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Dalit Empowerment Program

Impact Dalit Empowerment Program

Livelihood Resource Program (LRP)

Dalita Aatma Gourava Yatra Victory on Vettti (menial jobs)

 

People’s empowerment initiatives, during the reporting period, were not only directed towards the vulnerable sections of the society such as dalits, women, tribes, artisans, minorities and child labor, but also a major initiative has continued as part of APFAMGS Project to mobilize entire village community around sustainable management of groundwater resources. In general, five types of

 
 

strategies were adopted in the empowerment process viz., Community mobilization, non-violent resistance action, advocacy and lobbying, legal action and alternative initiatives. People empowerment took place mainly under three programmes viz., Dalit Empowerment Programme (DEP), Livelihood Resource Programme (LRP) and Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater Systems (APFAMGS) Project. Detailed description of these initiatives, during the reporting period, is given in the following paragraphs.

Dalit Empowerment Program (DEP)
Dalits are one of the long persecuted humanities in India. Historically they have been subjugated to various types of caste oppression and discrimination based on un-just principles of purity and sacredness as per the four-fold Varna system. In earlier days they were known as sudras (untouchables). A large section of people who are not coming under this four fold varna system, have been considered as panchamas (outcaste). Gandhiji adopted a new terminology for these communities by name harijan (people of god). According to the Indian constitutional record they are coming under the category of “Scheduled Caste” (Groups under the category of taking care).

The term “Dalit” emerged only recently which denotes a “broken Community at all levels of the social life”. Apart from Scheduled Caste (mala, madiga, dasari, maladasari, baindla)  and Scheduled Tribes (chenchu, yerukala, yanadi, sugali, neeli shikari), the term also brings in other oppressed communities in the society such as beggars (dokkali), scavengers, weavers, potters, barbers, dhobi, rural folk artists (jangam), shepherds, black-smith, toddy-tapers, thief communities (donga boya), agriculture labor (balija), village circus workers (dommari), etc.

Several legal measures were taken up to protect lifes of dalits from all kinds of atrocities particularly after independence. But the irony is that, even today the new faces of caste oppression are coming up both in direct as well as indirect ways.

The need and strategy
The Need for dalit empowerment was felt as internal evaluation of BIRDS revealed that it could not reach the most oppressed sections (dalit) of the society. This was mainly due to its focus on economic development, in the past decade. A joint study of BIRDS and AAI on dalits was conducted in the year 2002 to look into the reasons for disinterest of the dalits in the mainstream developmental process. The study covered aspects such as: untouchability (its forms, severity, and number of instances), woman-man relationships, sources of income, access to land (land ownership, benami lands/pattas, assigned lands forcibly cultivated by others) and status of child rights (understanding of children’s status, child labour, and children affected with factionism).

The study revealed that social practices such as untouchability and gender inequity deter them from joining the economic development process, apart from their inability to save a single paise on account of their utter poverty. It also revealed that the evil social discrimination practices continue to exist in spite of promised human rights of the Indian Constitution as several legislations in vogue to eradicate these practices. The study also revealed that the practice of illegal social discrimination practices is rampant in three mandals of the district viz., Rudravaram, Kolimigundla and Owk, where BIRDS is already active with its MF activity.

The Dalit Empowerment Program (DEP) was designed based on the outcome the study. Main strategies were adopted to empower these socially oppressed communities (dalits) viz., formation of Dalit Samakhya (DS) and its strengthening through training, meeting, information sharing, lobbying and advocacy. The aim of Dalit Samakhya is “fighting hunger and Untouchability for self-respect, rights and power”. The five focal issues addressed for achieving this goal were: 1) Untouchability 2) Unemployment 3) Gender discrimination 4) Child labor and 5) land rights.

BIRDS is implementing DEP in Rudravaram mandal of Kurnool District. While the activities in the 20 villages are supported by Action Aid India (AAI), Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP) supports the dalit empowerment initiatives in another 22 villages. The program is implemented in Rudravaram as part of two NGO networks viz., NOVOK network and CHETANA Network. At the time of reporting, BIRDS is implementing DEP in 42 villages.

