Monday, March 1, 2010




1. Introduction

2. Critical assessment of models of social intervention

3. Emerging needs of a better model of development

4. Vision of better models of intervention

5. Linkages with market

6. Equitable power distribution

7. Watershed development and alternative sources of renewable energy

8. Epilogue

About The Writer:

• Name:Niranjan Girish Welankar.

• Date of birth: 24th November 1984.

• Education: Master’s in Social Work with Urban and Rural Community Development; Bachelor of Arts with Political Science and French and Diploma in German; Diploma in Teachers Training for yoga.

• Occupation: Currently working as a combination of a social researcher, consultant, documentation expert and translator.

The writer strongly wants to work for benefit of the deprived, poor, vulnerable and needy people up to highest possible extent. This obsession is generated out of sensitivity towards social problems, contradictions, inequalities. The writer strongly wants to contribute for betterment of the people at large who are suffering from problems such as poverty, ignorance, displacement, suppression, lack of opportunities for growth and so on.

The writer has experienced some current practices of solving these issues or problems; and so thinks to work in a better way to get more output. The following discussion is thus the process of visualizing a better set of models and intervention. This is a sequel write up or an advanced version of the write up – Going places (available at; hence initial basic concepts are put little aside and the discussion goes to further debate. This discussion has backward and forward linkages from the thoughts expressed in ‘Going places’; so that there are a few repetitions in this writing.

1. Introduction


This sharing, this writing is dedicated to those who have suffered from violence, hatred, suppression, displacement-development, inequalities and negligence and to all those who have sacrificed themselves for the society and the nation. The writer takes the opportunity to acknowledge the support of all including the members of Karve Institute of Social Service.


In one sense, this is person centered reflection. Through the writing, the writer wants to have better clarity about his effort, to seek guidance from the expert and overall sharing for learning and better understanding. The writer wants to improve his vision, to share his thoughts, to try to improve in his vision as well as to develop a debate in the society for the desired objective i.e. Work for betterment of the needy people at large. Necessity of this writing comes out of progressive journey towards the desired goal. When one tries to move, one comes across different experiences, different perspectives and impressions, they are about problems as well as solutions. This is obvious as the social conditions are so dynamic, complicated, so one has to check for errors or limitations and seek for updates. Such reflective writing and sharing is one good tool to do this. So while writing this, the writer aims to have better clarity, better understanding about his journey towards the desired goal. This is basically a learning exercise. So you are requested for your valuable inputs, feedback and guidelines for fulfillment of the objective of this writing.

Thanking you.

- Niranjan.

March 1, 2010.;;

2. Critical assessment of models of social intervention

Let’s here initially look at what is meant by models of social intervention. Interventions are mechanisms of controlling in a situation in which problems, inequalities or maladjustments exist. Let’s also look at what is meant by development; particularly sustainable development; as the development that is not sustainable; cannot be regarded as development. We can describe sustainable development in the following way:

• It is inclusive of all social and environmental entities.

• It is affordable and accessible to all.

• It leads to rise of all and fall of none; be it human or natural stakeholder.

• It has a lot of value base in form of harmonious social relations (equality, fraternity, freedom and justice)

• It is based on equitable distribution of resources among human and environmental stakeholders. This leads to controlled needs and sensitivity towards others.

Current models of intervention can be in any form such as projects of a Non Governmental Organization or the initiative of the government such as National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. Here we are going to assess these models. The following can be mentioned as some common characteristics of these interventions:

i. They are sponsored externally at a large level; say by a national level or international sponsor or funder.

ii. Their set up is funding driven in nature. The projects or interventions start in general on the funds they have. This sometimes leads to the possibility of hypothetical work; for instance as there are more funds available for HIV; organizations tend to go for HIV AIDS related projects; or if there is the advertisement from the central government; then NGO’s apply for that; that in many cases is regardless of the needs in the area of operations. No doubt; in some cases; such funding or support is so crucial; they can start their activities; but at the same time; there is always a danger that these organizations are struck in the same project. That can become a patch-work; a routine exercise; without much output towards the vision and mission.

iii. As this kind of work is economically mostly unproductive i.e. it does not generate money in itself; the project staff is largely dependent on the sponsor source. It leads to a lot of adjustments at the implementation level. The organization has to sustain all expenses out of the funds it is gaining; it creates a lot of limitations. This limits the economic growth of the workers and slowly can encourage malpractices and corruption.

iv. Importantly; basically; such kind of interventions are necessarily to be so focused and intensive activities against many odds; for example take the example of strengthening of village health and sanitation committees or village mobilization. It requires so much efforts on the part of the members or field workers of the organization and the scarce funds are neither able to compensate for this work nor motivate them. This increases deviation from the visualized output and actual output.

v. This puts breaks on the economical growth of the workers and so they are left with two choices- either leave this position and go for another better or continue adjusting with the conditions. In any case; the strength of the intervention reduces as the better persons leave and the remaining work as a routine activity.

