beneficiaries. The Percentage respondents among Gram Sabha members, who gave a positive response about the responsibility of the Gram Sabha in identifying beneficiaries, is very less, low among the female Gram Sabha members. Most of the respondents in the three Village Panchayats have felt that planning and identification of the schemes have really improved the choice of the people, this is highest in the Gram Panchayat of Laxmipuram (72%), followed by Vanjangi (59%). Only in Kilagada, half of the respondents (50%) have felt that planning and identification has not improved the choice. In Laxmipuram, 72% of the respondents have responded in affirmative that planning and identification has really improved the choice. This is highest (100%) among the tribes Bagatha, Konda Dora, Poorja and Valmiki, followed by Kammara and Koodu (65%). Only among the Gadaba tribe, all the respondents (100%) have opined that Planning and Identification of schemes have not improved the choice of the people. In Kilagada, the response is evenly distributed as 50% of respondents identified both. In this Gram Panchayat, only Bagathas (95%), Valmiki (100%) and Koodus (53%) responded in majority that planning and identification of schemes has really improved the choice of the people. Whereas, 100% of Kammara, 67% of Poorja and 83% of Konda Dora have opined that planning and identification of schemes have not really improved the choice of the people. In Vanjangi Gram Panchayat, almost all the tribes responded in positive that planning and identification has improved the choice. This is highest among the tribes: Bagatha (84%), Valmiki (60%) and Kammara (55%). Among the Kammara tribe, the response is equal. It is interesting to note that 100% of the Bagatha respondents and 67% of Koodu respondents felt that planning and identification has improved the choice of the people. There is negative response among Gadaba community in this Gram Panchayat, as all the

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respondents (100%) opined that planning and identification has not improved the choice or chances of social mobility of the people. Table 5.19. Planning and Identification of the Schemes Panchayat Laxmipuram

Kilagada

Vanjangi

Tribe Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Koodu Valmiki Total Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total

Yes 14 (100) 3 (100) 20 (64.5) 5 (100) 30 (65.2) 1 (100) 73 (71.6) 21 (35.5) 1 (16.7) 16 (32.7) 10 (52.6) 3 (100) 51 (50.5) 21 (84.0) 27 (50.0) 6 (54.5) 2 (100) 2 (66.7) 3 (60.0) 61 (59.9)

No

11 (35.5) 2 (100) 16 (34.8) 29 (28.4) 1 (4.5) 5 (83.3) 2 (100) 33 (67.3) 9 (47.7) 50 (49.5) 4 (16.0) 27 (50.0) 5 (45.5) 3 (100) 1 (33.3) 2 (40.0) 42 (40.8)

Total 14 3 31 5 2 46 1 102 22 6 2 49 19 3 101 25 54 11 2 3 3 5 103

5.20 Utilization of funds Most of the respondents said that if there is a process of certification of funds by the Gram Sabha, then there will be least possibility of corruption due to the major participation of members in the procedure, in the study area. Some of the respondents expressed their views that it was an unnecessary burden and was just a formality because some dominant people of the village possessed the control of the Gram Sabha in their

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hands (in the study area) and it hampered the development work. Some respondents were not in a position to say anything. The poor tax collection of the Gram Panchayats is mainly due to the inability of the Gram Panchayat’s leaders to persuade or coerce the defaulters to pay their dues, especially the employees who had to pay professional tax. The Gram Panchayat Presidents are not exercising their authority to collect taxes and take action against defaulters under the provisions of Gram Panchayats Act. The tribals who do not see any specific advantage question the authority of the President for collecting taxes for the Panchayats, which is doing nothing for them. Even in villages where services like electricity are offered, they are restricted to the main village only. The president has to depend on schoolteacher or some other employee for maintenance of all Panchayat Records and Accounts. When Professional Tax is not collected regularly, it leads to loss of income, as the amount can never be realized after the employee leaves the place on transfer. Another aspect to be noted is that the Panchayat leaders are not following the procedures prescribed for them. This is because of lack of knowledge about procedures, illiteracy, and wrong advices given by local employees. It was observed in Kilagada Gram Panchayat that, the President writes down the resolutions with the help of local teacher or Village Development Officer and sends the ‘Meeting Book’ for the signatures/thumb impressions of the members. The resolutions that are written regularly are meant for authorizing the President to spend Panchayat Funds and for ratifying the expenditure incurred by him. The common audit objectives include spending excess amount on festivals and establishment, non-production of Budget Sanction ratified by the Parishad. Non-production of tax records, receipts and vouchers for expenditure, lack of authenticated quotations and estimates for works and purchase of articles form other important objectives. No action is being taken against these objections due to the Government Policy and the Panchayats are continuing their activities as ever before.

5.21 Summing up The present chapter highlighted the importance of Participation and how intensively villagers in general participate in activities associated with Gram Panchayats; why there are differences in participation levels; and which groups of people participate disproportionately in the activities and decision making of PRIs.

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The most positive thing noticed in Laxmipuram village is an improvement in overall awareness of tribals in panchayat work and its activities. As many as 62 percent tribals are aware of the development programmes undertaken by the panchayats in this village where the NGO is working. Nearly 67 percent were aware about the timings and agenda of the panchayat meetings and equal number knew about the powers of panchayat. Implementation of the government policies and undertaking of the development programmes were regarded as the two main powers of panchayat. Seventy three percent of the respondents replied to the question regarding their awareness about the issues undertaken in their panchayat. Most of these were stated to be related to housing under Indira Awas Yojana or construction work mainly under Jawahar Rojgar Yojana or those related to pension schemes, maternity benefits etc. 52 percent of tribals identified the source of income of their panchayats, which came mainly from either government funds, panchayat property, collection of taxes and through politicians like MLA, MP grants. The participation and performance of tribals in panchayat has brought about a positive change in the tribals image and the respect they receive from others as expressed by more than half the respondents. People come to them with problems and they are invited by them to take part in important occasions. Many respondents expressed that people have started believing that tribals can perform well as panchayat representatives. Most of the respondents in this Laxmipuram Village acknowledge the active role played by the NGO, attributing their participation in the panchayat to it. In contrast, other village panchayats like, Kilagada and Vanjangi, where there is no active civil society organization working, it has been identified that there was lack of regular tribal attendance in meetings, less rising of the issues and the dominance of the male members of the family in the panchayat work. Nearly 52 and 63 percents of tribals in Kilagada and Vanjangi village panchayat said that they do not raise any issue and those few who did were mainly confined to personal and drinking water. About 42 percent of them attend meetings regularly where as 58 percent either do not attend meetings at all or attend at times. A startling revelation of the study is that the panchayat raj system functioned efficiently in Laxmipuram when compared to Kilagada and Vanjangi. The manner in which the developmental activities have been undertaken indicates a relatively successful story of panchayat raj in Laxmipuram village panchayat. According to the Mandal Officials, involving tribals in the grass root development process has already started yielding positive results. For instance, the villagers (Laxmipuram) performance in education drives has improved significantly since last five

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years (1997-2001) as compared to earlier such efforts by the administration. This proves that tribal participation in the PRIs does not merely bring about a qualitative change in their own lives but also improves the functioning of public institutions and thereby accelerates development in their area. The gram sabha meetings were more popular and better attended in Laxmipuram (67%) than Kilagada (35 percent) and Vanjangi (42 percent); this also indicates that role played by civil society in organizing tribal participation. In other words, people in the village panchayat, feel that, through participation in the social, economic and political processes they may be able to bring about speedy development in their village panchayat. Moreover, in Laxmipuram gram panchayat, the gram sabhas played an active role in approving the Action Plans for socio-economic development including identification of beneficiaries of poverty alleviation programmes and monitoring the utilization of funds by the panchayats. The awareness and enthusiasm amongst the elected representatives in the gram panchayat was relatively more and they were keen on holding the panchayat meetings regularly on the scheduled dates.

CHAPTER SIX GOVERNANCE AND NATURAL RESOURCES: IN SEARCH FOR A BETTER LIFE

6.1 Introduction Natural Resource Management (hereafterNRM) is an important element of governance as the majority of rural communities depend on these for their livelihoods. The move towards administrative decentralization, involving the communities through Village Watershed Committees and Joint Forest Management Committees, was primarily meant to promote partnerships between the line departments dealing with natural resources and local communities, giving communities some voice in resource management. Linkages between Panchayat Raj Institutions and resource management committees may combine partnership in resource management with accountability through political representation. Joint Forest Management (JFM) and Watershed Management are the State funded programmes for administrative decentralization of natural resource management in which the State (through its line departments) has entered into an agreement with local user groups. The agreement is for joint management of resources in which the State supplies the technical and financial capacity and devolves responsibilities and rights over the natural resources to local user groups subject to fulfillment of specific conditions such as: following prescribed management practices and contributing labour. Both Watershed Development and JFM programmes have guidelines; the guidelines for Watershed Development were framed by the Ministry of Rural Development in 1995. Common property resources (forest, water and common lands) have formed an important livelihood resource base of the tribal communities. But laws enacted both in pre and post-independent India did not transform the management of these resources for the people to gain control over the NRM. The continued delay in shift of ownership of NR from State to people became a permanent source of confrontation and agency of contradiction to own and control the NR between the people and the State

