AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK



D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h 

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

Terms of Reference for

an Apprasal Msson to ntate an area development programme n Bhar
1 . B a c k g r o u n d
The aga Khan Foundation (aKF) – an agency of the aga Khan development network (aKdn) – is a private, nondenominational, development agency, established by his highness the aga Khan in switzerland in 1967. The Foundation seeks sustainable solutions to long-term problems of poverty through an integrated, community based, participatory approach that reinforces civil society and respects local culture. in india, aKF has promoted the aga Khan rural support programme (aKrsp), which has primarily worked with rural communities of Gujarat for over two decades, organizing and training them in methods of natural resources management. it has also supported a host of civil society organizations – both within the aKdn and outside – primarily in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, andhra pradesh, rajasthan and Madhya pradesh in areas of rural livelihoods, health and education. since 2002, aKF has taken a more active role in implementing multi-sector programmes in the villages affected by natural disasters like earthquake and tsunami. in the process, it has harnessed the diverse expertise of different aKdn agencies and has moved effectively from disaster response to area development programmes. The board of aKF has now approved an expansion plan to the states of Bihar and Uttar pradesh (Up). in keeping with the stated approach of the aKdn, this will be an integrated area development approach, covering aspects of rural livelihoods, health, education and development of civil society. This programme will leverage the core competence of aKdn of working with the ultra-poor and marginalized while contributing directly to the priority development issues of the government in these two states . The integrated area development approach of aKdn would be initiated in Bihar through a two-pronged approach: (1) Micro-level initiatives at the grassroots where the beneficiaries are organized to (a) access, demand and manage essential goods and services; (b) institutionalize processes of inclusion for weaker and marginalized sections of the society, including women; and (c) deal with more formal external institutions of governance, markets and civil society. (2) Macro-level initiatives at a broader level, that lead to the creation and sustenance of an enabling environment through (a) institutions of civil society, including independent knowledge and communication resources; (b) stronger institutions of governance, including the pris; and (c) viable enterprises that provide for economic growth.
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sachhar committee report.

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a base report was prepared after consulting the available literature and interacting with key individuals and agencies working in Bihar . Based on this report, a summary note was prepared and shared with key persons within aKdn . in addition, consultations were held with aKrsp (india) to develop the core objectives of the expansion programme and develop a set of criteria to identify new programme areas in Bihar. The criteria were as under: • • • • • • Areas with mixed population with significant concentration of disadvantaged community groups including the Muslim minorities. Focus on areas with high incidence of extreme poverty and general social and economic backwardness indicated by poverty level, income and ownership of assets and indicators on human development index areas with good accessibility from the state headquarter (patna) in terms of distance and relative ease of communication presence of enabling social and political environment with overall satisfactory law and order situation and stable local socio-political conditions areas where sustained developmental activities can be carried out without serious threat of disruptions from recurrent and severe natural calamities like floods; areas where chances of success is relatively high.

Based on the criteria listed above and further consultations in aKF and partners and other agencies working in Bihar, field visits to select areas of Bihar and secondary information review, three Districts- Muzaffarpur, samastipur and patna were short-listed for detailed appraisal by the present Mission.

2 . oB jectives of the a pp r a i s a l
• recommend location(s) for initiating the area development programme and suggest the coverage/ scale of the programme while delineating potential development blocks (and laying down criteria for identification of village clusters) within the districts already identified, along with possible location of field offices (operational criteria); carry out a rapid situation analysis of the proposed districts/ blocks in terms of the developmental status of disadvantaged communities and suggest thematic components, along with the priorities and possible sequencing on which the programme intervention should focus suggest a strategy for the implementation of an effective integrated area development programme which can address the critical development issues of the selected area and bring long-term sustainable impact develop a strategic action plan to create/ strengthen an enabling environment in Bihar for o o o introducing innovative approaches of area development, building capacity of local civil societies and facilitating development of appropriate state policies/ programmes.

• •

3 . o utputs
debriefing note

At the end of the field visit, the team will develop a debriefing note, which will include major findings and recommendations of the team as per the objectives outlines above.

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development status in Bihar with special reference to Muslim Minorities in the state Bihar. internal draft Jan 07. 

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annex i

draft report

The team will develop a draft report detailing findings, assessment and recommendations of the team on each of the items as specified in the scope of work detailed below.
final report

The final report, complete with all annexes, will be forwarded to AKF one week after receiving comments on the draft report.

4. s cope of Work
review the selection of districts in terms of criteria laid down by aKF for selection of new area in Bihar delineate contiguous blocks and village clusters in the selected districts for program implementation, based on secondary information, conduct a field assessment and consult key local agencies carry out a rapid swoT analysis for the proposed interventions in Bihar. This should relate to the strategic environment in which aKdn will be operating in the state. conduct a rapid situational analysis in selected areas on the current status of income and employment, livelihood, health, education, service delivery and some key hdi indicators like gender with special reference to disadvantaged and marginalised communities carry out consultations with the key agencies of Government, civil societies and pri in the selected areas and broad consultations with key nGos and Government functionaries at the state, district, block, village levels dialogue with local communities with special emphasis on disadvantaged communities using appropriate tools to assess community development needs and priorities Map the current status of civil societies working in the selected area and suggest possible areas of collaboration assessment of key Government programs currently being implemented in the selected area and its possible impact on the proposed strategy assessment of local social-political dynamics in terms of caste-class hierarchies and its implications on collective actions, equity in access to programme benefits and the potential for development of a pluralistic ethos assess the local migration patterns and its likely implications on the proposed programme assess the unique developmental challenges in selected peri-urban areas of patna district and suggest integrated development program for the same. devise and recommend a strategy for working in the selected area, keeping in mind the need for up-scaling by other agencies (both government and nGos). The suggested action plan should recommend the overall approach, program focus, implementation strategy, institutional arrangement and extent and coverage of its activities. The Mission would articulate the various elements of both the micro and macro-level initiatives, focusing particularly on their inter-connectedness. it is also possible to work out a distinct civil society development programme at the macro level, specifically to address areas with weak presence of NGOs.

5. Method of Work
The Mission should devise a strategy for the successful conduct of appraisal keeping in view the objectives and scope of work explained above. The team members are encouraged to compile secondary/ background information and interact with key agencies and individuals at the state level prior to the actual launch of the Mission.