Dalit Empowerment Activities
Five major activities were taken up to address these issues viz., 1) Formation of Dalit Samakhyas, 2) Training DS members, 3) Discussing issues in community meetings, 4) Sharing the relevant information with Dalit Leaders, 5) Advocacy and Lobbying and 6) Non-violent resistance action. Status of the implementation these activities, at the end of the reporting period, are described in the following text.

Formation of Dalit Samakyas
Formation of Village DS Committee (VDSC) is completed at all the 42 target villages. All dalits residing in a village automatically become members of the Dalit Association at village level, who in turn elect the 6-member of VDSC. Of the 6 members in the VDSC, three are Office-bearers viz., President, Secretary and Treasurer, while the other three are Executive Members. In all the VDSCs, 3 out of six members are woman. List of Villages where VDSCs are formed is furnished as table 5.1.

Two (one male and one female) people form each VC are nominated to the mandal level Dalit Samakhya. An Executive Body, consisting of 9 members, is elected, by voting, by these nominated members to Mandal DS Committee (MDSC). Of the nine members, three are again Office-bearers in the MDSC also. Formation of MDSC is completed in the Rudravaram Mandal. Executive Body of Rudravaram mandal is listed in Table 5.2.

Two members (one male and one female) from the MDSC are nominated to the District DS Committee, which is again a 9-member committee, similar to MDSC. Kurnool DDSC is formed in August 2002 by the nominated MDSC members of 13 NGOs, working in 17 mandals, as part of NOVOK network. Shri J. Sudershan, earstwhile President of Rudravaram MDSC is an Executive Member in the DDSC.

Apart from MDSC, a Mutually Aided Dalit Labour Contract Society (MADLCS) was formed at Rudravaram town, covering the Dalit labour force of the entire mandal, in 2003, with 10 members, of which 3 are office bearers and 7 are Executive members. The society was formed with the aim getting the work to the local labor (their due share), which otherwise would have gone the contractors from other areas. There is a law that the government should give 10% of the works to the labor societies. They can tender the government works (below 50,000) without any deposit. MADLCS has got registered in several government departments, so that it gets its due share of work.

Training
Members of VDSC, and MDSC apart from staff are trained to prepare them for taking up issued of DEP. VC members: SC/ST Act, Minimum Wage Act, Child labour Abolition Act and different Government programs and schemes, apart from formation and running of community based institutions and livelihood opportunities. Same topics are repeated for MC members. Table 5.3 gives details of trainings conducted, during the reporting period.

Community meetings
Issues specific to the village are identified and discussed in these meetings. Affected individuals will be identified and community will be facilitated to work out a strategy for addressing the issues. Participatory tools are used to identify problems and building up strategy to tackle the problems.

Information sharing
Apart from information on Dalit rights such as Punnaih Commission Recommendations, vital information relating to dalit rights was shared with the VCs, including: examples from other villages in tackling similar issues, exposure visits to successful village models, information on land records, outcome of studies (4 studies), government schemes, etc.

Lobbying and Advocacy
Incidents in the operational area which were illegal and unconstitutional are brought to the notice of the law enforcing agencies such as Police, Legislation, SC/ST Cell, National Human Right Commission, Nation Woman commission. Help of Government Departments such as Revenue Department, Department of Child Labour, Integrated Child Development Project (ICDS) is sought by DS for solving the problems related to dalit rights. Politicians and journalists are also briefed about the violation of human rights to enlist their support for the DS.

