Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Justice for Sneha

There is a common dialouge in bollywood films, “Kanoon andha hota hai” (Law is blind), this line stands cent percent true to every word in reality too. Sneha Singh was working as Young Professional in Bihar Rural Livelihoods Project (BRLP) was mysteriously found dead in a hotel room in Munger,Bihar. Police primarily suspected it to be suicide,but facts point otherwise. She was found hanging from ventilator's door and in half naked condition with her private parts bleeding and body in very bad shape. Police said that she killed herself after watching "Mohabbatein".

She was once Ranchi RJ who took a new path of development professional for the sake of nation building. There is need of Civil protest and use of social network. This is not about me or you; its about justice being delivered to atleast one person. More information can be gathered her - Justiceforsneha ; We all really want a proper crime investigation rather than burial of case under carpet.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Decentralisation - Chronology of Attempts and Committee Reports

The details of the history of attempts to promote decentralized planning from the first plan onwards to the mid-eighties is summarized in the table below:


Why Decentralization?

The main problem of centralized governance is lack of knowledge about local circumstances due to the geographical distance. It also creates psychological distance of government officials from citizens of the remote part. Best case in favor of decentralizing government is that it creates the inclusive institutions. Autonomy for local population to have a voice in government for decision making enables development. But, Political decentralization has no meaning if there is no fiscal decentralization.

Taking from the blog post written long back - As Oates (1993) explained, "the basic economic case for fiscal decentralization is the enhancement of economic efficiency: the provision of local outputs that are differentiated according to local tastes and circumstances results in higher levels of social welfare than centrally determined and more uniform levels of outputs across all jurisdictions.Although this proposition has been developed mainly in a static context (see my treatment of the "Decentralization Theorem,' 1972), the thrust of the argument should also have some validity in a dynamic setting of economic growth." Fiscal Experts have also concluded that decentralized government poses a threat to the macroeconomic stability and is incompatible with prudent fiscal management. (See Prud’homme, 1995; Tanzi, 1996). Among the fiscal experts a broad consensus has been arrived in the context of Musgrave’s trilogy of public functions, namely, allocation, redistribution, and stabilization, that the function of allocation can be assigned to lower level of governments, the other two would be more appropriate for the national government. Therefore, the macroeconomic management, particularly stabilization policy largely consider as clearly a central function (Musgrave, 1983; Oates 1972). [OP Vohra : Fiscal decentralization and devolution of financial resource]

Saturday, July 20, 2013

SHG Model under TRIPTI Scheme - 2

SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS:- The social inclusion process will include two steps; first to identify the left out poor, those who are not a part of any SHG/ other CBOs and second to ensure their participation in different community based organizations [SHGs, GPLF etc.] at the village/ Gram Panchayat level. In this process, the project also needs to identify the extremely poor and vulnerable groups (EPVG) in community that typically suffer from severe economic and social impediments.

For this purpose the project adopted a community-based participatory approach to identify and prioritize project beneficiaries, including ‘extreme poor and vulnerable groups’, person with disabilities and the ‘left out poor’. The proposed methodology for the same is called situational Analysis in the project which will comprise of the following exercises:
1- Participatory identification of Poor(PIP):
o Social mapping/ collection of base line of beneficiaries
o Well Being Grouping
2- SHG Grading
3- Institution Mapping
4- Livelihood mapping

FUNDS:- For operational sustainability of the GPLF, it needs different kinds of funds like the start-up fund, Institution Building (IB) fund and Community Investment Fund (CIF). Start up funds and IB fund are basically meant for office establishment and capacity building activity. The Community Investment Fund (CIF) act as a catalyst to help poor households meet their demand for improved access to credit for investment needs. The Community Investment Fund will be an infusion from the TRIPTI Project to the Gram Panchayat Level Federation (GPLF) down to the members and is expected to revolve among SHG members for taking loans and repay loans from this fund.

