Why compulsory ‘executive health check-ups’ ?

As the deadline approached, i too queued up to Apollo clinic ! Outwardly hale and hearty – अंदर का तो किसी को पता नहीं – i was given a bill of Rs 5130 – only ! Since it is reimbursed by government – people ? – one doesn’t mind ! ‘So many tests, so many consultations by ‘experts’ only in Rs. xyz’ reads advertisement boldly at reception. In Medical college ethics, there used to be a prescription even of size of font for advertisement. The ‘experts’ are mostly fresh pass outs/ technicians – too happy to write ‘everything normal’ quickly. If health fetches money, why treat diseased ! For many of us, medical check up may be a half-day respite from work. So, why the fuss !

Agreed, prevention is better than cure ! May be, we come to know, we are ‘high risk’. High chances are we won’t come to know – these tests are basic, subject to interpretation and can even fool you into complacence ! – as described by Dr Abhay Bang in his classic माझा साक्षात्कार हृदय रोग ) And if the doctor still tells us – reduce weight ? – well i know that ! Problem is how ! As per behaviour ( life -style) change theory ( Kunal Sir, bear me out !) a ‘trigger’ – chest pain – is required to actually make one sit up and think ! Short of that, nothing works.

Government bears our expenditure if we actually fall ill. That may be enough. Or like all good ‘companies’, if government decides to extend facility of preventive health check-ups, it can be optional. Sure, we are important to government and it cares about us, but more than we care about ourselves ?

Although 5 G should not stop till 2 G is universal, there was some discomfort – especially since i am a doctor – seeing those doctors ‘underemployed’, when they could have done so much more !


All that a farmer needs is dignity . .

Happened to see a documentary on Israel’s success in agriculture.
While it enlightened on Israel’s success story, it also evoked thoughts on drawing parallels with the situation back home. I was in Jalna recently, where I interacted with some farmers. We did a participative exercise with them, asking them to chalk out five key issues bothering them ! As I noted, the list went on to 28, with many of them narrating their experiences in wet eyes.

Israel displayed missionary zeal to fight all hardships – little arable land, lack of resources, lack of traditional knowledge of farming. The crisis brought out the best in them. Back here, perhaps the crisis has become so chronic, that it takes on the form of a big morcha to raise their voice. Surprisingly, the issues of farmers are not in the public space – a similar participative exercise with sarpanches brought out issues like water, drains, community hall etc., but no issue of farmers. When all of them are farmers !

There is mechanisation in Israel, here, we are still struggling with low cost machines (if they are, they are not widespread enough) to reduce drudgery of women. Community feeling there seems to be an asset – villages back here are getting increasingly divided on caste and sub-caste lines. Thankfully, the cooperative spirit amongst farmers survives. Dr Nandu Mhaske from Warud, Jalna – called ‘doctor’ because grape farmers from far wide (and even agriculture university professors) call on him for problems of grape farming – he can look at a grape farm and diagnose the disease – has taken his mission to help out other grape farmers in distress. In fact, he takes only worst cases ( like Dr House !) , as a challenge, borrows one year from the farmer in distress, to revive his farm. Himself educated till 4th – he was helped by another slightly more educated farmer Kshirsagar from a neighbouring Kadwanchi village. Kshirsagar read literature on grapes and started on his own. Having failed for four years, Nandu did not leave hope, and finally succeeded. They together told ten others, those ten, ten others … and this chain is increasing. There is some government help – they have a village pond, but also exploitation – they had to ( they say everyone has to !) pay a bribe for installation of a transformer. The MRP on pesticides means nothing – he said, dealer can levy any rate, less or higher.

Water came and their problem solved. This village benefitted from Kadwanchi watershed project. Number of villages with complete quality watershed projects in Maharashtra/India may be counted on fingers – when this one thing is the game changer ! ‘Jalyukt Shivar’ ( a water conservation scheme of Maharashtra) works have shown water collection – though principles of ‘soil conservation first, then water’ and ‘head to tail treatment’ would have yielded sustainable results. And talking of water, do we not know of paradoxes of sugarcane in water deficient areas !

Israel gets labour from Thailand. Here, farmers say labour is not available at all ! ‘Too cheap foodgrains from PDS has not left need for them to work !’ they say. Such are the paradoxes of development here, balancing the welfare of different groups.

At the root of all these problems is perhaps lack of dignity to the farmer. No one is willing to marry his daughter to a farmer – a peon in government job is considered much better ! At storage place in APMC, the traders’ material is kept first, and the response to farmers is of dilly-dallying , giving reasons of lack of paers etc. The farmers say, it is difficult for them to run from pillar to post for papers. They even face difficulty in Aadhaar linking, ostensibly simple. The bankers’s response to them is too well known.

The tribals’ situation might be worst. When Forest Rights Act came I was Collector Raigad. I know the amount of effort that was to be put in, to extend the rightful claim to them. The people who wake up at 2 am and go to sell vegetables at 4 am in the morning will fill up claim forms ? And only using the powers of Collector, we could make available so many old records with forest department and earlier revenue records that could support their claims. My SDMs and Tehsildars spent nights on hills with tribals to fill up their forms !

Farmers like Nandu Mhaske shine like bright spot even in dismal situation. Another farmer Bhagwan Mhatre ( earlier a social worker with an NGO that worked in water conservation) made a farmer group for internal loaning, got a godown under NABARD scheme, got drip irrigation for his entire village , made water management committee and did water conservation works – and his village has greatly benefitted now. But other than these personal superefforts, an average farmer faces problems of water, electricity, assured return (they were recommending price stabilisation system of Madhya Pradesh ), environment (hails recently destroyed their standing crop), farm roads, destruction of crops by wild animals ( what is official policy/ solution for this ?) ,loans (say, give loan as per land value), labour, red tapism, casteism in agricultural schemes and many more !

Israel’s story, on the face of it, seems to be about mechanisation. In some way, it may also be about passion, patriotism and lack of corruption.

समाज बदल का असली काम तो ये कर रहे हैं ….अंनिस ( अंधश्रद्धा निर्मूलन समिति )

और फिर उस ने कहा, मैं चमत्कार दिखाऊँ ? उस ने हाथ हिलाया , हाथों में कुछ नहीं , हाथ जोड़े और दाहिने हाथ में चमत्कार से उत्पन्न की ‘माला’ । एकाधे बड़े व्यक्ति को चमत्कार से ऐसे ही सोने की चेन या अँगूठी देते हैं बाबा ! सामान्य व्यक्ति को प्रसाद में राख ही काफ़ी है । उस ने फिर समझाया ‘माला’ कहाँ से आयी । एक नक़ली अँगूठा कवर, जिस में वो आसानी से छिपायी जा सकती है, और निकाली जा सकती है ! बाबा जी से कभी कहिए , ‘ख़रबूज़ा’ निकाल के दिखाएँ, या १० किलो धान्य ….

नंदकिशोर, अंनिस, इन्होंने ये ‘चमत्कार’ अंनिस की एक शाखा की बैठक में कर के बताया। अंनिस के असंख्य कार्यकर्ता इस तरह प्रयोग कर के लोगों को अंधविश्वास से विवेक की और ले जा रहे हैं !महाराष्ट्र में ३०० से अधिक अंनिस की शाखाएँ हैं – इन सब के माध्यम से डॉक्टर नरेंद्र दाभोलकर द्वारा शुरू किया गया काम आज भी चल है ! ‘आम्ही पण दाभोलकर’ इस नारे से असंख्य दाभोलकर ज़िंदा हुए ! एक इंसान का ख़ून आप कर सकते हैं, एक विचार का नहीं …

शाखा के सदस्य विवेक बुद्धि में विश्वास रखने वाले असामान्य शक्ति के सामान्य लोग हैं । कोई रेटायअर्ड शिक्षक/ शिक्षिका, कोई बैंकर, कोई व्यवसायी, कोई विद्यार्थी, कोई शासकीय नौकर ; समाज के सब घटक इस विचारधारा से जुड़ रहे हैं ! वाक़ई में, जैसे डॉक्टर ( नरेंद्र दाभोलकर) ने कहा है ‘ हमारी शिक्षण प्रणाली विज्ञान तो पढ़ाती है, लेकिन विज्ञानिक दृष्टिकोण पैदा नहीं करती ‘ ! तो फिर उस संविधान की उस Fundamental duty ( Article 51 A) का क्या, जिस के मुताबिक़
‘ It shall be the duty of every citizen of India(h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform’ ? क्या शासन इस कर्तव्य की लाट को बढ़ाने के लिए proactive क़दम उठाएगा ?

