Water Supply and Sanitation in Rural Areas
Water supply and Sanitation in Rural Areas
Introduction Drinking water supply and sanitation in India continue to be inadequate, despite longstanding efforts by the various levels of government and communities at improving coverage. The level of investment in water and sanitation, albeit low by international standards, has increased in size during the 2000s. Access has also increased significantly. For example, in 1980 rural sanitation coverage was estimated at 1% and reached 21% in 2008. Also, the share of Indians with access to improved sources of water has increased significantly from 72% in 1990 to 88% in 2008. At the same time, local government institutions in charge of operating and maintaining the infrastructure are seen as weak and lack the financial resources to carry out their functions. In addition, only two Indian cities have continuous water supply and an estimated 69% of Indians still lack access to improved sanitation facilities. A number of innovative approaches to improve water supply and sanitation have been tested in India, in particular in the early 2000s. These include demand-driven approaches in rural water supply since 1999, community-led total sanitation, a public-private partnerships to improve the continuity of urban water supply in Karnataka, and the use of micro-credit to women in order to improve access to water. The government of Delhi decided that beginning on 1 January 2014 it will provide 666 liters of free water every day to households with functioning water meters. In 2008, 88% of the population in India had access to an improved water source, but only 31% had access to improved sanitation. In rural areas, where 72% of India’s population lives, the respective shares are 84% for water and only 21% for sanitation. In urban areas, 96% had access to an improved water source and 54% to improved sanitation. Access has improved substantially since 1990 when it was estimated to stand at 72% for water and 18% for sanitation. In 2010, the UN estimated based on Indian statistics that 626 million people practice open defecation. In June 2012 Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh stated India is the worlds largest "open air toilet". He also remarked that Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan have better sanitation records. Page | 1
According to Indian norms, access to improved water supply exists if at least 40 liters/capita/day of safe drinking water are provided within a distance of 1.6 km or 100 meter of elevation difference, to be relaxed as per field conditions. There should be at least one pump per 250 persons.
Water supply continuity Challenges. As of 2010, only two cities in India — Thiruvananthapuram and Kota — get continuous water supply.In 2005 none of the 35 Indian cities with a population of more than one million distributed water for more than a few hours per day, despite generally sufficient infrastructure. Owing to inadequate pressure people struggle to collect water even when it is available. According to the World Bank, none have performance indicators that compare with average international standards. A 2007 study by the Asian Development Bank showed that in 20 cities the average duration of supply was only 4.3 hours per day. None of the 20 cities had continuous supply. The longest duration of supply was 12 hours per day in Chandigarh, and the lowest was 0.3 hours per day in Rajkot. According to the results of a Service Level Benchmarking (SLB) Program carried out by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) in 2006 in 28 cities, the average duration of supply was 3.3 hours per day, with a range from one hour every three days to 18 hours per day. In Delhi residents receive water only a few hours per day because of inadequate management of the distribution system. This results in contaminated water and forces households to complement a deficient public water service at prohibitive 'coping' costs; the poor suffer most from this situation. For example, according to a 1996 survey households in Delhi spent an average of 2,182 (US$35.60) per year in time and money to cope with poor service levels. This is more than three times as much as the 2001 water bill of about US$18 per year of a Delhi household that uses 20 cubic meters per month. Achievements. Jamshedpur, a city in Jharkhand with 573,000 inhabitants, provided 25% of its residents with continuous water supply in 2009. Navi Mumbai, a planned city with more than 1m inhabitants, has achieved continuous supply for about half its population as of January 2009. Badlapur, another city in the Mumbai Conurbation with a population of 140,000, has achieved continuous supply in 3 out of 10 operating zones, covering 30% of its population. Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala state with a population of 745,000 in 2001, is probably the largest Indian city that enjoys continuous water supply.
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Sanitation Most Indians depend on on-site sanitation facilities. Recently, access to on-site sanitation have increased in both rural and urban areas. In rural areas, total sanitation has been successful (see below). In urban areas, a good practice is the Slum Sanitation Program in Mumbai that has provided access to sanitation for a quarter million slum dwellers.Sewerage, where available, is often in a bad state. In Delhi the sewerage network has lacked maintenance over the years and overflow of raw sewage in open drains is common, due to blockage, settlements and inadequate pumping capacities. The capacity of the 17 existing wastewater treatment plants in Delhi is adequate to cater a daily production of waste water of less than 50% of the drinking water produced. Of the 2.5 Billion people in the world that defecate openly, some 665 million live in India. This is of greater concern as 88% of deaths from diarrhoea occur because of unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. Environment As of 2003, it was estimated that only 27% of India's wastewater was being treated, with the remainder flowing into rivers, canals, groundwater or the sea. For example, the sacred Ganges river is infested with diseases and in some places "the Ganges becomes black and septic. Corpses, of semi-cremated adults or enshrouded babies, drift slowly by.". NewsWeek describes Delhi's sacred Yamuna River as "a putrid ribbon of black sludge" where the concentration of fecal bacteria is 10,000 times the recommended safe maximum despite a 15year program to address the problem. Cholera epidemics are not unknown. Health impact The lack of adequate sanitation and safe water has significant negative health impacts including diarrhoea, referred to by travellers as the "Delhi Belly",and experienced by about 10 million visitors annually. While most visitors to India recover quickly and otherwise receive proper care. The dismal working conditions of sewer workers are another concern. A survey of the working conditions of sewage workers in Delhi showed that most of them suffer from chronic diseases, respiratory problems, skin disorders, allergies, headaches and eye infections.