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authorities. Recognizing the inherent problems associated with State policy on NRM, successive Governments in post-Independent India realized the necessity to shift the focus from State to people. The PESA is an important departure towards enabling the communities to gain control over the NRM. With the management of natural resources passing on to the community in the form of Gram Sabha, the role and responsibility of the State officials have also theoretically got transformed. Whether this transformation has really being taken place in reality is an area to be explored by the scholars. It would be an interesting area to explore whether people are aware of this fact and how they are using it vis-à-vis the management and control over common property resources especially the minor water bodies. There have been conflicts with the Government but people have continued to assert their rights. This has taken the form of forest protection committees, reviving nistaar rights, use of water bodies for fishing, irrigation etc., where people continue to manage the common property resources even though the efforts require the so-called ‘legal sanctity’. The problem is further accentuated by the fact that even today there is no legal entity like the Common Property Resources. All the common property resources fall within the revenue and forest categories whose control is vested with the respective authorities and not with the people or Gram Sabha. We propose to argue that Panchayat Raj is weak, lacks accountability and is not able to promote participatory development. The objective of the political leadership is to develop vibrant civil society which opens enough space for critical political engagement of people as active participants as well as major stakeholder of different development resources. The hidden agenda behind the creation of parallel institutions by the former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Mr. N. Chandrababu Naidu was to maintain control over the distribution of Government benefits and slot party workers into authority structures at the local level. Whatever may be the political agenda, there is ample evidence to support both the arguments at local level. For instance, women from self-help groups formed under Government programmes have been elected to Panchayats; this sort of evidence supports the paradigm which terms ‘social capital as vital base for democracy argument’. The incidence of this phenomenon led to speculation a few years ago that social capacity building was paying off in local empowerment. Instead, our village studies suggest that the parallel bodies do indeed appear to be drawing on the resources and organizational development of Panchayat Raj Institutions. Our Village studies indicate that Panchayat Raj

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Institutions are not particularly strong or visible in their own right. PRI members and office-bearers may be part of other village committees, but this does not amount to an organic linkage with Panchayat Raj Institutions. Rather, the elite Bagatha tribe managed to capture and control all Panchayat Raj bodies and other institutions is an overwhelming reality, and the elite made their political choices based on the opportunities that they would get to consolidate and expand their own economic interests and widen the political power. Introduction of Watershed Development and JFM programmes offered strong possibilities to extend patronage and buy goodwill. We have found that in many areas a number of committees, created and promoted by the line departments of the State are in operation. The various committees like the Village Tribal Development Authority (VTDA) and Vana Samrakshana Samiti (VSS) are working under their respective Government offices apart from the independent Panchayats. In some cases, they are not even unanswerable to the Panchayats, like in Kilagada and Vanjangi Panchayats. The proliferation of these parallel committees created major problems from an essential legal perspective. As discussed earlier, there are functions, like watershed management, drinking water, minor irrigation and social forestry, which have been vested with the Panchayats under the 73rd amendment to the Constitution of India. It is also viewed that some of the user committees have not only resulted in a parallel institutional regime, but also a parallel legal regime with Panchayats. It is imperative that legal spaces could be explored for evolving inter-relationships between the Panchayat Raj Institutions and formal and informal user groups engaged in forestry and water management. The committees can be given a legal status and authority as Gram Panchayat sub-committee or even a Gram Sabha Committee using these provisions. The existence of number of parallel committees is compounded by the fact that there seems to be no coordination between various committees like the VTDA committee (ITDA), VSS Committee (Forest dept.), DWCRA groups (MDO) etc. Apart from the fact that the Panchayats have no committees control over these, but the fact remains that these committees themselves are not in good terms with each other and that does not augur well for the management of the common property resources of the State, which requires a coordinated approach and an integral perspective. Findings from the Vanjangi Panchayat have shown that over the years some of the traditional practices like the patel system, the Kowlu agriculture and the vetti systems have declined. It has also been inferred

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from the studies that the changes brought about by the forest department in particular the launch of the Joint Forest Management Programme has had the effect of wiping away the traditional village forests in these areas. It has also been noted that a major reason behind the disappearing of traditional structure is introduction of development programees. This brings out the important concern that apart from evolving linkages between the Panchayat Raj Institution and the Government, user groups and traditional informal associations and the groups and practices nurtured by them cannot be lost sight of. Parallel bodies like VSS and Watershed Committees, to a large extent undermine the Gram Sabhas. The study highlights the presence of parallel bodies like VSS (Forest Protection Committees), water user associations, VTDA, etc., in the same Gram Sabha but not answerable to the Gram Sabha. The corresponding laws need to be amended to bring the various bodies under the jurisdiction of the Gram Sabha and make them answerable to the Gram Sabha. Conflict within committees, expanding the resource base of the local committees, matching responsibilities with rewards, ensuring beneficiaries’ rights over the end products, bureaucratic attitudes of forest officials etc., are some of the hurdles noticed during the field study towards successful implementation of Joint Forest Management (JFM). Main problem with the Village Protection Committee is lack of rules and guidelines in the formation of Forest Protection Committees (FPCs), non-participation of women in the meeting, lack of training of members and no financial benefit for protectors of the forests.

6.2 Minor forest Produce (MFP) The study is focused on the role of Gram Sabhas/Village Panchayat in matters of ownership, control and management of MFP in Schedule V Areas. The study revealed shift in the focus of MFP. It was once common resource for tribals to supplement their livelihood sources but has now turned into a commercial enterprise which is supposed to meet the welfare and development programmes of tribal development. The role of Gram Sabha and Village Panchayats is nominal and it is the forest department, which dictates terms and conditions. During the course of study, we have found that information and statistics relating to MFP is hard to come by. In the absence of authentic comparable data, it is difficult to present a pure data/information based on fieldwork. Tribal life and economy are inseparable from the realm of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) as it contributes substantially to their family

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income. Any effort towards the economic development of the tribal families necessarily has to address the issues of MFP. It is in recognition of this fact that the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA) provided specifically the Gram Sabha with the right of ownership over Minor Forest Produce. The Panchayat Raj Extension Act, 1996 has bestowed certain rights on the Gram Panchayats and Gram Sabhas. As provided, certain properties of forest (MFPs) belongs to Gram Sabhas. It is also envisaged in the Act that the provisions with reference to MFP should be implemented without fail and the State Governments are advised against nationalization of certain minor forest produce. The ownership control and management of MFP is closely linked to the issue of forest management. The National Forest Policy, 1988 stipulates that “special attention will be paid to protection, regeneration and optimum collection of minor forest produce and making institutional arrangements for the marketing of such produce”. The policy lays down that: “Forests are renewable natural resource. They are a national asset to be protected and enhanced for the well-being of the people and the Nation”. The Government of India has constituted a National Forest Commission (NFC) under the Chairmanship of Justice B.N. Kripal1, former Chief Justice of India. The terms of reference of the commission recommended establishing a meaningful partnership and an interface between forestry management and local communities including tribals. The Commission was also to go into the problems of implementing PESA in Scheduled Areas with particular reference to “Ownership, Control and Management of MFP”. Expert Committee (C.S. Chadha, chairperson)2 was constituted by the Government of India in October 1997 for studying the implications of conferring ownership rights in respect of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) on Panchayats/Gram Sabhas and to suggest a mechanism to implement this provision without affecting the sustainable development of MFP on Panchayats/Gram Sabhas. The Expert Committee felt that “conferring unbridled rights of ownership of MFP might lead to destructive exploitation of forest and hence was not advisable”. –‘The God wills, the priest denies’. The theme of PESA is that the State Legislation on Panchayats in Scheduled Areas should be in consonance with the tribals’ customary laws, social and religious practices and traditional management practices 1 2

B.N. Kripal, (1996), Chairman, National Forest Commission , Government of India C.S. Chadha, (1997), Chairmen, Expert Committee on MFP, Government of India.

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of natural resources and customary mode of dispute resolution. In the realm of MFP, the Forest Department plays a pivotal role. The middleman role is of less significance because of Panchayats and cooperatives. Some of the aspects of forest administration would require re-orientation to achieve full objective. Working out the mechanism for entrusting ownership rights of MFP with Gram Sabha, elimination of middlemen, promoting processing units and supporting cooperative endeavours are some of the steps necessary to accelerate the process. It has often been projected that there exists conflict related to MFP in the shape of MFP related Acts with other regulations like Forest Conservation Act, Environment Protection Act, Wildlife Protection Act, etc. In the actual implementation of ownership, control and management of minor forest produce in the context of PESA implementation, these are given undue importance by bureaucracy. What is required is regeneration of MFP and widening opportunities for MFP collectors to improve their economy.

Definition of MFP The customary usage of the term MFP has been that of items included in the list of nationalized MFP in each State, here it may be mentioned that the term MFP has been generally adopted for non-timber forest produce (NTFP). There is a continuing dispute over the prevailing interpretation of forest department to exclude cane and bamboo from the category of NTFP. During the field survey, it was observed that the meaning of the term NTFP is rarely used or understood by the tribal respondents. The term ‘Minor Forest Produce’ is neither ‘minor’ for the tribals from their livelihood perspective, though declining in importance because of depletion in forest cover, nor in terms of revenue for the forest administration. The concept of NTFP is in such circumstances imperative but no authoritative legal backing has been given to the term NTFP. The study revealed that in Andhra Pradesh, though the ownership of MFP has been vested in Gram Sabha, the actual control of MFP continues with the forest department of the State Government. In the absence of the Gram Sabha exercising the powers of ownership of MFP, the State Cooperative Agencies i.e. Girijan Cooperative Corporation in Andhra Pradesh is exercising monopoly rights of collecting and trading in MFP. The management of MFP including procurement, processing and marketing continues to be with the State Government assigned agencies such as Tribal Development Corporation and MFP Corporations. It is also important to point out that largely the ownership, control and management