महाराष्ट्र में पहल हुई – डॉक्टर का बलिदान व्यर्थ नहीं गया – महाराष्ट्र जादू टोना विरोधी क़ायदा पारित करने वाला पहला राज्य बना ।फिर कर्नाटक ने भी ऐसा क़ायदा पारित किया है ! बाक़ी राज्य भी करेंगे ? और उस क़ायदे के अनुपालन के लिए बाज़ की निगाह रखे काम कर रहे हैं अंनिस के कार्यकर्ता! सामाजिक बहिष्कार विरोधी क़ायदा पारित होने में भी अंनिस ने महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका निभायी है ।

काम के नए innovative आयाम सामने आ रहे हैं .. जैसे सचिन थिटे नाम का कार्यकर्ता जुटा है ‘rational शादियाँ’ जुटाने में ! उस का कहना है ‘शादियाँ अपने यहाँ दो तरह से होती हैं – प्रेम में पड़ कर (inexplainable !) और पत्रियाँ / जाती वगरह मिला कर ! क्या एक तीसरा रैशनल तरीक़ा भी हो सकता है – जिस में rationally ये समझने का प्रयत्न किया जाए की आप की आदतें, आप के विचार कितने मिलते हैं !’ क्या ये क्रांतिकारक नहीं ? कहीं आप ये तो नहीं सोच रहे की इस के बारे में आप को पहले क्यों पता नहीं चला? 🙂

इस तरह के अनेक पहलूओं पे अंनिस काम करती है ! मूर्ति विसर्जन के बारे में की हुई पहल – आज सर्व मान्य हुई है और लोगों ने अपने तरीक़े बदले हैं !

मीटिंग में नियोजन हुआ अगले शनिवार शमशान पर होने वाली बैठक का । इस बात के खंडन के लिए की अमावस्या को शमशान में भूत आते हैं ! मीटिंग में आने वाले बहुत से उत्सुक तरुण शायद कल अपने बच्चों को नहीं डराएँगे – ‘चुप कर नहीं तो भूत आ जाएगा ! शाखा की मीटिंग ख़त्म हुई सावित्री बाई फुले पर आधारित एक गीत से ( आज उन का स्मृति दिन है ) .. कुछ प्रेरणा, कुछ विचार बहुत कुछ कर जाते हैं !

(अंनिस के बारे में और जानें https://m.facebook.com/Maharashtra-Andhashradha-Nirmulan-Samiti-763763857138251/



यहाँ !

अंनिस से जुड़ें ! निर्भयी बनें ! विवेकपूर्ण बनें !

गिरन गाँव की गलियों में..

IMG_9315.JPGआज गिरन गाँव की गलियों में घूमा। पहले पढ़ा ( आमची मुंबई outlook traveller में) – गिरगाँव । लेकिन फिर ध्यान से पढ़ा – ये गिरन ( textile mills) गाँव है – इस में लोअर परेल (phoenix mall वाला), कालाचौकी, लालबाग ( famous for लालबाग का राजा गणपति !) और भयखला (byculla) आता है। यहाँ पे दो अलग दुनिया दिखती है – एक पुरानी मिल्लों की – जो की अब मर चुकी हैं या oxygen पे हैं / और एक mallओं की – जो पूरी तरुनाई पे हैं । mall और बहुत सी corporate buidings/ towers की चमक धमक में आस पास की अनेक चौल पे शायद ध्यान भी ना जाए । ध्यान दिया तो एक धड़कती दुनिया वहाँ भी है । लोखंडी जाली से बाहर देखते आजोबा, या शाम को शर्ट तान के बाहर आए बाबा या दहलीज़ पे whatsapp में खोयी बहन या शिवाजीमहाराज के पंडाल की स्पर्धा लगते तरुण या बड़े बरगद के आस पास क्रिकेट खेलते बच्चे या बहुत छोटे बच्चे किलकारियाँ मारते ।चौल में जगह की कभी तंगी पहले महसूस नहीं हुई- मिल में शिफटों में काम होता था। अब दिक़्क़त है ।नीचे की छोटी दुकानें कितने ही घर चलाती होंगी। एकआधी नागोरी चाय दुकान पर तो white collared corporate लोग भी चाय और बन मस्का लेते होंगे । सड़क के इस पार चौल, उस पार sky rise इमारतें । बीच के bridge पे हाथ जोड़े हुए नेता जी के बेटे का पोस्टर । वो किस और है ? Sky rise buildings और corporate टावर्ज़ में आपत्ति नहीं है। चौल का लड़का/ लड़की पढ़ के, क़ाबिल बन के वहाँ नौकरी करना चाहता है , और करता भी है । आपत्ति सिर्फ़ ये हो सकती है की corporate में नौकरी के स्तर और चौल के स्तर में अंतर बहुत stark लगता है । भारत में 5 G की सुविधाएँ आएँ ज़रूर , लेकिन 2G भी तो सब को मिले। पुरानी सभ्यता,पुराने संस्कृति, पुराने व्यवसाय जब जाते हैं, तो ये सर्जरी काफ़ी bloody और दुखदायी भी हो सकती है । World one नाम का दुनिया का सब से ऊँचा residential टावर पुरानी श्रीनिवास मिल पे बन रहा है । करोरों रुपयों का हर एक flat यहाँ कुछ लोगों को luxury का एहसास दिलवाएगा । कहा जाता है की ये development २२ साल के court case के बाद शुरू हुआ जिस दौरान श्रीनिवास मिल के कुछ लोग तो स्वर्ग सिधार गए। phoenix mall (? best mall of Mumbai) के बारे में Darryl D’Monte का कहना है की उन्होंने मिल के मज़दूरों के लिए मनोरंजन की सुविधा के लिए अर्ज़ किया था, अब bowling alley और discotheque में मिल मज़दूरऔर उन के परिवार क्या जाएँगे ? तब के तो तमाशे भी जाते रहे – हनुमान थीयटर में 1946-1980 तक हर रोज़ तमाशा होता था – अब वो एक मंगल कार्यालय है जहाँ शादियाँ होती हैं ।


( Pic : World One tower)

( इस लेख की बहुत सी जानकारी Outlook Traveller आमची मुंबई पुस्तक के Sonia Nazareth द्वारा लिखे लेख Girangaon- From Mills to Malls से ली गयी है। मात्र भावनाएँ visit के आधार पे स्वतः की हैं 🙂

विकास गीता


(Views on development based on interaction with villagers, sarpanches, teachers, farmers, youth ; and also interaction with some wise people ; views on education based on views of J Krishnamurti)


विकास होईल तेव्हा-जेव्हा…..

गावाचा एक-एक माणूस वेडा होऊनी
जबाबदारी घेईल गाव विकासाची, सोडूनी देऊन सर्व स्वार्थ,लहानपणा घेईल गावासाठी

असं नेतृत्व पारदर्शकता आणेल, गावाच्या सर्व कारभारामध्ये,
सोबतच बघेल कोणी सुटु नये, गावातील कोणी अती गरीब विकासापासून

गावाचा कारभार तो विकेंद्रीत करील, सामाऊन घेईल कर्तव्यदक्ष स्वाभाविक नेत्यांना
आपापल्या क्षेत्रामध्ये जुटतील जी, आणि हिशोब देतील पुर्ण गावांना

तांत्रिक मार्गदर्शनास्तव लागली तर बाहेरील मंडळी
पण गाव विकासाच्या कामाच संस्थेस्वरुपात गावकरीच
असा लागेल ताळमेळ सर्वांचा, तर पळतील गाव विकासाकडे

गाव विकास हा निरंतर प्रकार,
चालु ठेवेल तो प्रकल्प आणि उद्दिष्टांच्या पलीकडे

संघटन त्याची खरी शक्ती,
श्रमदान आणि लोकवर्गणी विकासाचे आधारस्तंभ

दूरदृष्टी ठेऊनही नियोजन करील तो,
ठाम राहुन अडचणीत पण

विकास होईल तेव्हा-जेव्हा….

राजकारण विकासाचे साधन होईल, समाजतोडीचे कारण नाही
‘ विकास ’ होणे महत्वाचे होईल, ` माझ्यामुळेच विकास ‘ महत्वाचा नाही

समाज बंधेल एकासूत्रात, भान ठेवतील तरुण
कुठे होते, कुठे आहोत, कुठे जायचे

सण, अभियान सुत्रे बनतील गाव जोडणीचे
आणि सुरुवात होईल चांगुलपणाची शाळेपासुन

आर्थिक विकासासोबत जेव्हा सामाजिक विकास महत्वाचा राहील
महिला सबळ होतील, भेदभाव राहील न काही

प्रश्नांची उत्तरे तेव्हा निघतील लोकांकडुनच
शासनाचे उत्तरदायीत्व राहील त्यास अनुमोदनाचं

योजना विकासाला पूरक राहील, विकास योजनेस नाही
कायदा समाज बदलास पूरक राहील, समाज बदल कायद्यास नाही

प्रत्येक माणसात चांगुलपणा आहे, हे लक्षात घेऊन
दंडाची भूमिका नव्हे तर, मन परिवर्तनाची भूमिका राहील

आमच्या हाती आमचा विकास, गाव आपुला
गावाची कामे आपुली, हा विचार राहील

विकास होईल तेव्हा-जेव्हा….

