The 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Act 1993 were intended to provide decision-making powers to people through participatory processes via Gram Panchayats, Gram Sabha in rural areas and Urban Local Bodies/Ward Sabha in urban set up. Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies were envisioned as representative, transparent and accountable self-governing bodies, according to the principle of democracy i.e. “by the people, of the people and for the people”. However, the apathy of state governments in implementing the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments in its true spirit weakened local democracy, making the local governance system dysfunctional. This situation was exacerbated by a stringent caste system, gender discrimination, etc. It excluded marginalised and vulnerable communities such as dalits, tribals, minorities, women, etc from decision-making and planning processes. It also deprived them of access to rights and entitlements, reinforcing a cycle of vulnerabilities that further prevented them from participating in the development and democratic processes.
From the grassroots
Our grants will support processes that strengthen democratic institutions at the grassroot level, so that local communities, especially the deprived, marginalised and the vulnerable become capable of actively participating in the decision-making and development process. This will lead to Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies becoming more accountable, transparent and responsive to the needs, issues and concerns of the community.
Our strategy will be to partner with credible NGOs and with government departments/ministries to strengthen existing governance systems, institutions and structures to bring long term changes as follows:
Gram Sabha/Ward Sabha becoming truly representative of the population
Women and youth groups becoming more organised
Elected representatives especially women becoming more empowered
Marginalised communities get the space and opportunity to actively participate in the developmental planning processes
Enhanced capacity building, secondary-level community leadership
Gram Panchayats/Urban Local Bodies developing and implementing participative area development plans through active Standing Committees
Improved service delivery and its access in key programmes, increased accountability of the service providers, leading to positive changes in Health, Education, Nutrition and Sanitation
We shall work across 650 tribal-dominated Gram Panchayats of select districts in the states of Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan in two phases. The learnings of phase-1, will inform and feed into the scale-up programme for the other Gram Panchayats.