Pragati Gramin Vikas Samiti (PGVS)

Project Theme

Small Holder Agriculture & Climate Change

Target Group

Women

Project Period

01 Jul 2013 - 30 Jun 2017

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Introduction

In 1985 a group of young social activists emerging from the Chatra Yuva Sangharsh Wahini, a youth cadre facilitated by Loknayak Jai Prakash Narayan, started working for the rights of most poor amongst the Scheduled Caste (SC) community in four blocks of Patna District. In 1988 they registered Pragati Gramin Vikas Samiti (PGVS) under the Societies Registration Act of 1860. From then on as its focus spread gradually to include all SC and excluded communities, so did its field area. With a mission to work for the most marginalized and vulnerable sections of society to ensure their dignity, equality, rights and justice, PGVS has started intervening in Bihar to empower most weaker section of society.

Impact by partner
  • In mid-2006 EP-PGVS and Ekta Parishad (PGVS-EP) along with a few other peoples’ organisations succeeded through wide spread peoples’ mobilisation and advocacy to convince the Bihar government that land was a major issue and the root cause of violence in the state. This was reflected in the fact that the government finally set up the “Land Reforms Commission” under D. Bandyopadhyay in June 2006. The Commission submitted its final report in April 2008. However, the report was not made public, but towards the end of 2009 after repeated peoples’ mobilisation and advocacy through different channels it was tabled for discussion in the State Cabinet and Secretariat. 
  • A total of 3610 families have got homestead land entitlement with joint ownership, under the name of women and men together. A total of 18,492 applications (12,168 exclusively by women) have been submitted for homestead land in 12 districts. 
  • PGVS-EP has established active alliance with various land rights campaigns at state as well as national level and 5000 people from Bihar joined the month-long Janadesh 2007 march organised by Ekta Parishad and 200 other social organisations. Over 25,000 people marched from Gwalior to New Delhi demanding land rights for poor and deprived. This foot-march got significant success in pressurising the Government of India to form a National Land Reforms Committee and a National Land Reforms Council chaired by the Prime Minister. 
  • Ajeevika Sahayata Kendra (ASK) is a key effective centre to create space for landless woman farmers to discuss their issues and problems and find solutions. 
  • In Bihar, a women farmers’ convention, with 3000 participants from across Bihar and Jharkhand, was organised at Patna on November 30, 2013 for recognition of women as farmers. A public demonstration ‘Hal Nikalo’ by a group of women farmers was held on the sidelines of the convention to urge policy makers to recognise women farmers and increase their access and control over land. 
  • State government has constituted a core committee on land to resolve the issue of land dispute and land reform agenda. This core committee has 24 members including the Principal Secretary of Revenue & Land Department. 
  • 148 women farmer’s groups with 1,369 members have been formed in Buxer, Bhojpur, Patna, Arwal, Jamui, East Champaran, West Champaran, Muzaffarpur, Madhepura and Saharasa Districts. Among the members 1104 belong to SC community, 10 to ST, 178 to OBC and 77 to Muslim and other communities. 
  • During the year, 86 women farmers groups have been formed with an increase of 986 memberships. 
  • Among these 148 groups, 52 women farmers group are involved in collective farming on over 42,77 acres of land and 37 women farmer groups are involved in cultivating kitchen gardens. 
  • 144 women farmers have applied applications for agriculture support. o 18 women farmers received KCC and also got Rs 9 lakhs for agriculture purpose, while 30 women farmers received crop compensation worth Rs 7 lakhs in Jamui district. o 10 women farmers received Rs 5 lakhs for animal husbandry projects. o 139 woman farmers have accessed input support as seeds and fertiliser, 70 other women farmers from the project area were motivated and approached the concern department to access benefits in Arwal, Madhepura, Bhojpur, Jamui, East Champaran and Patna district of Bihar. 
  • 3,103 women farmers have applied for Basgit Parcha (with joint titles) and 1,084 women farmers have applied for 10 dismal homestead land out of which 83 women farmers have received joint title of Basgit Parcha. 
  • 1,251 women farmer also applied for Bhoodan and forest land Patta for agriculture farming out of which 68 women farmers received it in Muzaffarpur district. 
  • 1,757 applications processed through ASK for leveraging benefits under various schemes. Rs 4.5 crores leveraged from various social security schemes. 
  • Prior to the parliamentary election 150,042 letters were posted to Prime minister of India regarding commitment for Homestead Land Bill Act.

Case Study

Sahjadi Bano, wife of Bhagalu Anasari lives at Nadaur village of Arwal district in Bihar. There are six members (Three daughters and one son) in her family. Presently she is lead farmer of vegetable cultivation and member of women group Ajeevika Sahayata Kendra (ASK). She has 45 dismal of agriculture land.

In 2004 Sahjadi Bano had to face a lot of economical crisis during marriage of her elder daughter. She had to mortgage her 30 dismal land on 5000/- rupees only for marriage of her daughter. Her family was not able to cultivate rest of 15 dismal of land due to lack of money. That time she started making agarbatti stick (incense sticks) in her family under contractor to survive her family. Their average earning was rupees 150-200 per day but they had work for 8-10 only in a month as per demand of agarbatti. Her husband worked as a coolie in Kurtha bus stand and earned only 25 - 30 rupees per day. Her husband was suffering from chronicle fever. They were working hard but their monthly income (2400 -2500) was very low to fulfill their necessary expenses (food, cloth, medicine, education of her children etc).

In 2012-13 PGVS started training and awareness program on kitchen garden for small land holding farmers in Nadaur village with support of OXFAM India. Sahjadi Bano attended training of kitchen garden and shown her interest to participate in this activity. For kitchen garden she got support for agri input from PGVS 600 rupees and took loan 1000 rupees on loan on 2 % interest per month. She started vegetable cultivation in her rest 15 dismal land and cultivated Bhindi, Kaddu and Palak. During period of 60-70 days she got profit of rupees 3000 approx through selling vegetable produce. Now they started adding green vegetable in their meal too. At First she returned rupees 1000 which had been taken as loan with 80 rupees of interest. (After four months). She added her other saving (income from agarbatti making and wages earned by her husband) with this profit of rupees 1920 (3000 profit – 1080 returned loan + Interest = 1920) and got her 30 dismal of land back repaying 5000 rupees mortgage money. Now she started vegetable and maize cultivation in her all 45 dismal of land.

Presently she is role model of other women member of ASK and continuously doing vegetable cultivation. She seats with her ASK group regularly and discuss on new scheme of government and their right. She always motivates other women to adopt kitchen garden concept to increase their livelihood. Awareness generation program run by PGVS make community member aware day by day. Before some time Sahjadi Bano got benefit of Indira Awas Yojna. She struggled a lot up to DDC (Deputy Development Commissioner) level with members of her group to get Indira Awas.

Sahjadi Bano tells, “We are thankful to OXFAM India and PGVS for making us aware about kitchen garden activity through training and awareness program and promote our village institution ASK (Ajeevika Sahayata Kendra). ASK is a platform where we all member can discuss about our right, our duty and make our collective action plan.”

We salute struggle and success of Sahjadi Bano and all member of her Ajeevika Sahayata Kendra (ASK) for their continuous effort to enhance their livelihood and move towards success.