Friday, February 7, 2014

My Experiment For Good Governance: Knowledge Is Power

   Application Of “Knowledge Is Power” On Farmers
India is an agricultural country. Almost seventy percent population is engaged in this sector directly or indirectly. Government of India (GoI) and Government of Uttar Pradesh (GoUP) are running many projects and program to promote farmers. Agriculture and associated departments are trying to provide all helps to enrich knowledge of our peasants. Fast changing farms’ tools, technology and methodology are affecting our farmers continuously. New research and development in agro inputs has revolutionized this sector. Green revolution and White revolution are enough to prove the point.
Our farmers are gentlemen in general. Most of them are not quickly adopting the fast new development. It is due to lack of awareness, knowledge and connects of the programs and projects. This situation acts as brakes in their progress. Although different departments are engaged in transmitting knowledge to our farmers, but it is not working as expected. To supplement this shortcoming, I took an initiative. This new initiative was started from January 1, 2014.
In district, Vikas Bhawan housed all departments related to rural development. The Chief Development Officer (CDO) is a link among them to facilitate, coordinate and promote all projects and programs for implementing them as designed. CDO is treated as head and supervises all developmental departments. He is held responsible for the progress. He is accountable for all developmental activities.
Ideally, it is expected that farmers would visit Vikas bhawan to update their knowledge. But it is not found in practice. To supplement it and to apprise about the ongoing activities of all departments to our farmers, special farmers’ fairs are organized. In 2013 one day farmers fair was organized in each Block with a financial assistance of one lakh for each Block.

A three day farmer’s fair was organized at district level without any funding with the cooperation and coordination of departments.

Experiencing the bottleneck of knowledge, farmers training program is initiated. This idea is conceived and drafted by me. Under this, the field worker of agriculture department, popularly known as Kisan Sahayak ( KS), has to bring minimum five farmers from one village every day. In choosing farmers KS will have to follow some minimum criteria. One, he should be literate; Two, good communication skill; Three, keen to learn; four, have desire to serve the society. 

 We announced this program on December 23, 2013 while speaking at three day farmer’s fair at Firozabad. One week time was given for preparation. First of all KS brings farmers to CDO office. CDO motivates them by telling the theme of the program. He explains how this will enrich them by enhancing their knowledge related to their agriculture practices. In absence of CDO, Deputy Director Agriculture does this job. This very outset intro with CDO motivates and inspires the farmers and converts them into a serious learner. They feel elated meeting with CDO. This psychological therapy works a lot in tuning the farmers into the learning mode.

There after KS takes them to different departments. Each department teaches the farmers group about their programs and projects in detail. They handover them reading items like hand bills, pamphlets and other writing materials available. KS takes them to following departments:
1.    District Panchyatat Raj Office- DPRO.
2.     DRDA-PD.
3.    Animal husbandry office - CVO.
4.    District Agriculture office-DAO.
5.    District Plant Protection office-PPO.
6.    NEDA office -PO’
7.    Deputy Director Agriculture office-DD Ag.
8.    District Social Welfare office -DSWO.
9.    District Agriculture Diversify Project office- PM.
10.                       District Horticulture office- DHO.
11.                       Fishery office- AD Fisheries
12.                       Co operative office - AR Cooperative.
13.                       District Progam office, ICDS- DPO.
Hindi daily news paper Danik Jagran published a news as:

DAO is nominated nodal for managing this program. Dr Subhanjna Pandey, DAO, is coordinating well. She is converting this idea into a ground reality under the direction of CDO. We have observed that farmers feel happy visiting different offices. They are getting knowledge, respect along with welcome by office head and employees. This enhances the learning capacity of the group.
This program brings many benefits to farmers. One, It updates them; Two, helps in removing their hesitation; three, establishes a link between farmers and different offices; four, reduces gap and remove barriers between officials and farmers; five, it enriches and emboldens them; six, by receiving knowhow they are empowered as knowledge is power; seven, they will act as agent between government and villagers by transmitting their acquired knowhow to rest of the villagers; eight, a connect is establishing between remote villages with different offices; nine; all office are getting a data base as they are maintaining a register to take their details including cell number; ten, lack of beneficiaries problem will not be in future for the departments.
Farmers are happy with this initiative. Discussion with farmers reveals this. Feel good emotions have been observed among visiting farmers. Peasants assure that they would practice the acquired knowledge to enhance their income. Farmers promise to extend and share to other villagers who don’t visit. Hence, they are ready to play the role of an agent or connect between Vikas Bhawan and Villagers. They also say they will keep in touch with Vikas Bhawan as they have seen the doors and their hesitation evaporate. Experience depicts that it is a step of win-win situation for all stakeholders.
Heera Lal
Chief Development Officer Firozabad, UP.