Gram Sabhas: The most effective means to promote participatory democracy

Srinagar: The Phase 3 of Back to Village has gained the complexion of a festival or ‘mela’ bringing masses out of their homes and the topnotch functionaries of administration at their doorsteps.
Public interactions by Government Officials for listening to the issues, concerns & grievances of the public and for their subsequent result oriented disposal through synchronized mechanism is the main takeaway feature of the current Phase of Back to Village.
B2V3 Gram Sabhas emerge as the most effective means to promote participatory democracy. Gram Sabhas are being conducted on a daily basis across the UT of Jammu & Kashmir where senior Government functionaries remain present and listen to issues of the people & their aspirations.
At the gram Sabhas, issues pertaining to augmentation of water and power supply, Medicare facilities, improvement in road conditions, meeting staff strength in educational and health institutions etc. are discussed in depth. The visiting officers note down all the grievances and assure the public that all their genuine demands shall be redressed in a phased manner.
Another major objective of the Gram-Sabhas is to discuss the Panchayat plans for a wide range of schemes with a view to promote participatory development.
Besides the proceedings are recorded in detail and signed by concerned PRIs.
For maintaining transparency, Citizen Information Boards are put up at each Panchayat- listing the works of RD & PR department with name of sarpanch on it and wall paintings listing all the works executed during the previous year.
The visiting officers assess the local infrastructure by conducting the inspection of the important establishments and institutions, Panchayat ghars, schools, PHCs, food stores, AWCs and other Government setups and ascertain the gaps and scope of improvement.
Social reforms also form a part of the B2V with the District Social Welfare Department organizing awareness campaigns on the Nasha Mukht Bharat Abhiyan and Save Girl campaign to educate and aware the youths and the locals about the menace of drug addiction and gender discrimination in the society.
The Bal & Mahila Sabhas provide effective platforms to address such issues. The officers also listen to the problems and grievances of the women and youth to provide a level playing field to them for meeting their inspirations.