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Water supply and water resources Depleting ground water table and deteriorating ground water quality are threatening the sustainability of both urban and rural water supply in many parts of India. The supply of cities that depend on surface water is threatened by pollution, increasing water scarcity and conflicts among users. For example, Bangalore depends to a large extent on water pumped since 1974 from the Kaveri river, whose waters are disputed between the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. As in other Indian cities, the response to water scarcity is to transfer more water over large distances at high costs. In the case of Bangalore, the
(US$551.6 million) Kaveri Stage IV project, Phase II, includes the supply of 500,000 cubic meter of water per day over a distance of 100 km, thus increasing the city's supply by twothirds. In some coastal areas seawater desalination is becoming an important source of drinking water supply. For example, the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board has put into service a first large seawater desalination plant with a capacity of 100,000 m3 per day at Minjur in 2010. A contract for a second plant with the same capacity at Nemmeli was awarded in the same year. Responsibility for water supply and sanitation Water supply and sanitation is a State responsibility under the Indian Constitution. States may give the responsibility to the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) in rural areas or municipalities in urban areas, called Urban Local Bodies (ULB). At present, states generally plan, design and execute water supply schemes (and often operate them) through their State Departments (of Public Health Engineering or Rural Development Engineering) or State Water Boards. Highly centralised decision-making and approvals at the state level, which are characteristic of the Indian civil service, affect the management of water supply and sanitation services. For example, according to the World Bank in the state of Punjab the process of approving designs is centralised with even minor technical approvals reaching the office of chief engineers. A majority of decisions are made in a very centralised manner at the headquarters. In 1993 the Indian constitution and relevant state legislations were amended in order to decentralise certain responsibilities, including water supply and sanitation, to municipalities. Since the assignment of responsibilities to municipalities is a state responsibility, different states have followed different approaches. According to a Planning Commission report of 2003 there is a Page | 4
trend to decentralise capital investment to engineering departments at the district level and operation and maintenance to district and gram panchayat levels. Policy and regulation The responsibility for water supply and sanitation at the central and state level is shared by various Ministries. At the central level three Ministries have responsibilities in the sector: The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (until 2011 the Department of Drinking Water Supply in the Ministry of Rural Development) is responsible for rural water supply and sanitation; the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and the Ministry of Urban Development share the responsibility for urban water supply and sanitation. Except for the National Capital Territory of Delhi and other Union Territories, the central Ministries only have an advisory capacity and a limited role in funding. Sector policy thus is a prerogative of state governments. National Urban Sanitation Policy. In November 2008 the government of India launched a national urban sanitation policy with the goal of creating what it calls "totally sanitized cities" that are open-defecation free, safely collect and treat all their wastewater, eliminate manual scavenging and collect and dispose solid waste safely. As of 2010, 12 states were in the process of elaborating or had completed state sanitation strategies on the basis of the policy. 120 cities are in the process of preparing city sanitation plans. Furthermore, 436 cities rated themselves in terms of their achievements and processes concerning sanitation in an effort supported by the Ministry of Urban Development with the assistance of several donors. About 40% of the cities were in the "red category" (in need of immediate remedial action), more than 50% were in the "black category" (needing considerable improvement) and only a handful of cities were in the "blue category" (recovering). Not a single city was included in the "green category" (healthy and clean city). The rating serves as a baseline to measure improvements in the future and to prioritize actions. The government intends to award a prize called Nirmal Shahar Puraskar to the best sanitation performers. Service provision Urban areas. Institutional arrangements for water supply and sanitation in Indian cities vary greatly. Typically, a state-level agency is in charge of planning and investment, while the local government (Urban Local Bodies) is in charge of operation and maintenance. Some of the largest cities have created municipal water and sanitation utilities that are legally and Page | 5
financially separated from the local government. However, these utilities remain weak in terms of financial capacity. In spite of decentralisation, ULBs remain dependent on capital subsidies from state governments. Tariffs are also set by state governments, which often even subsidise operating costs. Furthermore, when no separate utility exists, there is no separation of accounts for different activities within a municipality. Some states and cities have nontypical institutional arrangements. For example, in Rajasthan the sector is more centralised and the state government is also in charge of operation and maintenance, while in Mumbai the sector is more decentralised and local government is also in charge of planning and investment. In 2012 the Delhi Jal Board contracted out operations and management in three zones of the city to private companies under performance-based contracts to reduce nonrevenue water. The Vasant Vihar-Mehrauli zone is operated by SMPL Infrastructure of India, Malviya Nagar by Suez Environnement and the Nangloi zone by Veolia Environnement. Private sector participation. The private sector plays a limited, albeit recently increasing role in operating and maintaining urban water systems on behalf of ULBs. For example, the Jamshedpur Utilities & Services Company (Jusco), a subsidiary of Tata Steel, has a lease contract for Jamshedpur (Jharkhand), a management contract in Haldia (West Bengal), another contract in Mysore (Karnataka) and since 2007 a contract for the reduction of nonrevenue water in parts of Bhopal (Madhya Pradhesh). The French water company Veolia won a management contract in three cities in Karnataka in 2005. In 2002 a consortium including Thames Water won a pilot contract covering 40,000 households to reduce non-revenue water in parts of Bangalore, funded by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. The contract was scaled up in 2004. The Cypriot company Hydro-Comp, with two Indian companies, won a 10-year concession contract for the city of Latur City (Maharashtra) in 2007 and an operator-consultant contract in Madurai (Tamil Nadu). Furthermore, the private Indian infrastructure development company SPML is engaged in build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects, such as a bulk water supply project for Bhiwandi (Maharashtra). Rural areas. There are about a 100,000 rural water supply systems in India. At least in some states, responsibility for service provision is in the process of being partially transferred from State Water Boards and district governments to Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) at the block or village level (there were about 604 districts and 256,000 villages in India in 2002, according to Subdivisions of India. Blocks are an intermediate level between districts and villages). Where this transfer has been initiated, it seems to be more advanced for singlevillage water schemes than for more complex multi-village water schemes. Despite their Page | 6
