Notes on the structure of community development programme in India

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Community development programme being one of the most priorities in the planning of the country has drawn the attention of thinkers, leaders and administrators. There have been constant trials to develop an organisational pattern which will be able to keep vertical as well horizontal relationship between people and government machinery at all levels from village to country.

Thus its organisatiooal pattern has been changing from time to time. Again, as per the recommendation of the Mehta team, it was left to the state government, to work out the organisational pattern is accordance with their own practices and consonance with local administration, the centre is only to lay down the policy and prescribe broad outlines.

Hence a variation is marked in its organisation in different states. However a common pattern of structure can be traced because more or less the functions are same, aim and objective is one.

At an initial stage, the programme had a central committee at the national level. This central committee consisted of members of planning commission, member of the central cabinet holding the charge of different developmental departments. The Prime Minister was the Chairman of the Committee. It was to be assisted by an Advisory Board consisted of Secretaries of central ministers of food and Agriculture, finance, healthy, education and additional secretaries of ministry of natural resources scientific researches etc.

This committee was given the responsibility of making decisions for implementation of the programme. Such decisions were to be within the broad framework of the policy laid down by national development council. Under this central committee, there were other sections for community project admiration. Due to heavy expansion of the section to meet the different needs this was transformed to a new ministry.

A separate central ministry was created in 1956 to look into the works of community development under the name ministry of community development. The subject of panchayat was transferred to this dept. From the ministry of health in April 1958. The department of co operation was also included within it in December 1958. The scope of the ministry went on expending. From that time a ministry of community development has been in function at national level. The ministry has some general and broad line functions. The real execution of the programme lies at the state government level. The broad line functions are:

i) It serves as a co ordinate at the Centre:

Community Development Programme being multipurpose and multisided in nature needs the co operation and co functioning of all the departments. The ministry at the centre best serves this function of keeping close contact with the various specific departments of rural development.

ii) It works as a propagator of the ideology of community development:

It takes utmost care to popularise the real philosophy, aims and objects of the C.D. It has rightly been told that “a plan with no moral appeal is a blue print”. It also influences the policies of different ministry so as to bring it near to the ideology of C.D.P.

iii) It also helps in promoting people:

Institutions like village panchayats, co operative societies various voluntary organisation, tries to bring them into the folds of community development so as to speed up the work.

iv) Another important function that the ministry serves is its role in expansion of the programme:

It keeps close contact with State Governments and held's seminars, discussions with the experts in the different fields. On the basis of the knowledge and experience so availed it takes care to create new development blocks, train the special staff etc.

In short it can be told that this ministry lays down the policy and prescribe broad outlines of thee scheme.

Organisation at the State level:

At the state level the entire ideology of C.D. is translated into action. As has already been pointed out that every state makes its own process of operation taking into account its own resources and circumstances. Generally administration at the state is divided into 5 levels such as state level, district level sub divisional level, block level and finally village level. In each of the levels both government and non-government. Officials are involved different voluntary oragnisations; institutions are also tied up with the system at different levels. Let’s see each such level in brief.

1) State level:

Every state has a state development committee. Of course such committee has different name in different states. This body consists of all the ministers concerned with developmental affairs. The chief minister functions as the president. A senior official of the rank of commissioner acts as the secretary of the committee. Generally he is known as development commissioner.

According to the recommendation of the Ram Subbag Singh Committee in some states, the development commissioners are known as commissioner for rural development and agricultural production sometimes, according to the necessity a deputy commissioner is also appointed. The commissioner is responsible for implementing the decisions and plans of the committee. He has the following functions

He maintains the co ordination and harmony between the central and state Govt. He receives the guidance's and broad objectives from the central authority utilise them in planning for community development at state level. He also reported the progress to the central Govt from time to time. He is also expected to give suggestions form a deification of policies so as to make it more effective. He keeps close contact with the collectors of districts development officers for proper execution of the programme.

ii) District level:

At the districts level, there exists a district development or district co ordination committee under the chairmanship of the collector. At the beginning of the C.D. activities, an adhoc body known as district advisory body was separating. But after introduction of panchayati raj, these adhoc bodies have been removed. The new bodies known as zilla parishads have come to function in its place.

The composition of zilla parishad is also not uniform in all states. However, generally it consists of the people's representatives, special representatives under the provision of reservations, M.P.s and M.L.As. All the development officials at the districts level are included within it. In some states, the collector acts as the chairman and in some other states, the chairman is elected.

However, in reality the execution of the programme largely depends on the collector who is assisted by many sub divisional officers and block development officers.

iii) Sub divisional level:

In every sub division a sub divisional officer is put in the charge of the over all development of the area. Under his guidance and chairmanship a sub divisional committee is formed taking all the B.D.Os N.A.C/Municipalities chairman, executive officers, gram panchayat officers, managers of different financial institutions and other institutions linked up with developmental activities.

In every month, the committee meets to review the progress and sort out the problems. The S.D.O. makes extensive tours to different blocks under his jurisdiction, inspects the work and gives necessary guidance.

iv) Block level:

The institutionalisation of Community development programme has brought a new unit of planning and administration. The units are known as community development block. An O.A.S officer or an officer of equivalence serves as the B.D.O who is responsible for carrying the fruits of planning and development to the villages. He is assisted by a number of extension officers such as industries Promotion Officer, A.E.O. officer in charge of animal husbandry and veterinary, C.E.O, J.E.O., S.E.O., F.E.O. etc.

The B.D.O. is to serve as the captain of the team and to bring all these different officers into such a harmony that an all round development is achieved. The new developmental programmes like I.R.D.P, ERRP, RLEGP, N.R.E.P.., etc have again brought other officials like members of different nationalised bank to the portfolio of block development. Usually the team works in accordance with the advice of the committee. Such committees are known as block advisory committee. Now under the system of ‘Panchayati Raj’ it has been converted into Panchayat Samiti consisted of Sarapanchas, Chairman, M.L.A. & several co opted members.

v) Village level:

At the village level, there is a committee known as Gram Panchayat which consists of Panchas elected from different villages through which different plans and programmes are chanalised. The Sarapanch is the President of the committee. The Govt official working a level is known as village level worker (VLW). He is multipurpose worker in charge of near about 7 to 10 villages. He works in the close contact Gram Panchayat within the area of his operation. He is the real worker and the real agent via whom the message of development is carried to the illiterate and ignorant villagers.

Its works as the philosopher and guide. In fact it is he who makes the programme a successful one by conceiving people about it. Besides all the levels now-a-days the Gramsabhas are already in operation in some states. They also participate in developmental activities in their own village. Along with all these statutory bodies, a number of voluntary organisations are taken so as to ensure the people’s participation and to make the programme a people’s programme.

The entire aim is to bring about a harmonious co ordination between the people and Govt in rebuilding a new prosperous India. The over bureaucratisation and over officialisation of the administrative system of the country is gradually meeting into a welfare administration for the people of the people and by the people.


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