Category: panchayat

Koorachundu Village Panchayat – Profile

The information furnished below is the profile of Koorachundu Village Panchayat, as these details were collected from various sources as a requirement for the International Conference On Deepening Democracy 2015 (ICODD 2015), held in Thiruvananthapuram. Information was collected in a data collection format issued by KILA, Thrissur. And the data is correct up to 08/05/2015. Hereby publishing these details, for those who are in need.
——————————–

1. General Information

#

Particulars

Name/No/Qty

1

District

Kozhikode

2

Taluk

Koyilandy, Thamarassery

3

Village/Villages

Koorachundu, Chakkittapara, Kayanna (Koyilandy Taluk) and Kanthalad (Thamarassery Taluk).

4

Block

Balussery

5

Area (Sq. Km)

87.98 Sq. K. Ms.

6

Boundary

North

Chakkittapara and Thariyode Village panchayats

East

Kattippara and Pozhuthana Village Panchayats

South

Panangad, Kottur and Kayanna Village Panchayats

West

Kayanna and Chakkittapara Village Panchayats

7

No. of Wards

13

8

Assembly Constituency

Balussery

9

Parliament Constituency

Kozhikode

koorachundu_vp

2.Introduction

Koorachundu Village Panchayat lies in Kozhikode District and in Balussery Block of Kerala state. It includes the forest area coming under Pervannamuzhi Range, and also includes a part of Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary. The Village Panchayat includes the Kuttiyadi Hydroelectric Project (Kakkayam Dam and reservoir) of KSEB Ltd. A part of Peruvannamuzhi Reservoir of Kuttiyadi Irrigation Project under the Department of Irrigation also lies within this village panchayat.

The Koorachundu Village Panchayat was established bifurcating the Kayanna Village Panchayat on 2/9/1969 vide government order no: G.O(Ms).271-2/69 D.D. The Village Panchayat was included the parts of Kayanna, Kanthalad, Chakkittapara and Koorachundu revenue villages. There was 8 wards initially, and after several delimitations occurred due course of time, the number of wards are 13 now. The first president of the Village Panchayat was Mr. O T Thomas.

3. Demographic Particulars

#

Particulars

No

1

Total population

17331

2

Male

8600

3

Female

8731

4

Density of Population

221/Sq. K. M.

5

Sex Ratio

958

6

Literacy Rate

93.51

7

No. of Families

4332 (approx.)

4. Historical, Social and Economical Importance

Early Settlements:

There are evidences of early inhabitants like the relics of temples, idols, etc are seen in different parts of the village panchayat. But, at some point of time, the people abandoned the area because of unknown reason, and eventually covered with forest again. The second wave of inhabitants to this region was during the Malabar Migration, of Syrian Christians from Travancore to Malabar region which was then under British Rule. The Kizhakkedath Kovilakom of Kurumbranad Principality were the landlords of the region. Two employers from Travancore reached here, and purchased large tracts of land from the Kovilakom, and started to sell it off to the migrants and the migration started in large scale during the 1940s and continued well into the 1970s. This migration had a significant demographic and social impact as the Christian population of Malabar which is increased (especially in the eastern hill region) 15-fold from 1931 to 1971. Huge tracts of uncultivated forest and waste land were converted into farms and plantations during this period. Basic infrastructure were also began to be developed during this period.

The Rajan Case:

The Rajan case arised from the Kakkayam Police Camp (located at present at Koorachundu Village panchayat) which refers to the death of P. Rajan, a student of the erstwhile Regional Engineering College, Calicut, as a result of torture in Kakkayam police camp during the nationwide emergency (between 1975 and 1977) in India in the year of 1976, and the legal battle that followed, which brought out the facts of the incident to the public. During the nationwide Emergency Fundamental Rights of the citizen were suspended by the government, hence creating a period of police activism. In Kerala, the Naxal movement was at its peak during this period. Because of the Kayanna Police Station attack (later renamed as Koorachundu Police Station, in 1980) P. Rajan, was arrested by the Kerala Police on March 1, 1976, for alleged Naxal association. He was held in police custody and tortured as part of the interrogation. He died due to the torture of extreme kind, especially due to something called uruttal (a practice of “rolling” a heavy wooden log over the body of the victim). His body was then disposed of by the police, and was never recovered. Rajan’s father T. V. Eachara Warrier complained to the authorities about his missing son. The police finally confirmed that he died in custody upon a habeas corpus suit (the first such suit in the history of Kerala) filed by his father in the High Court of Kerala.

Eachara Warrier fought a long battle against the establishment to bring to light the facts behind the disappearance and through that expose atrocities committed by the state. Rajan’s body was not found and due to this many charges against the accused in this case had to be dropped. The accused included the then chief of the Crime Branch wing of Kerala Police, DIG Jayaram Padikkal, who was convicted but the conviction was overturned on appeal. K. Karunakaran was the Home Minister during the emergency. He resigned from the post of the Chief Minister of Kerala in 1978 due to adverse judgment in the case. Eachara Warrier wrote the book ‘Memories of a father’ narrating his fights.

Prominent personalities:

Abraham Kadukanmackal (Kochettan), a farmer of village panchayat, who developed a high-yielding nutmeg variety, ‘Kadukanmackal nutmeg’, which fetched him a place in the Limca Book of Records besides various honours and awards from the state and union governments since 1995. He developed a high-yielding variety of pepper, ‘Kadukanmackal pepper’, as well. ‘Kadukanmackal nutmeg’ is one among the crop varieties which the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations selected from Asia in 2010 under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Saji Kadukanmackal, brother of Abraham Kadukammackal also won state award for the best farmer living in the village panchayat as well.

Mayookha Johny is a prominent figure of village panchayat, born on 9th April 1988, who is an Indian track and field athlete specialises in long jump and triple jump. She holds the current Indian National record for triple jump with a mark of 14.11m. She is the first Indian woman to cross the 14m mark. Her father M. D. Johny was a bodybuilder and a former Mr. Bombay. Her current coach is Shyam Kumar.

