To improve development in conflict regions in East India, Dilip has been committed to strengthen the panchayati raj system by enhancing the capacity of the local governments and communities and creating a participatory approach towards development.
Dilip Banerjee equipped panchayats in the Sunderban region to move from a reactionary approach to a pro-active management of disaster relief. Communities were able to identify needs, take stock of relief resources, and direct the distribution of the right resources like food, clothing, blankets, medical supplies to people who need them the most. They were taught to design programs looking at long term goals for sustainable development. This work has expanded to coastal villages of Orissa, prone to frequent disasters.
Disaster management became a starting point from which efforts prioritizing real needs for development were launched. Dilip leveraged 10 years of his experience and networks as a state level expert on public health and decentralisation of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to engage communities in pro-active participation and development of local self-governance. By involving leaders of local communities, CSOs and governments of Chhattisgarh and West Bengal in dialogues and training workshops, he is creating opportunities and interests for collaborative development. This process sheds light on existing central government schemes and initiates implementation. Using this model, Dilip successfully implemented the decentralisation of PRIs in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh. PRI committees were actively involved in designing key development programmes for village development, maternal benefits, child care programmes.
Adding on to the decentralisation efforts, Dilip is now piloting a model to activate and strengthen the standing committees of Gram Panchayats (GPs) in Chhattisgarh which are currently defunct. Members of the standing committee are sensitized to their roles, trained to access and utilize schemes by being paired with relevant government functionaries. This model is set to be piloted in selected 10 GPs of 2 Blocks of Kanker district, post which it will be replicated across gram, district and block panchayats in Chhattisgarh and other eastern states of India. Owing to the success of Dilip’s models, Government of Chhattisgarh is supporting and scaling the decentralisation of PRIs model and the strengthening of standing committees.
Note: This was updated in December, 2013. Read on for the ELECTION profile