The SHG may provide loans for individual based livelihoods preferably for reducing vulnerabilities and shocks, income generating activities, meeting social needs and supporting investments in housing, education, etc. based on the priorities fixed by the communities in their Micro Investment Plans (MIP). Member borrows from its SHG for implementing Household Investment Plan and repays the loan amount in full with agreed terms and conditions. The amount of loan received as CIF will be first available to the most needy and vulnerable. On repayment and accumulation of group fund the other ranked members will avail funds from the group. The other sources of funding MIP are SHG’s own funds and bank finance.

Pro-Poor Inclusion Fund (PPIF) is a part of Community Investment Fund (CIF) which will focus on activities aimed at identifying the extreme poor and vulnerable groups (EPVG), and enhancing their productive capacity. The fund size of PPIF is Rs 5000/- per eligible SHG.

Panchasutra- SHGs were well aware of the Panchasutra are the five principles of maintaining an SHG and includes
• Regular Meeting
• Regular Saving
• Book keeping
• Timely Repayment
• Internal Lending

Thursday, July 18, 2013

SHG Model under TRIPTI Scheme - 1

Targeted Rural Initiatives for Poverty Termination & Infrastructure (TRIPTI) aims at enhancing the socio-economic status of the poor, especially women and disadvantaged groups, in ten districts of Orissa over a period of five years, beginning 10 February 2009. The project is assisted by the International Development Agency of the World Bank and implemented by Orissa Poverty Reduction Mission, a society under the Panchayati Raj Department of government of Orissa. TRIPTI project under World Bank Assistance is running in 38 blocks in 10 districts that will be treated as pilot blocks for NRLM.

The SHGs are at the first tier of the community institution structure. One SHG is formed constituting 10-20 women members (in case of disability or dispersed location the group size may be 5 to 20). The second tier of the structure is called Cluster Level Forum (CLF) which is an aggregation of 5 to 15 SHGs at the village/hamlet level. GPLF is the third tier of SHGs which is formed taking representation from all CLFs at the GP level.

I have a privilege of working closely with TRIPTI block level team and SHG Federation at Kharidpipal GP for 21 days in Balasore. Bhograi is one of the blocks in Balasore that falls under the TRIPTI project. It consists of 32 Gram Panchayats out of which I was placed at Kharidpipal. Kharidpipal GP consists of eight villages. The GPLF federation of SHG is constituted of 13 CLF and 152 SHG. The detail of the structure is given in the diagram. That gave me a decent understanding of SHG model that will be implemented in NRLM scheme with a slight tweak. I will draw the conclusion that Creation of Dedicated Machinery (staff support) &  Universalisation of SHGs has made it more sustainable than SGSY.

Looking on the data of Annual Exp of Average Poor – Rs.40-60K; 35-55% Food; 10-30% Health; 15-20% Education; 10-20% C&E (MGNREGS 2011). Most of the schemes related to poor fail because poor spend their money on urgent needs such as health rather than asset building. It is not only economic poverty but lack of financial planning also plays crucial aspect. Hence, TRIPTI focuses on the Micro Investment Plan (MIP) that is a household investment plan prepared by individual households and their consolidation at SHG level.

MIP has socio–economic information will include critical factors such as income, assets and liabilities, needs and problems, number of earners and dependents, single woman, physical/mental disability amongst the members in their family if any, health problems, livelihoods and opportunities, skills, saving capacity, social backwardness, literacy etc. It will look for income and expenditure statement of members. The SHG at the outset ranks its members according to their wealth. The Self Help Groups will then be facilitated to prepare a list of all SHG members along with their loan requests indicating both activity/purpose and loan amount. The group would appraise each loan request and determine the loan terms like amount of loan, installment amount, repayment period, etc. Here, the group would take into consideration the potential for chosen activity in the local area and the competence of the members to carry out the same gainfully.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Governance and Accountability: A to Z

This Governance and Accountability (GAC) is taken directly from the PPT of world bank team.

A: Awareness on GAC - Good project management is promoted by adopted governance and accountability. However one needs to generate awareness on GAC .

B: Benchmarking - The benchmarking on what can be delivered has to be done with due consultations with stakeholder who would deliver the service.

C: Capacity Building - A training module needs to be developed which empowers the entire project staff and participating institutions at all level with basic activities under GAC, tools to be used under GAC.