This can be summed up. Models of the current interventions are in a way limited like industries in down market. Everything is not necessarily up to the mark. Only a few are gainful; who are positioned at a higher level or decision- making level. The below the mark phenomena can be observed in all aspects of work-force. There are many organizations which are so rich in experience; but their field level work is so dependent on the funds supply.

Let’s discuss about the committed activists and leaders who work voluntarily and without external support. They do present one remarkable example of genuine work and concrete impacts and output. They can be regarded as the pioneers on the path way of sustainable development. However they are so less in number; that they cannot be regarded as a part of this model of interventions.

We want to understand that as the NGO’s emerge from and are dependent in a way on the current systems; we cannot look at them for a very high level of system improvement. Up to an extent; yes; but not beyond that. As NGO’s are dependent on the funding and various social forces; they are not able to work against that; hence their intervention is cannot be regarded as an independent work in absolute terms. There are NGO’s who work for personality development or career development of the youth. What they actually succeed in doing? They produce the better stakeholders in the system called as a multinational company or a government department. That can give material gains for some; but sustainable development is greater than material development.

We can conclude this discussion here by seeing that the current models of intervention are likely to be stereo-type and even though they produce some initial result; they are likely to deviate from their greater role. This is because any change cannot be said as sustainable until it is a structural change and the political and market systems would oppose such change; so there are market related and power related linkages in that.

3. Emerging needs of a better model of intervention

Here we will try to visualize needs; due to which a better model is required. The following are some needs that result out of the above discussion.

i. Affordability and accessibility for all including the most vulnerable groups (like participation in a Satyagrah of Gandhiji).

ii. It should be need based for everyone; not as an imposed action like an imposed or compulsory participation in a meeting.

iii. Locally built structure and local sustainability and sufficiency.

iv. Uniform or equitable distribution of power.

v. Decentralized and localized decision making structures and methodology.

vi. Individualized methods to include diverse potentialities and characteristics.

vii. Modern values such as transparency; accountability; cooperation and demand driven approach.

viii. Entrepreneurship and orientation to production and more effective and the effect should be displayed practically.

ix. Ability to address structural issues and more severe issues such as Naxalism; terrorism and identity crises and international pressures.

x. Creative thinking and indigenous methods.

These are some attributes of sustainability; we regard these as the needs mostly partially fulfilled by the current models of intervention. Let’s elaborate these needs so we can visualize a framework to fulfill them.

i. If our manner of intervention has to be affordable and accessible to all; it has to be so simple in nature like Gandhiji’s methods. He always used the most practical tools; wherein the most common Indian could participate. If we look at the contemporary methods; they are super specialized; in that sense that they need special efforts; they are not common part of the behavior patterns. In other words; we have to find smart ways for the current trends of hard ways. For example; if we use village meeting for village mobilization; we have to find another more effective tool such as utilization of street play or a film show instead of meetings.

ii. Interest can be created with the help of unexpected things. It can be done through social audit- public hearing which appeals to the emotions of the people.

iii. Instead of going for involvement of external forces; we can organize informal local interventions such as formation of water-shed related constructions with the help of Shramadan or use of local manpower for power generation. Such experiments need to be made a norm and not an exception.

iv. Social power or importance given to a person is like a water tank which contains a lot of water; but it is not distributed where it is required. There are ways which are helpful for redistribution of power. Social audit, public hearing, visual presentation focusing deprived needs are some tools. But they need to be made more appealing and stimulating.

v. Local level initiative means which is self sufficient in itself. Example of this kind of intervention can be village level groups who voluntarily work or a SHG formed by women from their savings and not with much the help of outsiders.

vi. Individualized methods mean the methods which give adequate space to local wisdom; local strengths; human as well as natural. It is closely related with creative thinking and a deviation from the stereo-type thinking. It can be visualized in form of a small scale industry of a tribal handy-craft or tourism development in hilly areas or local level processing and marketing of natural resources.