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The Mission would visit potential blocks, observe the geographical and social-political conditions, interact with local community and other relevant local stakeholders like government agencies from block to district level, local nGos, pri representatives and such to develop a comprehensive understanding of the local environment. Focus group discussions and use of pra tools with the village community particularly with the disadvantaged groups can be useful for understanding local developmental issues and community priorities.

while the key observations and suggestions would be made during the Mission through appropriate presentation modes decided at the outset, a more comprehensive and detailed set of deliverables would be expected to be submitted by the individual members of the Mission within 4 days from the completion of the Mission. The Mission coordinator would synthesise all these drafts to provide a comprehensive draft report, no later than 15 days from the close of Mission. The final report is expected within seven days from the receipt of comments from aKF.

6 . t ea M c o Mposition The members of the appraisal team, along with their key responsibilities and expected deliverables is attached at annex i.

7 . t iM ing The appraisal will be conducted from 14th of May to 21st of May. detailed schedule of the appraisal is attached in annex ii.

8 . p rinciple Background do c uM e n t s aKdn, aKF and aKrsp annual reports; a brief note on the development status and issues in Bihar; note on district selection in Bihar.

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annex ii

appraisal Mission To Bihar
MeMBers p o s Ta l a d d r e s s c o n Ta c T Key responsiBiliTies*

s ram Bhat options and solutions

a 3, leela apartments 44/478 ashram colony 6th cross, rMv ii stage Bangalore 560 094 620, Kasmanda regent apts. 2 park road, hazratganj lucknow 226 001 (Up) east & west educational society, arogya Mandir hospital compound, nala road, patna-800 004 head, internal programme Initiatives, Praxis- Patna Office, 18a, patliputra colony, patna-800013 Basics, 2nd Floor 66, hemkunt colony, Greater Kailash 1, new delhi 110048

Tel: 080-23411039, 23419259 Fax: 91-80-23419259 Mo: 0-9448463947 options.solutions@gmail.com Mo: 0-9415322492 dneshsingh@yahoo.com

Team coordination; overall group facilitation; overall synthesis;

dr dinesh singh consultant

health sector assessment; development and analysis of intervention options (short & long term-in n Bihar in general and ppa in particular) education sector assessment; development and analysis of intervention options (short & long term - in n Bihar in general and ppa in particular) Mapping of civil society; policy dimensions; potential interventions with civil society (in Bihar, north Bihar, ppa)

vinay k kantha patnu Univ

Tel: 91-612-2670944 Mo. 0-9431019351 enw1@rediffmail.com

anindo Banerjee praxis

Tel/Fax- 0612- 2267558/7 Mo: 0-9431815473 anindob@praxisindia.org

sourindra Bhattacharya Basics

Mo: 0-9818452090 sourindra@basixindia.com

rural income enhancement opportunities short, medium and long term (in n Bihar in general and ppa in particular)

d k Mishra 30 e, patliputra colony Barh Mukti abhiyan patna-800013 rajeshwar Mishra

Tel.: 0612- 2771404 Mo.: 0-9431303360 mishradk@sify.com Tel./Fax: +91 612 2533094 Mo: 0-9434004964 rajeshwarmishra789@rediffmail.com Tel.: 0612-2524996 Mo.: 0-9431077343 ca_darshi@yahoo.co.in Tel. 0612-3097728 Mo. 0-9431021204 sakhipatna@rediffmail.com

Floods - community actions, government response, research agenda, outlook social & political processes at the local level; unique challenges to development of marginalised communities; political processes at the local level; social movements & its impact on civil society

301, amitabh Kunj, Budha colony, patna – 800 001 l- 164, road no- 23, s.K. nagar patna 800001 arpana Bank colony phase ii, ramjaipal road, po danapure cantt., new Bailey road, patna - 801503 Maurya lok commercial complex, Block-c, 3rd Floor patna- 800 001

c a priyadarshi

suman singh sakhi

livelihoods - particularly from women’s perspective, fisheries dynamics, legal frameworks, etc.

r r kalyan rGvn

Tel.: 0-612-2207328; 2227565 (Fax); 2594599® Mo: 0-9431004334 rrkalyan@rediffmail.com kalyan@rgvnindia.org Tel.: 011-23782173; 23782174 (fax) somnath.bandyopadhyay@akdn.org; dayaram@akdn.org; seyed.faiz.ext@ akdn.org; seema.pahariya@akdn.org 91-79-66312451, 66312461 apoorva@akrspi.org

Livelihoods - financial services, NGO collaboration, legal frameworks, etc.

akf somnath, Faiz, seema & dayaram

Sarojini House (2nd floor) 6, Bhagwan dass road new delhi - 110 001

overall coordination; management of the process; sector outputs; overall outcome

akrsp (india) apoorva, naga, Jp Tripathi, vahora, alka Mehta akpBs, i surekha

9 & 10th floor, Corporate House near dinesh hall, ashram road ahmedabad 380009

implementation issues; community organisation; livelihoods; opportunities

405a/407, Jolly Bhavan n° 1 10, new Marine lines Mumbai 400020

91 22 2200 6337 /7189/9275 corporate@akpbsi.org

housing; built-environment; sanitation

ppa: proposed programme areas; * indicative only, subject to discussions and finalisation by the Appraisal Coordinator

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v
iTinerary oF The appraisal Mission To Bihar
expecTed oUTpUT pa r T i c i pa n T s

M i s s i o n d ay

l o c aT i o n

acTiviTy

day 1 (14 May 2007)

patna

introduction of team members; discussion on the expected outcome (as a team) and outputs (of individuals); chapter scheme; details expected; itinerary analysis of the different proposed project areas (ppas) from the perspective of initiating an integrated area development programme; analysis of the different programmatic interventions suited to the different ppas ram, vinay, dinesh, anindo, sourindra, rajeshwar, suman, Kalyan, priyadarshi, Mishra; apoorva, Bharat, vahora, naga, Kukadiya, dayaram, seema, Faiz & somnath

Clarity of the task, team-building, finetuning logistics; become a purposeful and coherent team

ram, vinay, dinesh, anindo, sourindra, rajeshwar, suman, Kalyan, priyadarshi, Mishra; apoorva, Bharat, vahora, naga, Kukadiya, dayaram, seema, Faiz & somnath

day 2-4 (15-17 May 2007)