professed role Panchayati Raj Institutions, play only a limited role in provision of rural water supply and sanitation as of 2006. There has been limited success in implementing decentralisation, partly due to low priority by some state governments. Rural sanitation is typically provided by households themselves in the form of latrines. Innovative approaches A number of innovative approaches to improve water supply and sanitation have been tested in India, in particular in the early 2000s. These include community-led total sanitation, demand-driven approaches in rural water supply, a public-private partnerships to improve the continuity of urban water supply in Karnataka, and the use of micro-credit to women in order to improve access to water. Community-led total sanitation In 1999 a demand-driven and people-centered sanitation program was initiated under the name Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) or Community-led total sanitation. It evolved from the limited achievements of the first structured programme for rural sanitation in India, the Central Rural Sanitation Programme, which had minimal community participation. The main goal of Total Sanitation Campaign is to eradicate the practice of open defecation by 2017. Community-led total sanitation is not focused on building infrastructure, but on preventing open defecation through peer pressure and shame. In Maharashtra where the program started more than 2000 Gram Panchayats have achieved "open defecation free" status. Villages that achieve this status receive monetary rewards and high publicity under a program called Nirmal Gram Puraskar. Demand-driven approaches in rural water supply Most rural water supply schemes in India use a centralised, supply-driven approach, i.e. a government institution designs a project and has it built with little community consultation and no capacity building for the community, often requiring no water fees to be paid for its subsequent operation. Since 2002 the Government of India has rolled out at the national level a program to change the way in which water and sanitation services are supported in rural areas. The program, called Swajaldhara, decentralises service delivery responsibility to rural local governments and user groups. Under the new approach communities are being consulted and trained, and users agree up-front to pay a tariff that is set at a level sufficiently high to cover operation and maintenance costs. It also includes measures to promote Page | 7
sanitation and to improve hygiene behaviour. The national program follows a pilot program launched in 1999. According to a 2008 World Bank study in 10 Indian states, Swajaldhara results in lower capital costs, lower administrative costs and better service quality compared to the supplydriven approach. In particular, the study found that the average full cost of supply-driven schemes is 38 (61.9¢ US) per cubic meter, while it is only 26 (42.4¢ US) per cubic meter for demand-driven schemes. These costs include capital, operation and maintenance costs, administrative costs and coping costs incurred by users of malfunctioning systems. Coping costs include travelling long distances to obtain water, standing in long queues, storing water and repairing failed systems. Among the surveyed systems that were built using supplydriven approach system breakdowns were common, the quantity and quality of water supply were less than foreseen in designs, and 30% of households did not get daily supply in summer. The poor functioning of one system sometimes leads to the construction of another system, so that about 30% of households surveyed were served by several systems. As of 2008 only about 10% of rural water schemes built in India used a demand-driven approach. Since water users have to pay lower or no tariffs under the supply-driven approach, this discourages them to opt for a demand-driven approach, even if the likelihood of the systems operating on a sustainable basis is higher under a demand-driven approach. Achieving continuous water supply in Karnataka In the cities of Hubli, Belgaum and Gulbarga in the state of Karnataka, the private operator Veolia increased water supply from once every 2–15 days for 1–2 hours, to 24 hours per day for 180,000 people (12% of the population of the 3 cities) within 2 years (2006–2008). This was achieved by carefully selecting and ring-fencing demonstration zones (one in each city), renovating the distribution network, installing meters, introducing a well-functioning commercial system, and effective grass-roots social intermediation by an NGO, all without increasing the amount of bulk water supplied. The project, known by its acronym as KUWASIP (Karnataka Urban Water Sector Improvement Project), was supported by a US$39.5 million loan from the World Bank. It constitutes a milestone for India, where no large city so far has achieved continuous water supply. The project is expected to be scaledup to cover the entire area of the three cities.
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Micro-credit for water connections in Tamil Nadu In Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu, the NGO Gramalaya, established in 1987, and women selfhelp groups promote access to water supply and sanitation by the poor through micro-credit. Among the benefits are that women can spend more time with their children, earn additional income, and sell surplus water to neighbours. This money contributes to her repayment of the WaterCredit loan. The initiative is supported by the US-based non-profit Water Partners International. The Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company The Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company (JUSCO) provides water and sanitation services in Jamshedpur, a major industrial center in East India that is home to Tata Steel. Until 2004 a division of Tata Steel provided water to the city’s residents. However, service quality was poor with intermittent supply, high water losses and no metering. To improve this situation and to establish good practices that could be replicated in other Indian cities, JUSCO was set up as a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Steel in 2004. Efficiency and service quality improved substantially over the following years. The level on non-revenue water decreased from an estimated 36% in 2005 to 10% in 2009; one quarter of residents received continuous water supply (although the average supply remained at only 7 hours per day) in 2009; the share of metered connections increased from 2% in 2007 to 26% in 2009; the number of customers increased; and the company recovered its operating costs plus a portion of capital costs. Identifying and legalising illegal connections was an important element in the reduction of non-revenue water. The utility prides itself today of the good drinking water quality provided and encourages its customers to drink from the tap. The utility also operates a wastewater treatment plant that meets discharge standards. The private utility pays salaries that are higher than civil service salaries and conducts extensive training programs for its staff. It has also installed a modern system to track and resolve customer complaints. Furthermore, it conducts independent annual customer satisfaction surveys. JUSCO’s vision is to be the preferred provider of water supply and other urban services throughout India. Together with Ranhill Malaysia it won a 25-year concession contract for providing the water supply in Haldia City, West Bengal.
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Efficiency of utilities There are only limited data on the operating efficiency of utilities in India, and even fewer data on the efficiency of investments. Two indicators of operating efficiency are non-revenue water and labour productivity. Non-revenue water. According to the results of a Service Level Benchmarking (SLB) Program carried out by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) in 2006 in 28 cities, the average level of non-revenue water (NRW) was 44 percent. Another study of 20 cities by the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission with the support of the Asian Development Bank showed an average level of non-revenue water (NRW) of 32%. However, 5 out of the 20 cities did not provide any data. For those that provided data there probably is a large margin of error, since only 25% of connections are metered, which makes it very difficult to estimate non-revenue water. Also, three utilities in the sample show NRW levels of less than 20%, two of which have practically no metering, which indicates that the numbers are not reliable and actual values are likely to be higher. In Delhi, which was not included in the ADB study, non-revenue water stood at 53% and there were about 20 employees per 1000 connections. Furthermore, only 70% of revenue billed was actually collected. Labour productivity. Concerning labour productivity, the 20 utilities in the sample had on average 7.4 employees per 1,000 connections, which is much higher than the estimated level for an efficient utility. A survey of a larger sample of Indian utilities showed an average ratio of 10.9 employees per 1,000 connections. Tariffs, cost recovery and subsidies Water and sewer tariffs in India are low in both urban and rural areas. In urban areas they were set at the equivalent of about US$0.10 per cubic meter in 2007 and recovered about 60% of operating and maintenance costs, with large differences between cities. Some cities such as Kolkata do not bill residential users at all. In rural areas the level of cost recovery often is even lower than in urban areas and was estimated at only 20% in rural Punjab. Subsidies were estimated at US$1.1 billion per year in the mid-1990s, accounting to 4% of all government subsidies in India. 70% of those benefiting from the subsidies are not poor.