vii. Transparency; accountability and direct participation can be ensured if the process is at a small level. Once the thing becomes top- bottom or multi-lateral; it gets complicated and these values are blocked. Instead of this; if there are informal functionaries; these values can be observed. That needs organization of community and local level stakeholders; so that they can check malpractices.

viii. In order to make significant structural impacts and improvements in significant issues such as national and international problems; it would require a lot of concentration and focus of power; we will discuss that in a separate discussion once we finish with our draft models.

ix. As we have said; the current models hardly include economically productive activities; activities that can be looked as self- sufficient for the intervention. In order to improve on this; we have to go for entrepreneurship related income generation activities. That would be help to support the organization in itself. Examples of such an activity can be use of soft skills by local youth for income generation and supporting other youth for education.

We have to accept that our new model of intervention is also fully vulnerable to the inadequacies and problems of the current models of intervention. It can also be said that the different between the two lines of thinking is in degree and not in kind; the same processes and subject matter are common in the both. That also holds for some extent; but more will be clear when we discuss our examples of draft models. But for that; we need to try to think out of the room; to think different and without minding the biases of the current framework. This process will open doors for us where we can contribute in more unique and effective way.

4. Vision of better models of intervention

Here we are trying to visualize or simulate better models of intervention. We are trying to find better processes and methods to obtain desired results in less time and with more output. We try to conceptualize a model within the framework discussed above; i.e. which has all attributes of sustainable development. They are applications of creative thinking and uncluttered mind; which is not biased due to the social systems and barriers.

Model I: An informal youth group

This is a visualization of a group of youth; mainly rural youth; who want to do something for their village and locality. Some of them are students and some of them are doing some job. How they can contribute for their community? Like any rural or semi rural community; this community is also in need of knowledge about government schemes; facilities; procedures and agricultural extension services. The youth group decides to work as an informal and mobile resource centre. For that; they are willing to contribute RS 250 per month and give some individual time. This group can begin its activities with the activity of information sharing.


To work as information provider in the following areas-

1. Educational and vocational guidance to the rural youth.

2. Various schemes of the government

3. Advanced practices in the agriculture

4. Support for any social or individual problem at the community level.


As the members of the group are scattered and they do not live at the same place and already involved in their activities; it is not desirable to form a centre for any work. So the best option is to work without any specific logistics structure. As the members are not available at one place; it is better to work indirectly. The activity of information sharing suits this condition.

For information providing and sharing; there is no need to have a centre or an established structure. It can be done in many feasible ways. Information sharing can be done through phone calls; individual visits; visit to expert; letter, email, blog etc. There is no need for larger investment and compulsion of staying at one location. One thing is certainly required and that is management of necessary information. It can be through any area as mentioned above and any social or individual problem. So the group has to have the networking with the experts in these fields in order to provide appropriate information.

For reaching to the people regarding the service of information sharing; the best and cost effective option is to use ST transport buses, colleges and hotels. If a few information brochures are prepared; then they can be stick into buses, college notice boards, hotels etc; from where its potential beneficiaries would catch it. As the public facility is used; its outreach will be higher. It can reach to all nearby villages. So that way; after some time; the beneficiaries would come seeking required information. Once the need is expressed; then it can be fulfilled within 2 days by using the network of friends in social field.

The group can begin its activities in this way. The monthly contribution would be useful for preparation of brochures, placards, keeping record of all this information sharing, and if necessary, for phone calls and travel. Once this group gets recognition and proper networking across a few villages; it can expand its activities.

Prerequisite and requirements on the part of the members

1. Regular time – say average half an hour everyday with more on week end.

2. Regular monthly contribution.

3. Support in kind i.e. preparation of brochure, giving contacts for some work requirements, phone calls for updating, email correspondence, prompt follow up of needs expressed.


Rationale of this activity lies in the fact that it is one of the practical and still very useful activities that the group can undertake. It tries to match with the deliverables of the members and some needs of the community. This way the group can create its identity and networking among the people and then can go for other direct interventions or projects as its strength would increase.

This is one way in which local level activities can begin from zero. As the group grows; its members progress; it can increase its monthly contribution and start running a small supply service. After a few years; it can become a small business.

