‘Yojana Banao Abhiyan’ (YBA) literally means ‘Make your own scheme’. YBA was a campaign launched in Jharkhand by the State Government during FY 2015-16. Decentralized participatory planning of schemes for enhancing livelihoods, managing natural resources and improving basic infrastructure in rural areas through MGNREGA was the prime objective of the Abhiyan.
The Yojana Banao Abhiyan was anchored by the Department of Rural Development. Village-level plans were prepared by people with the support of their Gram Panchayats, community-based organizations and civil society in approximately 30,000 villages across 4,402 Gram Panchayats in 259 blocks of the 24 districts in Jharkhand. The Abhiyan was an outcome of two programmes of Government of India – Mission Antyodaya (Intensive Participatory Planning Exercise (IPPE-II) under MGNREGA) of the Ministry of Rural Development and Gram Panchayat Development Planning (GPDP) of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
Panchayat Planning Team comprising two ward members, two community-based planners and the Gram Rozgar Sewak or Panchayat Sewak was formed in every Gram Panchayat to help people and the Gram Panchayats prepare plans for their villages. A State Resource Team comprising civil society representatives, Master Trainers of the Department of Panchayati Raj, Prime Minister’s Rural Development Fellows (PMRDFs), Integrated Watershed Management Programme officials, State Rural Livelihood Mission officials and District level officials implementing MGNREGA was formed. This was in order to train and support the Panchayat Planning Teams and provide thematic support to the Gram Panchayats and local administration for implementing YBA.
Activities like rallies, nukkad nataks (street plays), and hamlet-level discussions were organized on a large-scale across the state to mobilize people to participate in the decentralized planning for their village. The administration took the initiative in creating wall writings, putting up hoardings and posters, broadcasting radio jingles and television advertisements, organizing “jagrukta raths”, publishing newspaper announcements and printing pamphlets to mobilize people.
It was important to build the capacities of all the stakeholders on decentralized planning processes, participatory planning tools, natural resource management, permissible works etc. to ensure the preparation of participatory village-level plans for livelihoods enhancement based on natural resource management and improving basic services of all villages across the state. Several workshops for orienting and mobilizing the various stakeholders such as the District Administration and line department officials at various levels, Panchayati Raj representatives, civil society members, representatives of women-collective federations, etc. were organized at the State, District, Block and Gram Panchayat levels. The training of the State Resource Team members was an intensive five day process which included exposure visits and field work. Similarly, the training of Panchayat Planning Teams was a five day event which included two days of field work.
Weekly meetings of senior officers and members of the MGNREGA Cell, Panchayati Raj department and the State Rural Livelihood Mission under the chairpersonship of the Principal Secretary, Rural Development Department, helped in developing a synergy between Gram Panchayats and women collectives promoted under the National Rural Livelihood Mission towards planning and implementation of MGNREGA.
A Planning Cell comprising of professionals was established in the Department of Rural Development, Government of Jharkhand with support of Tata Trusts, to provide thematic and monitoring support to the department for implementing the Abhiyan. The convergence of professional expertise of the Planning Cell with the administrative anchorage of the Department helped in grounding the Abhiyan across the state in its true spirit. The projects planned in the Abhiyan were implemented through MGNREGA in FY 2016-17, and using the 14th Finance Commission funds devolved to Gram Panchayats for FY 2015-16 and
More than ten lakh MGNREGA projects were planned of which 1.8 lakh projects were for water harvesting and conservation. A large number of the planned projects were for enhancing the livelihoods of vulnerable families. More than six lakh projects were for strengthening basic services related to drinking water, sanitation, etc. through funds devolved to Gram Panchayats as per the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission. About 50,000 projects for renovation of traditional water bodies were selected for implementation through the irrigation and soil and conservation departments.
The large-scale capacity-building programmes and focus on standardizing dissemination of information helped in ensuring improved planning of the Abhiyan across the State. Awareness generation, community mobilization and sensitization of the Government officials and functionaries helped in estimating the demand for MGNREGA work more accurately. As a result, the recorded demand for MGNREGA work in the FY 2016-17 was almost double of that in 2015-16. Almost 55 per cent of the rural households together demanded for more than 14.5 crore person-days of work in FY 2016-17. Intensive monitoring by the Department helped in ensuring that the demand for work expressed by the people was not under-reported by the local administration. As a result of the rigorous labour budgeting exercise during the Abhiyan, the Government of India had approved a labour budget of seven crore person-days for the FY 2016-17 for Jharkhand.