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Rural areas Cost recovery in rural areas is low and a majority of the rural water systems are defunct for lack of maintenance. Some state governments subsidise rural water systems, but funds are scarce and insufficient. In rural areas in Punjab, operation and maintenance cost recovery is only about 20%. On one hand, expenditures are high due to high salary levels, high power tariff and a high number of operating staff. On the other hand, revenue is paid only by the 10% of the households who have private connections. Those drawing water from public stand posts do not pay any water charges at all, although the official tariff for public stand post users is 15 (24.5¢ US) per month per household. Subsidies and targeting of subsidies There are no accurate recent estimates of the level of subsidies for water and sanitation in India. It has been estimated that transfers to the water sector in India amounted to
million (US$891.7 million) per year in the mid-1990s, accounting for 4% of all government subsidies in India. About 98% of this subsidy is said to come from State rather than Central budgets. This figure may only cover recurrent cost subsidies and not investment subsidies, which are even higher (see below). There is little targeting of subsidies. According to the World Bank, 70% of those benefiting from subsidies for public water supply are not poor, while 40% of the poor are excluded because they do not have access to public water services. Investment and financing Investment in urban water supply and sanitation has increased during the first decade of the 21st century, not least thanks to increased central government grants made available under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission alongside with loans from the Housing and Urban Development Corporation. Investment The Eleventh Five-Year Plan (2007–2012) foresees investments of
(US$20.7 billion) for urban water supply and sanitation, including urban (stormwater) drainage and solid waste management.
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Financing 55% of the investments foreseen under the 11th Plan are to be financed by the central government, 28% by state governments, 8% by "institutional financing" such as HUDCO, 8% by external agencies and 1.5% by the private sector. Local governments are not expected to contribute to the investments. The volume of investments is expected to double to reach 0.7% of GDP. Also, it implies a shift in financing from state governments to the central government. During the 9th Plan only 24% of investments were financed by the central government and 76% by state governments. Central government financing was heavily focused on water supply in rural areas. Institutions The current system of financing water supply and sanitation is fragmented through a number of different national and state programs. This results in simultaneous implementation with different and conflicting rules in neighbouring areas. For example, in rural areas different programs undermine each other, adversely affecting demand driven approaches requiring cost sharing by users. State budgets the major source of financing for water supply and sanitation. State Financing Corporations (SFC) play an important role in making recommendations regarding the allocation of state tax revenues between states and municipalities, criteria for grants, and measures to improve the financial position of municipalities. According to the Planning Commission, SFCs are in some cases not sufficiently transparent and/or competent, have high transactions costs, and their recommendations are sometimes not being implemented. An important source of financing are loans from Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd (HUDCO), a Central government financial undertaking. HUDCO loans to municipal corporations need to be guaranteed by state governments. HUDCO also on-lends loans from foreign aid, including Japanese aid, to states. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission initiated in 2005 also plays an increasingly important role in financing urban water supply and sanitation through central government grants. However, its grants are limited to the 35 largest cities in the country and 28 selected cities, so that most cities with less than 1 million inhabitants are not eligible to receive grants from this mission. In 1996 Tamil Nadu has introduced a public-private partnership, the Tamil Nadu Urban Development Fund (TNUDF), to channel both grants and loans to cities in the state. TNUDF Page | 12
has received funding from the World Bank, Japanese JICA and KfW from Germany. It also mobilizes funding from the capital market through a water and sanitation pooled fund, under which several municipalities joined together to issue a bond in the local market. TNUDF so far is the only functioning state-level fund that channels loans to ULBs in India. In 2012 the state of Orissa has created an Urban Development Fund modelled on the example of Tamil Nadu. External cooperation In absolute terms India receives almost twice as much development assistance for water, sanitation and water resources management as any other country, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. India accounts for 13 per cent of commitments in global water aid for 2006–07, receiving an annual average of about US$830 million (€620 million), more than double the amount provided to China. India's biggest water and sanitation donor is Japan, which provided US$635 million, followed by the World Bank with US$130 million. The annual average for 2004–06, however, was about half as much at US$448 million, of which Japan provided US$293 million and the World Bank US$87 million. The Asian Development Bank and Germany are other important external partners in water supply and sanitation. In 2003 the Indian government decided it would only accept bilateral aid from five countries (the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia, Germany and Japan). A further 22 bilateral donors were asked to channel aid through nongovernmental organisations, United Nations agencies or multilateral institutions such as the European Union, the Asian Development Bank or the World Bank. Asian Development Bank India has increased its loans from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) since 2005 after the introduction of new financing modalities, such as the multitranche financing facility (MFF) which features a framework agreement with the national government under which financing is provided in flexible tranches for subprojects that meet established selection criteria. In 2008 four MFFs for urban development investment programs were under way in North Karnataka
(US$450 million), and Uttarakhand (US$1,589 million). Included in these MFFs are major investments for the development of urban water supply and sanitation services. Page | 13
Germany Germany supports access to water and sanitation in India through financial cooperation by KfW development bank and technical cooperation by GTZ. Since the early 1990s both institutions have supported watershed management in rural Maharashtra, using a participatory approach first piloted by the Social Center in Ahmednagar and that constituted a fundamental break with the previous top-down, technical approach to watershed management that had yielded little results. The involvement of women in decision-making is an essential part of the project. While the benefits are mostly in terms of increased agricultural production, the project also increases availability of water resources for rural water supply. In addition, GTZ actively supports the introduction of ecological sanitation concepts in India, including community toilets and decentralised wastewater systems for schools as well as small and medium enterprises. Many of these systems produce biogas from wastewater, provide fertiliser and irrigation water. Japan As India's largest donor in the sector the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) finances a multitude of projects with a focus on capital-intensive urban water supply and sanitation projects, often involving follow-up projects in the same locations. Current projects. Projects approved between 2006 and 2009 include the Guwahati Water Supply Project (Phases I and II) in Assam, the Kerala Water Supply Project (Phased II and III), the Hogenakkal Water Supply and Fluorosis Mitigation Project (Phases I and II) in Tamil Nadu, the Goa Water Supply and Sewerage Project, the Agra Water Supply Project, the Amritsar Sewerage Project in Punjab, the Orissa Integrated Sanitation Improvement Project, and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Project (Phase II). Evaluation of past projects. An ex-post evaluation of one large program, the Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Program, showed that "some 60%–70% of the goals were achieved" and that "results were moderate". The program was implemented by the Housing and Urban Development Corporation, Ltd. (HUDCO) from 1996 to 2003 in 26 cities. The evaluation says that "state government plans were not based on sufficient demand research, including the research for residents' willingness to pay for services", so that demand for connections was overestimated. Also fees (water tariffs) were rarely increased despite recommendations to increase them. The evaluation concludes that "HUDCO was not able to Page | 14