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of MFP is influenced by the forest policy of the Government of India and the State Government. The Central Government launched the Federation of Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Corporation (TRIFED) in 1983 at the national level to handle all MFP related matters across the country. The Girijan Cooperative Corporation (GCC) established by the State Government in 1956 declared its main objectives, they are: a) To ensure payment of remunerative prices for the MFP collected by the tribals by eliminating the middlemen and private traders. b) To facilitate the availability of essential commodities through a network of Daily Requirement (DR) Depots. c) To provide credit facilities to support the agricultural activities of tribals. The PESA Act states that the Gram Panchayats within its local limit and under the supervision & control of the Gram Sabha is entitled to have control over the minor forest produce (MFP). However, not a single respondent reported that the Gram Panchayat /GS have ever exercised their power to control MFP. It may be due to the fact that in Andhra Pradesh, the Girijan Cooperative Corporation Limited (GCC) markets the MFP’s. The Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Areas Minor forest Produce (Regulation of Trade) Regulation Act 1979 was enacted to enable State monopoly in the trading activities of MFP in the Scheduled Areas through the GCC. Infact, the GCC is the monopoly agent to purchase 35% Nontimber Forest Produce (NTFP) in the Scheduled Areas of the State. The Government has not only leased out all NTFP units in the State to GCC, it has also exempted the latter from the payment of security deposit for the units taken on lease. The objectives of the Panchayat Raj Institutions are procurement of NTFP from tribals and market it to the advantage of GCC. But the tribals of the village charge GCC for its failure to pay the remunerative prices for their NTFP. The study showed that neither the Panchayats functionaries nor the GS members were aware of the provision of PESA regarding the control of MFP. In the Scheduled Area, ITDA had no role to play in the matters related to the MFP. They also did not seem to be concerned in an official manner with the functioning of the Panchayats in Scheduled Areas. Further, even in the surveyed units, authentic information was not forthcoming as to the implementation of the tribal sub-plan programme. Presently, Gram Sabha and Panchayats have no role in marketing mainly because of: 1. Lack of Practical knowledge 2. Lack of infrastructure, such as manpower, storage facilities etc 3. Inadequacy of funds

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4. Obstacles created by private agents and 5. Indifferent attitude of official machinery. When we tried to gather Panchayat-wise information with the help of a structured questionnaire schedule, it was impossible to get the required information in a comparable form. In spite of this shortcoming, our findings and recommendations cannot be termed impressionistic because the study was centered on participatory approach. During group discussions in the Village Panchayats, some common problems and opinions emerged; it was found that, in an overwhelming majority of the sample units, there was no awareness about the Gram Sabha being endowed with ownership rights of MFP as per PESA 1996. As a matter of fact, awareness about PESA itself was almost absent. Awareness about PESA and State Confirmatory Act is very less among the members of Gram Sabhas. The awareness level in the sample units among tribal people about PESA and ownership right being conferred on Gram Sabha was totally absent or neglible. It was also noticed that the Panchayats have not been given administrative or financial powers in the devolution process. The ITDPs under the tribal sub-plan had only an insignificant role to play in matters of MFP and fifth schedule powers are not exercised in a coordinated manner with PESA provisions. In all the Village Panchayats, the State Tribal Development Corporations have monopoly rights over MFP items through GCC, cooperative societies and at some places through agents on the basis of commission. However, the agents have no permanent standing. In general, the income generated from the MFP has been falling speedily mainly because of the depletion of forests. The forest administration would need to redefine its role in the context of PESA. Also the Panchayats and Tribal sub-plan funds should be availed for augmentation of MFP availability. Awareness about price fixation formulae for MFP among respondents was very low. It has generally been reported that the forest department does not lend a helping hand in collection of MFP. On the other hand, they often harass and humiliate the collectors of MFP.

Minor Forest Produce Collection and Other Occupations The collection of various forest produce is an important source of subsidiary earnings for the tribal households. It is especially key source of livelihood to the landless households and marginal farmers, as their agricultural production is not sufficient to sustain their basic needs

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throughout the year. Important forest produce like Adda leaves, Tamarind and Broomsticks are available for collection during the summer when there is not much agricultural activity or any other income generating sources. Though Muttas were abolished long back, by and large the earlier practice of non-interference into the forest Area of other Muttas is being adhered to in the collection of forest produce. Table 6.1 Important MFP of the Study area Laxmipuram

Kilagada

Vanjangi

Tamarind

Tamarind

Tamarind

Amla

Amla

Amla

Maui flower and Seed Sal leaf

Maui flower and Seed Sal leaf

Honey

The MFPs are used in preparing medicines, items of daily consumption, preparation of country liquor. It would be seen that MFP contributes to supplement food, liquor and support health care facilities. In addition, some of the items provide employment opportunities in cottage industries like adda leaves, tendu leaves and tamarind.

Problems in the Management of MFP It was reported that the collection of MFP consumes lot of time and energy. Other sectors being more lucrative, people spend less time in MFP collection. It was reported in all the three village Panchayats that the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Organization does undertake MFP procurement and marketing. Yet in some cases the tribes have to face lot of difficulties for disposing the collected MFP. Some of the common difficulties and hazards faced in the collection of MFP as revealed by the respondents during the field work include: 1. The original intention seems to protect the tribal women from exploitation. But in practice, the Government organizations have been acting as monopolist middle-men. The freedom to sell MFP items in the market without the obligation to sell the products to particular agency through Panchayat Raj Institutions to benefit tribals. It is here that the role of Gram Sabha and PESA become crucial. However, the information so gathered is not amenable to statistical treatment as the responses were aimed at finding factual position through participatory approach. 2. Fear of attack from wild and poisonous animals.

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3. Due to depletion in trees over years, collectors have to go deep into the forests, which is risky to life. 4. Harassment by the forest officials. In Kilagada, contractors play a vital role. Private contractors form another category of exploiters of the tribals. The contractor has become a law unto himself. He has a pull with the officers in the department and uses its punitive machinery against infringements of the forest rules; though at times, he is the biggest defaulter and villain of the situation. But the some groups with vested interests support him and he roams scot-free exploiting the tribals sexually and economically. The study identifies the problems faced by Gram Sabha / Gram Panchayats in exercising its powers with regard to ownership, control and management of MFP.

Status of PESA Implementation The field survey has confirmed the fact that actual ‘Ownership, Control and Management of MFP’ has not so far been endowed with the Gram Sabhas / Gram Panchayats in the Scheduled Areas as envisaged under clause 4 (m) (ii) and amended State Panchayats Acts of Andhra Pradesh. Non-enforcement of the provisions is attributed to the fact that the concerned State has not framed rules and regulations to bring into force the provisions of the amended State Panchayats Acts. In villages, no household is aware of PESA or that GS is empowered to own, control and manage MFP. In fact, in the district of Visakhapatnam, out of around 100 respondents in each, more than 70 percent of the respondents could not even give proper response to this question. There was no occasion when PESA was discussed in the village or in Gram Sabha or Gram Panchayats. In fact, the large number of respondents did not even know the purpose of Gram Panchayat. A very small number of respondents had attended any GS meeting and there was no occasion where PESA was discussed in the village.

Controlling Community Forest Land The communal/forest lands within the local limit are controlled by the Gram Panchayat through the GS. Around 240 of the total respondents, including all categories, reported that the above lands are not controlled by the Gram Panchayat /GS. Besides this, 190 respondents were ignorant of the Gram Panchayat/GS function with regard to the control of communal/

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forestland. Only 27 percent of the respondents were aware of the above function of the Gram Panchayat/GS.

Issues of Tribal Traditions and Cultural Practices An important objective of the PESA act is to empower the tribal people in the Schedule V Areas through self-governance by recognizing multiple traditions and cultural practices. But less than half of the sample of PRI members, including the Sarpanch, Mandal Praja Parishad members and ward members reported that the Gram Panchayat implemented the GS decision on the above issues.

Efforts for Regeneration of MFP So for no Gram Sabha in sample units have made any efforts towards the regeneration of MFP. This was mainly due to the absence of devolution of administrative and financial powers. However, provision for development of MFP is included as a programme in tribal sub-plan of the State Government.

Sale of MFP to the Girijan Cooperative Corporation (GCC) The majority of respondents who sell their MFP to GCC are in Laxmipuram (75%), followed by Kilagada (70%) and Vanjangi (56%). In Laxmipuram Gram Panchayat, almost all the respondents irrespective of their tribe sell their produce to GCC. Almost 100% respondents from Bagatha, Gadaba, Konda Dora, Poorja and Valmiki sell their MFP to GCC. Even among the rest of the tribes like Koodu and Kammara, majority of the respondents (65% and 68% respectively) sell their MFP to GCC. In Kilagada also majority of the respondents (70%) sell their MFP to GCC. 100% of Valmiki, Poorja (80%) and Bagatha (68%) sell their produce to GCC. Only Kammara (100%) and 50% of Konda Dora respondents do not sell their produce to GCC. In Vanjangi, the percentage of respondents who do not sell their MFP to GCC are in a significant number (44%). The tribes in which majority of respondents do sell their MFP to GCC are Poorja (100%), Gadaba, Koodu (67% each).

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Table 6:2 Sale of Minor Forest Produces to GCC Panchayat Laxmipuram

Kilagada

Vanjangi

Tribe Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Koodu Valmiki Total Bagatha KondaDora Kammara Poorja Gadaba Koodu Valmiki Total

Yes 14 3 21 5 2 30 1 76 15 3

(100) (100) (67) (100) (100) (65.20 (1000 (74.5) (68.2) (50)

No

39 11 3 71 14 30 6 2 2 2 2 58

(79.6) (57.9) (100) (70.3) (56) (55.6) (54.5) (100) (66.7) (66.7) (40) (56.3)

10

(32.3)

16 (34.8) 26 7 3 2 10 8

(25.5) (31.8) (50) (100) (20.4) (42.1)

30 11 24 5

(29.7) (44) (44) (45.5)

1 (33.3) 1 (33.3) 3 (60) 45 (43.7)

Total 14 3 31 5 2 46 1 102 22 6 2 49 19 3 101 25 54 11 2 3 3 5 103

Does GCC accept all the MFP items? Except in Laxmipuram Gram Panchayat, the majority of the respondents in the other two Gram Panchayat opined that GCC accepts all their MFP. In Laxmipuram Gram Panchayat, 59% of the respondents felt that GCC accepts all the MFP. When the sample is divided tribe wise, 100% of Bagatha, Konda Dora, Valmiki and Gadaba and 64.5% of Kammara believe that GCC accepts all the MFP items only among the Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs). Among Poorja (60%) and Koodu (59%) the majority of the respondents have said that GCC does not accept all the MFP items.