कामे होतील गावाच्या गरजांप्रमाणे
उपलब्ध योजनेप्रमाणे किंवा नेता, अधिकारी, कंत्राटदाराच्या गरजेप्रमाणे नाही

अधिकारी, नेते जेव्हा ठेवतील गावाशी थेट संपर्क
आणि जातील गावात नित्य रोज

जेव्हा चांगुलपणा पसरत राहील
आणि वाईटपणा राहील मर्यादित

जेव्हा विकासाची गुढता मापली जाईल
फक्त आकडयांवरुन नव्हे, तर कामांचा दर्जा आणि मानवी व्यवहार परिवर्तनावरुन

जेव्हा शासनाच्या कामाचे सुलभीकरण होईल, लालफीतेशाही संपेल
आणि अशा सुधारणेला पाठिंबा राहिल सर्वांचा, त्रास वाढणार नाही कोणाचा

जेव्हा अपेक्षित फलनिष्पत्ती स्पष्ट राहील सर्वांना
आणि मनापासुन त्याचे ध्येय ठरतील सर्व

जेव्हा राजकारण होईल साधन सर्वांच्या विकासाचे, स्वत:च्या विकासाचे नाही,
जेव्हा राजकारण जोडेल माणसांना, महापुरुषांच्या नावांनी त्यांना तोडणार नाही

जेव्हा विचार करेल गाव उद्याचा आणि वागेल त्यादृष्टिने आज
जेव्हा स्थान मिळेल महिलांना बरोबरीचे आणि मुली सर्व शिकतील

जेव्हा लग्न होणार नाही मुलींचे १८ वर्षापुर्वी
आणि किशोरवयीन वयात मातृत्व येण्याचे टळतील, जन्माला येतील सुदृढ बालके

विकास होईल तेव्हा-जेव्हा….

वरची मंडळी एकच ठिकाणी आणतील सर्व खात्यांना
आणि एकत्रित विचार होईल सर्व मुद्यांचा, योजनानिहाय नाही

गावाचे कामाच्या गुणवत्तेवर राहील लक्ष स्वत:च्या कामासारखे
योजना सूत्र राहील प्रश्न सोडविण्याचा, नाही सबसिडी घेण्याचा

मुलांचे, तरुणांचे मत जेव्हा ऐकले जाईल
समाविष्ट केले जाईल त्यांना त्यांच्या विकासामध्ये
जेव्हा कळतील गावाला बाहेरील चांगल्या गोष्टी
आणि राहणार नाही ते विहीरीतल्या बेडकासारखे

जेव्हा आवश्यक त्या उपाययोजना घेतल्या जातील हाती
त्या विशीष्ट समाजाच्या गरजाप्रमाणे, सरसकट नाही
मात्र गावकरी अवलंबुन राहत नाही योजनांवर
आणि पाऊल उचलतील स्वत: स्वत:च्या विकासासाठी

जेव्हा योजना थांबणार नाही गावापासुन थोडी लांब
आणि लागणार नाही त्याला डीझेल लाचेचा गावापर्यंत पोहोचण्यासाठी

जेव्हा निर्णय होतील आपत्ती टाळण्यासाठी, आपत्ती झाल्यावर नाही
जेव्हा जाणकारांचे ऐकतील गावकरी आणि शासन
आणि त्यांच्या दूरदृष्टीस देतील स्वरुप व्यापक

जेव्हा नियोजन केले जाईल, कृतीसाठी, कृतीहीन नियोजनात डोके फोडणार नाही
आणि नियोजन राहील समग्र विकासाचे, काही इकडे काही तिकडे, असे घडणार नाही

जेव्हा समन्वय राहील प्रशिक्षण आणि कृतीचा
जेव्हा मुद्दे आकडेवारी आणि सरासरीत बुडणार नाही
विकास होईल तेव्हा-जेव्हा….

शिक्षण समजले जाईल समाजनिर्मीतीचे पुण्यकार्य
पैसे कमविण्याचे किंवा नौकरी मात्रचे साधन नाही

शिक्षणाचा उद्देश राहील मानवी जीवन कौशल्यांचा विकास
मात्र चांगली नौकरी मिळणे हेच नाही

शैक्षणिक वातावरण होईल भयमुक्त, स्पर्धामुक्त
आणि मुलं ‘ काय शिकणे ’ ऐवजी ‘ कसे शिकणे ’ शिकतील

जेव्हा शिक्षकाला वाटेल ‘ मी आणि विद्यार्थी दोन्ही सोबत शिकतोय ’
असे नाही की मला येतेच, आणि मी यांना शिकविणार

जेव्हा प्रत्येकजण आपापल्या परीने काम करेन प्रामाणिक
आणि हा विचार करणार नाही की ‘ मी काय करु शकतो ’

जेव्हा नाविन्यपुर्ण बाबी समोर येणास वातावरण होईल पोषक
‘ असं करत आलो, असंच करत राहायचं ’ या विचार जाईल सुटून

जेव्हा ‘ दुस-याचे चुकते ’ हे बघण्यापेक्षा ‘ माझं कसं सावरेल ’ हा विचार सशक्त होईल
आणि याच्या ही पलीकडे ‘ मी दुस-याची कशी मदत करु शकेल ’ हा विचार मनात रुजेल

जेव्हा गावाला दुय्यम स्थान मिळणार नाही शहरांपेक्षा
आणि गावाकडुन अपेक्षा दुप्पट, फायदा निम्मा हे सूत्र होतील बंद

जेव्हा नियम विकासाला दुय्यम होतील, विकास नियमांना दुय्यम नाही
मात्र नैसर्गिक नियम हा सर्वात सशक्त हे ध्यानी ठेवतील सर्व

विकास होईल तेव्हा-जेव्हा….

हात घातला जाईल क्लिष्ट विषयांत पण
हागणदारी, जाती-पाती, राजकीय भांडण, व्यसन
आणि फक्त सोपे विषय हाताळुन पाठ थोपविली जाणार नाही

जेव्हा समस्यांच्या मुळापर्यंत जातील सर्व, आणि आजारांवर उपचार करतील, फक्त लक्षणांवर नाही

जेव्हा मुलांना तरुणांना जीवनशैली शिकविल्या जातील, पुस्तकातुनच नव्हे, तर खेळांतुन
आणि उभारले जातील गावोगावी पुस्तकालय, क्रिडांगण आणि व्यायामशाळा

जेव्हा गरीबी हा मुळ समजला जाईल इतर समस्यांचा
आणि ग़रीबीतुन स्वत: बाहेर पडण्यास सक्षम व्हावे असं वाटेल सर्वांना
कोणासही BPL राहण्यास फायदा जाणवणार नाही

जेव्हा चांगल्याबाबींची प्रचार प्रसिध्दी तर होईल, पण थोपलं जाणार नाही एकच मॉडेल सगळीकडे
वाळवंटातील हिरवळीच्या प्रदेशासारखे, काहीच उदाहरण समोर नको,
तर बहुतांश गावे बुडतील विकास गंगेत

जेव्हा भौतिक सुविधांपेक्षा ही भर राहील, मन आणि शरीराच्या विकासावर

जेव्हा ग्राम पंचायत झटेल गाव विकासासाठी,
मात्र गावांना मोफत गोष्टींची सवय लावुन स्वत:वर पुर्णपणे अवलंब करुन घेणार नाही

जेव्हा संधी राहील गावात सर्वांच्या एकत्र होण्याची, खेळामुळे असो की धर्मामुळे
आणि त्या एकत्रपणाच्या शक्तीवर विकासाचा लढा लढण्याचा निर्धार करतील सर्व

जेव्हा हा विश्वास ठाम राहील, की प्रत्येक माणसात आहे एक चांगुलपणा
आणि बळकट होईल ही भावना की सर्वांच्या विकासात लपलाय माझा विकास

जेव्हा अनास्था दूर होईल प्रशासकीय अधिका-यांची, आणि दुर होतील राजकीय ताण-तनाव
जेव्हा गावक-यांचा वापर कोणी करणार नाही, आपला स्वार्थ साधण्यासाठी
त्यांना बळकट करतील मात्र बाहेरील सुज्ञान मंडळी

जेव्हा सुरवातीचे लक्षण येताच उपचार करतील आजारावर
कँसर वाढण्याची वाट बघेना कोणी
विकास होईल तेव्हा-जेव्हा…..