Koorachundu Village Panchayat is also home to many other sports personalities including Silpa Chacko Ettiyil (winner of 3rd position in the Triple jump – Federation Cup) and her brother, Sobin Chacko Ettiyil who was the participant in the Hand Ball competition in the last National Games, etc. It also be noted that, the first rural stadium in India is located at Kallanode, lies in this village panchayat.

Paul Kallanode, the famous artist and cartoonist born and spend his childhood days here.

Major Institutions:

1. Village Panchayat and it’s Integral Institutions:

  1. O/o Koorachundu Village Panchayat,
  2. Krishi Bhavan – Koorachundu,
  3. Veterinary Dispensary – Koorachundu,
  4. Veterinary Sub Centre – Kariyathumpara,
  5. Primary Heath Centre – Kakkayam,
  6. Family Welfare Centre at Mandoppara,
  7. Family Welfare Centre at Keloth vayal,
  8. Family Welfare Centre at Kallanode,
  9. Family Welfare Centre at Kattullamala,
  10. Ayurveda dispensary – Koorachundu,
  11. Homeo Dispensary (NRHM) – Koorachundu,
  12. KHEP Govt. L P School – Kakkayam,
  13. ICDS Supervisor and 18 Anganwadi Centres,
  14. LSGD Section (Koorachundu/Kottur),
  15. Village Extension Officers for Koorachundu and Kallanode circles,
  16. Koorachundu Village Panchayat Kudumbasree Community Development Society,
  17. Koorachundu Village Panchayat Literacy Mission.

2. Integral Institutions of other LSGIs:

  1. Community Health Centre – Koorachundu, under Balussery Block Panchayat.

3. Other Major Institutions:

  1. Village Office – Koorachundu
  2. Sub Registrar Office – Koorachundu
  3. Police Station – Koorachundu
  4. Section Office, KSEB Ltd – Koorachundu
  5. Sub Post Offices – Koorachundu and Kakkayam
  6. Branch Post Office – Kallanode
  7. Telephone Exchanges (BSNL) – Koorachundu and Kakkayam
  8. Kuttiyadi Hydro Electric Project – Kakkayam
  9. Kallanode Service Cooperative Bank – Kallanode (H O) and Koorachundu Branch
  10. Kerala Gramin Bank – Koorachundu Branch
  11. Canara Bank – Athiyodi Branch
  12. Federal Bank – Koorachundu Branch
  13. Kerala State Financial Enterprises – Koorachundu Branch
  14. Ration Shops 9 Nos
  15. Maveli Stores of Supplyco
  16. Athiyodi Milk Producers Cooperative Society
  17. Nirmala Cooperative Press, Koorachundu
  18. Vanitha Cooperative Society, Kattulla mala
  19. Medicare hospital, Koorachundu

Places of interest:

The major bazaars in the village panchayat are Koorachundu, Kallanode, Kariyathumpara, Kakkayam, Keloth vayal and Erappamthode. There are many scenic places in village panchayat which have very good potential for eco-tourism and related activities. most notable among them are Kakkayam Dam site and reservoir, Kattulla mala, Nambikulam, and the banks of Peruvannamuzhi reservoir – Ottappalam.

Festivals:

Annual festival of Koorachundu St. Thomas church is the major festival in the village panchayat. Annual festivals of other churches and chapels at Kallanode, Kariyathumpara, Kakkayam, Onjil and Porali, and temple festivals of Podippur temple, Porali temple are also celebrated with wide participation of people as well.

5. Geographical features

Koorachundu Village Panchayat finds its place at the Northern Midland Zone. The highest peak in the village panchayat is Olathookki mala which lies 2648 ft. above sea level. Other notable hills are Sankaranpuzha mala, Kilikudukki mala, Kattulla mala, Nambikulam, Thanniyam kunnu, Idinja kunnu, Kannadippara, Poovatham kunnu, Kannadippara and Manichery mala. Kuttiyadi river starts from the forest land of this area, some tributaries to the Korappuzha river and to Chaliyar river begins here, and a few streams of Kabini river also starts from the forest lands near the eastern boundaries of the villlage panchayat. Number of major streams and tributaries are more than 40 most notable among them are Ambalakkunnu thodu, Mannanan thodu, Ayyappankunnu thodu, Poovathumchola- Koorachundu thodu, Keloth vayal thodu etc. Considering its geography, village panchayat can be categorised in to three regions viz: Table land, Slopes and Valleys.

Table land

0.62% of the Total area. Table lands are located at Poovatham kunnu, Kannadippara, Nambikulam and Sankaran puzha. Black top soil is seen here in approx. 1 foot thickness.

Slopes

65% of the Total area. Major tracts lies in slopes are Kakkayam, Meenmutty, Kariyathum para, Manichery, Thanniyam kunnu, Idinja kunnu, Kochu kannadippara, Nambikulam and Kattulla mala. The forest area mainly comes within this region. The rest is arable land with fertile soil. Huge landslides occurred in these areas during the years of 1967 and 198

Valleys

34.38% of the Total area. This region lies at Kallanode, Kariyathum para, Poovathum chola, Koorachundu, Vattachira, Pathiyil, Kaithakkolly, Onjil, Koyipparamba, Keloth vayal, Sankara vayal, Kalangali and Chalidam. Loam soil are seen at some places, Black soil in many parts and red soil at rest of the places are seen.

6. Occupation and Livelihood

The number of people with higher education is higher in the village panchayat. Many of them are outside the country involving in their professional careers abroad. Major occupation of the people living here is agriculture, farming and associated activities. Rubber, Coconut, Arecanut, Pepper etc. are the major crops. Nutmeg, ginger, turmeric, banana, taro, yam, vegetables etc. are also grown here. Many people are involved in poultry and cattle breeding. Being the predominant agricultural and farming activities, only nominal industrial units like saw mill, manufacturing of furniture, metal industrial, restaurants, etc. are seen here. Few petty merchants are also located in bazaars.

