Caritas India takes efforts to support Gram Sabha in Bihar
Caritas India is the official National Organisation of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) for social concern and human development has been engaged in promoting and strengthening of Gram Sabha (Village Council) in Bihar in an effort to confront the inherent weakness in the system and the absence of people's participation. Partners for Resilience (PfR) and ADHIKAR, both Caritas India initiatives in Bihar, is an effort to enable participation and add value to the spirit of Gram Sabha, covering 38 Gram Panchayats, in 8 Districts of Bihar.
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Mobilising communities through rallies, house to house visits and special initiatives of Community Based Organisations (CBOs), was one of the different layers of these programs to increase the prospects of community participation. Caritas says its endeavour has helped communities and individuals understand the importance of Gram Sabha.
The Gram Sabha in Bihar
The Gram Sabha is an informal body comprised of representatives from each household in the village. All households take part in the working of the Gram Sabha and all decisions are taken by consensus. Caritas India has been working closely with the Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of Bihar, who extended full support for making Gram Sabha in Bihar successful.
The Ministry of Rural Development had directed the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) consultant to provide necessary information and Government Order on MGNREGA to Caritas in order to complete the preparations required, prior to the October 02, 2012 Gram Sabha meeting.
The Christian NGO has expressed that the blend of programmatic efforts and the Government interest has yielded visible results leading to convergence of village plans in the Gram Sabhas.