बळीराजा राजा समजेल स्वत:ला खरा, आणि मात करेन परिस्थितीवर
त्यास सर्वात पहिले दिली जाईल प्रतिष्ठा, हया संसारास चालविण्याची

विषय शेतीचे घेतले जातील सर्वात अगोदर, शेती सुधरली तर येईल समृध्दी गावास
आणि सोबतच होईल सामाजिक प्रगती

म्हणून शेतक-यांचे सर्वात पहिले ऐकलं जावं , आणि शेतक-यांनी राज्यक-यांना सर्व स्पष्ट सांगाव,
थांबावे नाही मात्र राज्यकर्त्यांपर्यंत
जे-जे समाजात दुस-यांच्या मदतीसाठी झाले सक्षम त्या सर्वांनी करावी आपल्या अन्नदात्यास मदत

पाणी, वीज, शेतरस्ते, बाजार
हेच तर मागतो बळीराजा
तो विध्वस्त झाल्यास टिकणार नाही संसारपण
होतील विश्वयुध्द पुढे अन्नावरच म्हणतात

पाण्यासाठी पाणलोट सुधारावे, मातीची धुप थांबवुन, पाणी साठवावे
माथ्यापासुन पायथ्यापर्यंत जावे म्हणते शास्त्रज्ञ

शेतीतील महिलांची कुचंबना कमी व्हावी
यासाठी आधुनिक तंत्र सर्वांना होतील उपलब्ध कसे, करावे तसे प्रयत्न

गावात चुकीचं घडते, त्याकडे कसे डोळे बंद ठेऊ शकतील गावकरी,
नको व्हायला गरज पोलिसांची, गावक-यांनीच करावे गावाचे रक्षण

मग त्यामध्ये आले मुलींचे रक्षण, मुलींना करावे एवढे सक्षम,
बघु शकणार नाही कोणी वाकडया नजरेने तिच्याकडे

अर्थातच आपणास करावयाचे माणसांचे व्यवस्थापन, तर इतर सर्व होतील व्यवस्थापन माणूस सुधारला तर गाव सुधारेल, गाव तर देश सांगुन गेली महात्मा संतजण

तरुणांचे असे म्हणणे ऐेका, नको रुढीवादी शिक्षण, नको जाती-पाती चे भांडण
आळा घाला Social Media तुन द्वेष पसरविणा-या मंडळीवर
आणि लावा गुणवत्तेचे व्यवस्थापन
नको अंधश्रध्दा, जोपासा पर्यावरणास, नको खोटेपणा, फक्त विकास फक्त विकासच….

मैंने सीखा है …

मैंने सीखा है
की नमन की शक्ति बेइंतहा है
की उजड़े बिना बड़े हो नहीं सकते
की उन के कंधे पे रखा हाथ उन के दिल में जगह दिलाता है
की कमल खिलते हैं गंदे पानी में, साफ़ में नहीं

मैंने सीखा है
की ख़ुद की सीख एकलौती सीख है
की यह सच नहीं ‘ऐसा तो हो नहीं सकता’
की तीर निशाने पे तभी लगता है जब ‘मछली की आँख’ के सिवाय कुछ दिखायी ना दे
की ‘ कर के देखना’ उतना ही ज़रूरी है जितना ‘देख के करना’

मैंने सीखा है
एक छोर पकड़ के पहुँच सकते हैं अनंत तक
की ग़लती को दुरुस्त करना बहुत मुश्किल होता है, बेहतर है की ग़लती की ही न जाए
की तुम्हारे साथ घटने वाली हर घटना एक संधी है कुछ नया सीखने की
की पहला रन तेज़ भागना चाहिए
की मालूम रहे ‘कब रुकना है’
और यह भी मालूम रहे ‘कब टिकना है’

मैंने सीखा है
की तुम परिकल्पना में चूके, तो और की परिकल्पना का हिस्सा बन जाओगे
की अंदर के दायरे में आने के लिए बाहर के दायरे में पहले आना पड़ता है
की प्रक्रिया पर ध्यान दिया तो परिणाम अपने आप आएँगे
की घड़े में पहले बड़े पत्थर भरे तो छोटे पत्थर और मिट्टी की भी जगह रहेगी
की आँगन के फ़र्श में भी ईंटों को उतने प्यार से लगायी जाएँ जितना बैठक की
की लून-मिर्च के बारे में सोचते रहोगे तो बड़ा कब सोचोगे
की कई बार जीत सिर्फ़ पाने में नहीं, खोने में भी हो सकती है
की सकारात्मक लोगों के आस पास रहने से वो तुम पे भी रगड़ी जाएगी

मैंने सीखा है
की कर्ता तुम नहीं
की सिर्फ़ विश्वास के सहारे तुम कितने भी गहरे पानी में कूदी मार सकते हो
की भगवान बनने की कोशिश में तुम इंसान बनना भूल जाते हो
की कृष्ण को देख पाने के लिए तुम्हें अर्जुन बनना पड़ता है
की ‘माथा देख कर इज़्ज़त’ की क़ीमत ज़्यादा है ‘पाँव देख कर इज़्ज़त से’
की उस की क़ाबलियत तुम्हारी क़ाबलियत की कमी को पूरा करते जाएगी, और फिर तुम्हें अहसास होगा की वो क़ाबलियत अलग नहीं
की उस की तुम पर मेहेर है अगर तुम्हें मौक़ा मिला है दूसरों के लिए कुछ कर सकने का







भ्रष्टाचारी कौन?

एक राज्य का मुख्यमंत्री I राजकीय विरोधी का रिश्तेदार IAS अफसर जो भ्रष्टाचारी भी है I अनाज के व्यापारियों को commission ले के अनाज देता है I मुख्यमंत्री के ईशारेपर पोलीस ने नियोजनबद तरीके से उस IAS अफसर को दबोचा I साथ ही मुख्यमंत्री की आँखो मे खटकनेवाला एक व्यापारी उस का नाम “म”समझे I कोशिश की उस से भी हिसाब पूरा हो I इस राजकीय गंदे खेल मे, पत्रव्यवहार मे आए एक नाम, उसे “क” कहें, जो की system का victim है I (अन्य व्यापारीयों की तरह उसे उस IAS अफसर को रिश्वत देनी पडती है I ) उसेभी arrest कर लिया जाता है I इस घटना से पहले बीसीयों मीटींगो में “क”सहित अन्य व्यापारीयोंने मुख्यमंत्री महोदय को बताया की उन्हे बिना रिश्वत दिए अनाज उपलब्ध होना चाहिए I मुख्यमंत्री के प्रधान सचिव ने “क”को समझाया “क”साहेब, मुख्यमंत्री पैसे लेने के बारे में कुछ नहीं कर पाएंगे, आप का पैसे दे कर ही काम चलता रहेगा I “क”को SP साहेब ने arrest करने मे समय न लगाया I कोशिश थी की “क”, “म”का नाम ले ले I “क”ने नकार दिया I

2.​“क”39 दिन जेल में रहा I गनीमत समझो (!) की जज ने पहले दिन ही पैसे खाए और “क”को Police custody की बजाए Judicial custody में भेजा I Jailor साहेब ने भी (पैसे खाकर) उपकार किया- “क”को बहुत बुरे cell में नही रखा-उन के cell में सिर्फ एक hardcore criminal था और उन को सिर्फ कच्छे बनैन मे रखा गया I एक और जज ने मेहरबानी कर दी – शिफारिश मान कर उन्हे छोड दिया- नही तो 2 महिने कोर्ट की छुट्टी की वजह से “क”उतना समय और जेल में रह जाता I बेल के बाद भी कई महीने “क”कोर्ट के चक्कर काटता रहा I IAS का केस होने की वजह से जज दिन भर केस के सब लोगों को खडा रखता I वह भी तो Powerful है I

3.​“क”निर्दोष होने की वजह से आखरी इस से छूटा I बिना किसी गल्ती के एक व्यक्ति एखादा महिना Jail में रहा भी तो क्या I System पे उसे गुस्सा तो बहुत है, पर वो पूछता है, क्या कर सकते हैं ? उन के अनुभव मे System में नीचे के लगभग सब लोग पैसा खाते है I IAS अफसर, खासकर Direct IAS अफसर पैसा मांगनेवाले, एखादे ही उन्हे मिले I politicians लगभग सभी ने पैसा माँगा-एक एक से अलग पैसा माँगने की चतुराई है, जिससे Politician की Image खराब न हो I

4.​“क”को किस ने exploit कीया I मुख्यमंत्री, जो power और नियम राजकीय कारणावश इस्तेमाल करता हैI भ्रष्टाचारी IAS ? या वे सब अधिकारी भी, जो चाहे स्वयं पैसा न लेते हों, लेकिन मुख्यमंत्री की ख्वाहिश उन के लिए पत्थर की लकीर बन जाती है I वो सब नेता और छोटे नौकरशाह (IAS शायद अब भी कुछ हद तक अपवाद है) या जज भी, जिन के लिए पैसा खाना जीने का Normal तरीका बन गया है I