7. Facilities/services

#

Description

No/Qty

1

Colleges

0

2

Schools

8

3

Anganwadies

18

4

Hospitals/Dispensaries

5

5

Veterinary Dispensary

1

6

Banks

4

7

Post Office

3 (Areas of 5 post offices)

8

Roads (Total in KMs)

120.12

8. Village Panchayat Administration

8.1 Panchayat Committee

Sl. No. – Ward – Name of Ward – Member – Designation

  1. – 13 – Onjil – Agustine Karakkada – President
  2. – 6 – Thonikkadavu – Ancy Joseph Edasseriyil – Vice president and Chairperson, Finance Standing Committee
  3. – 9 – Poovathumchola – O.K. Ammad Odakkayyil – Chairman Development Standing Committee
  4. – 4 – Kakkayam – Saliamma James Arackal – Chairperson, Welfare Standing Committee
  5. – 12 – Koorachundu – Michael Pulikkal – Chairman, Health and Education Standing Committee
  6. – 1 – Sankaravayal – Wilson Mangalath Puthanpurayil – Member
  7. – 2 – Kalangali – Mini Babu Illikkal – Member
  8. – 3 – Ottappalam – Vincy Thondiyil – Member
  9. – 5 – Kariyathumpara – Jessy Jose Thannikkal – Member
  10. – 7 – Kallanode – Simily Biju Thannikkal – Member
  11. – 8 – Chalidam – Ramla Majeed Parayil – Member
  12. – 10 – Vattachira – Ebrahim Chathoth – Member
  13. – 11 – Kattullamala – Swamykutty Ambayathodi – Member

8.2 Panchayat Office – Officials and Staff

Permanent employees

#

Designation

Sanctioned posts

Name (in charge of section)

1

Secretary

1

K P Balan

2

Assistant Secretary

1

Jaisen Nedumpala

3

Junior Superintendent

1

Sajeevan E G

4

Accountant

1

Soman E T

5

Senior Clerks

3

Sibi P P (A1)

Ashareph K K (A2)

Sreekumar K (A3)

6

Clerk

4

Divya M S (B1)

Vacant (B2)

Sirajudheen A (B3)

Vacant (B5)

7

Clerk

(Re-deployed)

1

Sameer K P (B4)

8

Office Attendant

1

Rijeesh M K

9

Nursery Teacher

1

Vacant

10

Driver

1

Ummar

11

Full Time Sweeper

1

Muneer P T

12

Mahatma Gandhi NREGS Coordinator (Aided School Teacher on Protection, in working arrangement)

1

Abdul Salam

Total

17

Staff on contract basis

13

Mahatma Gandhi NREGS Overseers

2

Salaja A K

Sanila A T

14

Mahatma Gandhi NREGS Data Entry Operator

1

Seena Antony

15

Technical Assistant

1

Jithinkanth G

Total

4

Grand Total

21

8.3 Integral Institutions of Village Panchayat

#

Name of Institution

Designation of officials and staff

No. of Sanctioned Posts

1

Krishi Bhavan

Koorachundu

Agricultural Officer

1

Agricultural Assistants

2

Part-Time Sweeper

1

2

Veterinary dispensary

Koorachundu

Veterinary Surgeon

1

Livestock Inspector

1

Attendant

1

Part Time Sweeper

1

3

Veterinary Sub Centre

– Kariyathumpara

Livestock Inspector Gr:II

1

Part-time Sweeper (Temporary working arrangement via Kudumbasree SHG)

1

4

Primary Heath Centre

Kakkayam

Medical Officers

1

Health Supervisors

0

Lady Health Supervisors

0

Health Inspectors

1

Lady Health Inspectors

0

Junior Health Inspectors

1

Junior Public Health Nurse

1

Staff nurse

1

Pharmacists

1

Nursing assistants

1

Clerks

1

Office Attendant

1

Hospital Attendant

1

Part-Time Sweeper

1

ASHA workers

2

Palliative Nurse

1

5

Family Welfare Centre

– Mandoppara

Junior Public Health Nurse

1

6

Family Welfare Centre

Kallanode

Staff under the control of Koorachundu CHC of Balussery block panchayat

Staff being not transferred to Koorachundu village panchayat

7

Family Welfare Centre

Keloth vayal

Staff under the control of Koorachundu CHC of Balussery block panchayat

Staff being not transferred to Koorachundu village panchayat

8

Family Welfare Centre

Kattullamala

Staff under the control of Koorachundu CHC of Balussery block panchayat

Staff being not transferred to Koorachundu village panchayat

9

Govt. Ayurveda Dispensary

Koorachundu

Medical Officer

1

Pharmacist – Gr II

1

Nurses

0

Nursing Assistants

0

Attender

1

Cook

0

Sanitation worker

0

Part-Time Sweeper

1

10

Homeo dispensary (NRHM)

Koorachundu

Medical Officer

1

Pharmacists

0

Attender

1

11

KHEP Govt. L P School

Kakkayam

Head Masters

1

Assistant Teachers

0

P D Teacher

3

Office Attendants

0

Part-Time Contingent Menial

1

12

ICDS Supervisor and 18 Anganwadi Centres

ICDS Supervisor

1

Anganwadi workers

18

Anganwadi Helpers

18

13

LSGD Section

Koorachundu and Kottur

Assistant Engineer

1

Overseer Gr I

1

Overseer Gr II

1

Overseer Gr III

1

Clerk (On contract basis)

1

14

Village Extension Offices (Koorachundu and Kallanode circles)

Village Extension Officer Gr I

1

Village Extension Officer Gr II

1

15

Kudumbasree Community Development Society, Koorachundu

Accountant

1

16

Koorachundu Village Panchayat Literacy Mission

Prerak

1

Assistant Prerak

2

Total no. of posts

81

9. Finance

9.1 Funds received Before and After Decentralisation

#

Category of fund

Amount in Rs.

1996-97

Category of fund

Amount in Rs.