Muzaffarpur/ samastipur

visit selected blocks (villages & towns) in two teams; discuss with local communities, leaders, officials, NGO staff, service providers & businesses; assess the need, priorities & willingness to pay of the potential beneficiaries for different services; assess the potential for inclusive community action & broad-based participation of communities; assess the constraints in service delivery and potential for improvement through community actions; analysis of the different needs, priorities and constraints in the social, economic and cultural dimensions of development; understanding the special dynamics related to shifting livelihoods (& shifting locations); assess possible interventions that is driven by future needs

day 5 (18 May 2007)

peri-urban areas around patna

visit selected localities (peri-urban & adjacent rural) in two teams; discuss with local communities, leaders, officials, NGO staff, service providers & businesses; understand the social, economic and cultural dimensions of migration & urbanisation; assess the need, priorities & willingness to pay for different services; assess the constraints in service delivery and potential for community-based approaches to development draw a broad outline of the status of different aspects of development; pull out the key issues in each that need to be addressed, particularly in the context of n Bihar;

ram, vinay, dinesh, anindo, sourindra, rajeshwar, suman, Kalyan, priyadarshi, Mishra; apoorva, Bharat, vahora, naga, Kukadiya, dayaram, seema, Faiz & somnath

day 6 (19 May 2007)

patna

Thematic group discussions: health (& sanitation), education (basic, vocational & higher), civil society (institutions, rights & law), livelihoods (agriculture & allied, non-farm), financial services, infrastructure (& habitat), environment (floods & natural disaster), & culture

ram, vinay, dinesh, anindo, sourindra, rajeshwar, suman, Kalyan, priyadarshi, Mishra; Bharat, vahora, naga, Kukadiya, dayaram, seema, Faiz & somnath resource persons from Bihar as special invitees

day 7 (20 May 2007)

patna

(i) consolidate inputs from two field groups and thematic discussion groups;

(ii) assess (& prioritise) the development needs, opportunities (& associated risks) for aKdn programme in n Bihar/ ppas;

a set of powerpoint presentation of the key issues, ideas for action for each thematic area, along with rationale, long-term outcomes, linkages with other sectors, etc.

ram, vinay, dinesh, anindo, sourindra, rajeshwar, suman, Kalyan, priyadarshi, Mishra; Bharat, vahora, naga, Kukadiya, dayaram, seema, Faiz & somnath atanu dey

(iii) develop a strategy and action plan for aKdn, with phased intervention in identified location(s) and intervention(s). outline of a broad strategy for aKdn in Bihar; outline of a set of initial action points for AKDN in specific PPAs. ram, vinay, dinesh, anindo, sourindra, rajeshwar, suman, Kalyan, priyadarshi; nick, Bharat, vahora, naga, Kukadiya, dayaram, seema, Faiz & somnath shaibal

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

day 8 (21 May 2007)

patna

presentation of thematic issues, priorities, ideas for action in ppas; discussion on the outcome scenario of such actions; discussion on the proposed next steps

annex iv

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o r G a n i z aT i o n

areas oF experTise

c o n Ta c T

dr. p. p. Ghosh

director, asian development research institute

education, Muslim development issues

asian development research institute, Bsidc colony, off Boring patliputra raod, patna- 800013 Tel: 0612- 2265649, 2267773 Mobile: 09431024906 email: ppghoshadri@yahoo.co.uk women development corporation, 2nd Floor, indira Bhawan, r.c. singh path, Bailey road, patna 800001. Tel: 0612- 2200695, 2234096 Mobile: 09431062913 email: arpana Bank colony, phase ii, ramjaipal road, p.o. danapur cantt. new Bailey raod, patna- 801503 Mobile: 09431021204 (pp) email: sakhibihar@gmail.com sri Krishna puri, patna Mobile: 09431009541 email: patna Mobile: 09868501574 email: jharakeshk@gmail.com 2130 state Bank colony 11, Bailey road, patna - 800 14, Mobile: 09334910246 email: adithiwomen@rediffmail.com 2nd Floor, sudama Bhawan, Boring raod, patna 800001 Tel: 0612- 2265938 Mobile: 09304010293 email: centredirect@yahoo.com haroon colony, phase ii, patna Tel: 0612-2252404 Mobile: 09931606687 email: arshadajmal@yahoo.co.in email: kmamitsinha@yahoo.com Mobile: 09431644886 sudama Bhawan, Boring road, patna Tel: 0612-2570705 09431019083 email: nidanpat@hotmail.com, singharbind@hotmail.com a- 16, Budha colony, patna- 800001, Bihar Tel: 0612- 2523858 email: sansarg@rediffmail.com, info@cencored.org, pranav@cencored.org Mobile: 09835097590 (pranav), sinha- 09431024028 vidyut Bhawan annexe, Bailey road, patna 800001 Mobile: 09934014194 email: mcsharan@rediffmail.com, mukesh@brlp.in Maurya lok complex, Block B (4&5th Floor), dak Bunglow road, patna Tel: 0612 2223985 (91) 0612 2213584, 2210870 opp shyamal hospital, shyam nagar, Maurya path, Khajpura, patna 800014 Tel: 0612- 2588682, 2581553 Mobile: 09431456434 email: idfpatna@hotmail.com, idfman93@sancharnet.in

irina singh

project director, women development corporation

Gender issues, women livelihoods

rajeev singh

sakhi

Fisheries

Mihir sahana

Basics

livelihoods, institutional development poverty, civil society networking Girls education, women development, handicrafts

rakesh Jha Ganesh

coordinator, pacs programme executive secretary, adithi

p.K. sharma

General secretary, centre direct

SHG, human trafficking, health

arshad ajmal

al Khair cooperative credit society

Micro-credit, Muslim development, peri-urban poverty Micro-insurance informal sector workers, cooperatives, social security

amit sinha arbind singh

avaran executive director, nidan

pranav/dr. B. K. sinha

cencored

Governance issues, panchayati raj institution

Mukesh sharan

state programme Manager, Bihar rural livelihood promotion society

Livelihoods, Microfinance

Mishra

naBard

rural development

Manoj verma

director, integrated development Foundation

women empowerment, rch, water sanitation, pri

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areas oF experTise

c o n Ta c T

arun nayar

cBo, care

health and nutrition

house 100, road1e, new patliputra colony, patna - 800013 ph:+91-612-2276991, 2276735 Mobile: 09835443284 email:anair@careindiabih.org no-8, patliputra colony, patna 800013 Tel: 0612- 2275.722, 2261.728, 2275.720 Mobile: 09934208347 email: svarkey@unicef.org Mobile: 09868737886 email: aaafaizi@gmail.com

dr. shirin

head- health UniceF

health, nutrition, hiv/aids, education, communication sanitation, disaster management, child protection education, Muslim development issues

afaque Faizi

secretary to Mord

afzal hussain prof Fazle rab head - institute of objective studies, Bihar chapter edi Muslim issues

rajesh srivastava

Flat no-101, Brijnandan residency apartment, rose Bird nursery school lane, opp. a. n. collage, Boring road, patna - 800013 ph- 0612230153 water and sanitation related issues 1266, Bhoi nagar, Unit-9, Bhubaneswar 751022 Tel: 0674- 2531266 Mobile; 09437072262 email: mishra@wateraidindia.org prof. M. n. Karna, 14, aprajita apartment, Bahadurpur housing colony, patna 800026. Tel: 0612-2353909 M 09334165441 email:mnkarna@yahoo.co.in patna Medical college & hospital, ashok raj path, patna 80003 Mobile: 09835022289 rch, advocacy in health, 123 a, patliputra colony, patna email: arch158@yahoo.co.in Mobile- 09431264202 Tel: 0612- 2270634 house no- 189, Ground Floor, patliputra colony, patna 800013 Tel: 0612- 2276870/71 Mobile: 09835253839 Email: sam_pathfinder@yahoo.com, pricharproject@sify.com