Community engagement in Urban Sanitation – Nanded experience

(This piece was written by me on March 6, 2012 when I was working as  Municipal Commissioner, NWCMC, Nanded)

The challenge of Sanitation has been discussed, debatedand tried to be addressed more in the rural areas. I do not know how much of that is due to the problem being more severe in rural areas and how much due to other factors – such as romanticism with rural development. In rural areas, space is not really a constraint, and with relatively less plastic use, the garbage is not that unsightly. It was only the shit and the scene of people sitting on the approach roads to a village, which were now cement ones, that sent a shock ! In the city, there are no such leisure open spaces that can be out of sight (out of mind) for people. There are though the areas- slums, areas adjoining Railways, dumping grounds, open plots, which are not so obvious to the outsiders (or chosen to be ignored) – but very obvious to the residents there. The sanitation issues in the city, except the space aspect, differs from the rural areas in few more aspects- first, it is more comprehensive and does not limit to the open daefecation. It touches solid waste management. It is also more ‘complex’ in the sense that it is more closely knit with the hardware- the sewage system, the supply chain for garbage collection etc. Although there may be options reducing the dependence on the extrinsic professional service, such as a community digging its own pit and making compost, they have not been tried and tested enough. For waste water management, it is even more difficult. In a city, people would expect services to a much greater level than a rural area. Despite attempts at professionalizing service delivery, gaps remain.

The conviction that any efficient service delivery- more so, sanitation- has two aspects- behavioural change and professional service delivery however cuts rural-urban boundaries. The debate on whether the former should conform to the latter, or vice versa can go on. An attempt to do both bring best results and set in motion a virtuous circle. In Urban Sanitation debates and seminars, we have been discussing the latter. We have talked of the various models which incentivize/disincentivise professional service delivery. We have also talked about the best technology options for processing this huge (for most cities, typically, the solid waste runs into hundreds of Metric tons per day) waste. As far as ‘behavioural change’ is concerned, it has found place in DPRs (Detailed Project Reports) for big solid waste transportation projects as one of the activities. The aspect, we must admit, has got a secondary status. Not because the intentions are not there, but a) because there is a vacuum of organizations ‘skilled’ in bringing about this behavioural change b) there has not been a demonstrable experimentation with this and would hence involve ‘risks’ (of the unknown). With good backing up with infrastructure creation, we are however convinced, having working with this for over a year now, that this is the only sustainable approach.

The opportunity came when the cities were asked to prepare CSPs- City Sanitation Plans. We were very convinced with two facts- one the Plan has to be an ‘implementable’ (practical) plan. There is no point in making a plan, the implementation of which requires as much funds as one would never get! Second, there can be no time gap between Plan preparation and Plan implementation. We were prepared to go ahead with the Plan implementation with our own financial resources before we could get external funds. Even otherwise, fortunately for us, the city is a Jnnurm city, and all infrastructure works that were to support a ‘clean city’ – Storm Water drains, Sewerage Network, houses with toilets for slum dwellers- are going on. The only gap was to look at the ‘micro issues’- of peoples’ involvement in keeping their area clean. The challenge was to drive across the message- People get the kind of city they deserve’- effectively to the citizens.

Before we began, we were aware of the challenges/questions that would arise. This citizens approach for cleanliness was being adopted for the first time in an urban scenario, and therefore there were questions that came to mind. Whether Communities will come together for this cause? In a city, where vis a vis rural areas, political equations are more sensitive, would any such experiment that also carries a potential for nurturing new leadership be allowed? What will be the ‘triggering’ tools for ‘solid waste’- till now these have been developed for ‘open defaecation’ only ! How will we respond to increased demands and increased accountability once the citizen groups get involved in sanitation- once they are part of the ‘solution’ ?

Determined to find answers to these questions by doing, we engaged Knowledge Links and Feedback Foundation to carry out the work of ‘behavioural change’ for sanitation in Nanded city. These two organizations are trained in and believers in the CLTS (Community Led Total Sanitation) approach- an approach which emphasizes ‘collective behavioural change in the community and triggering of the community to work for itself. The approach looks at the final outcome- improved sanitation standards- rather than outputs such as number of toilets constructed- and abhors anything (such as a subsidy!) that is detrimental to such a collective effort. Knowledge Links and Feedback Foundation, each began to work in 2 Prabhags. The Cityis divided into 4 Prabhags. The work began with a City level workshop in early 2011, attended by experts and prominent citizen groups from the city during which deliberations were made on various aspects of Sanitation in the City. This was followed by Prabhag level workshops, where more citizens and potential ‘natural leaders’ were invited and given exposure to CLTS approach over a period of three days. The real work with the communities, the hallmark of CLTS began then.

In the initial two months, February and March 2011, both the agencies worked closely with the people and the NWCMC to formulate the City Sanitation Plan. The data available with the NWCMC was validated through many citizen workshops. Many of these workshops tried to get addressed from the participants themselves- what were the sanitation issues in their areas, what were their responsibilities, and what were NWCMC’s responsibilities. The occasion of Plan preparation was also an opportunity to do ‘triggering’ in the communities on a pilot basis and fine tune the triggering tools. Over two months, on the 31stMarch, 2011, a Participative Plan was ready and we started its implementation on the 1st April, 2012.

Consciously and understandably, the work began from slums. Slums have their unique character. In Nanded, most slums are actually unauthorized lay outs where people of the unorganized labour sector- hawkers, fruit sellers, auto rickshaw drivers, house maids, beggars, labour in organized and unorganized sector, some skilled craftsmen such as potters, broom makers – live. The land belongs to people only at such places. The issues of sanitation at such places arises from multiple reasons such as- a) poor service delivery for e.g. the garbage collection van may not reach every house because of poor road or narrow lanes b) peoples’ expectation of services is less- they have stayed traditionally in environments where children are defaecating in open drains, there are heaps of garbage etc.

In such areas, the representational institutional structure in the local Government is also poor. A councilor represents about 5000 to 10,000 population, and if he himself does not belong to the slum, the slum development gets ignored. In such a scenario, as in CLTS elsewhere, the approach is to talk to the entire community and let natural leaders emerge. This does prove successful, despite the apparent odds. It is usually the women who take a lead here. Holding a broom in her hand and sweeping the street is not as difficult for women here as it might be in a non slum area. And hard working, as they are, the slum gets a changed look in days. The NWCMC responds by improving the service of garbage collection van. The citizens cooperate by beginning to actively monitor this through a day wise monitoring chart painted at a public place. And by involving citizens in ‘positive’ sanitary behaviour such as – no littering, throwing garbage in garbage van only, not throwing plastic pouches (of ‘gutkha) in drains, not defaecating in the open. A community once triggered knows no bounds. They then move on to segregating ( not mixing!) their house hold dry and wet waste and digging pits for converting their wet waste into ‘compost’. The dry waste they can sell to the kabadi walla (scrap dealer) and utilize that money for a bona fide purpose such as donation to the needy! They would also join hands with NWCMC for any good social cause such as tree plantation, minimizing plastic use etc. The NWCMC begins to gain by a) earning respect for the work it does b) increase in efficiency through partnering with citizens c) better monitoring of its services d) financial gain possible by its tactical withdrawl if the community takes up the sanitation management itself fully. It is a 100% ‘win-win’.

In slums, fortunately, under the BSUP (Basic Services for the Urban Poor) scheme, houses and infrastructure is also being done that shall take care of drinking water supply, toilets and sewerage network. Even in BSUP scheme, we have tried to encourage community mobilization by involving two partners- SPARC and Media Matters. While the former directly supports the community in constructing their own assets by hand holding them, the latter held six days residential workshops with representatives from the slums to help create better understanding and trust amongst the infrastructure provider (NWCMC) and the slum dwellers. The tool of participative theatre made the entire exercise that much more interesting and fruitful. The community that is geared up and involved in such programmes naturally gets involved in the sanitation programme more readily and vice versa. Good efforts multiply.

Having reasonably tested the community approach in the slums, we moved to non slums. These are the areas where service delivery standards and infrastructure is relatively better. Any shortfall is quickly voiced and hence response from the administration is also quicker. In these areas, we laid more focus on issues such as segregation of waste. One housing complex/colony- a group of about 10-40 houses would usually form a unit in such cases for a collective behavioural change. The ongoing efforts prior to CLTS also got encouragement. One Mrs. Mukhedkar from Uday Nagar was already a champion of waste segregation at the household level and its composting. Once CLTS was initiated, not only did she revive efforts in her community, she also became a resource person to spread the technology and technique elsewhere. The non slums also utilized the occasions of various festivals such as ‘Makar Sankranti’ to gather women around the sanitation cause and promote efforts such as non plastic use.