2003-04

2008-09

2014-15

1

Untied Fund

549695

Development fund (general)

52500

4774000

9008000

2

Basic tax grant

374772

Development fund (SCP)

1283000

1166000

2135000

3

Establishment grant

Development fund (TSP)

77000

70000

166000

4

Minor irrigation grant

Maintenance grant (road)

1065000

110000

5101477

5

Village road maintenance grant

Maintenance grant (Non-road)

710000

777000

2969000

6

Vehicle tax comprehensive grant

13th Finance Commission Grant

6351647

7

Special Grant

1244080

World bank assistance

2732000

8

Other grants and donations

28160

General purpose grant

1938000

1761000

4777352

9

Other receipts from government

MGNREGS fund

2620000

976114

630837

10

Funds received from departments

963210

520482

11

Fund – old age pension

56050

65680

1630405

12

Fund – Widow pension

114320

254237

4111214

13

Fund – Spinsters above 50 years pension

25978

21546

93237

14

Fund – Disabled pension

111242

271236

1615635

15

Fund – Agriculture laborers pension

524265

1005904

3283149

16

Marriage assistance

17500

5000

70000

17

Unemployment Allowances

104520

285000

249360

18

Child welfare

203298

19

MLA Fund

20

MP Fund

1069054

21

Draught/flood

681403

22

Other funds from Government

1406080

Total

2196707

9662585

12063199

48284148

9.2 Own Fund Receipts

#

Category

Amount in Rs

1995-96

2003-04

2014-15

1

Property tax

211906

461275

2077713

2

Profession tax

172475

742025

1126050

3

Other taxes

41022

4

PFA license fee

2413

5

D&O license fee

15475

351901

14150

6

Building permit fee

59030

7

Building fitness fee

8

Birth and death registration fee

237

588

230

9

Marriage registration fee

14700

10

Other fees

265416

148264

35765

11

Fines

15933

18262

21373

12

Cost of forms

13

Other own receipts

42632

178988

Total

724877

1764947

3527999

9.3 Total Receipts during 2014-15

#

Item

Amount in Rs.

1

Amount as per 9.1 above

48284148

2

Amount as per 9.2 above

3527999

Total

51812147

10. Plan outlay and Expenditure of last 5 years

#

Year

Outlay

Expenditure

1

2010-11

72006333

22270669

2

2011-12

65544907

18802605

3

2012-13

68626280

16093998

4

2013-14

76511078

22627489

5

2014-15

86189895

29143782

11. About the work being presented in the track: Local Governments & Right To Information.

Title: Mapping experiments in an Unsurveyed land – An #OpenGeoData Initiative for Rights to information at Koorachundu Village Panchayat.

Proposed to be presented by Jaisen Nedumpala (Assistant Secretary, Koorachundu Village Panchayat; Member of Executive Committee, Swathanthra Malayalam Computing; Member, Wikimedia India Chapter).

Every Citizen have a right to Information to have the basic details about their surroundings in an authentic fashion. Local governments are the custodians of asset registers which contain the details of basic infrastructure including road networks and other public facilities they maintain. Local governments are also the first respondents in case of any hazards, in practical sense.

Requirement by RTI Act – 2005 Sections 4(1), 4(2), 4(3), 4(4): Local governments are public authorities responsible for maintaining their records duly catalogued and indexed, and to provide as much information suo motu to the public through various means of communications, including internet. Essence of the definition of E-Governance by UNESCO is to encourage citizen participation in governance.

Central govt guidelines to formulate projects generally requires GIS to be applied for the sake of accuracy and precision. For Eg: Common Guidelines for Watershed Development Projects, 2008 requires to use the current trends & advances in IT & Remote Sensing and Technology inputs using GIS. Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana Guidelines requires to map the assets using GIS. But village panchayats can’t formulate GIS projects vide Circular No: 71639/IB1/2012/LSGD dated 11/3/2013 – which enforces restrictions over the individual software development activities of the LSGIs of Kerala, and Circular No:1942/D.C.2/2013/LSGD dated 13/12/2013 which prohibits village panchayats from developing a custom GIS.

The state of affairs at Koorachundu Village Panchayat is that we have no cadastral map and no GIS. But it pops up several instances to draw maps. For eg: requirements by Kasturirangan report, requirements by ward delimitation etc. So, There is a need of baseline GeoData for Developmental Planning and Implementation, administration purposes, and in case of emergencies without hassle. It is easy to draw maps from the layers of GIS, when in need. If there is a public repository of OpenGeoData, people can access the data when they need, without any formal requests to the village panchayat, satisfying the responsibility imposed by RTI Act.

There is an ongoing work to build an #OpenGeoData repository with different layers which are necessary for the mapping needs of the village panchayat to suit all the future administration, developmental planning, and disaster response needs (to plan and carry out logistics to transport aid).

First phase of the work was a successful mapping experiment involving the OpenStreetMap volunteers. The area still remain unsurveyed. The experiment was done in order to draw a map detailing the wards and important public institutions as per the orders from State Election Commission for election purpose. Village Panchayats need accurate base maps to prepare plans for its watershed based development projects and for administrative purpose. Koorachundu Village Panchayat didn’t have an accurate map earlier. This work was done through a participatory and modern way of approach.

The Village Panchayat got a more accurate map through this experiment. And also created the related spatial layers in OpenStreetMap GeoData repository as a byproduct. The base document used was the ward delimitation document of 2010. The field survey was done using the GPS enabled Android smart phones. The Android apps such as GPS Logger, Keypad Mapper and OSM Tracker were used in field to record the GPS tracks and to collect point data. The field level survey was done only for four days with the help of ward level resource persons and OSM-GPS volunteers. JOSM (Java based OpenStreetMap editor) and iD (Web based OpenStreetMap editor) were used to upload and edit the tracks and point data to OpenStreetMap. The Microsoft Bing Imagery also was used for tracing the features in OpenStreetMap. After uploading and editing all the features, data was downloaded and processed using QGIS. Finishing works of the map was done using Inkscape vector editor. The accuracy of the resultant map is much higher than any maps that Village Panchayat ever had.

The second phase of this work is on progress, involving the surveyors from the Dept. of Survey & Land Records and the authorities at the revenue village offices of the area. The joint field verification efforts in the Village Panchayat with these authorities and village panchayat is finished, and under the verification of Taluk authorities. Village Panchayat will get an accurate Cadastral Map of the Village Panchayat, and hopefully the #OpenGeoData of cadastral details also as a byproduct.