B.p. Mishra

regional Manager, water aid

prof. M.n. Karna

eminent sociologist (ex director a. n. sinha institute, & prof. nehU, shillong)

land, agararian structure

prof rashmi singh

patna Medical college and hospital coordinator, rrc, population Foundation india

archana

s. samraj

Project Director, Pathfinders

rch, Family planning

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De-brefng Note (Somnath)
district samastipur Block pusa date: 15 May 2007 visited: The office of the block development officer; a village with overwhelming presence of Muslims; another village of scheduled caste communities; vice-chancellor, rajendra agriculture University (pUsa)

oB servations
1. Livelihood profile of a predominantly Muslim village (Muhammedpur Kuari) • • out of 1,900 households, about 1,350 households are Muslims (the rest being scheduled castes), spread across 22 tolas (hamlets) with a population of about 10,000; 75% of the people are agriculture labourers. 381 job cards have been issued till date under the nreGs, of which 100 are women. The job provided to these people by the panchayat is earth removal which, in this case, has resulted in the creation of a pond (200 ft X 160 ft) on the floodplain of the river flowing nearby. While payment of over 3 lakh has been done till date, payments of nearly a lakh was pending; about 30% of households own less than 10 kantha land (20 kantha make a bigha, 3 bighas make an acre, and 7.5 bighas make a hectare), where they mostly grow vegetables like brinjal, tomato, cucumber, ladies fingers, etc. The functional vegetable market at the nearby Waini Pusa Road ensures good off-take of the produce from the village; Migration of labour to Punjab (agriculture fields), Delhi and Kolkata (labourers in the markets) is common. Migration from the more educated households is for government services; only about 5 households (probably related to each other) hold over 20 acres of land. These large landholdings generally produce rice, wheat and maize (and some tobacco). These are lands that provide opportunities for employment of wage labour to the landless and the small land-owners. The chief constraint is protective irrigation during the occasional dry spells. although it does not cost much, given the shallow depths at which water is available, the landowners do not have much incentives in investing in this critical infrastructure;

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litchi orchards are common, an average tree producing 8-10,000 pieces per year. orchards are given on contract to traders during the time of flowering (@ about Rs 400 per tree), who then takes care of the rest of the fruiting and plucking.

2. Muslim women in village Mohammedpur Kuari reveal wide disparities in various aspects. • only 10 % of the households send their daughters to school. presently there are at least 250 matriculate women, most of whom are sitting idle at home. while mothers agree that girls need to be educated and allowed to pursue a career of their choice, in reality they focus largely on their marriage, often spending 2-3 lakh in the process. These girls rode bicycles to educate themselves in schools 5 km away, have traveled outside and are eager to learn more (mostly computers) and take up regular jobs. waini has a residential girl’s school – run by a nGo – where facilities are quite stretched, but fully utilized by these girls. The panchayat pramukh is also a woman (by proxy, as per detailed discussions with her husband). on the other hand, an overwhelming majority of women within the community are almost destitutes. They have no assets, often even goat or chicken, and survive only on wage labour from the agriculture fields, where they are paid Rs 25-30 for a day’s work – less than half of the rate paid to men. Also, there are no shGs or any other organization of women, which was rather surprising given the general awareness, connectedness and openness of the community. 3. all government schemes and programmes are grossly under-performing. • • • • • only 50 groups have been formed since 1999 under the sGsy scheme, and not much is known about the achievements of the groups; only 39 petitions for shallow tubewells have been forwarded to the sBi – the lead bank that provides subsidies (that too, only for the machine) under the Million shallow Tubewell programme (MsTp); 6,239 job cards have been issued under the nreGs. however, of the allocated 67 lakhs, only 10 lakhs have actually been spent; 306 quintals of grains is allocated per month to the 70 schools in the block under the Mid-day meal scheme. however, no grain has reached these schools over the past two months; 260 dwelling units have been constructed under the indira awas yojana till date.

4. delivery of essential services is, at best, skeletal. • all 13 panchayats in the block have a middle school (upto seventh standard), and 4 panchayats have a high school. however, every panchayat also has at least two private schools (referred to as “convents” in the area). Government school teachers are perceived to be engaged in mid-day meal and supervision of construction activities, and hence less involved in actual teaching activity. The average stay of a teacher in a government school is also perceived to be less. • • The Kissan credit card, issued by the central Bank and the pnB, is supposed to provide credit to small farmers up to three times their investments. however, timely disbursement of loans is a major issue. seeds and other farm inputs are available only through a private sector monopoly agency. The only other alternative is the pUsa institute that has a model of involving KvKs in developing “seed villages”, creating “seed associations”, processing these, screening these through certification systems and servicing through a joint stock company held by the university, farmers and the government. while this sounded great, the villagers, even those around the university, did not know of such schemes.

5. The roles and responsibilities of the PRIs and the State administration are unclear, and often conflicting. • • The pris have been elected after a gap of 28 years and clearly there is zeal to demonstrate its effectiveness; The pris appointed over 1 lakh teachers for the various government run schools on contract. These teachers believe they would become government employees eventually, drawing their salary from the government exchequer;

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annex v

• •

The pris are also tasked with identifying the “Bpl” families – a task where almost each decision is disputed; implementation of several schemes like the nreGs and the mid-day meal scheme are bureaucratically delayed, and hence made ineffective.

