Mahila Gram Sabha in Adapura Panchayat, story from IT for Change site, 7th Aug 2014

On 7th August, Prakriye (field centre of IT for Change) organised an all-women village assembly in which women interacted with local government authorities (Mahila Gram Sabha) in Adapura Panchayat, H.D. Kote district. The meeting was attended by the Panchayat Development Officer (PDO) and 33 sangha (women's collective) and non-sangha women. During the meeting, the following points were discussed:

  1. Toilet subsidy - To the many who said that they had submitted their applications but had not received their subsidies as yet, the PDO responded by informing them that a number of pending files had been cleared, but those files that did not contain proper documentation had not been passed for payment. She suggested that the women visit the Panchayat to check the status of their applications.
  2. Housing programme - Some women stated that elected representatives claim Rs.20,000/- as bribe for allocating the housing scheme, due to which the poorest of poor are unable to obtain the benefits. The PDO suggested that they participate in the upcoming Gram Sabha (local self-governance body) and raise the issue there, so that all genuine beneficiaries get the benefits.
  3. Subsidy for cattle shed - A few of the women said that they had not received adequate subsidy for the construction of the shed. The PDO clarified that they needed to follow the specifications given by the Panchayat in order to be able to claim the full subsidy - sheds constructed without a proper plan would draw only partial subsidy. She recommended that the plan be presented to the Panchayat for approval prior to the construction,  to ensure full subsidy.
  4. Maintenance of the drainage system - Those present complained about the poor maintainance of drains and the seepage of this drain water into their houses, during times of heavy rainfall. The PDO advised them to take individual responsibility in maintaining the same. She clarified that in the current year there were no funds allocated for drain maintenance.
  5. Construction of the community information centre building - The women also requested the PDO to financially assist them in obtaining their own building for holding weekly meetings. The PDO asked them to identify government land that could be used for this purpose and indicated that she would take it forward from there.

At the end of the meeting, the Prakriye team also insisted that women participate in the upcoming Ward and Gram Sabha to make sure that their agenda gets finalised for action.