The idea behind this visualization is that instead of taking external money and other help; let’s try to arrange and manage things at local level and start growing in terms of socially (i.e. through the intervention) and economically; through the supply service and later on the business. This approach has entrepreneurship related aspects and it is something like 50% NGO; 50% business model. If proper methods and approaches of business are followed i.e. control on expenses and building of assets; then the business can grow; making this model effective. The basic idea is to start production and earning; sooner or later; so that the members can strengthen their position and take it further.

NGO and business

This raises a classic debate on NGO and business. There can come up many perspectives. Some would say that NGO people have different perspectives; they know how to work in the field; how they can go into business. Another perspective suggests that NGO people are capable of doing many complicated processes such as handling of legal cases; organizing public hearings; mobilizing communities; so how they cannot effectively work in business. For some; it would raise ideological questions. NGO’s and movements work on specific ideologies; how can they indulge in business? These perceptions are largely part of the stereo- type thinking and system biases. Practically; NGO people are well able to do business. In fact; in many cases; work of NGO has become like a business; they purchase projects and give services in form of commodities to the beneficiaries. NGO work is said as non profit (even if it many times has profit motive) while business is clearly aims for money.

Another debate can rise and that is ethical and environmental. It is perceived that the business involves malpractices or illegal practices. If NGO’s also start doing it; it would bring NGO’s ethics and quality. This is one angle. The other angle is that we can go for more rigorous efforts and use our critical and creative thinking for bringing the same results for which one might need malpractices. Another approach would suggest that it is easy to work with the help of projects and so difficult to earn through business for working. Again; there are ways and ways; but that need unbiased and uncluttered mind. If an organization develops local sources of income through entrepreneurship or business- like activities; then that is a great asset; it would qualitatively help itself. This line of thinking also gives rise to many WH questions. Their answers are case- specific and situation specific. It is dependent on the skills and capacity of the organization; its area of operation; market analysis of that place. In any case; there are likely to be many alternatives and options if they are identified and recognized.

Model II: An Independent worker

This is another visualization of a better model of intervention. Here we are not thinking purely from the NGO perspectives. We are now combining many different things to make a better impact and difference. We are visualizing an independent worker who can contribute a lot by working in the different way. Generally there are not opportunities of great economic growth in an NGO. Hence a person who has fairly good competence in documentation; writing; research; training and field work can go for independent work or free-lance consultancy. When he/ she works in one organization; the growth opportunities are limited and the area of his/ her contribution is also limited. But if the same person works as an independent writer + worker + researcher + documentation expert + resource person etc; then he/she will earn more and contribute far more. This has been possible with the help of modern technology – computer and internet. Now in terms of soft output (e.g. which is given on computer); one can work for as many organizations as one can. This opens doors for those who can work with the help of computer. It includes a lot of writing related and computer related jobs. With their help; earning also can be done; income also can be earned and many organizations can also be supported. Social networking sites and blog are also useful for lobbying and identifying strategic partners apart from knowledge explosion. This way; there are ample opportunities for the skilled persons to earn more and contribute more (in form of documentation; initiating for PIL- Public Interest Litigation, reporting; sending news; article writing and book writing for awareness and stimulus etc). What really needed is to take a non conventional stance.

Model II: 50% NGO and 50 % business = 100% influential.

Let’s now visualize a model which we discussed. The following example would clarify what means by a combination of an NGO and business on equal terms. Lets’ take an example of a small society registered under the society’s registration act 1860 in a small village. How this can be evolved as a combination of business and NGO? Any business requires a set of assets which can be delivered and sold into a proper market. We would need to see for that in the context of the organization. We need to look and answer these questions –

i. What are the strengths of the members of the organization?

ii. What forms their core competence?

iii. What material resources the organization has?

iv. What are the overall market conditions; what are trends in that; for example; level of consumption; class of commodities and services required and level of its supplies.

v. In terms of the deliverables on the part of the members of the organization; there would be need of a market assessment; regarding feasibility of that in the market.