This implies that while there is little delivery of services at the grassroots, neither the state administrative apparatus nor the institutions of peoples’ representatives at the grassroots are accountable. in fact the state administration is apprehensive that the growing clout of the PRIs would lead to inappropriate identification of beneficiaries of the limited government schemes (as had happened in the case of appointment of school teachers). 6. The rajendra agriculture University (pUsa) is an ineffective resource for the local livelihoods. • It has a fair knowledge of what needs to be done, emphasizing five things: (i) honey production (40-60 kg/ box/ yr, or about 6,000 tonnes per year); (ii) organic farming; (iii) seed availability; (iv) appropriate technology (spoke about zero-tilling machines); and (v) appropriate management (integrated farming systems that centre around a pond with dwelling [and vegetable/ mushrooms], horticulture, animal husbandry and agriculture on its four sides, which will maximize and diversify production even from 1 acre land holding); • The locally developed maize variety – Quality protein Maize (QpM) – was talked about, which seemed appropriate for small land holders, could be done in conjunction with potato and bagla, and provided additional nutrition and value adding opportunities; Artificial insemination of cattle (retaining about 65% purity of blood) was being done but at a limited scale. poultry and duckery was also being researched; Fisheries show a lot of potential. However, of the 65,000 ha of fish ponds in the State, over 25,000 is directly under the control of the government where the production is around 2000 kg/ ha/ yr, while those under control of the people are around 6000 kg/ ha/ yr. These fish ponds are either in the chaurs (45,000 ha), ox-bows (9,000 ha) or reservoirs (7,300 ha). The major constraint for fisheries is the availability of seeds. Hatcheries need to be developed through a commercial approach and catfish show immense promise for water bodies of short duration. wetland crops (such as makhana) also need to be supported. district Muzaffarpur Block sakra date: 16 May 2007 visited: hamlets of different communities, icds centre, village level phc, block level phc, panchayat head at the village, a village market, a functional shG of women.

• •

oB servations
1. General health care system is highly stressed, while challenges multiply. • • • • • TB, malaria and kalazhar (important) is showing an increasing trend; snake bites and animal bites are also important health issues; aids testing is done in a limited way through nGos, but shows an increasing trend; routine immunization is weak, although focused efforts have happened in pulse polio; only 20-30 % of the rural households have latrines at home. The indira awas yojana reaches too few people. however, a lot of people are now open to spending their own money in building latrines at their homes.

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2. icds programme provide only a chocolate to each kid. • • • • of the two icds centres visited, the sevika in one was sick and the other was absent. The sahayika in the first was absent but was available in the latter for talks; clearly, none of the services were being made available, either to the mothers or to the kids; The registers were not being maintained, neither were the locations suitable for running the centre; however, it was most surprising to note that the community was protecting the sevika and the Sahayika who were apparently hand-in-glove with all the officials higher up the chain to siphon off all the resources that were available to run the icds centre. The community was getting a chocolate per day per child, at 11 am daily!

This implies that for the community a chocolate is a privilege worth protecting, rather than demanding services that will be promised but not provided. The system itself is seen as a mode of employment, rather than services, and the community care more about the employment of members from their groups. The appraisal Mission is a outside team which was perceived to be able to threaten the job security of these persons. 3. The quality and portfolio of health services at the village-level phc has sharply deteriorated. • in 1991, this village-level phc was staffed with 2 doctors, 1 compounder, 1 health educator, 1 specialist for leprosy, 1 administrator and 1 peon; all of them have now been shifted, and only 2 anM workers remain; The ANMs cover a population of 15,000 people in quite far flung areas, are not equipped with any medicine or supplies, and focus largely on pulse polio, weekly immunization and family planning; There are also a couple of asa workers, who are trained for providing services to attended birth. The incentives are rs 200 for each attended birth that they facilitate (sometimes they stay on for 3-4 days), Rs 900 for immunization during the first 9 months and another Rs 600 for complete immunization. often the money is promised for payment at the end of the cycle… 4. The block level phc (also called the referral phc) is severely under-resourced and overworked. • • There are seven doctors and two nurses who work round the clock to attend to the needy to the best of their ability. The nurses are perhaps ruining their own health trying to improve the health of others; There is a list of 108 medicines that is available to the phc which include gauge, cotton, scissors etc; moreover, medicines are sent to the phc without requesting a demand, which often results in stocking of irrelevant supplies; The pay scales of doctors have not been revised, they often need to pay a bribe to get their salary and their residences are in a dilapidated state. The PHC was promised an ambulance, which was flagged off by the district official (known through a press photograph), but never reached the block PHC, 30 km away! There was also a half-built building next to the phc which was never completed, although it promised all diagnostic services including Mri. interestingly, the phc does not even have an x-ray machine! The pressure to perform seems to have increased considerably now, without commensurate attention to their specific needs, leading to contemplation of mass retirement schemes.

• •

5. irrigation is a major issue, particularly for the small farmers. • about 30% of the households own as low as 1-2 kantha of land, while another 30% own about 10-15 kantha. during dry spells, irrigation is a life-line for these small farmers. The only source is groundwater, available at about 120 ft. apart from the fact that there is a dearth of power supply in the region, there is only one tube-well which sells water at the rate of rs 80/ hr. Generally, one kantha is irrigated in one hour. while the cost of a tube-well varies with the quality of the pipe, it is about rs 25-30,000 which not many people are willing to invest.

There are several possibilities – (a) the government subsidy scheme (million shallow tube-well project), although not easily available, provide a psychological barrier for investment, (b) the absentee land-lords, owning the largest agricultural tracts, are too focused on deriving rents without any commensurate investments, (c) the small and marginal farmers are neither able to invest individually nor able to come together as a group to invest, and

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(d) the serious demand and the gross under-supply mean that there is no surety that those who invest would be able to control and manage the resource. 6. some general information about agriculture: • availability of seeds and other inputs into agriculture is a serious issue. sriram Fertilisers is a private monopoly for most inputs and the quality of services cannot be compared. seeds are also procured from the pUsa farm (rajashree, prabhat, Turanta varieties of rice) but the costs could be as high as rs 110 / kg (a kg of seed is required for 1 kantha of land). while rice is the major monsoon crop, maize, potato and tobacco form the major winter crops. The productivity of maize is about a quintal/ kantha, typically needs about 4 waterings and ends up either as poultry feed (poorer variety) or consumed directly. The production of potato is about 3 quintals/ kantha and sells commercially for as much as rs 600/ quintal. The production of tobacco is about 25 kg/ kantha, needs about 2-3 waterings and fetches up to rs 1500/ kantha.

