'GRAM SEVA'- A holistic approach by Sabuj Sangha to empower the rural communities

As the world explores the seemingly endless limits of urbanization, with cities rapidly expanding both their infrastructure and populations, rural areas aren't faring that well. The standard of living can drastically decline in rural areas as any remaining residents have limited access to grocery stores, healthcare services, and general goods they need on a daily basis. Nadia district is part of the large alluvial plain by the Ganges-Bhagirathi system. Topographically, the Kalyani subdivision is a part of the Ranaghat-Chakdaha Plain, the low-lying area found in the southeastern part of the district. Under Kalyani block, Shimurali Gram Panchayat covered an area of 1.5255 km. The majority of people living in Shimurali Gram Panchayat depend on agricultural labor.

In Shimurali Gram Panchayat with regard to development indices, there are multiple gap areas that exist. Around 63% of the entire population is Below Poverty Level (BPL) and among the entire population accumulation of the Schedule Tribes (STs) are still in isolation. With fewer job opportunities and without having any land owned majority of the population here are agriculture laborers. And almost 40% of the population here are illiterate and deprived of the basic knowledge of Govt. schemes and entitlements.

Thus with less exposure and a low knowledge level, they incur a part of their expenses for medical reasons. The situation worsens with unsafe drinking water resources, open waste dumping practices, etc.

At least three (3) of the five (5) villages have very less active SHG members. Even having electrification across the villages more than 19% of the population still don't have electricity connections in their houses. Thus, the scope of improving the development indices is high altogether in all the identified five (5) village areas. Yet the development can be made holistic with an integrated approach by improving multiple developments.

To overcome the challenges and with a vision to empower the rural communities, Sabuj Sangha took the initiative to implement the 'Gram Seva Programme' in collaboration with the SBI Foundation at Shimurali Gram Panchayat of Nadia District. It is an integrated rural development program aiming towards the holistic socio-economic development of rural India, through active interventions in major focus areas like Digitalization, Education, Health WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene), Skill & Livelihood Development, Women Empowerment, Youth Development, Community Engagement, Infrastructure, and Environment. With a holistic approach and active involvement of Gram Panchayat and rural communities, Sabuj Sangha and SBI Foundation aim to bring socio-economic prosperity to the adopted villages.

One of the salient features of this programme is 'Digitalization', which facilitates the provision of various online services through the establishment of Gram Seva Kendras in 5 (Five) identified villages of Shimurali Gram Panchayat of Nadia District. This initiative acts as a nodal point for all the essential services related to Community Development. Furthermore, it helps in improving access to Information Communication Technology (ICT), a knowledge-sharing platform for various livelihood interventions, promoting youth development through the introduction of various e-Learning and e-Education platforms to stay connected with the latest technological advancements. Till now, 3 (Three) Gram Seva Kendra has been established in Kumarpur, Narapatipara, and Harishpur villages of Shimurali Gram Panchayat and are functioning well.

Mr. Tapas Ghosh, a member of the Gram Seva Committee, Harishpur village has mentioned that it's a good initiative of Sabuj Sangha and SBI Foundation for establishing this Gram Seva Kendra, install solar lights, remedial classes for children, etc. help us in a great way. In the world of digitalization, the people of Harishpur village are still behind. But at present, people can avail of various online services, like photocopy, printout, online form fill-up, etc. from the Gram Seva Kendra.

Till now a total of 3 (Three) Gram Seva Kendra has been established in the Kumarpur, Narapatipara, and Harishpur villages of Shimurali Gram Panchayat and are functioning well. Through these Gram Seva Kendras 1128 households covering 4568 populations can avail various online services and as of now, 1079 people have benefitted from these Gram Seva Kendras by getting services, such as photocopy, printouts, document scans, online form fill-up, information about Govt. schemes etc.


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