WOMEN TAKE UP THE CUDGEL
By Suresh Nautiyal
THE Uttarakhand women have always been in the forefront of every struggle that took shape in the region. In fact, they are the backbone and the mainstay of the local economy.
In an open forum to be held in Almora on 17-18 of this month, hundreds of women panchayat functionaries are expected to join the issues related to the village level development and concerns like depletion of forest cover in the new state, and problems of fuel wood, fodder, water, etc., are also expected to come up prominently. Also, the deliberations will give the women an opportunity to have an interface with the ministers of the state government and the policy makers.
A similar open forum was held in the Doon valley last year in November, immediately after creation of the new state. The two-day convention had advocated a stronger role for the panchayats in the state. Later, a copy of the draft of the panchayati raj Act proposals was handed over to the chief minister, Nityanand Swami, prepared by the Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK), headed by Avdhesh Kaushal, who had said that an attempt was being made to make the panchayati raj institutions viable in terms of its functions, functionaries, and finances.
Now, it is to be seen whether the state government tables the panchayat raj Act in the assembly, which the chief minister had assured. It is to be recalled that the Madhya pradesh government has already taken up the task of village government or gram swaraj. The MP government hopes that the scheme will be a step towards further strengthening of the panchayati raj system.
(Formerly a Special Correspondent with The Observer, the writer is a
Delhi-based Freelance Journalist accredited by the Press Information Bureau,
Govt of India).