Democratizing the Governance System In the Tribal Areas

Democratizing the Governance System In the Tribal Areas

India
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The perpetual conflict exists between the state and people. The political democracy (representative) without economic democracy has no real meaning. People should have their individual as well as collective inalienable natural rights over their livelihood resources to participate in the governance system without fear or favor.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There are four basic problems (domination, deprivation, displacement and division) that besiege the tribal population. A centralized legal and governance system has been thrust upon a decentralized political and economy system, resulting in the criminalization of a whole population in the eyes of the legal system. It is because of the non-adherence and non-recognition of their customary laws, practices and governance system. If India’s forest, mineral bearing areas, tribal areas, and watersheds are all mapped together, they will overlay one another almost the same areas- homes of India’s poorest people, the tribals. Almost 70 % tribal of the tribal areas come under common property resources. Since the formal land laws of the country are individual based, therefore, CPR became the state property. 50-60% of income comes from the forest, but forest become state property and governed by forest laws dating back to colonial period. Since they habituate in a rich area, the modern development process takes a heavy toll on them. Nearly 60 % of the total development induced displacement in the post-independence period.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The politics is the most defining and determining factor in every aspects of human progress. The modem state has made itself supreme – “The Eminent Domain “ – by encroaching, dispossessing, subjugating, and regulating the people’s lives through manufacturing people’s consent and using coercive power. The gradual withdrawal of collective praxis is a characteristics feature of “representative democracy”, which, while upholding and defending the rights of individuals, individualizes all collectivities and thereby, dis-empowers people including of course, the very individuals who are apotheosized as all powerful, “free-agents”. It also, while formally upholding democracy reduces it to a routinised affair involving empirical atomized individuals whose political choice is increasingly between parties that differ little from one another in their programmes. Secondly, natural rights of people and community over livelihood resources are primary which is inalienable and eventually surpasses the legal rights. The latter should complement but not pre- dominate the former. The natural resources as well as the natural rights shouldn’t become a commodity to be traded in the market. Thirdly, direct democracy in a face to face community level is more important, meaningful and primary then the representative democracy. The latter has to negotiate and persuade the people in order to gain the informed public consent of the people or the community without dislodging and displacing people from their natural habitat.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Our (along with others at the provincial level to National level) sustained mobilization and struggle has brought the tribal (indigenous people) question to the centre of the national agenda and discussion. Recently, in the National Development Council (an apex level national government body) meeting the Prime Minister had to accept that non-implementation of Panchayat Raj ( Extension to Scheduled Areas ) Act 1996 (PESA) and the Schedule Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers ( Recognition of Forest rights) Act, 2006 remain the crucial cause of the discontentment and ferment in the tribal areas. As a result of which four high level committees have been formed. The large mobilization of people has caught the imagination of tribal people making the slogan – “ HAMARA GAON MEIN, HAMARA RAJ” - (It is our rule in our village ) popular. In many tribal villages the stone edict were erected signifying this aspect after the enactment of PESA in 1996. In Madhya Pradesh alone, nearly 100 villages erected such edict in different districts. The GRAM SABHA (Village Council) was prominently including the legal lexicon and was given an important place in every other subsequent law enacted thereafter. Now, every democratic resistance groups struggling against the displacement and land acquisition take inspiration from this idea and use the legal means for furthering their struggle. In 2004, 10 villages of 4 blocks of Badwani district of Madhya Pradesh proved irregularities by doing social audit and made the then collector and other officials of the district responsible. They were penalized and the laborers were paid their unpaid wages. There are innumerable such cases in various states where people fought, secured their rights and building upon their limited success to march ahead. The Recognition of Forest Rights Act, 2006 is an advancement of people’s individual and collective forest rights over a large portion of forest areas in India.
About You
Organization:
Adivasi Mukti Sangathan ( Tribal Liberation Organization )
Section 1: About You
First Name

Bijaya

Last Name

Kishore

Website
Country

, MP

Section 2: About Your Organization
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Organization Name

Adivasi Mukti Sangathan ( Tribal Liberation Organization )

Organization Phone

91-7281–222184 / 9425364761 / 9826688148

Organization Address

Plot No-100, Devjhiri Colony, Sendhwa, Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, Pin - 451666

Organization Country

, MP

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, MP

Innovation
Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact
Actions

It is a systematic process; our actions are also taking into account both micro (village) and macro (country) situation. We always consider utilizing the constitutional means available to us in order to carry forward the vast majority and hence legal and policy changes are very important to us while mobilization at the grassroots to national level through a broad based federative process.

