PARTICIPATORY APPROACH OF WOMEN SELF HELP GROUPS IN STRENGTHENING GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY
Publication Date : 27/04/2016
India lives in villages and unless village life is revitalized the nation as a whole can hardly make any progress. Thus, there is a need to involve people in the decision making processes at grassroot level. The 73rd Constitutional Amendment provides a unique opportunity to promote local self governance in rural areas through establishment of Gram Sabha under article 243 A. The Gram Sabha is a constitutional body of all adult members of a village. Gram Sabha has the power and responsive to make gram panchayat transparent and directly accountable to the people. It is introduced to have decentralized planning and evaluation with people's participation from the bottom line. But the studies and previous literatures show that many Gram Sabhas are not functioning as expected. Many reasons behind it but major identified reasons are unavailability of information and ignorance about the power and functioning of Gram Sabha. Thus there is a prime need to improve the working of Gram Sabhas to bring the gains of democracy and to spread the economic prosperity evenly across the country. Self – Help Group (SHG) can play an important role in strengthening grassroots democracy by framing and implementing the policies and programmes catering to the needs of women by their active participation in meetings and discussions at various hierarchy level of Panchayati Raj. Women SHG members can work as community leaders which represent the problems of thousands and millions of rural women who are otherwise kept aside by the policy planners at the top level. They can ensure the holding of Gram Sabha meeting and directly increase the participation in the meeting by motivating and creating awareness among villagers, especially, women. By the initiatives of SHGs on developmental issues Gram Sabha will be strengthen approaching social as well as economic and cultural development. Thus the interface between the Gram Sabha and SHGs need to be activated for ensuring good governance.
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