make significant contributions to the effectiveness, sustainability, or overall quality of individual projects. One of the reasons that not much attention was given to this problem is probably that there was little risk of default on the loans thanks to state government guarantees." World Bank Current projects. The World Bank finances a number of projects in urban and rural areas that are fully or partly dedicated to water supply and sanitation. In urban areas the World Bank supported or supports among others the USD 1.55 bn National Ganga River Basin Project approved in 2011, the Andhra Pradesh Municipal Development Project (approved in 2009, US$300 million loan), the Karnataka Municipal Reform Project (approved in 2006, US$216 million loan), the Third Tamil Nadu Urban Development Project (approved in 2005, US$300 million loan) and the Karnataka Urban Water Sector Improvement Project (approved in 2004, US$39.5 million loan). In rural areas it supports the Andhra Pradesh Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (US$150 million loan, approved in 2009), the Second Karnataka Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (approved in 2001, US$151.6 million loan), the Uttarakhand Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (approved in 2006, US$120 million loan) and the Punjab Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (approved in 2006, US$154 million loan). Evaluation of past projects. A study by the World Bank's independent evaluation department evaluated the impact of the World Bank-supported interventions in the provision of urban water supply and wastewater services in Mumbai between 1973 and 1990. It concluded that water supply and sewerage planning, construction and operations in Bombay posed daunting challenges to those who planned and implemented the investment program. At the outset, there was a huge backlog of unmet demand because of underinvestment. Population and economic growth accelerated in the following decades and the proportion of the poor increased as did the slums which they occupied. The intended impacts of the program have not been realised. Shortcomings include that "water is not safe to drink; water service, especially to the poor, is difficult to access and is provided at inconvenient hours of the day; industrial water needs are not fully met; sanitary facilities are too few in number and often unusable; and urban drains, creeks and coastal waters are polluted with sanitary and industrial wastes."
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Role of entrepreneurs in Water supply and sanitation in Rural areas Concept of Rural Entrepreneurship Defining entrepreneurship is not an easy task. To some, entrepreneurship means primarily innovation, to others it means risk-taking? To others a market stabilizing force and to others still it means starting, owning and managing a small business. An entrepreneur is a person who either creates new combinations of production factors such as new methods of production, new products, new markets, finds new sources of supply and new organizational forms or as a person who is willing to take risks or a person who by exploiting market opportunities, eliminates disequilibrium between aggregate supply and aggregate demand or as one who owns and operates a business. What is Rural Entrepreneurship? The problem is essentially lopsided development which is a development of one area at the cost of development of some other place, with concomitant associated problems of underdevelopment. For instance, we have seen unemployment or underemployment in the villages that has led to influx of rural population to the cities. What is needed is to create a situation so that the migration from rural areas to urban areas comes down. Migration per se is not always undesirable but it should be the minimum as far as employment is concerned. Rather the situation should be such that people should find it worthwhile to shift themselves from towns and cities to rural areas because of realization of better opportunities there. In other words, migration from rural areas should not only get checked but overpopulated towns and cities should also get decongested. If it is so, ways can always be found out. One is by forcibly stopping villagers from settling in the slums of towns and cities, making use of all powers to clear the slums so the villagers are forced to go back. But such practices have not achieved the desired results in the past. Apart from causing suffering to the poor people and adding to the expenditure of the Government, social tensions and economic hardships created by the government officials and their staff in every demolition of slums is not desirable from a sane government. Moreover, when a slum is demolished people do not move out of urban localities. They only relocate to a nearby place because they are entrenched in the economy of the town or city. Though governments have tried out various schemes for generating incomes in the rural areas such as governmentinitiatives have not stopped people from moving out of villages to cities. This is because such government initiatives are not on their
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own capable of enabling people to earn adequately and ameliorate their conditions. There has to be some committed enterprising individual or a group of people Rural Entrepreneurship in India Who should be capable of making use of the government policies and schemes for the betterment of rural people? Some individuals who happen to be local leaders and NGOs and who are committed to the cause of the rural people have been catalytic agents for development. Though their efforts need to be recognized yet much more needs to be done to reverse the direction of movement of people, i.e. to attract people in the rural areas. It means not only stopping the outflow of rural people but also attracting them back from the towns and cities where they had migrated. This is possible when young people consider rural areas as places of opportunities. Despite all the inadequacies in rural areas one should assess their strengths and build on them to make rural areas places of opportunities. This is much to do with the way one sees the reality of the rural areas. The way a survivor or job seeker would see things would certainly be different from those who would like to do something worthwhile and are ready to go through a difficult path to achieve their goals. It isn't that there is a dearth of people with such a mindset. But with time they change their minds and join the bandwagon of job seekers due to various compilations. Enabling them to think positively, creatively and Entrepreneurship purposefully is most of the development of rural areas. Young people with such perspective and with the help of rightly channelized efforts would usher in an era of rural entrepreneurship. The basic principles of entrepreneur which applied the rural development are: Optimum utilization of local resources in an entrepreneurial venture by rural population Better distributions of the farm produce results in the rural prosperity. Entrepreneurial occupation rural population to reduce discrimination and providing alternative occupations as against the rural migration. To activate such system to provide basic '6 m'-manpower, money , material, machinery, management and market to the rural population.
