Dispute-free Village Scheme to get United Nations recognition

The United Nations has decided to recognise the Mahatma Gandhi Tanta Mukti Gaon Mohim (Dispute-free Village Scheme) of the Maharashtra government. The scheme was introduced as a way to get rid of small disputes in the village and thus bring about harmony. It was also seen as a measure to reduce the work pressure on policemen.

Pune Rural SP Pratap Dighavkar will present the model to the U.N. at their New York headquarters on August 11.

Speaking to journalists here, he said that he was really happy to be representing India at the global level. “The credit goes to the local police officers and constables. I am just representing them,” he said. The presentation will be given to the officials of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the U.N. General Assembly and the Security Council.

The Maharashtra model is likely to be replicated in other developing countries, where logistics and infrastructure of the judicial machinery were weak, Mr. Dighavkar said. He will also spend time with social scientists, reformers and peace makers in various universities and share the model and his experiences with them.

Speaking of the achievements of the scheme, he cited figures in Pune district where 790 out of 1,134 villages have become ‘dispute-free' in the last two and a half years and hence the district received Rs. 19,31,000,00 ($4.4 million), as the prize money from the State government. Since October 2009, 36,294 conflicts at the village-level were resolved and now, 28,084 cases were awaiting resolution, he said.

Mr. Dighavkar said the scheme helped the government save Rs. 20 crore and also 15 tonnes of paper. The government did not have to spend a single rupee for the implementation of the scheme.

In April 2010, Khairlanji was recognised by the scheme as a dispute-free village. The award and the money came to the village three years after four from a family of Dalits were brutally massacred there. The case will now be heard in the Supreme Court after the death sentence of six of the accused was commuted to life term. Calling Khairlanji dispute-free, some would argue, was an irony. The committee members of the village defended themselves saying that murder, as a cognizable offence, was out of the ambit of the scheme and hence, the committee could not do anything about it.

Mr. Dighavkar refused to comment on Khairlanji and said he would do the same if the question came up in the U.N. presentation.

“I cannot say anything about a matter that is in the courts. But I agree, sometimes political and communal biases may play a role at the village level.”

Khairlanji was not the only village facing such issues over the scheme being implemented in the State since 2007, when Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Home Minster R.R. Patil introduced it.

Gender issues surrounding the scheme came to light when Kiran Moghe, State president of the All India Women's Democratic Association (AIDWA) studied its implementation in Pune district in association with the Department of Women's Studies, University of Pune.

“In Pune, there are not many sharp distinctions in caste. But there are serious gender problems. In a society that is mostly male-dominated, it is already difficult for women, especially in the rural areas, to express themselves. To add to it, the committee members are in most cases, men. This puts more pressure on the women and cases of domestic violence are covered up,” she said.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 12:48:17 AM |

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