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In Kilagada, 78% of the respondents say that GCC does not accept all the MFP items. This is highest among the tribes of Kammara, Valmiki, Poorja (all 100%) and Konda Dora 83%. The only exceptions in this Gram Panchayat are Koodu (52.6%) and Bagatha (50%) wherein significant number of respondents felt that GCC accepts all the MFP items. In Vanjangi also, majority of the respondents (56%) said that GCC does not accept all the MFP items. This is highest among the tribes of Konda Dora and Poorja, where 70% and 100% of respondents respectively said that the GCC does not accept all the MFP items. It is significant to note that 100% of respondents from Gadaba, 80% of respondents from Valmiki and 66.7% from Koodu view that GCC accept all their MFP items. The availability of forest resources is quite high in Laxmipuram when compared to two other village panchayats. Though Kilagada has less forest resources, the number of people dependent on forest is quite high. Average size of forest available to each Gram Sabha/Panchayat in Kilagada and Vanjangi is between 100 -300 acres. During the field study, an effort was made to identify the most remunerative MFP of the locality and the effort was fruitful. I found that Mahua flower and mahua seeds are the most remunerative MFP of the study area. Next to them are the tamarind and tendu leaves. In Kilagada, tendu leaves are also very remunerative for the people. However, the production of tendu leaves in the study areas of Kilagada is very low. Income from MFP: It was really a difficult task to calculate the income from MFP as people could not properly recollect how much they earned from MFP. In case of agriculture, they could recollect how much paddy or other crops they harvested in the last season, but in case of forest produce they earn like a daily wage labour, hence it became very difficult for them to recollect. As per the approximate calculation, it turned out that nearly 56.2 per cent could earn less than Rs. 1500 from MFP.

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Table 6.3 Household heads in three Village Panchayats as per Income categories from MFP

Income/Village Laxmipuram Kilagada Vanjangi

Total

Less than 1500 80

15003000 22

30005000 0

Total 102

78.4%

21.6%

0.0%

100.0%

55

33

13

101

54.5%

32.7%

12.9%

100.0%

37

44

22

103

35.9%

42.7%

21.4%

100.0%

12.1%

14.4%

7.2%

33.7%

172

99

35

306

56.2%

32.4%

11.4%

100.0%

In case of Laxmipuram, though a large area of forest is available close to the habitations, the income from MFP is not proportionately high. Whereas, people in Kilagada and Vanjangi earn more with the low forest resources available to them. The reasons are two-fold. First, the JFM committees in Laxmipuram are functioning well in comparison to Vanjangi and Kilagada. They get involved in the forest development and village development activities like food for work, etc., rather than the MFP collection. Secondly, in Laxmipuram, dependency on MFP is less in comparison to Kilagada and Vanjangi; Most of them depend upon agriculture rather than MFP. Apart from the cultivators, some labour families also now cultivate lands as they have been allotted under the Indira Prabha Scheme. During the lean season, people in other two Village Panchayats start migrating to other parts of the State in search of work. Seasonal Availability of MFP: Most of the MFP is available during November to June, which is agricultural lean season and that is the reason for a lot of forest dwellers to get involved in collection, processing and sale of MFP. Most of the MFP is not remunerative because of quantum of involvement of time and energy for collection and minor processing and the commensurate market price. Since there is no alternative available to the people, they are bound to go to the forest for collection of MFP. Collection and processing: MFPs are collected by the women, men and children in the study area and the involvement of women is found to be higher than others. Thirty per cent of the total respondents mentioned that

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they spend less than four hours daily for collection and processing of MFP and 20 per cent said that they spent more than 12 hours daily. While in case of Kilagada, the majority of the respondents spent 8-12 hours daily, their counterparts in Vanjangi spent less than four hours and in Laxmipuram, 4-8 hours to collect MFP. While interacting with the primary collectors of MFP, it was found that the major difficulty they faced for collection of MFP from the forest is the threat of wild animals including snakes

Role of Gram Sabha in control and management of MFP As per the responses received from the respondents during group discussions, the status of actual implementation of MFP provisions in PESA is as follows. 1. Gram Sabha should take control over management of MFP 2. Few households feel that Gram Sabha is not equipped and hence cannot do anything in these matters. 3. Provide marketing facilities 4. Provide godown facilities to store MFP 5. Panchayats should get the MFP collected 6. Prices should be fixed by the Panchayat 7. Panchayats should get the rights 8. Hand pumps should be installed in agricultural waste land, which will provide water to the villages as well as for the plants. This will help in development of trees and plants. This will also reduce the harassment of MFP collectors from forest officials. 9. Panchayats should negotiate with the forest officials and with their permission allow collecting MFP, 10. Panchayats should educate people about the importance of MFP, trees, etc. 11. There should be schemes to provide training for MFP collectors to convert MFP into value added products. MFP prices should also be fixed accordingly.

Limitations and problems of Gram Sabha In the absence of actual ownership rights of MFP being conferred on the Gram Sabha, the respondents did not answer this question adequately. There is no awareness of PESA in this village and the Gram Sabha does not discuss the Community Property Resources as such but in

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relation to Government projects or court cases especially in relation to wasteland encroachment.

Interface between people, forest and the Government The general attitude of the tribals towards the forest administration is that of suspicion, if not subdued hostility. It is not always due to the present day lapse of the forest administration. This has been pointed out in the report of the Dhebar Commission. Everywhere, control over forest areas remain the prerogative of the Government alone. The protesters asked how the Ex-Zamindars (land lords) engaged in violation of their agreements and the forest rules and laws, devastated vast tracts of forest land right in front of officials. They also related how the contractors stay outside the contracted area and carry loads in trucks in excess of their authorized capacity and otherwise exploit both the forest and the tribals. The tribals strongly felt that all the arguments in favour of preservation and development of forests are intended to refuse their demands.

Attitude of the forest official’s towards tribals District Forest Officer accepted that there was partial involvement of tribals in forest management at the planning and execution stage. The reasons behind this are: • People are not concerned with the forests because they usually consider it as a public or Government owned resource. • Lack of faith in forest department. • Since the forest takes a long time to mature, tribals lose interests in its protection after sometime. They expect immediate returns. • The growing biotic pressure on the available forests and lack of alternative sources of fuel and fodder also hampers JFM efforts. The proliferation of number of Government and Non-Government organizations, promoted committees that have not only resulted in rise of parallel institutional regime but also a parallel legal regime competing with the Panchayats. In addition to the fact that the Panchayats have no control over the ‘Parallel Committees’, the various committees that exist are also not working in coordination with each other. This is detrimental to the management of Common Property Resources in the State from longterm point of view. It has also been noticed that State led initiatives such as the joint forest management programme has had the affect of dismantling the traditional

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village forests management in some areas. Repeatedly, it has been observed that the State PESA needs to take into account the customary usages and management practices of Common Property Resources. One of the major changes, which have taken place, is the merger of village forests with the reserved forests. Village forests fulfilled the various needs of the villagers. There were informal forest protection committees. After JFM committees, the indirect management and control has passed on to the forest department, which was not the case earlier. In some cases, traditional village headman and committee still continue to protect their forests. The forest department has recognized the traditional committees. Another conflict related to accessing the forest is the Podu, a form of shifting cultivation practiced by tribals. The forest department does not recognize podu cultivation, which has traditionally been practiced by the tribals. Besides this, the Act does not cover a whole host of powers mentioned in PESA including the “ownership of minor forest produce” with the Gram Sabha and Panchayats at appropriate level. Notably, the amendment lays down that planning and management of minor water bodies in the Schedule Areas shall be entrusted to “Gram Panchayats, Mandal Parishads or the Zilla Parishads, as the case may be, in such manner, as may be prescribed”. The provision does not go beyond what was stipulated in the Central Act where the planning and management of minor water bodies was required to be entrusted to “Panchayats of appropriate level”. MFP vis-à-vis Panchayats Raj can have an important role in improving the living conditions of those engaged in collection of minor forest produce. Neither the modified Panchayati Raj Institutions in Scheduled Areas, nor the promotive and protective programmes like tribal sub-plan and the Fifth Schedule provisions can have any salutary effect unless the crucial problems of conflict of interest between tribal development and forest development are not resolved to the satisfaction of all in consonance with human aspirations and material needs.

6.3 Minor Water Bodies From the PESA point of view, Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Act has to be amended to provide community ownership and transfer the management of water bodies and place the water user committees under the Gram Sabha. Irrigation department should play a facilitating role in development and management of minor water bodies. It provides that the Panchayat Raj Institutions should have the right to monitor and review the implementation of programme at the village level.

