District Development Plans & ‘Janbhagidari’

Unless those for whose benefits plans of development are formulated take active part therein, neither better results would be expected nor the levels of importance and the utility of such plans felt . The Prime Minister , therefore, has been laying stress on ‘Janbhagidari’ or the peoples’ active participation in developmental activities of their respective areas. The same having been reiterated recently by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha by exhorting the officers concerned to ensure maximum participation of public and their elected representatives in District Development Plans so as to reflect in such plans their aspirations and expectations, lends credence to the importance of ”by the public, of the public and for the public” in truer spirits of democratic set up and for better economic results. The three tier Panchayati Raj System will , in that spirit , bloom vividly into activity right from village Panchayats to Block levels to District Development councils in the process of getting full involvement of people in preparation of the District Development Plans.
Needless to add, District as an identified administrative unit is having the required heterogeneity to ensure ‘Janbhagidari’ or taking on board peoples’ participation for better implementation and improving overall productivity. Monitoring at each level will ensure results beyond expectations. Let us see it also in the context of successfully undertaking the phases of ”Back to Village” by the UT government which only reflected that the days were over when administrative apparatus used to be confined all in itself to the four walls of the offices where whatever was planned or thought of for the public conventionally had practically no scope for peoples’ active participation . Was it not known by the administration under the said programme, there on the ground itself what, in which manner and in what priority , the people of the particular area wanted in respect of the developmental projects which taken due note of and even agreed to on the spot, proved the importance of ‘Janbhagidari’. After all, what are the priorities of a district are duly reflected in the critical framework known as District Development Plan (DDP) which carries forward country’s developmental themes and priorities . These largely pertain to economic transformation, rural development , employment opportunities, accountable governance and the like especially when we in Jammu and Kashmir have District Development Councils too for the first time as an added advantage. It will really result into a festival of developmental plans , the formulation, the implementation, judicious spending of funds, decentralisation of functions as also functionaries , involvement of people from grass root levels who would feel and taste as well, the empowerment with intent to making the three tier Panchayati Raj System not only workable but ”more vibrant”.
We have various developmental schemes sponsored by the Central Government and funded almost cent percent too which also need to be implemented with the same spirit of peoples’ participation so that cumulatively, social justice and equitable development took place . What role the Deputy Commissioners had to play in promoting and ensuring maximum participation of public as also their representatives for formulating of District Development Plan of their respective districts is better known to them as they know their districts fairly well . Lieutenant Governor while reiterating this aspect, has hinted towards including those works which were important and found to be attended to on priority about which needs and aspirations of the local population played a significant part. For this – regular meets, interaction, exchanging of ideas and priorities between the Deputy Commissioners and the representatives of the three tier system, was necessary. Initial difficulties and even minor controversies were likely to sprout which needed to be sorted out till the system and the ones to steer things, got familiarised with one another. Draft Development Plan, therefore, should be with the approval of all stakeholders in a spirit of focus on matters of development and social justice.