Co-ordination with NGO & Line Department

 

Different Line Departments like Soil Conservation Officer, Forest, Horticulture, Minor Irrigation, Sericulture, Rural Works, RWSS etc. are involving in MGNREGS & IAP works

NGO PRADAN is leading partner for implementation of INRM under MGNREGS. Other NGOs like SWATI, SAMANWITA, JAGRUTI, PRADATA, SEVA BHARATI, KALPAVRIKSH, CPSW are co-ordinating at Block level for implementation of INRM.

Implemention of INRM in Kandhamal District

Context

The highland region of Orissa, comprising of nineteen out of its thirty districts, is characterized by low population density (142), low urban population (13%), high percentage of SC/ST population (52%), low levels of literacy (21.5% female literacy)and high levels of poverty. Most people have lands but landlessness is high (around 40%) in KBK districts, where people depend on revenue and forest lands to a great extent. The average landholding per family is around 1ha. Roughly 50% of the cultivators are marginal farmers, 30% are small farmers, and the rest are big farmers. Problems of land tenure mainly arise in relation to encroached land.

 The region is characterized by subsistence agriculture; declining availability and control over common property resources and forest resources; deficit-induced indebtedness leading to the loss of control over private resources; and dependence on low-return seasonal labour migration. The total cultivated area in this zone is 36% of the geographical area and agriculture is predominantly rain-fed and mono-cropped. Though 37% of the net sown area is irrigated, in reality many irrigation schemes are either defunct or irrigate much less land than what they were designed for. Paddy is the major crop, accounting for 60% (about 75% of kharif) of crop coverage, with a productivity of 1–1.5 t/ha. Other crops include maize, a variety of millets, pulses and oil seeds. The region has limited ground water and there is virtually no scope for large and medium irrigation projects due to the undulating nature of the terrain. The downward spiral of low productivity leads to poor husbandry, which further reduces productivity resulting in widespread resource degradation and impoverishment of the people.

 Relevance of INRM in the area

 The terrain, however, receives good rainfall and is crisscrossed by many seasonal and perennial streams carrying off a huge runoff. Thus, there are multiple options for harvesting the high runoff from the region in a decentralized manner. These options have largely remained untapped and a very low percentage of net sown area is irrigated. High rainfall and a complex ecology make these regions potential engines of future growth. However, the people are almost uniformly poor and among the most food-insecure in the country at present. Agriculture, forest and wage earning (either locally or through migration) are the primary sources of livelihood in this zone.

 An integrated approach to natural resource management, focusing on the efficient management of soil, water and vegetation resources, becomes extremely important in this situation. Natural resource management will not only help to optimize and increase the productivity of land and water resources, but also can ensure household food security and eliminates mass poverty in the region. Natural resources (land, water, forest, etc.) are pretty basic to the livelihoods of the rural poor. The lack of investment and poor husbandry are gradually reducing the production potential of these resources. We must make use of this opportunity to deploy its investments under MGNREGA and other poverty alleviation schemes to develop these lands and generate sustainable livelihoods for the poor communities, primarily depending on them. On an average, 150 to 200 person-days of employment can be generated for developing every hectare of such land and opportunities in each village can provide 100 days employment to its residents for around three to five years. The techniques and measures used for rainwater harvesting and land husbandry are along the lines of the works proposed under MGNREGA. Such livelihood asset creation combined with agriculture extension will eventually reduce people's dependence on unskilled labour work.

 Potential beneficiaries include both the landless wage earners and owners of the resources themselves. In addition to wage-earning opportunities, the landless benefit from non-farm activities that flourish following the development of natural resources. Asset creation and increase in productivity will definitely help the population relying on natural resources to cross the poverty line.

 Here in a village a comprehensive micro-plan is prepared with the help of NGO partners taking all the resources and all the families into account. A base line data of the village and different families is collected which would be helpful to see the impact of the intervention after 2-3 years. All the lands are being treated starting from ridge to valley with appropriate technologies. The measures that are being taken plantation, WHS, staggered trench, gully plugging, diversion channel, field levelling and bunding, 30*40- model, irrigation well, 5%- models, seepage pond and low land pond etc.   