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Further, the Gram Panchayats should be fully involved in the implementation of Watershed Development Programme, in fact the guidelines adds that the Gram Panchayats may use its Administrative and Financial Resources to support and encourage the formation of Self Help Groups/ User Groups and that they may also ensure that funds from the development programmes of Ministry of Rural Development are used to supplement and complement the Watershed Development Program. Clearly, it can be seen that while the guidelines underline the significance of involving the Panchayat Raj Institutions in as much as it says that they have ‘very important role’ or that they ‘shall be fully involved’ there is no suggestion of how this role can be precisely determined both for village level implementation and district level monitoring of the watershed development programme. The clause in PESA 1996 empowers the people and gives common ownership on basic livelihood resources. The command over resources is the very essence of the dignity and honor of the tribal people and guarantees them the right to life with dignity provided by our Constitution. The amendment lays down that planning and management of minor water bodies in the Scheduled Areas shall be entrusted to “Gram Panchayats, Mandal Parishads, or the Zilla Parishads, as the case may be, in such manner, as may be prescribed”. The provision does not go beyond what was stipulated in the Central Act where the planning and management of minor water bodies was required to be entrusted to “Panchayats at the appropriate level”. Unless the State Government comes up with relevant rules in this regard or notifications that could give content to what has been vaguely put down ‘as may be prescribed’, the operational law under PESA for minor water bodies would not be in place. Nowhere in Central act PESA and in State PESA’s, about minor water bodies have been defined. The Central Government’s definition is in terms of irrigation aspect. The Central Governments criteria for classification of minor irrigation schemes have been changing from time to time. Since Government of AP Panchayat Raj Act 1993 considers all the ground water schemes and surface water schemes (both flow and lift) having cultivable command area up to 2000 hectares individually are considered as minor irrigation schemes. Contrary to the attempt at decentralization under PESA, the State of Andhra Pradesh has come up with a new Act called the Andhra Pradesh Water, Land and Trees Act –2002, which provides for Constitution of a high powered Andhra Pradesh State Water, Land and Tree Authority. This Act undermines the powers of the Gram Sabha and vests the powers with an independent authority. This Act needs to be amended in such a manner

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that Gram Sabhas authority on Community Property Resources is strengthened and not undermined. Clause 12 and 23.3 of the National Water Policy has some relevance to clause 4e (j) of PESA regarding the management for minor water bodies. Clause 4e (j) of PESA refers to ‘Planning and management of minor water bodies in the Scheduled Areas shall be entrusted to Panchayats at the appropriate level’. Clauses in PESA and National Water policy essentially cover the aspect that planning and management of minor water bodies should be entrusted to the Panchayats. But the similarity ends here. The basic spirit of PESA has been to strengthen the Gram Sabhas so that they can manage their own affairs and for this purpose community’s traditional and customary rights over Community Property Resources have been recognized and given importance. National Water Policy belies this spirit when it talks about private sector participation in clause 13. The clause 13 of the National Water Policy under the guise of planning, development and management of water resources projects and envisages private sector ownership of these resources among many other things. This clause goes against PESA. Instead of encouraging community ownership of water resources, it encourages private sector ownership, which essentially is a push towards commercialization and commodification of water resources. The new panchayats system has existed in Andhra Pradesh (AP) since 1994 while PESA in Andhra Pradesh came only in 1998.The study shows that the Gram Sabha members and the elected Panchayat representatives were aware of the Panchayat laws but very few were aware about PESA. In the surveyed villages, majority of the people and PR functionaries were not aware of PESA. In the villages where people were aware about PESA, discussions around Community Property Resources took place in the Panchayats. In Laxmipuram where people’s organizations are active, people are aware about PESA and the Gram Sabhas have become more active in management of Community Property Resources. People have used the powers given in PESA to manage Community Property Resources to assert their rights in areas where people’s organizations/ or some NGOs are working. In the village Laxmipuram, there are three ponds which are all rain fed. They are mainly useful for cattle and not fit for agricultural use. Almost all villagers have dug bore wells and depend on it for their irrigation needs. The villagers have distributed the wasteland amongst themselves with the help of VTDA committee as part of the agro-forestry programme. Mostly these are given to landless villagers. This is the only village in the mandal

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where there are no non tribals. The Revenue Department is now surveying the wasteland and giving pattas so that they do not remain as CPRs. However, the wastelands are shared with another village Kilagada which has led to conflicts. The wastelands of this village were being occupied by non-tribals of Kilagada. Land Transfer Regulation Cases were filed in the court against the non tribals and with the help of the Mandal Revenue Officers (MRO). Finally, they won the case after one and a half years and each tribal was then given 2 acres per head. The condition of the ponds used to be good twenty years ago but now all the old ponds are disappearing due to negligence by the Panchayats. Also because of drought, there is not even sufficient water for cattle. In Vanjangi village, the pond has been recently repaired by the Panchayat and the water level has increased. The ponds are being managed by the aayacut committee under the watershed committee. Though there is little awareness about PESA, people are aware of government projects like “Neeru- Meeru” (Water- You) for the development of ponds. The pond was repaired with the sramadanam of the people. Community Property Resources are not discussed directly but issues of drinking water and other water related issues are discussed. One important aspect came up when Kilagada village was studied. The various committees like the Village Tribal Development Authority (VTDA) and Vana Samrakshana Samithi (VSS) are working under their respective Government departments independent of the Panchayats. These committees are not answerable to the Panchayats even though the heads of these committees are often ward members. These bodies dilute the authority of the Panchayats, leading to segregation of village development activities. This is clearly a violation of the aims of PESA. The Gram Sabha is functional in this block but there were no discussions reported on Community Property Resources. Moreover, with the Panchayat’s resolution book and minutes of meeting with the secretary, this could not be verified. The Andhra Pradesh Government has not devolved minor irrigation to Panchayats even though minor irrigation, water management and watershed development fall under Panchayats as per the 11th Schedule.

5KM /Fire wood, Cattle Feed

2KM/ NTFP for 50 Families 1 KM /Fire wood

Laxmipuram

Kilagada

Vanjangi

Forest/Use

Panchayat

2 ponds for agriculture, water for cattle, fishing for 50 families , 1 vaagu for 3 km long

3KM wasteland/agriculture for the landless

2KM wasteland

100 acres waste land

3 ponds for agriculture, water for cattle, 2 vaagu, irrigates 100 acres paddy, 14 watershed tanks 1Pond for agriculture, water for cattle for 50 families, 1 vaagu 5km long

Land/others

205

Minor Water Bodies

Table 6.4 Community Property Resources in Study Village Panchayats

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There is lack of certainty/clarity on the extent of powers vested with the Water Users Association, absence of uniformity on the basis of watershed for participatory development of water resources and also general confusion on the nature of devolution of powers for ground water management. The roles of Panchayats on all these aspects have also not been charted out. That is why there is a need to explore the spaces within Panchayati Raj Institutions, need to evolve functional relationship between them and other village groups, while authorizing these groups to effectively perform the functions that have come their way in the recent past. In Andhra Pradesh, the selection process is more oriented towards meeting the criteria and process set out by the guidelines. In fact, one of the criterion for selecting the watersheds is ‘community mobilization’ which receives 30 percent of the points. The criteria for establishing the extent of community mobilization is however subjective and open to selective interpretation. Although the selection process is nominally based on the guidelines, the formation of village institution bodies in Andhra Pradesh was confined to the selection of the president, chairman and secretary of the watershed committee. There was a clear understanding that the Project Implementing Agency (PIA) would use them as key links to administer the programme in the village. Watershed Associations have not been constituted and registered as Societies as the guidelines require and user groups have not been constituted in the study village. While a few SHGs were formed during the initial years, none have been formed in the watersheds taken up subsequently (after 1997) and even the SHGs formed earlier are inactive and almost dormant. In Vanjangi and Laxmipuram, committee members reported that their problems of drinking water and fodder needs had not been incorporated into the final plan. Once the committee was formed it seemed to be an accepted fact that the Chairman and Secretary alone would meet the Project Implementing Agency officials and carry out their instructions. Committee meetings were rarely attended by any of the other members. The main task of the committee was to implement development works. In the villages of Vanjangi watershed (Vishakapatnam), even the implementation was not carried out by local villagers. Tribal labourers from outside were brought in on the pretext of training locals in the techniques of constructing gully-plugs. In Vanjangi village, the pond has little water. The bunds built on it helps retain rain water and this has eased the situation slightly. There is also no water in the vaagu (stream). Previously, when there was a lot of

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water in the stream, the villagers used to divert the water to the fields. However, ITDA funds have been sanctioned to build a check dam. In Laxmipuram village, there were a few canals but agriculture was not practiced on a wide scale. Due to watershed programme, water is stored everywhere and the water level has increased. This has led to an increase in agricultural yield. This watershed programme has been initiated by the organization called CCN in 1996-97. CCN has also formed committees on CPRs which are actively working towards their improvement. CCN has also encouraged women to form savings groups and has helped them enhance their role in the management of CPRs. Attendance of women in the meetings is high. In Vanjangi Panchayat, before the watershed programme, even grass for cattle was not available. Now the ground water level has increased and the villagers are able to grow paddy. Some other commercial crops are also grown. There is a watershed committee which meets once a month to discuss what needs to be done, repairs to be undertaken for the pond and also uses the money from the village reserve fund for respective works. Women are also active in this village. Not only do they actively participate in the meetings but also work as members in all the committees where they are part of the decision making process. There was an incident of conflict in Vanjangi between the aayacut (Check dam) members of the pond and farmers with land adjacent to the pond. The excess water in the pond usually damages the land adjacent to the pond and as a consequence sufficient water will not be there during the crop season. This was discussed in the Gram Sabha meeting and it was decided that the aayacut members would give some amount of their yield per acre to the farmers who have their land adjacent to the ponds as compensation. Line departments (with individual exceptions) viewed watershed development programmes as schemes to be implemented in given time horizon and within the given budget. Departments, given the pressures of time and their customary functioning, almost uniformly gave short shift to what they considered as ‘soft’ and ‘expendable’ components of the programme, namely, awareness-raising, mobilization, training and participatory planning. Financial accountability was towards the district – the Zilla Parishads and the monitoring parameters are the physical activities completed and the money expended. Implementing a sub-set of the physical activities indicated in the guidelines through village watershed committees and rendering accounts to the district were viewed as core functions by most PIAs. In extreme cases, the task was carried out using machinery or through wage labour hired from outside the village.

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Since implementation was carried out as part of a short term employment generation programme, user groups did not have much rational either for the PIAs or the village communities.

