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Is the Stage set for Mainstreaming International Trade into National Development Strategy of India? Results of the field survey in West Bengal. Arnab Ganguly CUTS- International. Presentation by ( 25 years of Social Change ). Major Findings of the study:. Panchayats are still male dominated

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Is the Stage set for Mainstreaming International Trade into National Development Strategy of India?Results of the field survey in West Bengal

Arnab Ganguly

CUTS- International

Presentation by

(25 years of Social Change)


Major Findings of the study:

  • Panchayats are still male dominated
  • High incidence of illiteracy in rural West Bengal
  • Access to state regulated mandis, cold storage facilities and large farmer’s cooperatives in West Bengal have been identified as the important impediments in farmers receiving the right price for their produce.
  • The respondents lack awareness about the size and contours of various government support programmes.
Major Findings of the study:………………………….(contd.)
  • Local money lenders and traders form the most important source of funding to the small-scale agriculturists
  • In the case of highly competitive political environment that exist in West Bengal, the stakeholders view contact with panchayat members as a primary condition for ensuring access to government funds or influencing the bureaucracy, as the case may be.
  • Because of the operation of pressure groups with vested interests at local level and poor quality of information available to the target population a vicious circle exist that results in rendering the developmental programmes ineffective and corrupt.
  • A majority of respondents from West Bengal did not perceive that government support will be forthcoming at the time of a crisis.


  • In Purulia and Malda most of the small farmers and agricultural labourers did not know about Gram Sabha.
  • Specific requests relating to agriculture were few in the Gram Sabhas.
  • There is considerable lack of understanding about the working of Grama Sabha or its utility.
  • The Gram Sabhas could not be responsive to local needs due to pre - determined budgetary allocation, even though conceptually it is the corner stone of participatory governance and planning.


  • Only a few voters who are loyal and active members of the local ruling party attended the Gram Sabha meetings.
  • Resolutions from such meetings are neither documented nor circulated properly.
  • In one of the villages, out of 25 households questioned only about three people were aware that such meetings actually took place though on record the Gram Sabha meetings attendance crossed 100.


  • There was considerable lack of awareness on the availability of funds at the local level. Almost half of the total respondents did not know about the available funds at the Gram Panchayat level
  • Most of the stakeholder who were aware about the funds available to the Gram Panchayat were of the opinion that the funds are insufficient to meet the growing demands of the people and developmental activities even though they opine that there is high incidence of corruption.
the positives
The Positives
  • This scheme is one of the most visible and arguably the most successful development programmes being implemented at present.
  • The achievements of the scheme, especially in terms of ushering in transparency unseen in previous schemes, is commendable.
  • One possible reason for its relative success is that the scheme is demand-driven from the users’ point-of-view, and not supply-driven as in the case of the most other government support schemes.
the positives contd
The Positives…………………………………....(contd.)
  • To some extent this scheme has been able in generating increased employment opportunities for the rural population
  • Since introduction of the NREGS scheme local agricultural wages have gone up
  • Strategies aimed at increasing the purchasing power of the stakeholders of the rural areas may yield higher participation and success
major roadblocks to effective implementation of nregs
Major Roadblocks to Effective Implementation of NREGS
  • Often discretion is applied while distributing job cards. Such discretion often depend on socio – economic and political factors.
  • A sizeable number of stakeholders pointed out that they did not receive the stipulated wage as well.
  • A large percentage of the respondents seemed to be completely unaware about their rights to demand compensation in case the Panchayat fails to provide employment within fifteen days of submission of application.
  • Lack of technical expertise to identify and design projects to be undertaken under the scheme.
overall perception about the people s representatives1
Overall Perception about the People’s Representatives
  • Peoples representatives at the local were by and large termed as corrupt and inefficient except in few cases, even though respondents themselves could not answer why the same set of people were re-elected.
  • At the local level many of the people’s representatives were not sure about their roles and responsibilities as an elected member.
  • The inadequate capacities of the peoples’ representatives in understanding and executing complex government programmes resulted in inefficient delivery of various developmental schemes.
  • Respondents especially in the backward villages pointed out that MPs and MLAs visit the area only before the elections.
  • MLAs coming from the backward districts often do not get chance to put forward their views in the Legislative Assemblies.
observation and conclusion1
Observation and Conclusion
  • Government officials and people’s representatives at the local level either act hand in hand or are in confrontational mode. Theoretically, these two components should act in unison to achieve the development goals.
  • Women’s participation in the Panchayati Raj System has been very limited.
  • Awareness among people belonging to the SC and ST communities about their rights and government support programmes was very low.
  • The asymmetric information problem coupled with multiple layers of leakage of government funds ensure that government support almost certainly fail to reach its target.

Advocacy Points

  • At the national level, there is a pressing need to strengthen the capacities of the Central Government in mainstreaming the local inputs on concerns related to livelihood and development in policy making.
  • Use of Social Accountability Tools should be made mandatory to judge the quality of service provided at the grassroot.
  • Development Decisions should be made free from Political Biases.

Advocacy Points

  • Raising awareness at the local level on the rights and privileges of the various stakeholders under the Panchayat Raj System;
  • Reduce transaction costs and ensure faster execution of development decisions.