Back to Village Program: Transformative Vision

B2V Initiative Changing The Dynamics Of Governance In UT

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B2V Initiative Changing The Dynamics Of Governance In UT

In Jammu and Kashmir, accessibility to the power centers, particularly for the people living in peripheries or in far flung areas, was always for the privileged until a very recent past. Common masses were hardly heard of by the authorities at helm. Their problems were hardly assessed and addressed. There existed a big gap between the ruled and the rulers. This scenario would always favour the three ruling families of Jammu and Kashmir, who wanted to rule without accountability, and for them bridging the gap between rulers and ruled was never a priority.

Then came the transformative and historical push in Jammu and Kashmir in 2019. Developmental and empowerment concerns became central to the government’s policy. The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir embarked on a new trajectory of development and prosperity. The historical roadblocks to development in the form of Article 370 and 35A were gone for good, and on the directions and guidance of the central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the UT administration has taken several reformative measures for socio-economic development and empowerment of people of J&K.

Fourth Edition Of B2V Initiative

The Back to Village programme is part of this transformative vision. Launched in June 2019, the Back to Village is entering its fourth edition. It is getting a massive response, especially from people in the militancy-infested areas, far-flung villages where government officials would hardly go in pre-2019 days. The aim of the programme is to bridge the gap between the achievable and achieved goals in development, take governance to doorsteps of the rural and inaccessible areas and generate credible and empirical feedback.

With the experience and acumen gathered in previous three phases of the programme, the Jammu and Kashmir government launched the fourth edition of ‘Back to Village programme – B2V4’ on October 27, 2022 with an aim to bridge the communication gap between the administration and citizens. This is an innovative initiative to access, assess and address the basic issues of people living in villages. It rests on the core aspect of democracy where peoples’ feedback is paramount for the ruling class to hold on to power.

The ruling class has the constitutional responsibility to constantly connect with the people in order to ensure development reaches to the last one in the line and people get a feeling of being part of the system. But in Jammu and Kashmir, the traditional ruling class didn’t fulfill such pressing responsibilities and ignored this vital concept of connecting with the masses. It is partly because of this gap that a situation arose in Jammu and Kashmir which actually threatened the very democratic fabric of the erstwhile state, and impacted the overall ratings of democracy in the country as well.

B2V Bridges Gap Between Admn And The People

Addressing the democracy deficit in Jammu and Kashmir, the Back to Villages programme is changing the whole dynamic of the governance in the UT. Because democracy means listening to the people at their doorsteps, understanding the circumstances in which they are living, feeling a pinch of the difficulties that impact their lives, and finding a way out of it. The Back to Villages programme is exactly doing the same.

The principal objective of B2V-4 is to strengthen the newly constituted Panchayats. Led by the District Commissioners, over 25,000 government employees at all levels will participate including 4,500 gazetted officers who will directly be deployed to the Panchayats.

Stronger Ties Between People And Administration

J&K policymakers believe that this bottom-up approach adopted in the Back to Village programmes in general and also in the B2V4 programme will help to build trust and strengthen the ties between the people and administration. Manoj Sinha administration has set an ambitious target for this year: over 2 lakh certificates will be issued, and 65,000 self employment cases will be taken up by the government.

A huge number of 1 lakh youths will be identified for skill training. The administration has tied up with J&K Bank to deliver credit linked schemes. Moreover, IT-based Common Service Centers (CSCs) will be set up, demonstrations and training camps will be organized to help citizens access 225 online services including 70 G2C services. Over 4200 Paani Samitis have been instituted to discuss and decide on supply of safe drinking water to remote areas. Also over 10 lakh land passbooks will be issued to eligible farmers.

Efforts To Encourage Vibrant Sports Culture

The LG-led government of Jammu and Kashmir also aims to build at least one playfield in every Panchayat for encouraging a vibrant culture of sports among youth. Special camps will provide support to the specially abled and the quality of delivery of public services will be examined in the delivery process for easy delivery of services.

The big thing that will happen this year and which will have a lasting impact on the mission of good governance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is that the best performing districts and officers shall receive recognition and awards on the occasion of Republic Day.

So the overwhelming mission of the B2V programme is to energise and empower panchayats by involving the people of the UT and the government officials in a joint effort to deliver the mission of equitable development. Such efforts will direct the development efforts in rural areas through community participation and to create in masses an earnest desire for decent standard of living. In the long run, such innovative initiatives will transform Jammu and Kashmir into a model UT/state in terms of development.

Achieving Big Milestones

The administration of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir led by a dynamic leader and Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha hopes to achieve big milestones by reaching the doorsteps of people and register their grievances and address them promptly. This phase of the B2V-4 programme, scheduled to run till November 3, 2022, has focused on youth, skills and self employment, good governance and strengthening Panchayati Raj institutions at grassroots level.

The principal objective of B2V-4 is to strengthen the newly constituted Panchayats. Led by the District Commissioners, over 25,000 government employees at all levels will participate including 4,500 gazetted officers who will directly be deployed to the Panchayats.

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