D: Deterrence - A clear cut policy which includes measures for prevention, detection and punitive action needs to be defined.

D: Documentation - Documentation of procured assets, field processes, accounts, book keeping etc. are integral part of GAC.

E: Effective Service Delivery - The deviation against the benchmarks have to be captured regarding the service delivery.

F: Focal Point for GAC - It would be necessary to identify a focal point for GAC at each level right from State, district, block and community.

F: Feedback System - An effective feedback system has to be evolved in the project. Community Score card is one such feedback tool.

G: Grievance Redress System - GRS will include complete redress mechanism, which can be used by community members also to report on any form process deviation , corruption and complain.

H: Human Resource Policy - Human Resource Policy and Codes of Conduct needs to be defined.

H: Help desk - Help Desks are necessary to provide help / information to stakeholders.

I: ICT - ICT will serve the backend support for improving governance and accountability.

J: Joint efforts - The GAC initiatives have spread across multiple sectors and verticals hence all efforts have to be jointly done by the project staff at the respective levels.

K: Knowledge Management - Knowledge Management helps in learning , sharing and thus necessary for better governance.

L: Learning - Doing by learning is necessary for GAC by a gradual learning-by doing approach.

M: Monitoring for GAC - Monitoring systems have to be in place good governance.

N: Non–Negotiable - Project non–negotiable are key to GAC.

O: Operational guidelines - It would require operational guidelines to be prepared and disseminated at all levels for the staff and community institutions to understand the entire gamut of GAC.

P: Process Audit - Process assessment can become a participatory method to understand the processes adopted at the community level.

P: Public Disclosures - Public Disclosure will be ensured with desired frequency, medium and responsible units.

Q: Quality Control - Quality control is necessary for improved service delivery.

R: Right to Information - RTI emphasizes on complying with provisions on suo-motto disclosure of information under RTI Act, 2005, rather than limiting to only on-demand access to information.

S: Sanction Policy - Clear sanction policy for fraud, corruption, and other malpractices needs to be outlined. Reporting cases from the field and mandatory checks needs to be institutionalized.

T: Transparency - Transparency will have to be ensured strictly at the procurement, financial and project implementation level.

U: User Report Card - The user report card can be done annually or at a regular frequency to capture the feedback from the SHG members through a survey or group discussion method on service delivery in the livelihood project.

V: Verification mechanism - A foolproof verification mechanism has to be developed under GAC for verifying key risk areas like social inclusion, adherence to non negotiable, transparency in project etc. and to identify the loopholes.

W: Window for GAC - A window for GAC concept has to be promoted to provide insight into the practices and innovations in GAC.

X: Xtra Ordinary efforts - Governance and accountability requires an Xtra Ordinary effort.

Y: Yes to GAC - Governance and Accountability is mandatory part of the project and cannot be termed as extracurricular activity, hence each stakeholder has to fall in the line of saying Yes to GAC.

Z: Zeal for GAC - Taking up measures related to governance and accountability requires a Zeal for GAC, amongst the project decision makers and management.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Change the World !


My Belief - “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ― Rumi

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Little is not little, enough is not enough.

I have decided to loan 25$ each month from my salary to the people in need of credit. This will be done through KIVA. KIVA is a platform of lending that has a 99.03% repayment rate for 340,986,325 transactions in ended loans. This loan repayment rate is much higher than any bank. I will decide later with repayments that how much part of my money will be further used either as loan or development aid. This is my Profile at KIVA so that one can always check the authenticity of the claim.

A story of how a small loan from you can change the life of a family


How Kiva Works (http://www.kiva.org/about/how)

1- Make a loan : You make a loan on KIVA. All KIVA loans are made possible by our Field Partners, who vet, administer, and disburse each loan.

2- Get updates : Throughout the life of the loan, you will see progress updates from Kiva through your email, and if you come back to the site.

3- Get paid back : As the borrower repays the loan, the money becomes available in your account. This is called your Kiva Credit.

4- Repeat : You can now use it to fund another loan, donate it to Kiva, or withdraw it to spend on something else.

Why did I choose KIVA?