These steps can be helpful to decide a model of business. It can be any entrepreneurship activity such as tuition class; establishment of a computer centre; formation of a centre for legal advice and career guidance and so on. The following can be important and necessary conditions.

i. Any venture should be low- cost and without much inputs (e.g. loan; grants) from outside. The activities should be managed in such a way that many tasks would take place without much effort such as use of stickers/ posters on public transport buses for publicity and outreach rather than village- to village visits and meetings.

ii. The organizations economic activities should follow the norms of – 0% Non productive investment, 25% saving; 25% investment; 25% for intervention (Expenses of NGO activities); 5% share market investment and 20% reserve. This will be useful to grow sustainably.

iii. The organization should focus on genuine and vital activities only and avoid unnecessary stuff such as impractical and irrelevant research/ surveys and ineffective intervention such as imposed meetings; compulsory events and get- together.

iv. Continuous efforts to upgrade competency levels of the members of the organization. Depending on the aptitude, competence and interests of the members; they can undergo further trainings and capacity building. For example; if there is a member who is interested in hardware and computers; then he can go for a training on hardware and networking and can become a professional in that field within 6 months; so the organization can also run a centre for hardware related services.

The idea behind all this is to make money out of small money; be it in any legal and socially acceptable way. Money is not everything; but it is something and something very effective. Apart from money- making; the model also needs to have adoption of social values; human rights; equality; principles of self control and mutual respect along with the practices such as Vipassana and Yoga. In terms of cricket; scoring runs can be compared with earning money through entrepreneurship while actual field work is staying at the wicket and building partnerships. It is remarkable that modern cricket matches are won with the help of best combinations of scoring runs and staying at the wicket. The same applies to NGO field also. This is not so untouched or novel. There are many efforts; many experiments which demonstrate the model of locally sustainable agencies. Here we halt the discussion of better models and go towards structural issues involved in them.

5. Linkages with market

Here we will discuss various market related dynamics. Whenever we try to start an intervention in the field or any social situation; we need to think on the structural aspects related to it. Greater social changes or reforms can be obtained with the help of structural issues rather than a few case- interventions. For example; if we work on the issue of child labor in 5 villages; then we might be able to improve the situation up to those 5 villages. But; if we work structurally; then we might be able to improve the situation in the state or in the region; say with the help of advocacy led by scientific research and concrete substitute arrangements. Market is one significant and universal entity which we need to intervene in at many times and with different approaches. It is not irrelevant or out of our purview. Let’s take the example of salary given to employees in an organization. It has a lot to do with the market situation. Market is practically a driving force; a strong social system; as strong variable which affects every social circumstances.

Let’s go into what we need to do with this structure. For that; we need to take a look at the market situation in brief. The following are highlights of the market situation:

i. Market is controlled and dominated by a small group of affluent people like industrialists; big political leaders.

ii. Market variables such as agricultural prices or remuneration to the unskilled workers are controlled by this group.

iii. The role of government as a regulator and a stabilizer has been reduced significantly; as after 1991; government is stepping down from many of its responsibilities and failing to complete the minimum requirements and that is resulting in marketisation of services and commodities; for example; if the government is unable to provide adequate transportation facilities; private players come in the picture and facilities/ services provided by them are not for all and with all or the inability of the government to generate required electricity leads to the emergence of inverters; UPS which are market commodities and the rich only can PURCHASE that.

In this context; the following can be areas of intervention.

i. Evolution and development of locally comfortable and compatible mechanisms of income generation and production of various commodities or services. Its example can be entrepreneurship of Self Help Groups that generate money and they are economically gainful activities.

ii. Assistance to the marginalized groups to strengthen themselves in the market. Its example can be a support in kind and in money given to youths from a nomadic tribal community for undergoing hardware and networking courses with the help of which they can sustain themselves economically.

iii. Creation of alternatives and parallel framework so as to avoid exploitation and malpractices. For example if the engineering colleges are few and they also need high donations; we can initiate for a people run engineering college or short term courses to impart the practical vocational knowledge. Another example of this kind can be to develop competent model of non- formal education to avoid marketised education; to invent and utilize local method of power generation to avoid market rates. Of course; all these mechanisms need long term participation from a significant number of people.

The best of its kind of model would be invention and production of technological tools which will empower the rural masses. Such a technology should have the following qualities-

a. Affordable and accessible to all – i.e. its investment cost should be minimal; e.g. a zero cost participatory nallah bunding; training on Yoga.

b. It should generate concrete production that has respectable value in the market; so that it can gainfully economically empower its users.

It should use local wisdom and indigenous knowledge; it should use creativity and individual competence rather than copy paste and stereo-type methods.

iv. To create awareness about fair and legal practices and advocate the issues of deviation from the constitutional norms. For example; a public hearing on child labor in sugar cane factories can be helpful to address the issue; for the workers as well as the media; or a study on transportation practices in rural areas can help for increasing quality of services given by public transport and thereby free the local people from the private transporters.