More details about the work at:
http://blog.smc.org.in/mapping-efforts-in-an-unsurveyed-land-koorachundu/

12. Projects in nutshell

The main focus areas of Village panchayat are developing Basic Infrastructure, providing drinking water by implementing Drinking Water Supply Schemes, and provide housing to the homeless, and most of the projects are framed to satisfy these needs.

13. No. of projects and funds (Sector wise)

Sl. No.

Sectors

No. Of Projects

Fund Outlay

Expenditure

1

Production (General)

8

4669975

1849718

2

Service (General)

51

44989621

12833903

3

Infrastructure (general)

98

20087428

11287849

4

Service (SCP)

17

13546076

2782584

5

Infrastructure (SCP)

1

200000

195128

6

Service(TSP)

5

2696795

194600

Total

180

86189895

29143782

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A note on FOSS based integrated software framework for E-Governance and sustainable development of village panchayats.

Sustainable development – definition, concepts and philosophy

Sustainable development was first described as, the “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. (Brundtland 1987).

Sustainability is a model for future in which environmental, social and economic considerations are balanced in development activities. It includes an improved quality of life as well. Sustainable development is a way within which many processes and pathways to achieve sustainability say, sustainable agriculture, sustainable production and consumption, good government, research and technology transfer, etc (Unesco 2013).

The Rio Declaration (Earth Summit) contains 27 principles, including:

  1. People are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature;
  2. Eradicating poverty and reducing disparities in living standards in different parts of the world;
  3. Environmental protection is an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation from it.

These principles can guide the efforts of governments, communities and organizations to define sustainability goals and create programmes to help achieve those goals. In addition to these, global sustainability dialogues includes the following principles as well:-

  1. A systems thinking approach, rather than an approach that looks at problems in isolation should be used. Sustainability issues are linked and part of a “whole.” (Systems thinking is the process of understanding how elements of a system influence one another within the whole.)
  2. Understanding local issues in a global context and recognizing that solutions to local problems can have global consequences.
  3. Considering differing views before reaching a decision or judgment.
  4. Emphasizing the role of public participation in community and governmental decision-making. People whose lives will be affected by decisions must be involved in the process leading to the decisions.
  5. Calling for greater transparency and accountability in governmental decision-making.

After the Earth Summit in 1992, governments and communities were charged with the responsibility of creating sustainability plans. Governments and civil society must identify priorities and create their own sustainability goals. Then, they can create plans to achieve those goals. Ideally, at local level, every community would include sustainability in its plans and projects. It is the responsibility of all sectors of society to work towards a more sustainable future (Unesco 2013) .

Legal obligations to have scientific and planned activities

Village panchayats are local governments with powers inherited from the constitution and which have functions with direct effects on the environment and on the people who live within their geographical jurisdiction. As laid down in the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act 1994: Section 162.A, the standing committee for development is responsible to carry out the development planning, socio-economic planning, spatial planning etc, with some other responsibilities. The standing committee for health and education is responsible for environmental protection in village panchayat levels. Grama Sabha has the powers to formulate schemes to impart awareness on matters of public interest like cleanliness, environmental protection, pollution control etc. Village panchayats also have the general function to Inculcate environmental awareness and motivating local action for environmental upgradation.

As laid down in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 Section 16. (3), every Gram Panchayat shall, prepare a development plan and maintain a shelf of possible works to be taken up under the Scheme as and when demand for work arises. Under this act, Village Panchayats need to prepare a watershed based master plan, as detailed in Watershed Works Manual published by the Ministry of Rural Development, GOI. It’s two chapters: 5. Mapping and 6. Technical Surveys of a Watershed, details the techniques of mapping.

The Common Guidelines for Watershed Development Projects of Government of India, 2008 also details two entire chapters about the need of Technology inputs and GIS while preparing plans: Chapter 2. Guiding Principles – V. Capacity Building and Technology Inputs: Current trends & advances in IT & Remote Sensing and Chapter 3. Technology Inputs – Core GIS facilities, DPR – Resource Maps, Cadastral maps etc.

The Kerala Town and Country Planning Act, 2016, which is enacted for the promotion of planned development and regulation of growth of urban and rural areas in the state with focus on scientific spatial planning and to secure to their present and future inhabitants, sanitary conditions, amenity and convenience and for other matters connected therewith. It makes the village panchayat into a local planning area, and Section 30 of the act mandates the panchayat to develop a master plan, execution plan and a detailed town planning scheme. A master plan (section 34) is a comprehensive plan for a local planning area, conceived within the framework of the district level perspective plan, providing long-term policies, programmes and detailed proposals for spatial development of the use of land and development etc. An execution plan (section 37) is prepared for a period of five years for the local planning area providing the goals, policies, strategies, priorities and programmes for spatial development of the area for the period. A Detailed Town Planning Scheme (section 44, 45) is a comprehensive plan for a particular area within the local planning area, conceived within the framework of the master plan for the local planning area, providing detailed proposals for spatial development in which the use of land and development shall be carried out.

It should be noted that, state government issued a circular to constitute “Sevagram” Gramakendram, and an order is issued framing the detailed work chart of them. It is an extension centre of Village Panchayat in each ward, important statistics, various maps (political, resource, social, drainage, land use) relating to that ward should be displayed for public information. There is a need of maps depicting ward-level details.

In case of the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY), which was launched by the Prime Minister Sri. Narendra Modi, each member of the parliament can adopt two of the village panchayats in his/her constituency for this programme. It is a rural development programme focusing upon the all-inclusive development of the village panchayats. Para 10  Planning – of the guidelines for SAGY requires to prepare Social Map, Resource map, maps showing Land Use, Water bodies, Irrigation Structures, Physical layout of the land – showing slopes, undulations, drainage patterns etc through participatory approach. It also requires the data collected through the situation analysis should be captured on a GIS platform. Para 13. Use of Technology & Innovations – of the guideline encourages the adoption and adaptation of technology and introduction of innovations in this programme. One among them is (i). Space applications and remote sensing, which will be used in the planning and monitoring of the programmes. Assets will also be mapped using GIS.