6.4 Recognizing rights over Natural Resources The 73rd Amendment of the Constitution provided for State Legislatures to endow Panchayats legally with powers and the authority necessary to enable them to function as institutions of Self-Government. This clear-cut provision is diffused immediately thereafter when the Amendment says that the State law should provide for devolution of powers and responsibilities upon Panchayats “at the appropriate level, subject to such conditions as may be specified therein” for implementation of schemes for economic development and to achieve social justice. Schemes included those in relation to subjects listed in the Eleventh Schedule. While a liberal reading would focus on “institutions of SelfGovernment”, a conservative interpretation would focus on only the devolution of powers and responsibilities for implementation of schemes listed in the 29 subject areas given in the Schedule, of which atleast 9 are broadly in the area of natural resource management. While the legal rights over resources may not be vested in Panchayat Raj Institutions at present, pressure for such legal transfer can be developed if Panchayat members were to perceive themselves as resourcemanagers. The study explored the attitude of Sarpanchs toward natural resource management. For an overwhelming majority of sarpanchs, the Gram Panchayat and the watershed or JFM committee had their respective and separate ‘scheme’ domains. One of the Sarpanchs of Gram Panchayat has expressed concern on how the PRI is being bypassed in DNRM initiatives. They argue that project based institutions formed for such initiatives need to function within the purview of Panchayat Raj Institutions, given the Gram Panchayat mandate for overall village development. Project-specific DNRM institutions are seen as parallel institutions infringing on the democratically earned right of the Gram Panchayat to address village development. In our study village Kilagada Panchayat, the watershed committee came into being during the last Panchayat’s term. The Sarpanch and the ward members were given a role in calling for the Gram Sabha to elect members to the watershed committee, wherein the Sarpanch himself proposed the names of the main office-bearers of the committee, he was not involved in the programme thereafter. The Sarpanch was aware of the activities carried out by the watershed committee in ensuing period and

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was of the opinion that the funds for the watershed programme and other development works in the village ought to be routed through the Panchayat as the Sarpanch is the leader of the village Panchayat and elected to undertake development initiatives. However, the watershed committee members hold the contrary opinion and believe that these works would not have been possible at this pace and in such a transparent manner if the Panchayat was responsible for assigned task. On the question of routing funds, they believed that it would only complicate matters allowing the Panchayat to interfere un-necessarily and open up avenues for factionalism in development projects at grass root level. Positive Response in Watershed Management by Gram Panchayats in Laxmipuram, the Gram Panchayats-Village Working Committee (VWC) coordination has been effective according to both the Sarpanch Raju and the VWC president. The VWC selection was done in consultation with the Sarpanch. This is justified as pre- requisite for ensuring smooth progress of watershed interventions. Had the normal process been followed, it is argued, that there could have been other individuals in the VWC with whom ‘coordination’ of activities would have been a difficult task. The current VWC and Panchayat Raj Institutions trusted individuals who were in a position to utilize the Sarpanch’s good offices to obtain funds on time and manage the errant officials and “disruptive elements” within the community. Sri Raju (Sarpanch) though pleased with the manner in which the Gram Panchayat -VWC relation was managed within the Village also makes a case for revision of guideline where Panchayats have a say in VWC selection. This he believes is necessary for the Panchayat which has the mandate for overall development of village and any intervention towards the same should not bypass it. The current arrangement, he feels, is characteristic of the State Government’s approach towards creating parallel-nominated institutions that challenge the idea of democratically elected Gram Panchayats. The Gram Panchayat Sarpanch who argues for integrating the projectspecific institutions into the Panchayat Raj system is a minority. Most of the respondents advocated for separation that exists currently. This is considered necessary to ensure that “Gram Panchayat -level politics does not affect development work”. This articulation does not mean that they see no need for control of Panchayats over development itself if viewed through a rather ‘departmentalized’ mindset. The guidelines for most of these schemes are formulated outside the scope of Panchayat bodies. In the case of anti-poverty and employment generating schemes, the Sarpanchs recognize the role of Panchayats in selection of beneficiaries, deciding

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work and getting them implemented. Programmes like watershed development and more so, JFM, are seen as schemes which are designed and controlled largely by the departments, and therefore they may not be subjected to village-level politics when compared to State programmes such as JGSY or Indira Awas Yojana.

6.5 Parallel bodies At the same time, Sarpanchs do see the political gains that can be made out of these projects. Both watershed development and JFM programmes generate employment in scarce situations at local level. Being associated with these programmes even in a cosmetic manner leads to electoral benefits. Consequently, there are examples of Sarpanches attempting to influence the composition of VWCs, the location of particular works and persons to be employed. In the case of JFM, there are similar attempts to influence the composition of the executive body and the posts of Chairman/Vice-Chairman. But the work itself is seen as completely controlled by the department. In Kilagada, the separation of domains between ‘development’ and the ‘local development’ also enjoy the support among villagers who also emphasis the need to avoid political interference in these programmes. The Panchayat is largely perceived as an organization that is dominated by the elites and their politics. Departments are viewed as neutral agencies which are not subject to the same biases as local dominant groups. However in practice, though, line department staff may form committees and operate with the help of locally dominated Bagatha tribe. In fact the Panchayat Raj reforms have not yet brought Panchayats or Panchayat leaders on the scene as active pressure groups. Lobbying is done based on the type and scale of schemes like JGSY, which are meant for all the villages, the guidelines for allocation leave relatively little room for maneuver. But schemes like watershed development and Member of Parliament Local Area Development Schemes (MPLADS) are to be implemented in selected villages. In the case of watershed development, though the specific criterion has been laid down, the actual process of selection of watersheds at district level is not entirely clear. Gram Panchayat members have an ex-officio membership in projectspecific parallel institutions. Typically, they never really integrated into the institution but either offer support or opposition from a distance. Apart from their ex-officio membership, the most important part played by Gram Panchayat members is in the early part of the implementation process. As a power center, project functionaries associated with the line departments

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usually establish contact with the Sarpanch to obtain goodwill and establish an entry-point into the community. In the case of Visakhapatnam, the initial contact is more likely to be with the local power center, which may not be the Panchayat but a dominant family, i.e., Muttadars. In the beginning of project-based programmes, members of parallel committee and Gram Panchayat used to negotiate the project agenda and identify how mutual interests can be served best within the broad programme guidelines. At this stage, a key item of negotiation is the representation from Gram Panchayat loyalists in the project-specific institutions. However, the experience of our study villages: Kilagada and Vanjangi shows that the relations between Gram Panchayat and project specific, Natural Resources Management Institutions often run into conflict. This is especially true if the key members of Gram Panchayat change after election, political ambitions clash with early loyalties and members of project-specific institutions assert themselves. Another key factor for conflict is that the members of Gram Panchayat are required to keep an operational distance from the project activities. There is little scope for changing the mandate given to Panchayat Raj Institutions in either watershed or JFM programmes. The guidelines that dictate the procedure to implement the programmes are unknown at village level and only the programme managers interpret the latitude they offer for organizational adaptation. Moreover, the implementation driven by ‘Action Plans’ offer little scope for accommodating the interests of Gram Panchayat and provides programme managers with a handy tool to direct the effort in a desired fashion. The analysis of PRI influence on the performance of Natural Resources Management (NRM) initiative needs to recognize two important facts: One, the overall performance of parallel committee’s initiatives has been generally poor and two, does the Panchayat Raj Institution have a limited role in determining the direction that implementation takes? There have been instances when active Gram Panchayat members have worked towards success in NRM initiatives and been rewarded with the Sarpanch position latter. On the other hand, Gram Panchayat driven by short-term political interest and considerations can have significant negative influences on NRM. The report of the taskforce by the Government on devolution of powers and functions upon Panchayat Raj Institutions (August 2001) mapped out the transfer of functions, functionaries and funds for a number of NRM related activities, including watershed development.

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This chapter has demonstrated that the factors rooted in the local political economy were the single largest determinant of NRM outcomes, through their pervasive influence upon local institutions, formal or otherwise, as also upon policy, implementation and institutions at the district and State levels. There are two significant strands that emerged as the key determinant of socio-economic relations and as expected, to have significant influence over the local power structures. However, in some rare cases, the studies found even these factors have started getting overwhelmed by economic prosperity and mobility amongst the nontraditional agricultural tribes / castes and classes. The course of the NRM agenda so far has been to enlarge the scope and financial resources for departmental programmes with decentralized implementation arrangements, rather than the use of PRI reforms for decentralized administration of these programmes. In fact, it could be argued that the latter (State-community partnership model) is being affected due to the constraints on finances within the State fiscal system. For instance, the Forest Departments of Andhra Pradesh which has been suffering from a resource crunch, has received large infusions of funds from the World Bank to support the JFM programme. Similarly, the administrative overhead offered to PIAs by the watershed development programme of the Ministry of Rural Development is an incentive for resource-strapped line departments of the State Government to take up watershed projects. Conversely, it had been shown that Panchayats have not benefited from the devolution of requisite untied funds to make them institutions of Self-Government. First and foremost, watershed and JFM schemes are available to selected villages only (in contrast to other funds that are available to all the villages either on a per capita basis or as a blanket scheme applicable to all the households below poverty line). Therefore, there are considerable incentives in “bringing the scheme” to the village. The primary benefit is to generate the large number of employment opportunities to the majority of people. The present study shows that wage employment benefits have indeed accrued in most cases although that may not have been enough to stem the tide of seasonal migration. The second category of benefits have been the “intrinsic” benefits of increased resources harnessed, for e.g., more water stored and recharged, land treated, forest patches planted upon or regenerated. There are a number of issues that have been reported with respect to the varied performance of these measures as compared with the objectives. The common finding seems to indicate that these “intrinsic” benefits have been too meager or individualized in nature and the

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objective of creating and maintaining sustainable NRM mechanisms and assets is far from realized. State community partnership initiatives have sharpened the perceptions of rights over resources in a very limited sense. The ‘scheme’ mindset in the minds of both people and Panchayats, have resulted in a separation of domains of the Panchayats and JFM/watershed programmes. The occasional tussle between Panchayats and VWCs/JFM committees is more a reflection of group politics in the village rather than differences over the utilization of management of resources at optimum level. The arguments to suggest the involvement of Panchayat Raj Institutions in natural resource management are based on both democratic governance and development functions as local Government bodies. To recap, in terms of their democratic governance functions, the rationale is that they are accountable and legitimate voice of the people. In Scheduled Areas, they are also better placed than any other institution to represent the marginalized sections of society dependent on natural resources. In terms of their development functions, the argument is that they are well placed to manage natural resources because this is subject to a higher degree of local specificity and forms an important component of local livelihood strategies.