 Our initiative in the district

 On 10th November 2009 a pilot project of “INRM under MGNREGA” was launched in the Kandhamal district. This programme is first of its kind with respect to taking land and water management in an integrated way by the involvement of NGOs under MGNREGA.

 PRADAN, a national level NGO was selected as Nodal NGO and assigned to help other 7 NGOs (SWATI, PRADATA, JAGRUTI, KALPABRUKYA, SEVA BHARTI, CPSW and SAMMANWIT) for proper implementation of the above programme. All the NGOs were assigned with around 30 villages per block. The NGOs were involved in orienting the villagers towards MGNREGA, prepare the micro plan along with the baseline data collection of the villages. The Plan was to take up this work in seven blocks of Kandhamal district in about 300 villages. The NGOs are to support the villages during the implementation of their plan. All the stake holders like BDOs, AEs, JEs, NGO staff, Gram Sanjojaks were oriented on INRM and got clarified on their roles in it.  

Progress made

By this time, all the plans have been submitted to the respective block and got FS from the district. On an average estimated cost of one project is 10-15 lakh per villages for 2-3 years covering about 40 families generating about 10000 person days in a village. After getting sanctioned from the district the work has been initiated in 220 villages in all the blocks.  Work of amount Rs 1.3 crore has been completed under INRM in different blocks. Now people are taking immense interest to speed up the work by actualizing their vision of creating durable asset in their own field along with getting their wage.

Impact of this intervention

  • The block level officials are now immensely involved in INRM work though there was initial resistance and confusions about role and responsibilities. In these blocks the expense from INRM has become also significant in terms of total block’s expenses under MGNREGS.
  • Initially people were skeptical not taking interest to do the INRM work as it was a new kind of work under MGNREGA. But after the first payment this kind of fear was reduced.
  • The villagers of these villages are getting more interest now to do this kind of works and are now more involved in pallisabha and panchayat decisions. People are coming together not only for development of their own resources but for village as a whole.
  • In the INRM villages more job card holders are now involved in work in comparison to previous year.
  • In some blocks they PRI persons like block president, Sarpanchas, Zillaparsad members etc have been given exposure to INRM work and they have shown interest for this type of work.
  • Now more demand is coming from the people from nearby villages.
  • Now block officials from other blocks are coming to these blocks to see the work.
  • In some villages people have taken SRI in their plots with 5% models, land leveling and bunding, etc.

Systems and process

We monitor the progress of INRM at different levels regularly. At the GP level work is being monitored fortnightly on 1st and 16th of each month. But at the block level it is being monitored twice in a month on 2nd and 17th, where all block officials, VLWs, GRS and representative from NGOs  present in the meeting.  In the block level meeting a senior official(PD,APD, sub-collector, Executive engineer, other senior officials etc) from the district also present as nodal officer to monitor the progress. Now muster rolls are being released weekly basis and measurement is also being done by the GS and MR is submitted to the GP/block office. After that responsibility of JE starts to check work fully or sample basis.  The JEs are developing confidence on the GS, otherwise they measure all the works.

More job card holders have their account in post offices. The families those have accounts in bank they were getting payment within 17-20 days, but from more delay was there when accounts are in post office.  Though the GP/block deposits the cheque at the respective post offices they take huge time 15-25 days to make payment. Recently drive has been taken to open account in bank in some of these GPs.

 Way forward

The focus is now to create awareness among the community for their empowerment and demand for work; this can be strengthened with orientation of gram panchayat leaders towards their role and responsibility in developing their resources of their villages and panchayat under MGNREGA. Saturation of panchayats under INRM can create bigger impact for the whole panchayat by not only creating assets but also in opening avenues for future sustainable livelihoods. It will lead people from wage dependence towards sustainable livelihood. With required trainings the educated youth will focus on agriculture for livelihood than seasonal migration. In this context we are thinking to include more vilages in the same block and take some vilages in other new blocks in future.

 

 

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