Gujarat is another state where Swaraj has not really made any major impact. Although the PSP process like in other states were conducted at the village level in 1999, one fails to see significant outcomes. There could be many reasons for this; firstly the state has been witnessing major tragedies in recent years – the major earthquake that devastated many areas and more recently the growing communal violence and tension in the state. Secondly, Gujarat being a highly industrialised state perhaps needs strategies and interventions that are different from what is followed in other states.
During brief interaction with the state team, it seemed that the focus of the state unit has been more on developing resource and information material rather than on actual grassroots work. There are about 10 organisations associated with Swaraj and 2 fellows associated with the programme.
INTERVENTIONS, ISSUES AND IMPACT
– One of the major outcomes is the development of posters, pamphlets and booklets on various issues. These are widely circulated among NGOs, activists and the community and also displayed on various occasions.
– Training and workshop organised for about 800 youth on ‘Role of youth in rural development’ in collaboration with other NGOs.
– Played an active role in the earthquake relief, rescue and rehabilitation programme.
– 10 mobile libraries in ten PSP villages.
– Initiated state wide ‘Friendship Campaign’ to restore peace and communal harmony after the recent violence in the state.
– Educational material and kits distributed to schools in 24 villages as part of school support programme.
– No visible processes seen at the grassroots level.
– Some of the committee members of the state team are very busy and cannot devote time for Swaraj work.
– The growing cult of violence and hatred in the name of religion is a serious threat to the entire process.
– Increasing marginalisation of vulnerable groups due the rapid industrialisation and development process.