So the three tier panchayats are in a phase, seriously stepping onto the field of scientific spatial planning. All the above acts, guidelines etc. mandates the need of scientific spatial planning at the village panchayat level. It is high time to use GIS and remote sensing techniques, and immensely use the geospatial data while preparing plans.

Business Process Reengineering (BPR)

(Hammer and Champy 2009) define business process reengineering (BPR) as ‘the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of the business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical, contemporary measures of performance, such as cost, quality, service and speed’. The routine business process in the administration of village panchayats should be optimised so as to improve the overall performance and increase the quality of service. In addition to it, an optimised software based framework should also be developed to achieve this goal.

A technological framework for sustainable development

Even with the presence of an e-governance initiative by the government, almost all of the mandatory and statutory functions of the village panchayats in the state are carried out in an archaic manual decision making process, with less use of intuitive technological support. As a result, most of the obligations village panchayats are entitled, as per the Bruntland Commission Report, Rio Declaration (Earth Summit) and global sustainability dialogues are not efficiently followed.

But many of the insights to follow these obligations can be achieved by the effective integrated use of techniques namely Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Remote Sensing and Geograhical Information Systems, Content Management System (CMS) and Business Intelligence (BI).

ERP – holistic approach.

We are moving through an era in which software development activities for e-governance and local administration is done adopting Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) principles (Pune Municipal Corporation 2016). ERP is a business process management software that allows an organization to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate many back office functions related to technology, services and human resources. It integrates all facets of an operation, including product planning, development etc. (Beal 2016). In other words, the term ERP stands for the idea of all the information and operations needed for an enterprise is coordinated in a computer system with the help of hardware and software. For making this coordination easier, besides computer software and hardware, a unified database also is used storing and managing the different activities of the institution. In short, an ERP software is a system which contain a unified database which store and manage the details of activities, a common computer application which manage the day to day activities, and a unified user interface.

GIS or Geographic Information System

We can define a geographic information system as a computerised system that facilitates the phases of data entry, data analysis and data presentation especially in cases when we are dealing with geo-referenced data. A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earth’s surface. GIS can show many different kinds of data on one map. This enables people to more easily see, analyse, and understand patterns and relationships (National Geographic Society 2011).

Content Management System

A content management system (CMS) is a computer application that supports the creation and modification of digital content using a common user interface and thus usually supporting multiple users working in a collaborative environment. It is possible to store, share and contribute information for a large number of people via this system.

Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence (BI) can be described as “a set of techniques and tools for the acquisition and transformation of raw data into meaningful and useful information for business analysis purposes” (Turner 2016). There are BI softwares available, which can be used for acquiring better insights on the stored data using ERP, GIS and CMS. This will give more precision in the mandatory activities of village panchayats.

FOSS for Local Governments

Free software: Free software is “that comes with permission for anyone to use, copy, and distribute, either verbatim or with modifications, either gratis or for a fee”(‘Gnu.org’ 2016) and essentially the source code of the software is available.
Open source software: As per the open source initiative, “Open source is a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process. The promise of open source is better quality, higher reliability, more flexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in” (‘The Open Source Initiative’ 2016).

In common practice, Free, Open source and allied classes of softwares are grouped as one, and referred to as Free/Libré/Open Source Software and abbreviated as FLOSS or FOSS. The active user communities and developer communities around the globe are peculiar for this group of software. The community culture and the democratic decision making process in the FOSS domain has similarities with the decision making process in village panchayats.

Integrated software for Panchayat / Local Administration

In case of panchayats, the advantage of adopting a FOSS based ERP software is that, all the activities notably production, purchase, distribution, collection, human resources, financial affairs, project management, customer relations, assets, etc can be coordinated through a single computer application. For eg, the related activities like building permission, basic tax assessment, basic tax collection, etc can be connected through information sharing by ERP. When building permission is issued, the information will be available in basic tax collection wing.

ERP has a relational database. A change in any record, will be available at once in all parts of the system. All the activities of the integral institutions of a village panchayat can be coordinated through ERP, which is not available in the present software programmes. When an employee login to the ERP, all his/her duties will be listed in that single interface. This will reduce the time taken for doing a specific duty, and will increase accessibility.

In village panchayats, the activities like building regulation, tax collection, licensing resource management, project planning, waste management, agriculture etc are having a spatial component. To manage these kind of spatial activities, a GIS component also can be planned with the ERP software. For eg, the zoning of basic tax assessment can be made available in GIS. If the information which are collected and stored using ERP and GIS is disseminated via web content management system (CMS), the legal obligations due to the section (4) of the Right to Information act can be satisfied easily.

In the free software domain, there are software frameworks and software programmes are available, which are customisable for satisfying the needs of village panchayats.

In village panchayats and in their integral institutions and in the department of panchayats, a FOSS based integrated and centralised software system should be deployed, which essentially having an ERP, a GIS, a CMS, and a BI and data visualisation component. Free and Open Source Software must be given priority, as those will be the sustainable solution for long-term use.

cms_bi

Schematic diagram

Accounting, Budget, Income and Expenditure, Human Resource Management, Project Management, Construction, Meetings, Purchases, Collaborative file management etc can be managed using ERP. Assets, Taxation, Licensing, Land and Water Resource Management, Building rules, Data bank of wetlands and paddy fields, etc can be managed using GIS. Online distribution of various certificates, information dissemination, publication of notices, consolidation of acts, rules, orders, circulars, guidelines etc can be managed using CMS. The CMS can be configured as the tender notices, notifications, project plans, biodiversity registers etc can be published in a decentralised manner from the concerned offices respectively. The information and statistics which are consolidated in this integrated software can be arranged such as those are published automatically, satisfying the section 4 of the RTI Act. A Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) also need to be done for better information dissemination. BI can be generated from the data and information stored in the ERP, GIS and CMS components of the integrated software system.