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Rural Entrepreneurship in changing Environment: The changing global environment raises questions about the ability of traditional, small-scale businesses in rural areas to share the potential benefits offered by the changing environment. The rapid (though declining) population growth, coupled with even faster urbanization, creates increasing demands. In India, urban populations in general grow about twice as fast as the overall total, and by 2020 they may exceed the size of rural populations. Such a major demographic trend challenges the capacities of some traditional small-scale businesses to cope with the increasing demands. Challenges faced by Rural Entrepreneurship in India Family Challenges: Convincing to opt for business over job is easy is not an easy task for an individual. The first thing compared is –Will you make more money in the business of your choice or as a successor of family business. This is where it becomes almost impossible to convince that you can generate more cash with your passion than doing what your Dad is doing. Social Challenges: Family challenges are always at the top because that is what matter the most but at times social challenges also are very important. Let us say you and your friend graduated at the same time. You opted for entrepreneurship and your friend opted for a job. He now has a flat, car and what not because he could easily get those with a bank loan but you still have nothing to show off and this is where the challenge comes. Technological Challenges: Indian education system lags too much from the Job industry as a whole but then it lags even more when it comes to online entrepreneurship. What technology would be ideal and how to use that technology effectively? Financial Challenges: (Difficulty in borrowing fund): Financial challenges are a lot different in India especially for online entrepreneurs. When you are starting out as an entrepreneur you don’t opt for venture funding but try to go to funding for small to medium business people. Many such non-technical business people don’t understand the online business models as a whole and so getting an initial business funding from them becomes challenging. The other option you can think of is a loan but bank loan is not at all an option in India for new online entrepreneurs.
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Policy Challenges: Now and then there is lotsof changes in the policies tochange in the government. Problems of TRIPS and TRIMS. Problems of raising equity capital,Problems of availing raw-materials,Problems of obsolescence of indigenous technology Increased pollutions Ecological imbalanced. Exploitation of small and poor countries etc. A. Opportunities Free entry into world trade. Improved risk taking ability. Governments of nations withdrawn some restrictions Technology and inventions spread into the world. Encouragement to innovations and inventions. Promotion of healthy completions among nations Consideration increase in government assistance for international trade. The establishment of other national and international institutes to support business among the nations of the world. Benefits of specialization. Social and cultural development B. Challenges for Rural Entrepreneurs Growth of Mall Culture Poor Assistance Power Failure Lack of Technical know how Capacity Utilization Infrastructure Sickness
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C. Opportunities for Rural Entrepreneurs Crashed Scheme for Rural Development Food for Work Program National Rural Employment Program Regional Rural Development Centers Entrepreneurship Development Instituteof India Bank of Technology Rural Innovation Funding Social Rural Entrepreneurship. D. Need for Creating Indian Entrepreneurs- A Snapshot: A recent Mckinsey & Company-Nasscom report estimates that India needs at least 8,000 new businesses to achieve its target of building a US$87 billion IT sector.In the next 10 years, 110-130 million Indian citizens will be searching for jobs, including 80-100 million looking for their first jobs. In today’s knowledge based economy is fertile ground for entrepreneurs, in India. It is rightly believed that India has an extraordinary talent pool with virtually limitless potential to become entrepreneurs. Therefore, it is important to get committed to creating the right environment to develop successful entrepreneurs. To achieve this, India must focus on the following area. • Create the Right Environment for Success • Ensure that Entrepreneurs have access to the Right Skill • Ensure that Entrepreneurs have access to „Smart Capital‟ • Enable Networking and Exchange • Government Support: Both the Central and State Governments should take more interest in promoting the growth of entrepreneurship Page | 20
Whereas a panchayat should be self-reliant to manage its affairs internally but at the same time it should be free to secure technology back-up from any quarter such as state S&T councils, KVKs, corporates, academic institutions or NGOs. It will be appropriate to recall what Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation, observed in this regard (Gandhi, 1946) ‘it is the individual who is the unit. This does not exclude dependence on and willing help from neighjbours or from the world.’ Mahatma Gandhi’s vision corroborates the idea that nothing should prevent corporates to extend helping hand to panchayats with technological and managerial support for programme implementation in areas such as telecom, energy, education, health care, etc from any quarter. The observation of Amulya K.N. Reddy, a late distinguished professor at the Indian Institute of Science who had set up ASTRA (Application of Science and Technology in Rural Areas) at the I.I.Sc is very appropriate. He found that whenever state governments had acted in right earnest, results were always impressive (Dutta, 2006). ‘In a comprehensive framework, the underlying premise is that the commercialization subsystem (consisting of the manufacturer/ user relationship interacting with technology generator and technology champion) is embedded in a larger system. This larger system consists of resource producers-cum distributors both of which have a strong influence on the commercialization process.’ GOI arising out of several committee recommendations created S&T councils and KVKs in each state with units in districts to transfer technology to panchayats and other district and rural bodies. However, in view of the vastness of the country, the initiative could not achieve desired results. Its efforts need to be supplemented by other societal groups such as corporates and NGOs under their CSR initiatives (Mital, 1979, 1988). Corporates can first assess level of current technology in use, identify gaps in technological needs and then work out cost implications of proposed technology. Corporates can form multidisciplinary taskforce teams by including its own R&D personnel as well as those from other engineering organizations in the region. Such teams after preliminary assessment of technological gaps can offer technology back ups to Zilla Parishads (district governing councils) and district rural development offices (DRDOs), who are implementing major government programmes including Bharat Nirman Yojna.
