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Highlights 2020
A contribution to federal-democratic structures in India

The projects with the partner organisations Sakhi and SIDART on local self-government as well as international dialogue events on federalism promoted federal democratic structures in selected parts of India.

On final staights with local self-government

HSS India, together with Society for Integrated Developmental Activities, Research and Training (SIDART) conducted trainings where a total of 1187 participants were informed about various subjects like Grama Sabhas; Ward Sabhas and its importance, objective & benefits along with the description on the role of ward members; training of village volunteers.

The last three years of SIDARTs work depicts that the development has taken place in sectors like education, health, sanitation etc. Some of the specific achievements are as follows:

  • The enrolment of students in higher education increased from 1.9% in 2018 to 15% in 2020.
  • The Village Health, Sanitation and Nutrition Committees were revived in the Sambhariya and Jagdishpura villages of Sambhariya Panchayat.
  • The participation was increased in panchayat meetings and ward meetings
  • There is an improvement in the primary schools in terms of sanitation of toilets, construction of classrooms and boundary wall.

Acitivities in times of COVID-19

  • An awareness activity to curtail the spread of Corona virus was conducted in one of the slum areas of Jaipur. 5000 masks (which were prepared by the people of Sambhariya), food packets and dry ration was distributed to the poor and needy with the help of the area police as well as local donors.
  • At the time of lockdown when the people faced financial problems, they rely on the ration provided by the Government at subsidized rates. The activity was done in order to ensure that all the people in Sambhariya get the ration as per the Government guidelines. For this, all the members of the households must be listed in the ration cards. The activity was done for the people whose names were not listed or who did not have the ration cards. The list of such people was prepared and handed over to the Village Development Officer and after verification, was passed on to the Block Development Officer. As a result, 33 beneficiaries got their names included and are getting the benefit.
  • In order to support the people of Sambhariya to become self-reliant and earn some money during the lockdown, an activity was done to make some villagers learn to prepare the face masks and supply to other areas. This activity helped in employment generation and it fulfilled the requirement/demand of face masks within the panchayat and also around the Jaipur city.
  • After the release of the Government’s Advisory on the MGNREGA works, SIDART wrote a request letter to the Sambhariya panchayat for resuming MGNREGA work in the village so that the villagers could get a source of income. The panchayat started it and the awareness activities wrt Covid-19 were conducted by SIDART. The work started at 4 different locations employing around 400 people and SIDART Field Coordinators visited there to oversee and guided them about the precautions to be followed.

The role played by the Field Coordinators, who are based at Sambhariya only, was very important during the lockdown phase. They carried on the activities of the project with the continuous support and coordination from the SIDART team. As a result, the project was not halted and the villagers were benefitted in certain ways.

Gender in Focus

Together with Sakhi Women´s Resource Centre, it was possible to set up Gender Resource Centres (GRCs) in Kerala, which function as facilities that actively support women and children in each panchayat. Through the Sakhi-HSS intervention, almost all GRCs in the project area are fully functional, increasing effectiveness of local administration.

All the panchayats in the project area have conducted Women’s Status Study – 90% of the panchayats have conducted the full study while 10% have conducted the basic study. Some of the panchayats have published the Women’s Status Study Reports while the reports of some panchayats were in the final stage of printing till June 2020 (end of the project).

A hand book on Gender Inclusive Disaster Management at Local level was published and the books on methodology on women’s status study and Gender Resource Centre were printed.

New Times require new formats

A series of 6 online seminars involving 6 South Asian countries i.e. India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Myanmar and Philippines was conducted in the name “Asia Federalism Dialogues 2020”. It was based on the current challenges for decentralised governance in Asia with special emphasis on Covid-19 pandemic and the responses by central, intermediate and local level institutions.

The event had attracted hundreds of scholars, practitioners and critiques not only in countries of discussions but also outside the Asian countries. In addition, the topic was timely and very relevant, especially in the context of ongoing pandemic. Governments and governance structures around the world are introducing unique and innovative ideas to deal with the adverse effects of the pandemic, yet their efficacy varies largely. Some believe that the leadership matters more than the governance structure while others argue that institutions and processes of the government are also important.

The Dialogue opened the road to such programs in future which can bring together academicians and practitioners.

Click here to watch the online seminars on Facebook.

Resources and Indian Federalism

A series of 11 online Round Table Discussion and Publication on “Resource Federalism” was held from August to October 2020. The series of discussion touched upon diverse issues i.e. ecological aspect of dam building in the North-East region of India, growing presence of water market, water governance and community participation, gaps in environmental laws, fiscal federalism and decentralization etc. The participants with their experiences from diverse fields i.e. civil society, academia and bureaucracy brought varied insights on the issue.

The publication with the articles of all the participant authors shall be published in 2021.

Water Federalism 2.0 going virtual

The program "Water Federalism 2.0 - Publication and Online Seminar Series" was organized by the project partner Asian Confluence, with the aim of preparing a key publication with selected authors and to organise a series of online seminars on the subject of water federalism and linked issues. The publication titled “India’s Water Federalism: New Perspectives for Public Policy” will be an edited volume to be launched in 2021.

There were three web-based conversations held on topics related to Water Federalism:

  • Balancing Ecology and Economy: In light of Water Governance in India

The conversation dwelled on the policy space and the way forward for economic development and maintaining ecological integrity with reference to water governance in India. Click here to watch.

  • Federal Responses to Climate Change: Perspectives from India

The conversation made an assessment of the challenges and progress made. The subjects like adaptation and mitigation of climate change, forest policy, wildlife, biodiversity, excessive privatization of ground water etc. were talked upon. Click here to watch.

  • Who controls the Water: Perspectives from EU and South Asia

The conversation shed light on subjects like India-EU Water Partnership, Water Management Techniques to deal with the problem of floods and droughts, role played by civil society and informal groups etc. The total number of views were 1044 in all three conversations. Click here to watch.