As part of an international learning exchange programme organised by the National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), Hyderabad, a 23-member delegation, including agriculture scientists and engineers, from 17 countries visited Mudichur panchayat near Tambaram recently.
Participants said the visit was an attempt to pick up some lessons in community participation, and involvement of government and elected representatives in improving the quality of life of people.
The delegation comprised research scholars from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Lithuania, Afghanistan, Gambia, South Sudan, Jordan and Uganda.
The team visited the wealth-from-waste generation centre, reverse osmosis plant and packaged water plant, before getting hands-on information on the functioning of women self-help groups (SHGs) in the district.
The delegation also visited sanitary napkin- and handicrafts-making units under the care and maintenance of the SHGs. The team interacted with SHG members and gained information on the various schemes being implemented by the government to improve quality of life among rural masses. The visiting team said it was impressed with the clean and green environs in the panchayat.
G. Rajinikanth, associate professor of NIRD, Hyderabad, said the scholars wanted to know more about rural development in the country, particularly at village-panchayat levels.
The delegation will visit other States too, to know more about the Panchayati Raj system and rural development, and carry their message back to their respective countries.
Shreelekha Tamilselvan, assistant project officer, National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, gave the delegation information on the various schemes implemented by the State and Union governments. P. Damodaran, panchayat president, explained in detail the concept of women SHGs. C. Krishnamurthy, block development officer (BDO), St. Thomas Mount Panchayat Union, and K. Sundari, BDO (village panchayats), accompanied the delegation.