These modes of intervention are not different from the traditional methods. The difference is not in the process; but in the approach. Now let’s discuss another all- influential; significant crux of social interactions i.e. political situation or power related social circumstances.

6. Equitable power distribution

Power here is referred as the capacity of influencing or the extent of importance one person has in the society. Our better models of intervention would not function properly without properly addressing the power related issues. For example; let’s recall the example of remuneration issue of the sugar cane workers. We can do awareness generation; we can make the legal bodies aware about that. But would the situation change without support of the landlords or the big political leaders who control these factories?

It is said that development and under-development is not so ad- hoc or spontaneous; it is a political process. "Women are dying, not because diseases we cannot cure, but because, societies are yet to make the decision that their lives are worth saving."

It is a matter of debate to decide how much this analytical statement holds true. But no doubt, there is reasonable meaning in it. The message of that statement is that social problems are more to do with inequalities related to power than to facilities or services. Most of the social problems are rooted in inequalities and suppression. So as long as these inequalities remain, any solution will not be long lasting. Because most of the problems are due to inequalities and so till inequalities remain, they will also remain. So there is need to address these inequalities firstly. All inequalities are so strongly related with power inequality. Hence we need to discuss power dynamics.

Power can be referred to as the ability to influence others, ability to influence decision making. It is related with importance one has in the community. Power dynamics are inter- related factors which are related to power. Power can be referred as social money i.e. what money is in economy, power is in the society. Power is exerted or applied through one or more of the following channels-

1. Money

2. Property

3. Social status

4. Education

5. Occupation

6. Knowledge

7. Understanding and insights

8. Physical health

9. Relations with the powerful group or hierarchs, such as leaders, landlords.

10. Social relations and connectivity with the community and society.

11. Numerical strength.

In this context, power inequality can be said as instrumental to social problems. Power inequality indicates lack of equality, lack of balanced social relations. This leads to one's domination over another and so all the stuff of exploitation, suppression, negligence begins. Conversely, if these inequalities are removed and all are brought to one level, there will be hardly any scope for exploitation, suppression as it would be immediately opposed, checked and neutralized. This is nothing but situation of 'haves' and 'haves not' according to Marxian analysis of dialectical materialism. Let's visualize this with an example. Let's take any example of social problem caused by inequality. Let's take a case of a doctor demanding money from a poor woman for checking up her. As long as that woman is socially less powerful and the doctor is more powerful, he can take the money. But if both become equally powerful, he would not be able to take the money easily. This theme of thinking indicates the need to work on power inequalities rather than on facilities or services. We will discuss this line of thinking and try to analyze it, to visualize better ways emerging out of it.

The biggest problem in this approach is that power cannot be equated without having high or concentrated power and concentration of power leads to corruption. It is rightly said that “POWER CORRUPTS.” The question is of making such an efficient arrangement in which the power would be concentrated; strengthened; but it would be used or executed only in the interest of the disempowered. Power dynamics can be compared with a power tank. The power is concentrated in the tank at a height of 100 metres and the pipes are connected to distribute that power to the lower areas; but the water has not been filled into the pipes as its gate- way is closed. The moment we open the way; water is bound to distribute evenly. The same can be said about power. As long as it is detained; it is blocked; it is concentrated and works as a depriving force; but the moment it is open; it spreads uniformly and equitably.

The problem in realizing of this is that then the political influence of the current landlords or power holders would be reduced a lot. So in any case; they would not support such a thing. This is the basic issue. The constitution reads all are equal; but in practice; not all are equal as if all are to be equal; a few would have to reduce.

What does mean by concentration of power to reduce power inequality is a question to be answered now. As we have discussed; power is expressed through several channels. Concentration; let’s say; positive or distributive concentration of power is becoming strong in that areas – knowledge; income; land; social relations etc. If we are not politically strong; no one would listen to us. This discussion suggests that we should become politically strong as well as distribute it properly; so that we would not be victims of the power concentration. It is very tricky; something like going from the market and not doing shopping.

One of the best options is to build network of local groups of people without doing it in the name of an individual. It can be described as a decentralized and localized manner of political mobilization. If a group of activists or a network of social organizations becomes powerful in this way; it can influence decision making at a large scale also. For example; if there are good number of supporters and scientific base; such a cohort can influence national; international relations and factors. Let’s take the case of complicated issues involved in social problems in Kashmir and the North East. Any grass root level organization is unable to influence it; but if a network of local and regional groups come forward; does some homework in form of a research on grass root problems in Kashmir/ North east or any naxalite area in the country; its suggestions are bound to be ‘powerful’; any government cannot deny them or rule them out so easily.

