Gram Sabha is the nucleus of Governance

Governance is a small term with loaded meaning but has been used and over used in jargonized manner. The community participants in the workshop were able to understand what is meant by governance in the local context and in the administrative parlance.

The Resource person for two days workshop on Governance and Gram Sabha on November 28-29, 2017 was veteran practitioner of PESA, FRA and Community empowerment. Mr. Bijay has almost spend more than three decades in the social sector after quitting is lucrative position from reputed NGO to be an activist to empower the Tribal communities on PESA and FRA. Gram sabha was the nucleus of discussion agenda for these two days where the very possibility of self-rule was explained through the referential anecdotes of Constitutional law, Legislated laws like the PESA and FRA that supports the supremacy of Gram sabha Decisions.

Around 68 participants across 5 dioceses of Chhattisgarh participated in the two-day’s workshop organized by the CG Forum. Many of the participants express that this the first time ever we have come to really know what power has been laid on PESA and FRA. However, the lacuna to understand holistically the use of PESA and FRA for the community has driven them to be vulnerable.  A realization came through the workshop among the participants that the process is vital and key to success in politically maneuvering with the Government.

The Resource person laid immense confidence in the people and the participants that these laws are meant for the people to use and safeguard themselves from political marginalization of resources, Identity and Culture and finally, existential struggles. He referenced his authored books and booklets written decades ago to empower the tribal and the rural community on the agenda of self Governance and rights on Forest Resources.

Gram sabha is a political process and people have to be part of the process with-out that their perpetuation for power shaing will not come about. His practical ways of organizing Gram Sabha and accessing rights through appropriate legal means was the benchmark of the session in these workshop which influenced the community participants from across 5 Diocese. Proper training is needed as per the expectations raised by the participants and they were willing to volunteer and participate in the training program with their own resources.

The workshop was concluded at a very high level of empowering experience where participants were motivated and self-proclaimed to take this issue in their area and create models of Gram Sabha specially with women groups.