Describe the role of Panchayati Raj Institutions in agricultural development.
According to the constitution amendment act 1992. The role of Panchayati Raj Institutions in agricultural development related to these seven:
- Land improvement, implementation of land reforms, land consolidation and soil conservation,
- Agriculture including agricultural extension,
- Minor irrigatin, water management and watershed development,
- Animal husbandry, dairying and poultry,
- Social forestry and farm-forestry and
- Minor forest produce.
Following the implementation years, there was found to be lot of difference in the implementation by the states, and may states still did not integrate the PRIs and the planning process for implementation of programs. For the same, the Planning Commission set up a task force in 2001 with two objectives in mind:
- To set up guidelines for the PRIs in central and departmental schemes,
- Recommend how to integrate PRIs and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
The second objective was important because of the growing importance of NGOs to implement schemes and programs. In the areas of crop development, credit and cooperation and crop insurance. In the subsequent sections we will identify the activities relating to agricultural works and specify the role to be played by PRIs in coordinating the works.
The implementation offices for agriculture extension and research organizations are directed to plan their programs under the supervision and control of the PRIs. The following are the five phase of activities in this regard:
Phase I: To identify the technology in respect of a crop too be extended in a certain area and the PRIs would have the job of giving the farmers inputs to the researchers and the technical heads of the organizations doing the research.
Phase II: The PRIs must identify the areas where experiments on new technology have to be done. In this regard, the block Panchayats would decide the sites in various panchayats, and the beneficiaries would be decided by the village panchayats.
Third Phase: For the arrangement of inputs, the PRIs at the village level would work closely with the PRIs at the district/block level. So that the transparency and accountability of supply can be monitored and ensured.
Fourth Phase: Here the technical people will demonstrate the technology to the people and the village panchayats will ensure participation of all farmers through publicity. The district and block level PRIs have the job of linking with the other programs. The aim is to involve more and more farmers and interaction with technical functionaries, while also giving them feedback of the demonstration so that corrections can be made before further activity takes place.
Final Phase: Here the actual distribution of inputs like certified seeds, mini-kits, farm implements, machinery, sprinkler sets, micro nutrients takes place. The PRIs are necessary here to ensure transparency, accountability and equity that satisfaction of farmers can be ensured as well as to monitor the activity in the later stages of actual implementation.
Credit and Cooperation.
The main activities under this sub-sector aProviding credit to farmers through cooperative societies, helping the cooperative institutions with working capital and providing assistance for infrastructure development. In this the village panchayats must take part in selecting the beneficiates as per norms, in the preparation of the credit plan by the primary credit societies and in making sure of timely assistance to the beneficiaries.
In addition to this, expansion of membership of primary credit societies, getting repayment of loans to the credit societies in time and getting the distressed defaulters concessions from the credit societies also falls in their domain. If defaulters are wilful, it has also to ensure some action being taken against them.
At the block level, the panchayats have to oversee the disbursement of credit, develop linage with programs providing other inputs, mobilizing loan repayment, and help the defaulter farmers who are in genuine distress. Additional roles of block level panchayats would be:
- Identify institutions who need credit for their project.
- Assistance in preparation of project proposal/reports ensure timely dispersal of credit from credit institutions with zila parishad’s help. An important work of the panchayat is to see that proper utilization of funds takes place.
It includes identifying the beneficiaries, preparation of claims and ensuring their quick settlement and payment of the claims. The role of the village panchayats would be in identifying the beneficiaries and help in settling the claims after verification.
Disposal and settlement of claims could be ensured by the block and district level panchayats and the village level panchayat could ensure the ensure that the payments reach the correct beneficiaries, at the same time identifying the farmers whose crops are lost due to any calamity. These activities are such that can instill confidence in the people that they can take the panchayat’s assistance at any point in terms of insurance claims and proposals, and the farmers get into a habit of insuring their crops’ and cover their risks without fail. .
Until the year 2001, it is seen that the ten years of CAA (Constitution amendment act 1992) could not yet identify specific roles for the PRIs. As per the task force report, role of PRIs are important in four other areas of agricultuland and water resource development, production of inputs, irrigation and relief against natural calamities.