This is true with all structural issues. Issues such as disputes between India and China or between India and Pakistan are not issues of awareness; development or social relations; but they are the issues of political strength and political strength ultimately lies in decentralized political association. If that is built; greater structural issues can also be solved; worked out.

7. Watershed development and alternative sources of renewable energy

Now we discuss the picture of overall social problems in the light of watershed development and renewable energy. As we have discussed in the beginning of the discussion; when we try to think holistically and synthesize various social problems and their root causes; we start understanding that these problems are basically results of a wrong model or paradigm of development. This model is based on material growth, need fulfillment and expansion. But the sustainable method of development is different. Many thinkers and development reformers have advocated this vision. Today we can see a lot of hazards of development in form of increasing social inequality; social tensions over limited resources; natural and environmental hazards and shift from equilibrium. These signs and symptoms signify that we need to adopt a paradigm shift in our methodology of development as well as its social linkages and values. Watershed development and alternatives of renewable energy are examples of key- issues for this.

Current methodology of development is market- driven; production and expansion oriented. Its sustainable substitute can be methodology advocated by Gandhi ji in his Hind Swaraj; development based on Antyoday (Empowerment of the most deprived) and Sarvodaya (Empowerment of all); the development based on decentralization; local sufficiency and need- centrality rather than material expansion and greed. Let’s see how watershed development and alternative sources of renewable energy are ways to strengthen this.

Migration is a central process to the traditional methodology of development. Migration is resulting in huge concentration of population and many social problems thereby. Decentralization is possible only if we reduce our dependency on cities and urban market. Watershed development is one channel to promote this. Watershed development when is achieved up to a minimum extent; reduces migration and provide a strength to local economy and agriculture. There are examples of model villages where migration has stopped and the migrated persons also have returned to the village as they found the village conditions better than the urban life. Watershed development strengthens the village as a unit of development from inside out; right from strengthening natural resources and providing the community with work to do and minimum facilities that are really necessary or ‘needed’. Watershed development is a tool which is applicable almost everywhere. Now a day even it has been replicated in urban areas. Hence a movement focusing on watershed development activities can be a better model of intervention.

The same can be said about alternative sources of renewable energy. The difference is that the technology processing part is extensive. Now days; the government has proved to be inadequate to fulfill its policy commitments regarding electric supply. Hence the best option would be to build local level projects of renewable energy. It might be difficult at the beginning; but in the long run; it would work as the ‘power’ empowering the local people. Current methods or traditional forms of energy such as patrol; gas; coal and even atomic energy have proved unsustainable. In the case of atomic energy; if we look at the total cost- benefit ratio and its socio- environmental hazards; we come to know that it is not a sustainable form of energy.

We have to take a diversion from these methods and go for other non- conventional and renewable forms such as biogas; wind energy, water energy and solar energy. Here; there is an ample scope for technology development and its conversion into replicable models; hence a lot of work needs to be done; enabling this method suitable for producing employment opportunities of every kind.

These are attributes of vision of better intervention models or better methods of sustainable development. Only a few of them cannot work alone. For example; there have been successful experiments of local energy generation projects; but they never got recognition and they were rejected. Another example is the ethanol as a fuel. These innovative methods were rejected as they would reduce monopoly of current methods. This clearly indicates that we would also need to work on market and political linkages associated with this issue. Hence what we require is a combination these and even better methods or models; so that we can make a significant impact.

What the writer wanted to share ends here. Now the discussion is open and anyone interested can contribute.

8. Epilogue

Here we close this discussion for now. There are so many questions unanswered, many points need to be clarified. Hence your additions are vital. Your contribution would make this process going even further and farther places.

The repetition in this discussion is regretted, the writer wants to apologize you for imposition of thoughts, also in case something has hurt you, something which you felt threatening. Such writing is mere one way, so incomplete. You can complete this, make it more meaningful by giving your guidance and inputs and continue the discussion.

Thanks a lot.


1 March 2010.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Dude, I manage to spare sometime to read your article or so called vichar. It is interesting n moreover widely discussed issue but still the ground of progress is casting in the air. I appreciate your janjagriti abhiyaan. I knew but really you wrote in a flawless n interesting manner.

    All the best !!


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