7. small-scale animal husbandry is beset with very low productivity. • The expenses in maintaining a cattle-head is about rs 13/ day (on fodder, services). however, a milch cattle provides about 10-15 litre/ day only during the winter season, falling off to about 1-2 litres/ day during the off-season; • • procurement through the dairy cooperative provide a constant rate of rs 11.25 (rs 10 till a few months ago), which barely cover the costs; people realize that the major constraint is the low yield of local varieties. efforts to introduce highyielding varieties from punjab and elsewhere have led to inevitable failure. cross-breeding services through artificial insemination are just not available. The same holds true for the goat population; Maintaining milch animals is difficult. Goats tend to graze, and if it strays to some other farm, limited resources are threatened, often leading to violent protests. larger animals need space, which too is limited. Finally, animal husbandry is practiced by a certain section of the communities who have done it traditionally, and today own some small land.

8. Mature shGs are still tentative, apprehensive and insecure. (refer suman singh’s notes, which will be more detailed on this aspect) • Flexibility of re-payment doesn’t indicate any maturity or financial discipline.

9. There is a bad experience of other nGos in the region. • There was a nGo that operated for about 7-8 months, provided some training, promised some credit and enterprise promotion activity, but fled with the savings of the groups. What was incredible was the fact that these people live in a nearby town, where people from the village meet them regularly but have obviously given up on the money without any challenge or animosity.

This implies that it might be easy to defraud people as a collective, where individual stakes are low and individual efforts to redress grievances will also benefit others. 10. young people clearly see their future outside their villages, and government jobs are the most coveted. • • There is a huge demand for vocational training, but the iTis are too few, with poor quality of training and are not properly linked to the job opportunities in the market; The other alternative is general education, which do not provide technical skills but open up opportunities for white-collar government jobs. Many young people have joined the armed forces, railways and such other government jobs.

11. The local weekly markets provide an opportunity for the producers to sell directly. • The most commonly traded item was milch animals, operated by the men. The prospective buyers observe the cows for several hours while negotiating the deal which is usually closed towards the end of the day;

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• • •

The women usually sell small quantities of vegetables. some other women venture into selling local snacks. a few men squat to provide barber services. There are a few traders, chiefly in grains, and operating with very low volumes; an external marketing person was also spotted, selling seeds.

district Muzaffarpur town Muzaffarpur date: 17 May 2007 visited: a litchi processing and packaging plant; a prominent centre of the local milk union; and The district Magistrate.

o Bservations
1. although the procurement has increased every year, infrastructure is the key constraint for volumes. • The litchi plant operates for only 15 days in a year (during the season), with another fortnight for start-up preparations. However, they pay a flat fee for electricity at Rs 30,000 per annum (which has arbitrarily been increased to rs 1,25,000 this year) interestingly, power supply to the plant itself is quite erratic and the dependence is on generator sets. road and rail infrastructure does not support transport of refrigerated products. similarly, the road and rail infrastructure is not sufficiently deep to touch the far-flung rural areas and tap the milk production. The truck drivers are often over-worked and the life of the vehicles is considerably less.

2. Inadequate and erratic production in the farms, along with widely fluctuating local demands. • Milk collection is generally low volume, both during lean seasons as well as during seasons of peak demand. Many of the routes then become quite unviable and need to be rationalized, but this has an impact on the cooperative spirit of the dairy enterprise. veterinary service is largely restricted to routine immunization alone. The government is handing over non-performing assets to the dairy cooperative with the hope that all of them would be revived, which is often not the case, simply because of more systemic issues involved.

• •

3. Trained human resource is a major constraint. • local traditional education does not impart any skill training, thereby making them redundant. The litchi plant employs labourers from andhra pradesh at a higher cost. local persons, if available, are at the local markets, where they pick up sorting and grading skills. someone mentioned that “people are jobless, because they are useless (berozgar, kyunki bekaar)”. And this is despite the formal certificates, and even degrees, in many cases.

4. limited range of value-addition. • litchis are sorted for export, which is packaged separately as whole fruit while the rest are peeled, destoned and crushed to form the pulp. The viscous liquid is poured into plastic containers, stored in the cold chambers and sold to other downstream businesses, mostly as a flavour. The range of value-added products from milk is quite large. We sipped lassi, saw curd and flavoured milk and were told there were a variety of sweets being prepared by the dairy. however, these products were not so widespread on the shelves indicating that marketing challenges did exist and volumes of production were low.

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5. era of darkness in Bihar for the next 10 yrs at least… district Magistrate, Muzaffarpur. • The major constraint in Bihar would be power over the next decade. There is no infrastructure. disuse has led to theft of cables. Floods are a major impediment in installation of power distribution networks. recoveries for erratic supplies is naturally low. Bulk consumers are easy targets where arbitrary rates are “fixed” by the government, irrespective of use. • The efforts to revive power generation has been few and long-drawn (in one case, another unit was “cannibalised” in order to revive a unit). No new project is even on the drawing board. Officials of the state do not even bother to participate in the negotitations to procure power. The state, therefore, is dependent on the 1000 Mw power provided by the centre, 70 % of which is unaccounted in usage. it is interesting to note that patna consumes about 300 Mw power and it is reported that when Rabri Devi vacated her official CM’s bungalow, no less than 53 air-conditioners were removed and transported. power, therefore, is a rare privilege in Bihar.

6. capital formation and road building are areas that show promise as triggers for growth. • The government seems to be moving on the road contracts along with reformed mechanisms to check corruption. Of course, torrential rains and floods would continue to remain an issue, but some quick gains are likely. • The world Bank and other development organisations are focusing on capital formation in rural areas through SHGs. The promotion of micro-finance is also at an all-time high, through a variety of means – both direct, as well as through credible nGos. all these are likely to assume a snow-balling effect.

