Service rendered by a 12-member team (all-women in the age range of 21-26 years, well-qualified and unmarried) of Gram Panchayat of Sisva village in Gujarat’s Anand district is marvelous. They has been planning efficiently and implementing a sound development program for the development of their village since four years. They had put an end to open defecation, constructed roads, provided clean drinking water, installed solar lights and much more.
Hinal Patel, a nursing graduate, is the head of the team. The other members include Radha Patel (an engineer), Nisha Patel (manager at a motorbike showroom), Viralben Sarvaiya (Pharma student) and eight more girls. They are the competent members of the all-women Gram Panchayat of Sisva village in Gujarat’s Anand district.
Even though, they are busy with their jobs and studies, the young women make a point to meet each other at Hinal’s home every Sunday. During their weekly meeting they would not gossip or chat instead they discuss some serious issues that claim their complete attention.
Hinal was only 22 when she was chosen unanimously as the sarpanch of Sisva in 2011. She had just finished the nursing course. Her parents were talking about the forthcoming panchayat elections. She was interested in the talks and as per her father’s suggestion she shared her vision of making things better for the community with everyone. Her talks inspired other young women and a group formed.
This made the village elders of giving the young women a chance at governance. Sisva has previously had women representatives so no problem arose in handing over the reigns to the girls.
During their start, there were several challenges before the team. They first shortlisted all the problems as per its priorities. The main problems were safe drinking water crisis, putting an end to open defecation and building proper roads. They decided to put in hard work and make a difference.
The girls divided the work as per their skills and interests. Hinal and Viral took the health issues; Radha put her efforts on overseeing infrastructure creation, while the commerce and management graduates in the group took the duties of accounting and money management duties.
Together they have accomplished tasks like establishing two Reverse Osmosis (RO) water plants that provide potable water to families, each home have a toilet of its own and have constructed few public utilities strategically to eliminate open defecation.
Pankaj Joshi, Development Commissioner, Gujarat, said the scheme is working well to bring in more women into grassroots politics. At present, there are 360 all-women Samras Gram Panchayats and they are doing good work.
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