List of villages where Dalit Samakyas Village Committees are operating

SN

Village

No. of Dalits

No. of VC members

President

Secretary

Treasurer

 

 

F

M

T

F

M

T

 

 

 

1

ReddyPalle

190

240

430

3

3

6

Prema Raj

Babu

Mariamma

2

ThuvvaPalle

52

45

97

3

3

6

Obulesu

Polamma

Chennaiah

3

Thippareddy Palle

55

65

120

3

3

6

Venkatamma

Nagebdra

Narasimhudu

4

Nakkaladinne

95

95

190

3

3

6

Satyam

Mariamma

Ramudu

5

Chilakalur

70

80

150

3

3

6

Chennamma

Venkatanna

Balaugram

6

ChittareniPalle

98

110

208

3

3

6

Obulesu

Pamakka

Pedda Obanna

7

Mukundapuram

54

68

122

3

3

6

Devadas

Ramalakshmamma

Danamma

8

Thimmanapalle

152

132

284

3

3

6

Jayapal

Olamma

Daveedu

9

Sugalithanda

25

22

47

3

3

6

Lakshman Naik

Lakshmi Bai

Ram Naik

10

Harinagaram

152

167

319

3

3

6

Subbamma

Obanna

Pamuleti

11

KondamayaPalle

70

101

171

3

3

6

Rangamuni

Pamuleti

Chennamma

12

VelagalaPalle

85

82

167

3

3

6

Subbanna

Lavanya

Obulesu

13

B.N.R.Palle

80

85

165

3

3

6

Swamidas

Lakshmi Narasamma

Obulesu

14

MachineniPalle

99

111

210

3

3

6

Sudevi

Obulesu

Venkatanna

15

GonamPalle

41

55

96

3

3

6

Srinivasulu

Balavenkatamma

Achamma

16

Chenchugudem

25

21

46

3

3

6

Alluraiah

Hussainamma

Ramudu

17

Kotakonda

187

174

361

3

3

6

Sarojinamma

Mohan Raj

Mahanandi

18

T.Kottala

28

21

49

3

3

6

Naganna

Nagamaddamma

Rogenna

19

Yallavathula

201

195

396

3

3

6

Badarakka

Sudanandam

Rajanna

20

Chinna Kambalur

98

86

184

3

3

6

Narsimudu

Lingamma

Sanjeeva

21

Muthalur

372

318

690

3

3

6

Chinna Lingamaiah

Padmavathi

Prasad

22

Sree Rangapuram

145

135

280

3

3

6

Venkata Narasimudu

Bhagya Lakshmi

M.V. Narsimhudu

23

Peruru

430

445

875

3

3

6

Bhaskar Rao

Narasamma

Rathnamaiah

24

Beeravolu

150

180

330

3

3

6

Bhaskar

Kalavathi

Sudhakar

25

Mandalur

158

161

319

3

3

6

Sarojamma

Raju

Nadepenna

26

Pedda Kambalur

513

504

1017

3

3

6

Bhaskar

Ranemma

Susheelamma

27

K.Kothur

10

9

19

3

3

6

Lachamma

Obulesu

Nagenna

28

D.Kottala

8

9

17

3

3

6

Obulesu

Thriveni

Ramudu

29

Chandalur

130

120

250

3

3

6

Ranga Lakshmi

NaraSimhulu

Sarveswarudu

30

Alamur

160

140

300

3

3

6

Subbamma

Yesu Rathnam

Lavanya

31

Yerragudidinne

200

180

380

3

3

6

Chinnodu

Obulamma

Santha Kumari

32

Narsapuram

365

405

770

3

3

6

Mariamma

Narasimhudu

Pullanna

33

T.Lingadinne

26

21

47

3

3

6

Venkataiah

Venkeswarlu

Rajamma

34

R.Nagulavaram

29

26

55

3

3

6

K.Keshava

Rebekamma

Shekhar

35

Rudravaram

1205

1018

2223

3

3

6

Semon

Michel

Jayamma

36

R.KothaPalle

39

36

75

3

3

6

Pratap

Bala Narasimhudu

Thirupalamma

37

AppanaPalle

109

95

204

3

3

6

Govindu

Sarvaddy

Ramanamma

38

Ramapuram

73

64

137

3

3

6

Ramalakshma
mma

Dastagiri

Pakkira

39

Pandirlapalle

58

44

102

3

3

6

Pullanna

Saraswathi

Pullaiah

40

NallavagulaPalle

124

120

244

3

3

6

Ramanatha Reddy

Ramudu

Sankaramma

41

R.Kothur

66

61

127

3

3

6

Narasamma

Balaraj

Dastagiri



 
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