7. service delivery of the government variety doesn’t even attempt to go beyond the Block level. • service delivery is horribly under-resourced, but the expectations continue to be high. a lot of “dressingup” is happening at the block level. ambulance, supplies, equipment etc. are promised for the blocks, released with fanfare at the district, but never reached the block. doctors and nurses are an exception. They are over-worked, and underpaid. similarly, food for the mid-day meals do not often come out of the Fci godowns. The backlog is written off, since it is a meal scheme, rather than a grain scheme. The circus pans out in three ways at the village level: (1) notional services, like the icds, are continued, thanks to the supreme court ruling, without any conviction or effort from the administration; (2) the administration is happy to shift the responsibility to the pris, both to embarrass as well as to abdicate. The recent teacher’s recruitments and the Bpl list preparation are pertinent cases in this regard; and (3) high-visibility programmes, like attended births, immunisation, polio etc. (those that are linked to MdGs and national priorities) is actively functional, often at the cost of several other important services. The dense village population, therefore, often resort to private services in every sphere – health, education, agriculture – which is often extremely poor quality, leading to wastage of precious resources.

district patna village janipur (Murgiachak) 13 km from patna city date: 18 May 2007 visited: A hamlet of the Mali community (involved in cultivating and selling flowers).

oB servations
out of about 100 households, 50 belong to Muslims, 25 to Malis, 10 to Kahars, and the rest to Kumhars, hajam and paswan. another 10-20 households belong to people who have migrated from across the punpun river,

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purchased some agricultural land and have settled down here. average land-holding is about 2 kantha only. The Muslim families are into agriculture (rice and wheat) and labour. The Mali community cultivate about 20 bighas in all, where they grow jasmine, along with other flowers. The rental for one bigha is rs 4000 per annum. women from the households are often involved in preparation of garlands that sell at the village at rs 8 per 100. They are aware that in the patna market these sell for rs 40-50 per 100. however, if they sell directly they have to contend with the following (1) sell quickly between 9-10 am, before the large shop-owners open and shoo them away; (2) since they have to sell quickly, as well as sell in one part of the market, they usually under-cut each other in terms of prices and get very little returns; and (3) police takes rs 10 from each of them if they are lucky, because otherwise they could also be snatching their money or beating them up with sticks. efforts to sell collectively donot work because nobody can trust the person acting on their behalf. The usual scenario, therefore, is that they make some profit during the marriage season, which barely cover losses otherwise. The farm labour wage rates compare with those in the villages of Bihar (rs 25-30 for women, & rs 40 for men, along with food and sometimes grains as agreed). The brick and mortar work, on the other hand provide rs 60 per day. The benefit of being close to Patna mean jobs are more available – 5-15 days in the city – to fend during the agriculture lean season. The city-based jobs are usually available through social networks, where wages are Rs 60-70 per day. However, often a commission of Rs 10 goes to the person who finds the job. cynicism and mistrust abound. widespread corruption affect all government services at the grassroots and these schemes are seen largely as employment opportunities rather than service delivery. The largest number of courtcases, however, relate to land disputes – land parcels that have been sold to as many as five different people simultaneously. we met a male graduate who had worked in a central government department for 7 years, but is now full time engaged in fighting a court case in the village. We also met a woman graduate who was selected as an icds sevika by the village community but was prevented from taking the job by the panchayat who preferred a person from another caste. Jobs are important for all, and government jobs are truly coveted. however, people are also talking about computer literacy and skills, with the belief that “good” jobs will be available. people were vocal about individual grievances. They also said that collective efforts will not work because of deep mistrust within the community. among different communities, is almost out of question. For instance, while we spoke to members of the Mali community, other members of the same community came up to speak, but a group of Muslims only observed us silently from quite a distance. district patna patna city date: 18 May 2007 visited: discussions with secretary (disaster Management), secretariat.

o Bservations
a meeting was convened by the secretary (disaster Management) shri Manoj K srivastava ias to consult and launch the high-profile UNDP disaster management programme. At the outset, the Secretary laid out the importance of disaster management as a priority for the government. The basic Undp approach of village disaster management committees, with 6-7 task forces to be trained for search, rescue, first aid etc. was also described. he was then interested in the limited question – how do you get people to participate in such a programme genuinely, particularly under normal circumstances? a variety of opportunities were suggested that build upon the fact that human compassion is natural. These included sharing success stories, visits, increased awarenss, presentation of data and photographic impressions to create recall, and linking up with basic service provision like drinking water. The constraints, however, looked really challenging. These included • credibility of government schemes – a history of neglect, unkept promises and corruption has bred deep cynicism in the people and mere statements of intent, however honest, are unlikely to impress;

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Fundamental differences in dealing with floods cannot be resolved through the question of participation in a particular programme. Many believe floods are not a disaster. On the contrary, absence of floods are. However, Sainath could as well write a book called “Everybody loves a good flood” to bring out the contradictions. The cynicism persists deep into the process details. There was widespread concern over “elite capture” in the village disaster management committees that would corner the supplies, provisions and services. in fact, for the early warning systems, someone went as far to say that the best ews was the local official sending his family off from the area!

The secretary himself recounted the alwar experience where the community felt that an event that is likely to happen once in 20 years is not worth preparing for!

The discussants dwelt on the traditional systems during the “chaturmas” when travel, family functions and such other activities were restrained through religious decree. The idea was to prepare for these four months during the rest eight months. There were methods of safeguarding food (sattu and poha doesn’t need cooking), fuel, shelter (on stilts), health and life-risks that are becoming irrelevant in the current context of high intensity floods due to the embankments. what was interesting to note was the fact that the secretary was not only listening to very contrarian views, he actually encouraged it all along. he himself has a background in activism (before joining the services), which could partially explain this. however, the culture of speaking up – either as protest or voicing ones opinions – is very strong at all levels. This is supplemented by high levels of awareness and the willingness to explore new ideas. however, much of this eagerness to learn is directed towards legal and administrative dimensions, rather than technical dimensions.

addendUM
villages in sakra (Muzaffarpur) and pusa (samastipur), Bihar, with a stay in patna. 07-09 June 2007.

oB servations
1. There is a culture of payments for services noT provided. • we hired two taxis from the loknayak Jayprakash narayan airport in patna, one of which broke down the moment we emerged from the terminal gates. notwithstanding the trouble of sqeezing people and luggage of two vehicles into one, the taxi driver demanded payment for both and looked very surprised when we refused. The explanation given was that the contract was for two vehicles and it is just our misfortune that one of them broke down; we were not as lucky in Muzaffarpur. The hotel was booked for the 7th and 8th but we realised that there was no point in staying back on the 8th and decided to check out in the morning. although the revised schedule was informed on arrival itself, we were made to pay for the 8th as well on the plea that several potential customers had been refused because of us! The bookings were done through a friendly local nGo and we decided not to push the issue and leave it to the decision of this organisation. we paid nevertheless; For us, it was just a three-day visit. But for the 83 million odd Biharis, it is a 365 day phenomenon, and in many cases perpetuated by the state itself. Take power, for instance. The state has little power to supply and much less ability to manage the distribution system. so, it comes up with a brilliant solution – charge a flat rate from consumers in rural areas, irrespective of the amount of power consumed which, in any way, is severely limited by the availability. it is not just the state, however. Farmer after farmer recounted their woes with seed supplies, adulterated fertilisers and unreliable pesticides. some of it, i’m told, is a national phenomenon and hence more acceptable.