Existing free and opens source software tools and frameworks can be customised for developing this integrated software system. This approach have many advantages, over the traditional method of developing the software programme from the scratch:

  1. No need of computer servers at the village panchayats, only client computers are needed there. Servers can be deployed only at state level data centre. All the components of the integrated software can be installed at the server in the State data centre. Mirror sites can be used for controlling the traffic in the servers. All the updates can be done only in the centralised server. The overall activities can be monitored in centralised as well as de-centralised manner. It is more easy to manage.
  2. No need to develop the generic components like database management, user interface, printing module etc, as, those are included in those frameworks themselves.
  3. Existing software frameworks in these fields are international projects, and using these software frameworks, customisation and developing modules to satisfy our specific needs, interacting with the developer teams etc will increase our teams capacity and quality. It will bring professionalism in the work as well.

Reference

  1. ‘About the Open Source Initiative’. 2016. Open Source Initiative. Accessed July 8. https://opensource.org/about.
  2. Beal, Vangie. 2016. ‘What Is Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)? Webopedia Definition’. ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning. Accessed July 8. http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/E/ERP.html.
  3. ‘Detailed Project Report  for  ERP Based E-Governance at  Pune Municipal Corporation’. 2016. Accessed July 8. http://www.punecorporation.org/informpdf/PMC_DPR_ver8.0.pdf.
  4. ‘Education for Sustainable Development: Sourcebook; Education for Sustainable Development in Action: Learning & Training Tools; Vol.:4; 2013 – 926unesco9.pdf’. 2016. Accessed July 1. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/926unesco9.pdf.
  5. ‘Gnu.org’. 2016. GNU Operating System. Accessed July 8. https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/categories.en.html.
  6. Hammer, Michael, and James Champy. 2009. Reengineering the Corporation: Manifesto for Business Revolution, A. Zondervan.
  7. National Geographic Society. 2011. ‘GIS (Geographic Information System)’. National Geographic Society. March 26. http://nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/geographic-information-system-gis/.
  8. ‘Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development’. 2016. Accessed July 1. http://www.un-documents.net/our-common-future.pdf.
  9. Turner, Dawn M. 2016. ‘What Is Venture Management?’ Blog. VentureSkies. February 19. http://www.ventureskies.com/blog/what-is-venture-management.

The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016 – A terminator to the scientific spatial planning dreams of village panchayats.

We the citizens of India collectively and continuously trying every moment, to make this country into a more desirable place on earth. We expect favourable and supportive actions from the higher tiers our whole government machinery, but unfortunately many times it appears not so.

The geospatial information regulation bill(2016) is out for public opinion and many people have already written critiques on various forums. I am not going to repeat all those everything. I am a village panchayat employee as well as a research student. There are a number of researchers in this country who know what geospatial information is, and they can collectively defend themselves. But, only a very few village panchayat employees know the significance of geospatial information in their profession. So I would rather focus on, how this new bill would adversely affect their future.

Months ago, I have written a report on a mapping exercise we have done at the village panchayat, where I am an incumbent. It was an activity, one of the first of its kind. It was a success, because of the active participation of the students who study GIS and remote sensing, enthusiast community members of wiki and free software domains. All that was possible because everyone can access, use and create geospatial data as granted. We can do great things with the help of volunteer communities, and village panchayats are masters of utilising that possibility. In case of geospatial information, village panchayats are a kind of underprivileged bodies, inside the government. I have portrayed how we applied for spatial data of our area of interest, from the privileged higher government organisations, and how that was denied for us in the first place. Even if we are part of the whole governing structure of this country, we didn’t receive a favourable response till the date. So I am forced to believe that, we are not entitled to access the government resources of geospatial data. Our only hope is the expert people in the communities.

Now, let me examine the current legal and administrative provisions favourable to the village panchayats to have a scientific spatial plan. And my comments on them, follow.

On legality, we would first take the Constitution of India:
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“Part III Fundamental rights; Right to Freedom 19. Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc.- (1) All citizens shall have the right-(g) to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.”

Comment: People can take up jobs having a geospatial component. So, that they can deal with n number of types of geospatial data available in the web, and eventually become experts in that domain. Their expertise can be utilised for the betterment of the nation.

“Part IVA Fundamental Duties; 51 A. It shall be the duty of every citizen of India- (h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;”

Comment: While doing their business or in their personal life, those experts we met in the previous line, can develop the scientific temper, humanism, and the spirit of inquiry and reform. They could make this nation a better place eventually.

Now we will take the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act 1994:
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“Section 162.A. Subjects to be dealt with by the standing committees. – (1) The following subjects shall be dealt with by the standing committees of the panchayat, namely: –

(a) in a village panchayat, – (ii) The standing committee for development shall deal with the subjects of development planning, socio-economic planning, spatial planning, agriculture, soil conservation, social forestry, animal husbandry, dairy development, minor irrigation, fisheries, small-scale industry, public works, housing, regulation of building construction, electricity, etc;”

Comment: Well, in a village panchayat of Kerala, there will be four standing committees, and the standing committee for development is one among them. as we can see in the above proviso of the K P R Act, spatial planning is the responsibility of this committee. When we combine the fundamental duty – “to develop the scientific temper” in the constitution to this proviso, we can see that spatial planning should be done in a scientific fashion. Every committee, is a group of citizens right?

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005
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Section 16. (3) Every Gram Panchayat shall, after considering the recommendations of the Gram Sabha and the Ward Sabhas, prepare a development plan and maintain a shelf of possible works to be taken up under the Scheme as and when demand for work arises.

Comment: Okay, we the village panchayat people should prepare a development plan, after considering the recommendations of the Gram Sabha and the Ward Sabhas. Also we should maintain a shelf of possible works. Being an important poverty alleviation scheme, there are associated guidelines and activities take place inline with Mahatma Gandhi NREGA. See:

Under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Village Panchayats need to prepare a development plan – Watershed based master plan more precisely, as detailed in Watershed Works Manual (published in october 2007 by Baba Amte Centre for People’s Empowerment for Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India). It’s two chapters 5 Mapping and 6 Technical Surveys of a Watershed, details the techniques of mapping.