Realising that children were coming out in big numbers as the ‘change agents’ and natural leaders during triggering, efforts were made to trigger schools and colleges. The student hostels were also triggered. Competitions were also used as a medium to involve them. The students of MSW(Masters in Social Work) got a particularly good chance to do this hands on work in social change. In turn, they helped us to spread the message faster. These students also partnered effectively with the NWCMC in maintaining cleanliness during festivals such as Ganesh festival and did a remarkable work at many occasions including collecting Nirmalaya during Ganpati visarjan and disposing it properly. The school and college students also participated in Sanitation rallies, made efforts to keep their own school/college premise clean, helped in triggering shop keepers to keep a dust bin in their shops to help market area looking clean and physically assisting the NWCMC staff/labour during ‘Clean-up city’ campaimomgns.

An important stakeholder in this whole exercise is the Sanitary staff of the NWCMC. The SI (Sanitary Inspector) is the NWCMC officer responsible for sanitation of about 25000 to 50000 population. As we are short of permanent labour, the work of collection and transportation of garbage from households and the city has been given to a private company which engages manpower and machinery to do this work. The SI work then gets reduced to supervising and getting work done from this company. The overall responsibility being of the NWCMC, this backseat driving is not an easy task. The SI s response to the Knowledge Links and Feedback Foundation has changed over the year. In the initial stages, there was skepticism, a threat – that our weaknesses in service delivery would now be exposed. However, as everyone realized that KL and FF were there to help bringing about a positive behavioural change in the people towards sanitation, and that in turn would make our job easier, they were welcomed and Sis worked as a team with them. We have been very cautious from the beginning not to get over dependent on external agencies like KL and FF lest the process should die out once they leave. The attempt has been to rub on the skills on to our staff and other stake holders. TheKL and FF have now made a place in the hearts of all stakeholders of sanitation in the city, especially the citizens themselves.

As the garbage collection service has been privatized, the people of that company have also closely worked with and appreciated the work carried out by KL and FV. As the service delivery must improve after triggering, once the citizens have taken the first step, this close coordination between KL/FF and the Garbage transportation company staff and our SI s is sine qua non for the success of this effort.

NWCMC has a political wing and an administrative wing. The political wing consists of 79 Councillors, each representing about 5000 population, elected by the citizens every five years. He is their representative in the local government and his job is to influence policies to suit the interest of his constituency as well as implement schemes/works to benefit his constituency. This election is fiercely contested i.e. to say, power to speak on behalf of the citizens is won not easily, and hence not shared liberally. Wisely enough, therefore, the Councillors are first taken into confidence while initiating this community work. It has been the experience, that once the Councillors also realize, that the effort is genuine, in citizens interest, and non political, they support the efforts.

While the work at the micro level continued, much away from the media glare and discussions at various public platforms, efforts were undertaken to supplement this with ‘events’. One of these was a City wide sanitation maharally on the 23rd June, 2011. Flagged simultaneously from six places in the city by H’ble Mayor, Deputy Mayor, MLA and other dignitaries, thousands of men, women and children walked miles to gather at Old Mondha, a landmark point in the city. Many Councillors participated. It served the purpose of bringing sanitation on the forefront. It also was a celebration point for communities to participate in this event and inspire others. Another occasion was the day of Ganpati visarjan. While the God is immersed in the Godavri river, many other things- flower garlands etc- are also thrown in the river, thereby polluting it. Knowledge Links effectively mobilized students from many MSW colleges which wore badges and successfully collected Nirmalaya from the citizens and disposed it properly. They also participated next day in cleaning up the main roads that had become dirty owing to the processions the earlier day along with the NWCMC staff.

While the communities were cooperating in a positive way, there were still gaps in service delivery and there was increasing demand for ‘cleaning up’ the city. So we planned for a three days ‘Clean up Nanded’ campaign, beginning on October 02, 2011. The objective was to clean up the city in a mission mode. There are areas in a city, sometimes out of sight, where garbage is dumped chronically and the daily cleaning cannot address it. We mobilized the entire machinery of NWCMC. Our officers got down in the drains cleaning them and took brooms in their hands. It was a big confidence building measure with our labour who traditionally does this ‘unpleasant’ work. It was a great sensitization experience for all of us. Our morales were boosted. The citizens, students also joined in this effort.

Competition is a great motivator. We used the occasion of Ganpati festival to promote sanitation message and declared three awards in each zone and three at the city level. The awards were to be given based on inspection and valuation of the sanitation work done by the Ganesh mandals with respect to –actual sanitation behaviour (which is put more to test during these public celebrations!), involvement of women and children and use of innovative ways to bring about awareness. Ganesh Mandals including some colleges actively participated in this.

As the energies of the triggered people have to be channelized continuously, we also use various occasions to carry out activities like tree plantation. Two such mega events have been done on 31st July, 2011 and 26th Jan, 2012. On the former day, mainly the triggered communities participated along with the sanitation and garden departments of NWCMC. During the latter, the NWCMC employees from all departments took the lead and implemented ‘one employee one tree’ campaign.

Typically, the community passes through various stages of empowerment and action in this process. There is pre triggering and initial ice breaking where the KL/FV teams get acquainted with the communities and decide the day of triggering. On the day of triggering, through various tools such as mapping, rice and shit experiment, hair and water drinking experiment, transect walk and facilitation of analysis of the situation, the community rises into immediate action and decisions such as cleaning up the dirty areas and stopping open defaecation. Then starts a process of institutional building where the natural leaders that emerge form a sanitation committee and take on the role of – a) cooperating with service delivery provider b) monitoring the services c) policing errant sanitation behaviour d) creating awareness towards stopping open defaecation and preventing littering and d) initiating activities such as waste segregation and composting e) taking up activities beyond sanitation such as tree plantation etc.

We have consciously adopted a policy of responding positively to community efforts as far as our service delivery , or if possible, infrastructure creation is concerned. We call it ‘positive incentivisation’. It is different from a carrot policy in that there is no promise made when a community participates in sanitation work. However, we try to reward the community directly or indirectly, once they have adopted good sanitation behaviour.

The process is closely linked with a) decentralization and b) empowerment. The decentralization is at this stage informal. The ‘sanitation’ committees are informal institutions taking care of sanitation issues of their areas. They are the active participants in the process and have a voice too. They are begin to get invited to and actively participate in public meetings. They are discussing issues beyond sanitation. There has been an attempt to formalize this institutional structure as well. The NWCMC passed a resolution in December 2011 that there shall be ‘Area Sabhas’ and ‘Area Development Committees’. The ‘Area Sabhas’ represent all the voters of a defined area which varies from the jurisdiction of 1-5 polling stations and covers a rough population of 1000. The ‘Area Development Committee’ is to be elected by the ‘Area Sabha’ and this committee has been given powers to execute new/maintenance works up to certain amount on behalf of the NWCMC. The concept is thus ‘peoples’ development by themselves’. The incentivisation of ‘good behaviour’ is also made part of this scheme called ‘Bhagidari’ where development works are allotted to ‘Area Development Committees’ if tax collection is commendable, if they have resolved for good sanitation behaviour etc. We hope that the ‘informal’ empowerment of members of sanitation committee shall help in the ‘right’ selection of representatives of the ‘Area Development Committee’ once these Committees are formed. Even without a very formal structure, these triggered individuals, at least in areas where they form a ‘critical mass’, shall sustain the sanitation movement. The challenge in sanitation is then to create more and more of these sanitation natural leaders, hand hold them and empower them formally/informally. Within ‘most’ of the communities in a city, once such triggered natural leaders and champions emerge, the city shall become much cleaner. The challenge also is to involve and trigger market areas and such areas of the city where there is lot of floating population.

There are challenges to this process as well. One challenge is that our supply side- service delivery must match the expectations of people. Till the time, people had not adopted good sanitation behaviour ( i.e. to say they would litter, use plastic, defaecate in the open), NWCMC and people were on the opposite sides blaming each other. But when each of them realizes its responsibility and agree to work together for a clean city, we must ensure better service delivery then. It is an immense moral pressure to respond to the good initiatives of the people. What is the best model that incentivizes most professional garbage collection and transportation needs to be studied and adopted. An ideal system would be ward level decentralized solid waste management. Till that is achieved, NWCMC must provide a professional garbage collection and transportation service to its citizens. The immediate services required are- a) ensuring that the garbage collection van reaches every house daily b) that there is a functional sewerage network c) that there is adequate maintenance of water supply and sewerage networks to ensure zero contamination of drinking water d) provision of well functional toilets at public places. All this requires both professionalizing service delivery and carrying out reforms such as levying ‘user charges’ for the service. There also needs to be in a place a good monitoring system (CLTS provides the best monitoring mechanism through vibrant responsible citizens) for service delivery. There also needs to be a professional system to check errant sanitation behaviour.