6.6 Summing Up The PESA is an important step towards empowering the communities to manage the community resources. One needs to examine the control of Natural Resources in Pre and Post PESA, people are managing their resource which needs to be seen and documented so that the people can take appropriate steps towards on effective management of Community Property Resources. Among three Panchayats surveyed in the district, except the Laxmipuram Panchayats, the non- tribals dominate all the others. Sarpanchs are working under their control. They are not showing any interest or inclination regarding CPRs. Especially the Gram Sabha is not held in consulation with all sections of people. No separate discussions are held regarding the CPRs in Gram Sabhas. Panchayat resolutions are made based on the funds and government programmes. The sanctioned funds are being side tracked by the corrupt ZPTC, MPTC etc, and prominent persons. There is no coordination between various committees like Aayakatt Committee, VTDA, VSS, DWACRA, etc. Panchayats also have no control on these committees. Regarding the CPRs, there is no proper management order, understanding, estimate and transparency of funds.

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Funds are being spent based on the flow of funds rather than the necessities of the people. The women headed Panchayats (Vanjangi) are not able to work on their own. Their husbands and other family members are running the Panchayats under their control. However, the involvement of women is a requirement in all the committees/ DWCRA groups, but there is no great improvement in their participation in decision making and responsibilities regarding allotment of work. However, this compulsory involvement of women is a step in the right direction. The Patel system was in use in these villages in the olden days. Based on the decisions taken by the village heads, all the villagers used to work together. Patel and village priest used to act as village heads. Lease (kowlu) agriculture was present. The landless tribals were benefited through this system. Any agricultural work in the village like binding and diverting water from the streams flowing through the village or the household work were done through lease system. Village forests were present to meet the village needs. The villagers used to get wood for household purposes, firewood, etc., from the village forests only. The Kilagada village Panchayat reported conflict between the villagers and the forest department over land where there used to be forests in the past. The landless villagers use to practice podu here in the past but now the forest department has stopped them from carrying out any agricultural activity in this area. After PESA, the Panchayat has been taking all decisions with less interference from outside. The Panchayat has completely neglected the CPRs. Because of the ITDA, the tribals in this region have become inactive in the management of CPRs. They prefer to wait for ITDA funds for any development work of CPRs. In a way, ITDA funds have killed people’s own initiatives in management of CPRs. Once in a while due to heavy rains in the rainy season, floods affect the CPRs and agricultural land and they become useless. CPRs are not discussed directly but issues of drinking water and other water related issues are discussed. One important aspect came up when this village was studied. The various committees like the village Tribal Development Authority (VTDA), Van Samrakshana Samithi (VSS) are working under their respective government offices independent of the Panchayat. These committees often have ward members of panchayats as their members. Earlier the Panchayat used to control the CPRs; after the formation of different committees, the CPRs have been associated with different commmittes and Panchayats. As a result, there is a conflict between Panchayat and different committees like VSS.

CHAPTER SEVEN UNFINISHED PURSUIT FOR DECENTRALIZED GOVERNANCE

Panchayat Raj Institution was introduced in order to ensure participation of cross section of people living at the grassroots level in the management of development process. It was felt that this would lead to overall improvement in the physical and social inequalities among the people. However, even after fifteen years of its implementation, the basic aim remains hardly fulfilled. It has been found that the new system of Panchayat Raj Institutions as institutions of self-governance has generated new tensions and opportunities. According to the 73rd Amendment of the Constitution, the Gram Sabha has enormous authority and responsibilities in Schedule V areas. It is empowered to take all the decisions related to use of natural resources within its jurisdiction and to restore land alienated from tribals. Thus, the empowered Gram Sabha under PR provided fresh constitutional support to the traditional system of tribal governance. The situation in the tribal areas in respect of self-governing institutions is different from the non-tribal areas. Unlike the non-tribal population, the tribal people have a strong community organization, i.e. traditional tribal Panchayats, which are deeply rooted in their respective culture, traditions and customs. As a result, attempts to impose formal institutions created an uneven situation. Besides, formal Panchayats did not have much significance in the day-to-day lives of the tribal people, so they largely ignored them. In some cases, where the new leadership of the formal Panchayats tried to assert its authority, there was confrontation. In view of the local traditions still having its stronghold over the tribals in India, it was realized that a general law in this regard would not be suitable for the Scheduled Areas. Hence, they were kept outside the purview of Part IX of the Constitution. Post-1992 changes in governance in Andhra Pradesh were found to be based on three basic premises. First, traditional ways of tribal society could be integrated with decentralized governance through Panchayat

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(Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA). Second, the community would get an institutional space to govern its affairs in an accountable and meaningful manner. This implies that these provisions would be able to homogenize the differences resulting in an informed decision-making at the grassroots level. Lastly, the new system would encourage people’s participation and make governance more responsible so that fruits of development are distributed equitably. These political reforms have thrown up a new dominant group, a group that controls financial resources challenging the existing hierarchy. Participation of Tribals in self-governance is under severe threat today because of denial of access to control over land, water and forest. The historical evolution of governance was built on their cultural and livelihood connections to the natural resources. Hence, as the State tightened its control over natural resources, the very foundation of the tribal system of governance weakened. Land, water and forest constitute the cornerstones of tribal culture. It is unfortunate that even after the creation of PESA, there is no clear-cut government policy related to these vital components of tribal culture. Though decentralized governance has changed the power structure in the three study villages, political leadership operates uncontrolled and is neither answerable to the community nor to its leaders. The Sarpanch overlooks or sleeps over their behavior as he knows that he is answerable to the community only once in five years at the time of elections. The communities of two village Panchayats out of three study villages have expressed that Gram Sabha meetings are not organized on regular basis and consequently their participation in Gram Sabha have reduced significantly in the last few years. The community feels that programmes and developmental work are unequally distributed. For, the benefits largely accrue to the people and village to which the Sarpanch belongs. Local needs and demands hardly form part of the activities of the Panchayat. Further, bureaucracy has been replaced by political elites and the expectations from community participation in the decision-making processes have remained a distant dream. The community complains that identification of households below poverty line has been set aside in favour of well-to-do in the list; similarly with prioritizing the asset transfer beneficiaries. Sarpanch, say the villagers, would never say ‘no’ to their requests, but would never fulfill any. However, the Sarpanch says that his hands are tied because prioritization is done under the instruction of the government officials. Moreover, a large part of fund flow is predetermined

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by state-run schemes and untied allocation to meet local needs is inadequate to meet the expectations of the community. The existing system of governance has inculcated a sense of helpless dependency among the tribal people on the State. The fact that people refer to the government as ultimate saviour is in itself ample proof of this. Everyday, the Government announces a new scheme for the benefit of the tribals and the poor. This has led to a feeling among the tribals that since the government is doing everything, there is no need for any effort towards the development of their society on their part. Gradually, the efforts towards self-help and local governance started declining and a culture of alienation and de-motivation crept in. The contemporary state of affairs not only systematically alienates the tribals but also adversely affects their self-respect. De-motivated and de-moralized tribals can hardly play an effective role in the development of society. Civil society associations have the potential to be reoriented to perform their contemporary roles in governance. NGOs can support the new leadership of PRIs in performing their functions effectively; the new elected leadership of PRIs can also be held accountable to Grama Sabha. However, the challenge is to ensure synergy between Gram Panchayat and NGOs, not a sense of competition. Will it be possible for tribal leadership to make the interface between NGOs and PRIs more inclusive and less conflict prone? The involvement of independent voluntary organizations for generating people’s participation usually supplements the work of Panchayat Raj but they have failed to act as a check and balance to the Panchayat Raj Institutions. All these organizations and local bodies are facing shortage of resources. The central question addressed was whether a person’s social and economic attributes determined their participation in Gram Panchayat activities. Our original hypothesis, based on documentation and rural experience, suggests that those who are present and heard during Panchayat meetings tend to be the better educated males than those who are wealthier, more articulate compared to the general population. Our analysis indicates that certain groups—mainly Primitive Tribal Groups have very limited participation. The study seeks to understand how intensively villagers in general participate in activities associated with Gram Panchayats; why there are differences in participation levels; and what groups of people participate disproportionately in the activities and decision making of PRIs. In addition to briefly examining existing mechanisms of accountability and their perceived effectiveness, the study also examines the distribution of benefits associated with the Gram Panchayat and the relationship

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between vulnerability and access to/use of benefits. We also consider the impact of inter-village differences arising from structural features such as size of Panchayats, distance from market and administrative centers, and the presence of other organizations on elected representatives’ participation in PRI activities and decisions. The selected villages were studied using two integrated methodologies—one an extensive questionnaire based survey and the other an intensive anthropological investigation. Both were undertaken simultaneously. In the extensive survey, a stratified random sample of men and women were selected and interviewed in all of the three study Village Panchayats. All households in each village were listed and classified into distinct social groups. Social groups were identified on the basis of tribe— each tribe group in the village constituted a separate social group, as well as by religion, tribe and gender. A random sample of households was selected from each social group and the number of households selected from each group was proportional to the group’s representation in the entire village population. A total of 306 persons were interviewed using a pretested list of questions The intensive survey was conducted in three gram panchayats, covering 37 revenue villages, and required to know from the respondents their understanding and interpretation of how and why participate in development process and as well as Panchayat Raj Institutions. The intensive survey yielded a set of information that complemented the data from the extensive study. This allowed us to reliably interpret final figures and better understand how a person’s social and economic positioning ultimately affects the participation in PRIs and development process. Villagers are at present more concerned with consolidating existing economic and social relations rather than using the democratic process to change inequitable rural societies. Gram Panchayats are seen as “political” bodies, i.e., as organizations dealing with power, not with development. Participation in other political activities related to Gram Panchayats is substantially lower than participation in voting. Discussion with villagers indicated that they had very little interest in and a high level of disappointment with the promises made following the PESA act that envisioned the Gram Panchayat becoming an instrument of local governance and participatory development. Gram Panchayats were not valued as an organization as they brought very few benefits to villagers. People felt they had little influence in decisions made over the few benefits the Gram Panchayat did have control over and there was no faith in the mechanisms available for holding representatives accountable to the electorate. All parallel bodies are required to report periodically to