Development aid has been flowing for decades, but the results have been absolute dismal. Instead, recipients have merely become dependent. There is a long chain of "middlemen" i.e. the consultants and the companies involved in this "trade" between donor and beneficiaries. Hence, I find microfinance as a better instrument to alleviate poor than a poorly designed development aid. People should decide how to help those in need. It needs a very big database of demand and supply of credit with the purpose of loan clearly mentioned. KIVA is doing just that thing. Hence, we will far less likely to complain that their money is being wasted or misused if we chose where it went.

I believe that our society cannot sustain , unless we contribute back in someway or the other. I strongly feel if even one person does his bit towards social good, there will be positive change. I am not giving anyone lot of theories, clever strategies or concepts. I am asking for direct cash transfers to the needy as a loan. In helping others - Little is not little, enough is not enough.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Restructuring of SGSY as National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM)

Launched on 1st April 1999, Swaranjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) was an integrated scheme for providing opportunities of self employment to the rural poor. Like any other government schemes, this was also prone to corruption and failure. Swarna Jayanti Swarozgar Yojna (SGSY) has been renamed as National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) with added provision. I was reading notification of RBI on National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) issued way back in June 2013.

Uneven spread of SHGs, defunct SHGs and high attrition rate of members were the main issues faced in functioning of SHG in SGSY. This has been tackled through Universalisation of SHGs. Setting up of federations of SHGs is the salient feature of NRLM that can ensure monitoring and validation at community level.

Identification of Swarozgari was major source of corruption for Bank, Block and District level officers. A lot of money was taken as bribe for clearance before proper credit reached the beneficiary. Even non existing beneficiaries were created for embezzlement of grants. No Capital Subsidy will be sanctioned to any SHG from the date of implementation of NRLM. SHG Federations at GP level will be given grant under Community Investment Support fund, which will be used by the Federations to advance loans to SHGs. There is provision of interest subvention to Women SHGs, enabling them to avail loans up to Rs. 3 lakh at an interest rate of 7 per cent per year.

Lack of dedicated implementation structure are identified as responsible factors by the draft for the poor performance of SGSY. There will be an autonomous, adequately staffed, professionally managed and empowered agency both at the national and state level to implement the mission under the Societies Registration Act. Creation of Dedicated Machinery will reduce burden on existing government machinery, hence reduces the chance of corruption!

There are some changes to National Rural Livelihoods Mission (Aajeevika) recently approved by Cabinet. Under the existing framework of implementation of N.R.L.M, only rural households included in the official BPL list could be targeted under N.R.L.M. This list was prepared in 2002, has not been updated and has many defects. The target groups under N.R.L.M will be determined by a well defined, transparent and equitable process of Participatory Identification of Poor (PIP), at the level of the community. This is welcome approach but can surely increase number of members of Extreme Poor and Vulnerable Group (EPVG) during PIP process. I always believe that identification of the poor is a political gimmick not a statistical exercise at ground level.

National Rural Livelihood Project (NRLP)

Government of India has availed a credit from the International Development Association (IDA) for implementing the, National Rural Livelihood Project (NRLP), under NRLM. The NRLP would be implemented in 13 high poverty states accounting for about 90 percent of the rural poor in the country. Intensive livelihood investments would be made by the NRLP in 107 districts and 422 blocks of 13 states (Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu). Distribution of project funds among the states would be based on the relative share of rural BPL population in the total states. NRLP will broadly support the following components:

(i) Institution and human capacity development at the national, state, district and sub-district level such that support institutional structures are created,
(ii) State livelihood support towards establishment of institutional platforms of the rural poor for improved access to financial, livelihood and public services,
(iii) Innovation and partnership to identify and partner innovative ideas which address the livelihood needs of the rural poor and help pilot or scale them,
(iv) Project management and monitoring and learning systems.

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This Blog is meant purely as a personal diary of a rural manager in making. It exists to record information, experiences and opinions about various issues encountered in the line of duty. Any person, institution and organization mentioned here doesn't assume any liability for its contents. This is not a deliberate attempt to defame anyone. And if you have actually read all that is written in the blog and aren't mad at me, then thanks for your time and patience !
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