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Participatory Identification of Poor (PIP) in the nine villages of Bila Panchayat, West Singhbhum, Jharkhand

BPL status is sensitive topic in the state of Jharkhand and there is broad agreement in the area around Bila Panchayat that there are serious anomalies in the BPL list. Many deserving candidates are left out and some rather affluent households have been included. The District Administration in collaboration with the Mukhiya of the Panchayat decided to capitalize on this discontent in the people and introduce the acclaimed good practice of ‘Partcipatory Identification of Poor’. The activity was taken up as a part of the first round of Gram Sabhas in each of the Villages which formed the core component of the Social Mobilisation Phase of the scheme.

A tentative list was first prepared with the help of the traditional and elected leaders of the area. It was specially instructed to be sensitive to the women-headed households and of the geographical and social exclusion dimensions. This list was then read out in the open Gram Sabha, which almost always came up with additions and omissions to the list. To keep the procedure simple it was instructed to keep the list to less than 15 in number. The process often created a lot of furore and only unanimous decisions were included. The presence of District level officials facilitated the procedure.

The Outcomes:

  1. A list of about 15 poorest households was generated which is to be used as a priority list for provision of services especially Indira Awas Yojna.
  2. The list is be used as an indicator at the end of two years of SAGY activities to see if the development activities have touched the last set of households.
  3. Most importantly, this was found to be a good way to introduce Value changes in the community, which is an integral part of SAGY objectives. It was clear that the exercise had brought out a sense of empathy within the community, bringing out the social divisions in the open and making the people realize some of the regressive practices of the community. The traditional leaders (Mundas) of the some of the villages were highly appreciative of the activity because of this.

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