We have exhorted the community to demarcate their traditional boundaries physically and filling the claims before the authorities. They are also made aware to organize a forest protection committee so as to check the incursion by the government, the private companies and mafias. The people who are fighting against their land, habitat and resources being taken over by the state and companies are also being supported. The political elites, leader of the tribal organizations are being regularly made aware of the efficacy of the strategy. It’s a long drawn basic struggle which will restructure and democratize the decision making as well as governance system.

Results

We can now at least say that there will be a fierce struggle by the communities to retain and reclaim their habitat and livelihood resources. Wherever the people’s strength overwhelms the opposite, some sort of reclamation and status-quo position will be maintained.

There are about 20 million forest dwellers whose rights over their land and home-stead are to be recognized. The administration in the forest areas are to be democratized. We cann’t wish away the presence of the forest department at this stage. There are other problems emanating from afforestation and carbon plantation. Therefore, it’s a day to day struggle and the results of our action over next three years can’t be empirically given at this stage.

However, we expect that in Madhya Pradesh, there will be at least 200 thousand forest dwellers file and claim the individual rights and nearly 10,000 villagers will have community forest rights claimed. Primitive tribal groups numbering around 500 will have claims filed. We will also come out with a plan to market minor forest produce whose ownership rights id presently legally belonged to the forest dwellers.

How many people will your project serve annually?

More than 10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$50 - 100

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?

Yes

If so, how?

The aforementioned idea and strategy deals more on the public policies. The governance system that we are talking of is basically deals with the state and the government machinery and legal enactments. It has been a practice that one has to struggle to change or enact a policy which is always followed up by another struggle to make the law or the policies implemented that’s what we are presently doing.

Sustainability
What stage is your project in?

Operating for more than 5 years

Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board?

Does your organization have any non monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have any non monetary partnerships with businesses?

Does your organization have any non monetary partnerships with government?

Yes

Please tell us more about how partnerships could be critical to the success of your innovation.

Our ideas and action depend on the enlargement of our influence on various sections of the society. We have to also engage ourselves with legislature, executive, judiciary, media as well as other civil society groups, individuals, and organizations. Alliances with like minded groups and individuals is the hallmark of our approach.

We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported. Please explain your business plan/revenue model

Since the organizations and groups come and join in the federative process, they contribute according their capacities. In the federation, there are some near self-sustained people’s organisations who form themselves as a core group and are mostly responsible for generating revenue from their own members and sympathizers.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

My childhood days in tribal areas. My association with Gandhian and Marxist during my student days. The exemplary inspiration that I received during those days led me to immerse myself in the liberating praxis. As I worked on, met and discuss various personalities, my ideas got gradually crystallized.

Tell us about the social innovator—the person—behind this idea.

There is no such one person that I can mention. There are so many people that I draw lessons from their ideas and practices.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Personal contact at Changemakers

If through another source, please provide the information.

Approximately 50 words left (400 characters).

Additional
Which (if any) of the following strategies apply to your organization or company (check as many as apply)

Policy advocacy to strengthen property rights or increase security of tenure, Formalizing and documenting property rights (i.e. titling, leasing or certification), Legal education and awareness, Developing/applying technology for surveying, mapping and documenting property rights, Other.

Please explain how your work furthers one or many of the above strategies (if you selected “other”, please explain your strategy)

Others include publications, media advocacy and mobilisation of people. Since our strategies are quite holistic and demands engagement with both as a state and non-state actors, we use everything possible to further our notion of democracy. As we go on, we enlarge our space to the possible extent.