A unique learning experience

Staff Reporter

TIRUCHI: Participants of the recent day-long workshop for women panachayat leaders here were impressed by the performance of their counterparts in Kanyakumari district.

The workshop organised by the Department of Women's Studies, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchi, served as a forum for the participants to draw motivation through sharing of experiences, according to the Department Head N. Manimekalai.

The speakers comprising Prabha of Mullaikinamilai Panchayat, Saroja of Muthalakkurichi Panchayat, and Maria Agastinal of Athivilai Panchayat, all Nirmal Grama Puraskar Awardees were elected successfully for the third subsequent time. They provided substantial insights into transparent administration, the method of assessing the needs of the people and fulfilling them through government schemes; analysing local issues promptly through grama sabha meetings, creation of awareness on basic facilities, sanitation, employment generation, dynamism and objectiveness in functioning. They said their responsibilities included monitoring tax collection, determining the conditions of the toilets, helping in acquiring poromboke land and redistributing them under land reform schemes, efficient utilisation of constituency development fund of MLAs and MPs.

They held that recognising the needs of people, without discriminating between communities, religions and political parties, and serving the people with the given power had brought them success. The issues that received their maximum attention included provision of water supply, road construction, sanitation, enrolment of children in schools, arresting dropout through continuous counselling, maintaining good relationship with school authorities, and various government departments.

They were ever ready to take up cudgels on behalf of the public. For instance, Ms. Prabha faced 55 cases in her third tenure but was able to overcome the challenges with the determination to bring about harmony and safeguard the rights of the people.

The participants realised that replicating such an approach will go along way in improving rural India better. They were given to understand that as elected representatives, they ought to visit their office everyday and understand the issues faced by the people. Serving people with a commitment will help in sustaining their successful run in elections. They need to succeed in ensuring support from various sections of the society, the women panchayat leaders learnt. They also received inputs on the ways of maintaining good relationswith government departments, the district administration, line departments, SHG women, youth, people and political leaders.

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