We have been learning sanitation by doing it for about a year now. In one year, a total of 426 communities have been ‘triggered’. Such communities have initiated good sanitation practices. However, within each such community the practice may not have spread to the entire population, and that is the activity the natural leaders in these communities have to continue for a while with support from NWCMC, KL and FV. 188 communities have become ODF, however this has yet to be evaluated externally. 321 communities have formed Nigrani (Monitoring) committees to monitor service delivery by NWCMC. 62 communities have dug pits and begun to make compost out of their ‘wet’ waste. The process has begun. There is a long way to go!


Truth Vs Hype – rebuttal

Truth vs Hype


I have never ever written reactively to media. There were days in Nanded, where I worked as Municipal Commissioner, and where, speaking humbly, work in the city was being acclaimed, when one day, since I could not visit a site (my wife had a medical emergency) where a senior journalist had asked me to visit  – he wrote an editorial, saying that my work was ‘nirashajanak‘ (disappointing). The article did not affect me a bit, and I went about my work. Thankfully, people of Nanded saw me day in and day out in the field, in slums, and refused to base their opinion on that article.

Being passionate about the subject, and having been trained in community approach, I myself get disturbed when Swachh Bharat leaves track of behaviour change approach and I mince no words in either trying to correct it myself, or bring it to the notice of concerned. However, the way ‘Truth vs Hype’ programme on NDTV projected Swachh Bharat yesterday, i feel the programme should be renamed ‘Truth vs Lies’ – for a misrepresentation is nothing but a lie.   Here is why.

Swachh Bharat is not something that can be painted with one brush. From the motivators in Punjab, who actually went to the extent of picking up shit in their own hands to trigger the population, to common people who not only built toilets, but also utilised the opportunity to build bathrooms along with that; from the spirit of Haryana – starting from Panchkula, Karnal, and then spreading to the entire State – exemplified by two young girls of Karnal, who built a toilet by going against their parents, and dissociation of toilet construction with incentive money; from thousands of women belonging to Mahila Mandals of district Mandi in Himachal, who sweep the streets of their village every Sunday, have dug soak pits, and moved on to celebrating birth of a girl child, and became so empowered that they began to defy the social custom of having to stay in unhygienic stables during their menses; from hordes of villages in districts like Shamli, Varanasi, Bijnaur, Agra, Hathras, Saharanpur of Uttar Pradesh, where there has been a massive shift from contractor-driven construction of toilets of earlier days to self-construction and to focus on usage, and where immense effort has been undertaken to build capacities of implementing staff in community approaches, where ODF war rooms have been set up to constantly break bottlenecks, where a motivator, even on the day of delivery of his wife, chooses to stay in the village, since that is being declared ODF that day; from Rohtas of Bihar, where the poorest Moosahars have also been engaged in the programme, and thousands of self-help group women of Jeevika engaged all over Bihar are in the process of behavior change; from a village youth in Assam who has been weaned away from a dangerous path by absorption in this pious work; from Hardas, Narsingpurs, and Sehores of Madhya Pradesh where there are countless stories of human grit displayed in Swachh Bharat- such as the gulabi gang –women wearing pink saarees and doing bhajans early morning on the pond side, shooing away open daefecators, to tippy tap innovation of Sehore, making hand washing easier in schools and anganwadis, to ODF Olympics, group sports held in ODF villages to bond people further together, to motivators even forgoing their food, if required, while staying overnight in villages, motivating people; to districts of Chhattisgarh, where people and administration worked to build toilets, not for money, but after getting convinced that open daefecation affects their health, where lakhs of children wrote letters to their parents on a single day, requesting them to build toilets for them, where adolescent girls of ‘Orange Brigade’ in Mungeli district took it upon themselves to lead the movement, where Padmashree Phulwasan Devi led more than a lakh women in Rajnandgaon district in this movement; from Chikamaglur district of Karnataka, where moved by a teenager girl Suneetha, whose father refused to build toilet in house, the taluka team built toilet in a day out of their pocket, where they engaged with tribals, winning over first their leader/opinion maker; from Kerala, where the State pushed 3 Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle quite effectively, to the extent of conducting ‘green’ elections – with minimal generation of waste; to Tamil Nadu, where successful solid waste biogas plants have been set up in Coimbatore, and where the self-help group women are in the lead of this movement; Swachh Bharat is all of this and much more. These stories will perhaps, never come in mainstream media. But these are truth; these signify change.

Let us now look at the bigger picture. The bigger picture is that sanitation coverage in this country increased at a dismal annual rate of 1% for three decades from 1981-2011. In Swachh Bharat, this pace has increased ten times, with sanitation coverage increasing roughly 10% every year. Do we want to continue at 1% and make India ODF in 70 years ? The increase of pace does not mean that processes have been lost sight of. On the contrary, Swachh Bharat, unlike any other sanitation programme before, has focused most on engagement of people and on behavior change. For the first time, Swachh Bharat introduced the concept of ODF –Open Daefecation Free, that signified two key things. One, the perspective changed now to elimination of open daefecation, and not construction of toilets. The ODF approach includes usage of toilets – obviously, unless the toilets are used, open daefecation will continue ! As part of verification, the village is checked for any signs of open daefecation, besides confirming usage of toilets from households. Secondly, ODF changed the concept of sanitation from individual to collective – this is in tune with the understanding that sanitation is a public good, and that good health requires that everyone in the community uses toilets. For the first time, any government programme has dared to measure outcomes, not just outputs. A complex factor, such as behavior change is being captured in the ODF parameter, since unless there is a behavior change, there cannot be usage. All this has not only been laid in policy, it is part of part of implementation, and part of monitoring. This ODF concept is in tune with what Rashtrasant Tukdoji Maharaj said more than half a century ago :

“तैसेचि करावे चरसंडास । मळ दिसोंचि न द्यावा कोणास । आपुल्या मळाची आपणांस । व्यवस्था लावणें सोयीचें ॥नदीकिनारीं वा बोरंगांत । शौचासि जाती स्त्रियादि समस्त । ती कुचंबणा आणि घाण निश्चित । दूर होईल चरसंडासे ॥”

(It means, human excreta should not be visible to anyone including human beings, animals, birds and creatures like flies. We must dispose off our excreta properly. If we use toilets ( those days चर संडास were in use ) , it will take care of disposal and also will free the women from agonies of going for defecation in open)

Some of the above examples would have underlined another thing about Swachh Bharat – that Prime Minister has often mentioned. Swachh Bharat is not a typical government programme. It is a Janandolan, that is involving the people. In a typical government programme, government provides a good or a service to people, the ‘beneficiaries’. The way to measure the progress of that scheme is whether that good or service has reached people. Here we are talking of changing behaviours – both of implementers, who are to get into facilitators’ role, and of those who have been going out for centuries. This is a social change, one of unprecedented scale. Nowhere in the world, has a behavior change programme of this scale ever been attempted. We are learning by doing. We have experience of what went wrong in earlier programmes, and we have tried to rectify it. We also know what was done in neighbouring countries, and we have picked up the best practice and contextualized that to our country. For this, massive capacity building exercise has been taken over the past three years. Community approach that was confined to one or two places in the country pre-Swachh Bharat is the norm today. In remote villages of this country, I have witnessed villagers and natural leaders coming up and demonstrating in their local language, the trigger tools of shame and disgust, such as dipping  a hair in shit and mixing it with water. This did not happen overnight or organically or automatically. More than 500 of the 650-odd Collectors of this country were called to Delhi in batches and given exposure to community approach. The direct training of Collectors by Centre does not happen in any government programme, but Swachh Bharat could not have kick-started without it. In each State, a State level workshop was held with all the State and district officials, and workshop on community approach held. In those days, it was just a few facilitators trained in community approach in the country, and a few ‘champion’ Collectors who had practiced this approach. These few people were used to spread the message, to multiply champions. Social media like WhatsApp was used to connect the champions, to constantly expose others to this approach and to keep up the motivation. In order to multiply training agencies, good organisations of repute in States were given orientation, so that they could carry out these trainings at the district and field level. Help of multilateral agencies such as UNICEF and World Bank was taken to sponsor these trainings in the States. Officers like Amit Gupta in Uttar Pradesh (and many more- not taking names) utilized these trainings to bring about a shift of attitudes in the way of working and to equip the implementers with adequate skills. Such a huge capacity building and reorientation programme – that is being continued across many districts as I write this – has been the silent work behind the motivated people working in this programme from Centre to villages.

Thirdly, and most conspicuously, the programme today stands as a foremost priority amongst the development programmes. A Collector runs close to a hundred programmes, and all of them are important. However, sanitation has come to occupy his/her top agenda today. Realising  that sanitation requires leadership at the highest level, and also coordination amongst multiple departments, the Collectors were engaged to lead the programme from day 1. The district Collector, being head of the government in the district (or CEOs of Zilla Panchayats, heads of Rural Development) is in a unique position to involve all government departments as well as all sects of the society. Shanmuga, CEO of Harda, Madhya Pradesh, used to say, ‘our stakeholder in Swachh Bharat is every citizen of my district – unless everyone is involved, programme does not succeed’. From school children, to adolescent girls, to self help group women, to natural leaders, to panchayats, to professionals, to health workers to teachers, to opinion makers, to religious leaders to elected representatives – all have been involved in this movement.