The Common Guidelines for Watershed Development Projects of Government of India, 2008 details two entire chapters about the need of Technology inputs and GIS while preparing plans: Chapter 2. Guiding Principles – V. Capacity Building and Technology Inputs: Current trends & advances in IT & Remote Sensing and Chapter 3. Technology Inputs – Core GIS facilities, DPR – Resource Maps, Cadastral maps etc.

State Perspective and Strategic Plan (SPSP) for Integrated Watershed Management Programme (for IWMP), was submitted to Dept. of Land Resources, MoRD, Government of India By Local Self Government Department, Government of Kerala, which talks about the availability of GIS layers of cadastral map at Information Kerala Mission(IKM) in the scale 1:5000.

So we the people at the village panchayat level need to use GIS and remote sensing techniques, while preparing plans, right? That is the scientific way as well.
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Now, let us see a recent law enacted in this year – The Kerala Town and Country Planning Act, 2016. Being a new entrant, many people don’t know much about it. As it says, it is enacted for the promotion of planned development and regulation of growth of urban and rural areas in the state with focus on scientific spatial planning and to secure to their present and future inhabitants, sanitary conditions, amenity and convenience and for other matters connected therewith. It makes the village panchayat into a local planning area, and Section 30 of the act mandates the panchayat to develop a master plan, execution plan and a detailed town planning scheme.

A master plan (section 34) is a comprehensive plan for a local planning area, conceived within the framework of the district level perspective plan, providing long-term policies, programmes and detailed proposals for spatial development of the use of land and development etc.

An execution plan (section 37) is prepared for a period of five years for the local planning area providing the goals, policies, strategies, priorities and programmes for spatial development of the area for the period.

A Detailed Town Planning Scheme (section 44, 45) is a comprehensive plan for a particular area within the local planning area, conceived within the framework of the master plan for the local planning area, providing detailed proposals for spatial development in which the use of land and development shall be carried out.

As per the section 31 of this act, village Panchayat can delegate several parts of these duties to the standing committee for development.

Comment: So we the panchayat people are seriously stepping onto the field of scientific spatial planning.
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Also it should be noted that, state government issued a circular to constitute “Sevagram” Gramakendram, and an order is issued framing the detailed work chart of them. It is an extension centre of Village Panchayat in each ward, important statistics, various maps (political, resource, social, drainage, land use) relating to that ward should be displayed for public information. We really need maps depicting ward-level details.
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There is a recently launched central government scheme, called Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY). It was launched by the Prime Minister Sri. Narendra Modi on 11 October 2014. Each Member of the parliament can adopt two of the village panchayats in his/her constituency for this programme. It is a rural development programme focusing upon the all-inclusive development of the village panchayats.
Para 10  Planning – of the guidelines for SAGY requires to prepare Social Map, Resource map, maps showing Land Use, Water bodies, Irrigation Structures, Physical layout of the land – showing slopes, undulations, drainage patterns etc through participatory approach. It also requires the data collected through the situation analysis should be captured on a GIS platform.

Para 13. Use of Technology & Innovations – of the guideline encourages the adoption and adaptation of technology and introduction of innovations in this programme. One among them is (i). Space applications and remote sensing, which will be used in the planning and monitoring of the programmes. Assets will also be mapped using GIS.

Comment: The government know, the use of geospatial data is an innovative way for getting things done.
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Enough. What the hell in this new geospatial information regulation bill badly affect you dirty panchayat man? We are trying to make this country more secure you know?

Wait. I have already described, about the difficulties in getting the geospatial data from government agencies for the use of village panchayat. Our only hope is the skilled volunteers, who know to handle geospatial data.

The section 1(2) and 1(3) will discourage our potential volunteers who might be helpful for us in carrying out our duties described above. No volunteer would have courage to challenge the section 1(3)Every person shall be liable to punishment under this Act..” clause, as this act (asper the section 1(2)) “shall extend to the whole of India and it applies also to- (a) citizens of India outside India; (b) persons in the service of the Government, wherever they may be; and (c) persons on ships and aircrafts, registered in India, wherever they may be.

The section 3. Acquisition of Geospatial Information of India.- would discourage the volunteers, as they can’t practically get the special permission from the Security Vetting Authority before they acquire each an every GPS reading, or value addition automatically occurs while they are in the field.

Section 4. Dissemination, Publication or Distribution of the Geospatial Information of India.- would discourage the volunteers, because as a collective we use the open community driven geospatial data visualisation platforms and services, for our work get done. Volunteers practically can’t apply for special permission from the Security Vetting Authority each and every time they update the data on these platforms.

Section 9. Licence to acquire, disseminate, publish or distribute any Geospatial Information of India.- and Section 10. Suspension or revocation of licence.- If these sections got strictly enforced, no volunteer would be there to help any village panchayat for any of the geospatial exercise. Why do they bother to get a licence, and renew to help somebody else?

Section 12. Penalty for illegal acquisition of geospatial information of India.- and Section 13. Penalty for illegal dissemination, publication or distribution of geospatial information of India.- A fine ranging from Rupees ten lac to Rupees one hundred crore and / or imprisonment for a period up to seven years – No volunteer would have this much amount of money to pay unnecessarily to the authorities.

You might say, about the section 37. – Act not to apply to Indian Governmental Bodies.- But, We already have that feeling of “underprivileged” class among the government organs, so this clause will not going to help us in any way.

Being a research student, I use geospatial data available in the numerous web sources as granted, with due attribution. Many researchers keep geospatial data of their area of interest. All of them would suddenly become guilty on the day this bill get enacted. That is as ridiculous as, the consumption of drinking water would become illegal, unless you obtain a newly introduced license from the government. What if you have to obtain a license for each drop of water, and each modification of it like, sharbat, juice, soda etc?

map_world_black_out

(Data Source:www.gadm.org/)

For home land security, the authorities can make their own better innovative systems using the current technological advancements. Instead, creating hurdles in the natural flow of information would adversely affect the grass-root level technical expertise of the whole nation.