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how do you expect people to respond under such systems? First, they consider it a privilege to get any service at all, be it a rickshaw, food in a dhaba or customer services in a posh hotel. people who complain are either frowned upon or laughed at. coupled with the fact that there is a license that is needed to provide any service – rickshaw, dhaba or hotel, for example – the focus is on procurement of license rather than provision of quality service. To make matters worse, there are fixed tariffs – again set by the government – for most services. In effect, profit maximisation for the service provider happens by downgrading services, rather than upgrading. Second, flat tariffs would tend to change consumer behaviour towards maximising the use of these limited services. power is a precious commodity and people have installed props where the poles bringing in the power supply have begun to crumble. Inside the homes (of at least the more well-off), one could easily find a battery of rechargeable cells that try to stretch the availability of power. [where there is no hope of any power, however, the wires have been cut and sold for whatever they are worth.] Third, and perhaps the most devastating, is that it breeds a whole system of dependence on free services, of whatever quality. People depend on grain-bags thrown at them from helicopters in flood affected areas as a routine. rail transport is deemed to be pretty much a free privilege in most parts, as are government hospitals and government schools. no wonder all these services are in shambles. your conviction to demand a particular service is very much related to whether or not you pay for that and whether or not there are competing options vying for that payment! and this is where Bihar is being muted. 2. large sections in Bihar have actually slid into poverty over the past few decades. we met a large Muslim family of eight brothers living in a fairly large, but decrepit, building. They still own one handloom and one powerloom of the four in each category that survive in the village today. There were 250 handlooms and 56 powerlooms set up in the ‘50s, most of which survived till the last decade. what exactly happened during this period to cause such a decline? well, several things, two of which are particularly striking. First, the power supply began to falter and the duration of power cuts steadily increased. weavers like this family hoped – on the basis of assurances from their political leaders – that the sitation would improve. In fact, it just worsened. Second, and this is linked to the first, the markets disappeared with falling volumes. again, the government intervened but not with improved power supplies but with the Khadi and Gramodyog Bhandar. This outfit took over the marketing role for handloom cloth and supplied yarn to the weavers, much as the middle-men do elsewhere in this sector, reducing these people to wage labourers in the process. Today, three of the brothers work in Kolkata in trades related to leather or cloth and one work in Mumbai in a large powerloom. The rest of the brothers manage the small farm that provide supplementary income to the family while continuing to keep the looms active so as not to lose the privilege of being associated with the Khadi Bhandar. it still provides about rs 57 per day in wages, although it engages the women and children in the process as well. The 50-year old house needed urgent repairs but neither the money nor the will was available. Mentally, they had already shifted to Kolkata and Mumbai. investments were now more focused on what the kids in the household would need to make it in these cities. people are indeed voting with their feet. 3. The Bpl (Below povery line) list is adding yet another plane of fracture among the myriad fractures in Bihar society. in order to demolish old caste hegemonies, reservations were applied and, just as in the south, resulted in the exodus of higher caste people and political empowerment of the backwards. new power equations, however, did little to improve the lot of the poor. in this regard the present government is at least focused on poverty, rather than castes. In the first attempt, however, every household in any village seemed to qualify. There was a cut-off number, though, which meant that almost everyone who were left out filed a review petition. In the second attempt, a more objective approach is being adopted by providing points for different indicators of assets and income. District level cut-off points are announced, dwellings photographed and the list posted in the Panchayat office for any objection. even this is not without its share of heart-burns. There are people living in pucca dwellings who

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have definitely slipped into poverty, but will be denied the ‘red card’. People with absolutely dilapidated dwellings have, in some cases, pulled down their dwelling and started living in newly constructed kuccha structures – the bricks are still piled in front. it was incredulous the way a fairly large farmer defended his claim to the Bpl list. he claimed that he was spending on the education of his two children (who were not likely to earn much with the quality of education), while among the lower castes it is common to find eight children labouring every day and earning Rs 50 each. So, who’s poor? even if you take it with a pinch of salt, it remains a good question in the context of Bihar. 4. children galore, but where are the young adults?

The first thing that strikes you in a village is the number of children, mostly healthy, but not always well-groomed. They are curious, they are aware and they are very confident. They also get thrashed by anyone who is bigger and willing to make a point – usually the frustrated mother or the drunk uncle. Generally, though, they have a good time. They have plenty of friends to play with (and for long hours), make their own toys with fruits and twigs lying around, usually have a meal at the school and supplement it with fruits and vegetables generously plucked from any farm that they happen to pass by and even get an occasional chocolate at the local icds centre. They listen intently to any discussion that their elders may have, which usually centre around politics or society, listen to mythological tales from their grandparents and pick up basic reading, writing and arithmetic through school education. However, learning in school is definitely a chore rather than fun. In a gathering of children i asked how many of them went to school. “all”, they said in a loud chorus. i then asked, “so, what do you learn?” The entire crowd vanished in a flash! If I was examining their knowledge, they would rather avoid. This is not to say that they had no knowledge. in fact, quite the contrary. There was a bare-bodied lad whom we met in the fields and enquired who we were and why were we roaming the fields. We explained briefly and then asked if he knew where delhi was. of course it was the nation’s capital, and when we prodded for more, he said it was an unusual state with a chief Minister and a lt. Governor instead of a Governor. he proceeded to explain all about the states, Union Territories and the governance systems and seeing our jaw drop an elderly passer-by explained that he was a bright boy studying in the 10th grade and hoped to do well in the Board examinations. children learn a good deal about society and politics anyway from the general discourse all around. They do know a fair bit about agriculture, food crops and domesticated animals from what they see all around. But, somehow, the fairy tales of their grandparents have given way to the tales of their immediate elders who come back from the cities and tell them all about Bollywood and fashion. and, in order to be there, they know, they need to have vocational skills, working knowledge of computers and ability to speak english. Technology fascinates them – a kid helped me operate a digital camera which i was unfamiliar with, while girls spoke about computer aided design courses that they wanted to learn. however, it is politics that pervade their minds and occupy their time. 5. strong families, week societies.

It is rather baffling to contemplate how a set of brilliant individuals could be so stupefied as a social group. We did not hear one good comment about any fellow being. For every suggestion we made as to what could be done, they were ready with at least five reasons why it was a stupid thought and two examples to prove it. It is not just among different castes but even between families of the same caste we could sense the mistrust. This, however, seemed to have created very strong bonds within the members of the same family. even when members of a family stay away in cities for prolonged periods, the bonds remain quite strong as evident through remittances and their strive to help other growing members of the family find their feet in the cities.

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