Fourthly, a ‘toilet’ is no longer a sanitation symbol. No other programme touches everyone. The Swachh Bharat, with its collective approach and focus on ODF – that necessitates a collective action – ensures that everyone – people of all caste, communities, including the marginalized – have to come together for making their village ODF. There are villages that refused to celebrate Diwali and Eid, till their village became ODF, and then celebrated the two festivals together. ODF achievement is today a social festival that cuts across class, caste and community. Since the community approach does not restrict itself to engagement of only panchayats or opinion makers, but reaches out to the last person, it has led to empowerment of the marginalized groups and champions have emerged from these groups. Women, who would not speak in public, are today leading this revolution in villages, away from glare of mainstream media. A handicapped person in Chhattisgarh, decorates his wheel-chair and goes from house to house till his village is ODF. Transgenders join the movement in Madhya Pradesh and Osmanabad. This empowerment, this unleashing of positive potential of villages, installation of pride in them, having participated in this social change is the strength of Swachh Bharat.

टोयलेट तो एक बहाना है

हम को देश बनाना है

A programme of such mind-boggling magnitude is bound to have challenges. Swachh Bharat is aware of those challenges. The first challenge is that we are attacking habits – and habits are hard to die. Different types of innovations are emerging to sustain the changed habit. The villages are devising novel do’s and don’ts to ensure that people do not continue to go out. This sustainability itself is a nine month cycle. The scale of the programme is another challenge. Around 40% villages have declared themselves ODF, 60% remain. Capacity building has to be continued, focus on behavior change maintained and champions created. The rigour of ODF verification has to be maintained. All this is work in progress – wings of aeroplane are being painted while the plane is flying !

This is Swachh Bharat in its entirety. And what was portrayed yesterday?

There are more than six lakh villages in this country. A commentary on Swachh Bharat should comprehend this programme, visit the length and breadth of this country, and bring out the positives and challenges. It is easy to find three villages, and create an impression that no meaningful work has been done in Swachh Bharat.  It is not difficult to extract a ‘no’ from an old person in front  of a camera when asked a leading question , ‘aap ko kisi ne swachh bharat ke bare mein bataya hai?’ Reminded of the movie ‘Peepli Live’ ?  The TV show projected that only 40% of the villages declared ODF have been verified – thereby creating an impression that the rest are not ODF. As explained, the responsibility for declaring a village as ODF lies with the village themselves, since they are supposed to effect that change. After declaration is done, one waits for some time (around three months) and then verification is done, to check sustainability. The process of verification and new declarations goes hand in hand, and is a continuous process. The ODF Verifications are being prioritized, as also the quality of verifications. In addition, third party verifications are being done. The Quality Council of India surveyed 1,40,000 households in May 2017 and found a coverage of around 62.5 % (similar to Government figures) and usage of 91.29%..Another survey by the National Sample Survey Office in 90,000 households done two years ago found usage figures as high as 95 %. The show however ignored to mention these evaluations, and focused on a two-year old report done by an agency with a small sample size of around 7500. It is clarified that after this agency’s report came out and they mentioned ‘ghost toilets’ (that was mentioned in yesterday’s show as well), the Ministry requested the agency to share this data so that corrections can be made. The agency however, refused to share the data, mentioning ‘confidentiality’. This, compared to Swachh Bharat online MIS, where data of 17 crore households, of each and every village, is in public domain. The agency’s report mentioned ‘less expenditure on IEC’, when Swachh Bharat has long moved beyond conventional IEC to direct engagement of people, much of which is being done in a voluntary mode. By using indicators such as ‘number of visits to a household after a toilet is built’ , the agency has disclosed its lack of comprehension of the processes, spirit and soul of the Swachh Bharat, that has long transcended a typical ‘sarkari’ programme and become a movement. My co-panelist from the agency quoted from the Idea Book, authored by me, mentioning that construction should not be the focus’. Wish some new suggestion had come!

Shri Wilson mentioned about the manual scavenging and the plight of cleaning of sewer lines. The Ministry of Urban Development, that looks after Swachh Bharat (Urban) must be seized of the matter, and may comment on the same. (My views above are limited to Swachh Bharat –Rural, with which I have been associated). In rural India, the toilets being promoted are twin-pit toilets, where the faecal matter gets converted on its own into harmless manure after 1-2 years of stoppage of use. The pit can then be emptied by the household owner himself. In order to promote this, and address the ‘yuck’ factor associated with toilet waste, the highest officials of Swachh Bharat in rural areas have entered the toilet pit and dug it themselves. This should be a strong weapon against the tradition of involvement of only certain castes in cleaning of toilets. The awareness on pit-emptying needs to be strengthened further.  Also, under Swachh Bharat, most of the insanitary latrines (around 2.5 lakh so far) – that may lead to manual scavenging –have been converted to sanitary ltrines. However, one needs to be constantly watchful and focus specifically on this issue, until this is fully addressed.

As the show was on, the anchor was anxiously directing his team to show visuals of people going to field (for open daefecation). This picture is not new to India: unfortunately, Indians for centuries have seen, if not practiced it. It might have helped the TRP, though. A visual of a girl going on fast, until her toilet is built; or of children and women going out at 4 am to prevent people from going out would have created more impact, reflected the ground situation, instilled hope. And might have helped the TRP as well. That would also have been the truth, not hype.



Three years of Swachh Bharat


IMG_4855.JPGWe celebrate today three years of Swachh Bharat. This programme caught the imagination of entire country, with everyone feeling, this was long overdue. The Prime Minister made it clear that this was not to be a government programme, but rather a janandolan. Everyone had to be the change himself. The programme took inspiration, afterall, from the Gandhi.

In tune with this vision, the programme started off with a departure from the earlier approach of mere construction of toilets in a supply-driven mode. A new approach, ODF – open daefecation free – was emphasised, where the priority was to engage with the villagers directly and to engage them collectively to change their behaviour. In this approach, derived from the CLTS ( community-led total sanitation) approach of Kamal Kar, rather than a BDO ( Block Development Officer) giving speech on the advantages of toilet from a podium in the village community hall, and offering dole of government subsidy, a facilitator stands with villagers – them covering their noses – at the actual place of open daefecation and leads them in a process of self-analysis, which invariably ends with the conclusion that people are eating their own shit ! This acts as a trigger for a collective resolve and action by the village to end the practice of open daefecation and to construct toilets for themselves. The perspective thus changes from government constructing toilets for the people – which tend to remain unused – to government prioritising behaviour change, with people taking it upon themselves to bring about change. Don’t catch fish for them – teach them how to fish !

The collective ODF approach is based on the premise that health benefits accrue when no one daefecates in the open and looks at sanitation as a public good, rather than a private good. The goal is change of heart of village as a whole, and not construction of x number of toilets.

The word ODF has been defined to have uniform national standards and States have put in place mechanisms for its verification. This tilt of programme from individual to collective, from toilet construction to behaviour change was the most critical achievement of the programme. ODF today is a word of common parlance – from Parliamentarian to a common villager using it, and this vouches for mainstreaming of this concept.

In order to promote this approach, skills of community engagement were seeded slowly but steadily across the implementers, with a special targeting of Collectors, who were to play critical leadership roles in their districts. The Collector has a range of programmes to implement, but thanks to the political prioritisation at the highest level, swachhta has acquired priority in the development agenda for most States and districts.

In brief, the three highlights of Swachh Bharat have been a) the subject catching the attention of everyone, with Prime Minister himself prioritising it b) tilt of programme from individual toilet construction to collective behavioural change and c) penetration of community engagement skills useful for behavioural change.

However, as we approach the 2019 ‘deadline’ – by which a clean India has been envisaged, there is a pressure to show ‘results’. This carries a risk of degeneration of programme once again into a toilet-construction programme. Lest this should happen, focus on quality of ODF Verification may be reemphasised. Each State has its guidelines in place for ODF Verification; in addition Centre is to carry out independent third-party sample verification. The rigour of these verifications should be maintained in order to negate any false positives. Centre should also cross-share best practices amongst States, so that they can learn from each other.

The focus on behavioural change should be maintained. It should be underlined that behaviour change has to precede toilet construction – it cannot follow it. You can make curd from milk, but not vice versa! For this, trainings and retrainings in community approach should continue. These trainings and capacity building should take precedence over conduct of large number of ‘events’ that catch eyeballs and bring publicity, but do little to transform behaviour at the last mile. It is time to remind ourselves of the good old adage ‘work in silence, celebrate in success’.