Community Action Helps Implement Village Panchayat

In India, the Panchayati Raj functions as a system of governance in which gram panchayats, the village councils, are the basic units of local administration. Formalised under the Panchayat Raj Act in 1992 by the 73rd amendment to the Indian Constitution, the village council looks after the development and welfare of the residents of the area through implementation of government schemes such as NREGA, Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan; preserving land rights of the district and managing the funds under various government schemes.  

When the resident of Galhaiya village in Uttar Pradesh elected their local Panchayat, they were hopeful that development in their area will start soon. However, to the horror of the residents, the anarchic Panchayat head refused to hold public meetings. "We want to know what comes to the village, what we get, and what we don't get. We want this but the head doesn't want it so that he can scam and steal from the schemes," says Omprakash Saroj, a resident of the village. While the Panchayat consists of other members, Omprakash reveals that the head has threatened them into conducting a meeting at his house. "He says if they don't meet in his house, he will cancel their positions," Omprakash reveals.  While the residents refused to budge from their stand, the head too, put a stop to the various on-going projects in the area, bringing development to a halt.

Enraged by the lack of implementation of the laws, Anil Kumar, Video Volunteers Community Correspondent in Uttar Pradesh decided to make a video and motivate the community into action.  He made a video report on the issue. While holding community meetings and screenings, Anil also approached the Block Development Officer, a government official who supervises the smooth functioning of Village Panchayats. Along with the 40 residents of Galhaiya, he then submitted a written report on the misconduct of the village head.  

After the community-led application, the officer soon sprung into action. The Village head was dismissed from his position and a member of the council replaced him. The village's various schemes and development projects are now back on track thanks to a community's collective action. 

This video was made by a Video Volunteers Community Correspondent Anil Kumar Saroj. Community Correspondents come from

Community Correspondents come from marginalised communities in India and produce videos on unreported stories. These stories are ’news by those who live it.’ They give the hyperlocal context to global human rights and development challenges. See more such videos at www.videovolunteers.org. Take action for a more just global media by sharing their videos and joining in their call for change.

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