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the Grama Sabha so that the community as a whole is kept informed of the activities of parallel bodies. Gender is a key factor in determining who is included in gram panchayat activities. Women participate significantly less than men, and the social factors which limit women’s involvement in public affairs, are also reflected in the generally low levels of education and information that prevail among women. Information was strongly associated with more active participation in gram panchayats and with more equitable service distribution. However, an ordinary villager has extremely limited access to information. For example, he or she is unlikely to know what the powers of the Panchayat are, how Sarpanch can be held accountable for misdeeds and how rights can be enforced. Because information is hard to access, Sarpanch is able to exert a dominating and directive influence in gram panchayats. As the case study data indicate in Kilagada and Vanjangi, Sarpanch are quite often able to manipulate panchayats’ proceedings to the advantage of themselves and their supporters. The traditional institutions have a high degree of acceptability within the community, but they have closed membership and are influenced by caste dynamics and no longer play a significant economic role. The project-based institutions are resource rich, but are bound by their own objectives and are directed by project officials. Committees have been formed under different government schemes and donor-aided projects. They are involved in work like forest protection, improving access of clean water and better sanitation; enabling self-help groups to generate income, usually in the non-farm sector; management of schools and overall education programme in the village. The civil society organisations have the information and the capacity to facilitate, but they are not linked with each other or any other organisation. Each operates in the space that they have created in the village society. Most of these institutions are formal in nature and have defined objectives. But there is a lack of convergence in the functioning of these institutions. Neither do these institutions share their plans and objectives with other institutions nor do they pool resources to create synergies in the village. In some cases, the institutions have been found to duplicate work of PRIs. They all work independently, with no formal links with the PRIs. There is a clear lack of complementarity partners and wastage of resources is a big concern. Our study in Kilagada and Vanjangi showed that about 70% of the households were totally unfamiliar with the role being played by the different projects. This implies that the life of these institutions and the benefits that accrue to the members are limited to the lifetime of the

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project. It is necessary to develop links with the established local government institutions to ensure sustainability. However, there is a fear that a certain amount of independence will be lost if links are made with government institutions. The lack of accountability in the PRI is an additional factor. The civil society organizations in Laxmipuram have identified the problems and successes of Panchayats and are working to strengthen the gains from the Panchayat system for people-centric development and effective democratic self-governance. Due credit has to be given to the CCN, an NGO for its sincerity, openness and commitment to democratic decentralisation. The NGO has been extremely accessible to ground realities about the inadequacies of the Panchayat system and has continuously strived to come up with strategies for making Panchayats, effective institutions of local self-governance. The main hindrance in generating people’s participation is lack of knowledge, means and methods of approaching people, absence of support from higher level officials and non officials; and general apathy of local level functionaries. In the absence of proper linkages of village administration with the block and district administration, people hardly participate and utilize the benefits of development. This is all due to the failure to gain favour and support, technical and material, from the specific departments and institutions. In order to achieve the objectives of democratic decentralisation, greater role for local leaders in social welfare and dynamic participation of the people in the implementation at grassroots, an attempt has been made to examine the delegation, deconcentration and devolution of administration reorganization. The nature of people’s participation has been largely confined to the sphere of common amenities. The political consciousness generated by local government in rural areas has not been properly channelized towards democratic secular direction. The fundamental purpose of decentralization should be to train local leadership to serve the people with maximum efficiency to meet the growing needs and requirements of people within the stipulated time and with the resources at their disposal. The success of decentralization programme lies not only in de-concentration of functions, finances and power but also a change in the attitude, behaviour and cultural conditions conducive for the growth of decentralization. The philosophy of democratic decentralization calls for establishment of sound local government with the active association and cooperation of Panchayats Raj leaders in order to achieve socio-economic development in general and social welfare of weaker sections in particular. In order to

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sustain the public policy and philosophy of Welfare State, both officials and non-officials (public leaders) should play their role effectively. Development cannot take place without power and responsibility. Community development cannot be real unless the community understands its problems, realizes its responsibilities, exercises necessary powers through its chosen representatives and maintains a constant and intelligent vigilance on local administration. The law by providing a framework for participative democracy has endowed the village community or the GS with legal powers so that they could take up the task of self-governance and community development effectively. However, mere enactment of laws is not going to bring about the desired social change. People, and more importantly the community, which have already been accorded recognition, should also realize this fact with full significance thereof. In this context, everyone right from the humblest of the GS members to the highest of the elected representatives of the Panchayat Raj system needs to be informed. Their capacities, particularly for self-governance and for taking care of the village community’s development needs, have to be sharpened. This entails evolution of a comprehensive capacity-building strategy. The study highlights multiplicity of parallel bodies like Minor Forest Produce Committees, Minor Water bodies associations, etc. The corresponding law needs to be amended to bring these various bodies under the jurisdiction of the Gram Sabha and make them answerable to the Gram Sabha. But this also implies that if these committees are brought under the Gram Sabha, people should have the ability to manage the community associations. As indicated earlier, to facilitate this legal support, an attitudinal change and role reversal among government officials is needed. NGOs and Government have promoted forest protection committees and water committees in many villages. There has been a mixed response to these committees. The study highlights the fact that certain forests which people considered as their own, after constitution of forest protection committees, the forest department has strengthened its hold over them and the villagers no longer enjoy the same rights as before. This aspect needs to be looked into more carefully. Some of the NGOs have carried out their work independent of any linkages with Panchayats. This can be considered as a negative aspect. The state has not fully complied with the provisions of the Central Act while modifying their PRI Acts. For example, mandatory provisions of the Central Act, to be enforced through Gram Sabhas, which include granting

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license for minor minerals and their exploitation and acquisition of land by Government for development projects, have not been complied with. Regarding the efforts made by the Government and NGOs to create awareness among people, especially the tribal communities, about various provisions of the PESA, the findings of the present study are not very encouraging. In the Visakhapatnam district covered by the study, the awareness about PESA provisions was found to be abysmally low. Since most of the officials are ignorant about PESA, there is an urgent need to make them aware of the various provisions of the Act. In addition, serious efforts are needed to sensitize them towards tribal ethos so that they perform their duties with utmost sincerity and sympathy. During policy formulation, several individuals and organizations initiated serious debates to voice tribal concerns with the aim of influencing the policies. However, once PESA became an Act, these initiatives lost their momentum. Difficulties are likely to arise in the relationship between multi purpose elected bodies and single purpose user committees. The two types of bodies often exist at slightly different levels, for example, one covering a single village and other a cluster of villages, which makes synergy between them difficult. There is often confusion about which of the two types of bodies has jurisdiction over a particular topic: water, forest, education, etc. Such confusion is sometimes deliberately sown by politicians and /or bureaucrats at higher levels, to weaken bottom –updevelopment processes. Most or all members of user committees in Kilagada and Vanjangi are often chosen by nomination from the above rather than by elections (through which members of most multi- purpose councils are selected). Bureaucrats may nominate flexible locals as user committee members or politicians may pack them with loyalists of the ruling party. This difference in modes of selection often produces difference between the two types of bodies and sometimes politicians set these bodies against one another, again to weaken bottom- up- development processes. The overwhelming evidence on users committee managed natural resources projects such as forests and watershed management is that benefits are not sustainable in the long run. After the source of funds from the project dries up, plantations disappear, committees are disbanded or abandoned and the livelihood base of the poor remains only marginally improved, if at all, perhaps in some cases they create some sustainable social capital by raising awareness among the poor. The following strategies are suggested: • Focus on the need to implement PESA in spirit.

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Awareness building and training for all functionaries, especially those who interact directly with people, such as Village Level Workers, Gram Panchayat Secretaries, Gram Panchayats Extension Officers and District Panchayats Officers. • As the level of awareness and participation is very low among women, priority should be given to organizing awareness programmes, capacity building and leadership training, gender sensitization programmes, exposure trips, etc. Similarly, PRI members need training on various provisions of PESA. • There should be proper/adequate dissemination of information related to the policy guidelines and welfare schemes to Gram Panchayats functionaries as well as Gram Sabha members. They should be trained to understand their roles and responsibilities. • Since there is a complete lack of cleaning materials in the local language to explain the various provisions of PESA, preparation of such material and their wider dissemination is an immediate requirement. • Networking among NGOs and grassroots level workers in Scheduled Areas will lead to exchange of ideas and strengthening of capacities. This will facilitate proper implementation of the Act. • Autonomy should be given to the traditional tribal Panchayats and they may be given the legal status to deal with their disputes, however serious they may be. • Efforts should be made to revive the tribal councils/federations and in places where they are effective, they should be strengthened. • Jurisdiction of law and order in the Schedule V Areas should be handed over to the tribal councils, who have enough wherewithals, to manage their own affairs, including the intertribal and tribe-caste disputes. • The police and other officials working in tribal areas, who are usually outsiders, should have different orientation and training to empathize with the tribal culture, values, customs, beliefs and practices. As far as possible, the tribals should hold these positions. • Efforts should be made to sensitize the tribal councils and other elders on matters relating to gender in order to provide equal opportunity to women in all aspects, including property sharing. People-centered governance is essential, it is also important that government acknowledge the knowledge and experience of the tribals. All

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planning must promote the spirit of collective participation, which is the essence of the tribal way of life. This requires a long-term perspective building on ongoing efforts as also new experimentation. Although there is a growing recognition of the importance of a people-centered governance system, there is still a long way to go for its recognition by society.

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