ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Milind BokilSubscribe to Milind Bokil

Gram Sabha as a Body Corporate

Since the passing of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992, the institution of the gram sabha has assumed signifi cance as a basic unit of self-governance but there area lot of misconceptions about its nature, and it is merely understood as a “meeting of village people.” However, in the Scheduled Areas of Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra, the gram sabhas are demonstrating how they could function as “bodies corporate,” a fact recognised only by a few of the state panchayat acts. This has got a great transformative potential not just in ushering participatory democracy but also in livelihood generation, conservation and management of natural resources.

The Sinking Lifts

In the 1960s, the Karnataka government initiated a programme to establish lift irrigation schemes in the northern regions of the state. These schemes built, operated and maintained by the minor irrigation department of the government cover a significant command area. Unfortunately, more than half the schemes are defunct and the remaining are functioning poorly. Unlike in neighbouring Maharashtra, no attempt has been made to encourage peopleâ??s participation. What can be done to revitalise this programme which could play a major role in realising irrigation potential and relieving water stress?

De-notified and Nomadic Tribes

Burdened still by labels and notions that have been the DNTs lot since the colonial period, there needs to be concerted efforts aimed towards their rehabilitation. While such efforts have to be many-pronged to tackle issues of gender bias, chronic underdevelopment and illiteracy, the onus lies on governments at the centre and state to take the initiative for lasting and truly effective change.

Drought in Rajasthan

Drought in arid and semi-arid regions is not a calamity, like an earthquake or a cyclone, but a regular climatic feature. Instead of resorting to calamity relief, governments should consider drought mitigation as the principle strategy of agricultural and rural development.

In Search of Justice

The issue of the dalhi lands in the Konkan region of Maharashtra is a case of tribal land alienation. Despite the Maharashtra government's decision in 1970 to confer individual property rights on the dalhi plot holders, bureaucratic inertia and lack of political will have seen to it that the decision does not get implemented. Various action groups in the coastal region conducted agitations but the issue, over the period, instead getting resolved, has grown complicated. At present, the rampant urbanisation and commercialisation process in the coastal region threatens not only the very livelihood of the tribal communities but also their culture and identity. The paper aims to put forth strategies and means by which the long-pending issue can be resolved.

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