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Corporates can offer technological back-up support for design of low cost housing, village drainage system, sanitation, solid waste management, drinking water supply, warehousing for grain and seed storage, crop drying, decentralized energy systems, street lighting, etc. depending on the type of expertise available with them, which they may share under CSR obligations. Corporates and NGOs similar to KVKs can also assist in arranging financial loans from regional rural banks, NABARD, etc which village panchayats and KVKs may often find difficult to process. Banks and financial institutions have to come forward to support rural entrepreneurs who will commercialize innovations and new technologies developed. Corporates can also impart training to district rural development officers (DRDOs) and rural entrepreneurs who have a major role to play in social sector schemes like ‘Bharat Nirman Yojna’. As a case-in-point several leading Telecom companies are already partnering with panchayats in distributing telecom services in rural areas. Tata Teleservices, a cellular service provider, is partnering with panchayats in distributing its services in rural areas. Telecom industry associations like the Cellular Operators Association of India and the Association of Unified Service Providers of India are also supporting panchayat-business or in more common-terminology public-private partnership in rural sector. Rural-urban divide in rural telephony is wide considering that urban teledensity is 31 per cent while in rural areas it is barely 2 per cent with overall teledensity as 13 per cent. India as of 2006 had over 100 million mobile users which may touch 200 million mark by 2007 and 500 million by 2010 (Monga and Philip, 2006). Corporates must be encouraged to make more investment in rural areas. Infrastructure, education, health care, farming and non-farming areas, etc are key result areas for reviving rural economy through increased credit flow. Corporate investment in farming particularly by agri-based based business firms such as ITC or Pepsi can create business opportunities for farmers on sustainable basis. Mahatma Gandhi had a vision for a self-sufficient Indian village. He wrote, ‘The villages should develop such high degree of skill that articles prepared by them should command a ready market outside. When our villages are fully developed there will be no dearth in them of men with a high degree of skill and artistic talent. There will be village Page | 22
poets, village artists, village architects, linguists and research workers. In short, there will be nothing in life worth having which will not be had in the villages. Today the villages are dung heaps. Tomorrow they will be like tiny gardens of Eden where highly intelligent folk whom no one can deceive or exploit dwell.’ Gandhiji (November 11, 1946) added, ‘Craft, art, health and education should be integrated into one scheme. Nai Talim is a beautiful blend of all the four and covers the whole education of the individual from the time of conception to the moment of death. Therefore, I would not divide village uplift work into water-tight compartments from the very beginning but undertake an activity which will combine all four. Instead of regarding craft and industry as different from education I will regard former as the medium for the latter. Nai Talim therefore ought to be integrated into the scheme.’ Most official rural development programmes seek people’s involment through Self Help Groups, rural entrepreneurs, corporates, NGOs, financial institutions, etc. In fact, the GOI’s much publicized urban amenities in rural areas (or PURA) can be best delivered through PRIs only. GOI has mandated that these schemes should be monitored through village panchayats, but which in turn have to be accountable to Gram Sabhas for fund management and for maintaining
responsibilities for programme implementation to panchayats in right earnest, results were generally impressive as villagers were best suited for such initiatives. Villagers are capable of making everything they need but somehow they have been deprived of the incentive to do so. They need to be provided necessary technological inputs so that village as one unit becomes self reliant. During freedom movement charakha represented a symbol of rural economy. Indian National Congress, country’s oldest political party, retained it as logo on party’s flag for long. Gandhiji envisioned that every villager should spin and weave in the same way they grow crops (Gandhi, 1921). Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, while addressing a press conference (2006) at Mahatma Gandhi’s Sewa Gram Ashram at Wardha set up in 1936 obseved that ‘economic reforms need to be inclusive, bringing rural India to the centre stage of future reforms.’ Village economy cannot be complete without essential village industries such as hand-grinding, hand-pounding, soap-making, paper-making, match-making, tanning, oilpressing, etc. Mahatma Gandhi had urged that all should make it a point of honour to use Page | 23
only village articles whenever and wherever available. Gandhiji (Constructive Programme, 1948) wrote: ‘Given the demand there is no doubt that most of our wants can be fulfilled from villages. When we have become village-minded, we will not want imitations of the West or machine-made products, but we will develop a true national taste in keeping with the vision of a new India in which paupererism, starvation and idleness will be unknown.’ According to Gandhiji, ‘criminal neglect of the peasants and artisans have reduced India to pauperism, dullness and habitual idleness. With her magnificient climate, lofty mountains, mighty rivers and an extensive seaboard, India has limitless resources, whose full exploitation in her villages should have prevented poverty and disease. But divorce of the intellect from-body-labour has made of us perhaps the shortest-lived, most resourceless and most exploited nation on earth. The state of village tanning which is perhaps as ancient as India itself, is perhaps the best proof of my indictment.’ Rural Infrastructure, Panchayats and CSR Infrastructure holds the key to value creation in agriculture and non farm sector that alone can boost income and employment growth opportunities in rural areas. Rural infrastructure includes irrigation, drinking water supply, sanitation, roads, energy, housing, communication, watershed projects, etc. Among them particularly, supply of water for drinking and irrigation purposes, and sanitation are more acute as very subsistence of rural poor depend on them. Whereas clean water and sanitation meet the basic needs of life, satisfactory power supply and irrigation facilities are needed for creating stable incomes in farm and non-farm sectors. GOI therefore plans to offer increasing incentives for public and private investment in the areas such as irrigation, water supply and rural infrastructure. In fact, Planning Commission’s draft paper on the Eleventh Plan has targeted a 4 per cent growth in the agriculture sector based on new strategy of customized agricultural growth for different regions, renewed focus on dryland farming, and private participation through contract farming, etc. GOI expects that such measures shall bring ‘paradigm shift’ in agricultural production (Singh, 2006). Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation, had a very lofty vision for rural infrastructure. It is the responsibility of everyone, be it, government, civic and municipal authorities, rural community, gram panchayat, NGOs or corporates, to transform his dream of ideal village
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into a living reality. He envisioned an ideal village as one where all necessary amenities and facilities are available. He noted (Gandhi, 1937): ‘An ideal village should lend itself to perfect sanitation, its cottage should have sufficient light and ventilation, they should be built of local materials, its lanes and streets should be free of dust. It should have wells according to need and access, houses of worship for all, a common meeting place, a village common for grazing, a cooperative dairy, primary and secondary schools in which industrial education will be central factor and its own panchayat for settling disputes. This model village will have its own water works ensuring clean water supply and a compulsory service of village guards’. Infrastructural development in rural areas where large numbers of countrymen live
receive higher priority. Government agencies and all societal groups including corporates and NGOs owe it to the nation to extend helping hand for rural infrastructure development, which has been considerably neglected over the years. As corporate entity with necessary technical expertise available with them, industrial enterprises assisted by NGOs and rural entrepreneurs are best suited in developing rural infrastructure such as roads, telecom, power supply, and water supply in rural areas (Mital, 2004). In India, there are numbers of small and big business entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, and rural entrepreneurs. They are people with a cause and the passion to pursue entrepreneurship. Individuals with entrepreneurial skills who pursue social issues like poverty alleviation, drinking water supply, rural sanitation, environmental protection, health care, etc are called social entrepreneurs. For improving the infrastructural services and quality-of-life in rural areas, the former NDA Government introduced the Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana to fulfil the critical needs in the areas of drinking water, sanitation, housing, nutrition, primary health care, primary education, and rural electrification. During the period of late Mr. Rajiv Gandhi as Prime Minister (1984-89), GOI placed considerable emphasis on bottom-up approach for planning with panchayats playing pivotal role in decentralized planning. Congress-led UPA government headed by Dr. Manmohan Singh a massive ‘Bharat Nirman Yojna’ for giving a significant push to six broad areas of
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rural infrastructure, irrigation, rural connectivity, rural housing, drinking water supply, rural electrification and rural telecom connectivity. Bharat Nirman is a collective programme of the GOI and state government, progress of which is monitored by PRIs and DRDOs under the overall supervision of district collectors. This ambitious programme is for everyone, for farmers, artisans, social workers, NGOs and corporates, which the GOI regards as an effort to unlock rural India’s growth potential. The programme provides major thrust to improve physical and social infrastructure in rural areas. The programme envisaged: (i) bringing an additional additional one crore hectares of unirrigated agricultural land under assured irrigation; (ii) connecting all habitations having a population of 1000 in hilly and tribal areas, with all-weather roads. It is proposed to connect the remaining 66, 802 habitations with all-weather roads: (iii) provision of safe drinking water to all villages and habitations in the country. The remaining 47,000 habitations that are uncovered or not having water sources of requisite quality have to be provided with safe drnking water source by 2009; (iv) electrification of remaining 1.25 lakh villages, and providing electricity connection to 2.30 crore households by 2009; (v) construction of 60 lakh houses for the rural poor; and (vi) and bringing telephone connectivity to the remaining 66,822 villages (Jagadesan, 2006). Along with Bharat Nirman Yojna, GOI has introduced various other schemes for agriculture and rural development. Eight flagship programmes, which UPA Government is pursuing in right earnest including those which were already in vogue, are – Sarva Siksha Abhigyan, mid-day meal scheme, Rajiv Gandhi drinking water mission, total sanitation campaign, national rural health mission, integrated child development agencies, national rural employment guarantee
scheme and Jawaharlal Nehru national urban renewal mission.
