Governance Now Visionary Talks Series

People tell govt: Wada Na Todo

A mid-term appraisal of the 11th five-year plan is underway in New Delhi to give people a voice in plan and policy formulations

trithesh

Trithesh Nandan | February 5, 2010



For the first time in country, an appraisal of the five-year plan is being carried by the civil society which gives voice to common man's concerns in formulation of plan and policies that govern them.

"In a democracy, people are central to governance and they should play an active role in evaluating the objectives and targets set in the five-year plan", asserts Suman Dasgupta, programme coordinator of Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (WNTA), which is has initiated the process.

The first day of the appraisal activity on Thursday say people from different parts of the country converging in New Delhi to voice their views on government’s plan in the “mid-term appraisal" of the 11th five-year plan.

Talking about the need to bring people into the plan and policy process, Amitabh Behar, convenor of WNTA, told Governance Now that the aim was to make people aware of government's accountability. What are the implications of five-year plan for the aam admi? How much space has been given to them? How well the 11th five-year plan has fared midway? These were the questions that exercised Behar and his colleagues and motivated them to arrange such an unique experiment.

The participants measured up to the expectations. A mother of 10-year-old boy fired the first volley: "What is the point in sending my son to school if he cannot write properly and get a job when he grows up?" Apparently, she was questioning the quality of education and its relevance in providing livelihood.

There were several questions universalisation of basic education, health facilities and rural employment guarantee programme. Behar commented: “WNTA has come forward to assist the review process by providing an assessment of the performance of the ongoing plan from people’s perspective.”

For the last six decades, the five-year plan has played an important role in country’s development. The 11th five-year plan which is currently underway focuses on “inclusive growth.” It is for the first time in the history of planning in India that a massive appraisal process is being experimented. So far, the assessments were held in ten states. In addition, group discussions were held in 100 villages. Basic services such as health, education, drinking water, sanitation and implementation of related government programmes and schemes figured prominently in such exercises.

The planning commission is aware of its shortcomings. In the approach to the 11th five-year plan, the planning commission said “large parts of our population are still to experience a decisive improvement in their standard of living.....,far too many of our people still lack the basic requirements for a decent living.”

The second day seminar on Friday would focus on issues relating to dalits, adivasis, women and children, minorities and the differently-abled.  

WNTA has prepared the mid-term appraisal plan with the help of 3,750 civil society and cummunity-based organisations across 29 states and union territories.

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