|“I had medical ailments to take care of, my child’s fees to take care of; but due to these arrears, I was unable to do anything,” recalls Ramlanga Bhuiya, a council member of Mahuawa Panchayat in Bihar state.
Fourteen council members of the Mahuawa Panchayat were not paid their monthly salaries of Rs.500 for over an year. Usually, these members are remunerated by the State Government or by taxes levied at the local level. But because none of this has been implemented in Mahuawa there was an arrear of almost Rs. 6,000. As a result, most local members had to work other jobs to make ends meet. All the council members had to work as daily wagers to buy food and medicine for themselves. When these council members went to the Village Council Head, he assured them that they will get the payment but did nothing about it.
It took a Community member and our Correspondent, Suresh Sharma from the village to motivate the council and the citizens to raise into action. The council members collectively wrote an application to the Block Development Officer (BDO) and went to meet him. The BDO deposited the amount into the village’s expense account within the next few months, availing salary to the 14-member council body
The marginalised and tribal people in rural India, women in particular, are largely unaware of their rights and entitlements under various state and national schemes. The primary reasons for this are the lack of education, awareness of schemes and guidance to help them claim their rights. Under such circumstances, the knowledgeable...