Bharat Nirman Yojna and the eight flagship programmes are expected to change the face of rural India to a large extent in the coming periods (Jagadesan, 2006). Rural Entrepreneurship and Panchayats Involvement of the poor for the corporate growth in ‘enlightened-self-interest’ is catching up as a corporate strategy. Rural entrepreneurs represent as the vital ‘last leg’ of distribution systems which can act as markets at the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP)’ that may offer valuable products and services. Page | 26
Another noted example of rural entrepreneurship is that of a novel experiment of ‘pani panchayat’ mooted by Vilasrao Salunkhe, a rural entrepreneur in the field of water security in Maharashtra villages. This initiative was carried out on the premise that water is needed by all creatures – people, animals, birds, trees and insects. It was a partnership between rural entrepreneurs and panchayats to overcome water crisis in Maharashtra villages. Traditionally, India’s development planning has been at macro level and top down that focused too much attention on big picture such as big dam or a river linking project. During the period of Mr. Rajiv Gandhi as Prime Minister (1984-89) emphasis was placed on bottom up approach for planning in which panchayats would play greater role in rural areas. During water crisis in eighties, Maharashtra faced severe drought when fifty lakh people were on look out for alternative means of occupation as it was not possible to go ahead with agriculture without water. The only alternative source of subsistence, which the state administration could think of providing to farmers was stone breaking at a paltry rate of Rs. 2 per day. It occurred to Vilasrao and a group of rural entrepreneurs struggling to earn livelihood that rural entrepreneurs could instead divert their energies for conserving rain water which could meet formidable challenge posed by drought. Local authorities particularly the district collector showed keen interest in building structures for water storage and extended all possible support to the farmers for building the local water bodies Highly motivated rural entrepreneurs spared no efforts in building scores of water storage structures in record two to three months time, and when the rains actually arrived, huge storage capacity was already in place for storing rain water. Initially, the pilot project was limited to 15 villages, but later on structures were built practically in all areas that were hard hit by the drought. If the experiment is successful in one state, it can be replicated anywhere in the country. Realizing that land among farmers is not divided according to family size but it is largely the result of individual family circumstances, it occurred to Vilasrao that if not land at least water could be allocated among poor farmers on the basis of family size. This new basis of water allocation, motivation of rural entrepreneurs, and continuous monitoring of activities by ‘pani panchayat’ led to spectacular success of this novel experiment.
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Concluding Remarks Effectiveness of PRIs depends on the proficiency levels of elected representatives at the village, block and district levels in discharging their responsibilities. Whereas training is to be need based only but in broad terms PRIs personnel need to be trained in state laws particularly labour laws, administrative procedures, financial rules and regulations, and cultivation of right attitudes. Education level of PRIs personnel is a major hinderance, which can be corrected by training at village, block and district levels Government efforts on training have generally been more directed at DRDO, Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samiti levels but not with the same vigour at panchayat levels. State agencies like Administrative Training Institutes (ATI), State Institute of Rural Development (SIRD), Extension Training Centres (ETCs), etc by themselves are too inadequate to meet the training needs of PRI personnel. Training of PRI personnel is important considering that a large number of them are illiterate or semi-illeterate without any administrative or managerial experience. It is in this context that corporates, NGOs and other social groups have a major role to fulfil. Corporates should consider prescribing a per cent of their budget for developing rural entrepreneurs and PRI personnel by imparting training in administration, management and IT areas. Panchayats can be effective if they enjoy necessary autonomy and flexibility to function without bureaucratic interference. A panchayat should be free to decide its own development priorities and outlays. A panchayat has responsibility to implement its own programmes and mandate to monitor the state and GOI schemes such as Bharat Nirman and eight flagship programmes for which it should be provided support from all quarters, be it, block development office, district authorities, or state governments. No system of governance can effectively work without accountability and scrutiny. Panchayat should be accountable and transparent in programme implementation and funds management towards gram sabhas of village representatives. A gram sabha should play major role in ensuring transparency and accountability of panchayats towards programme implementation (Iyer, 2006). Apart from overseeing panchayat activities, gram sabhas should undertake regular social audit of a panchayat‘s contribution to rural society.
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Transparency and accountability can be achieved through IT-enabled systems for monitoring and periodic social audits. Corporates can help develop a cadre of rural entrepreneurs who can facilitate technology absorption in rural areas. Training centers of corporates and academic institutions are best suited to supplement governmental efforts for rural entrepreneurship training. CSR initiatives can help to improve rural entrepreneurship in knowledge and awareness, skills and sensitivity to the needs and interest of society.
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