The GP Organization Development project was conceived to look at capacity building from an organisational perspective, trying to address one fundamental question: How do we strengthen the Gram Panchayat as a self governing body, as constituted under Article 243?
The project was executed at two levels: At one level, it was to understand, observe and critique the design and functioning of institutions involved in governance and service delivery to rural citizens. At the second level, with a view to test our various hypotheses as well as to evolve, pragmatic solutions which are implementable in the real context, we worked with two Gram Panchayats in Karnataka, facilitating real time change in an action research mode.
The framework of the GPOD project is based on Organisation Development (OD) principles. The rationale for the using OD framework is its focus on organisation as a whole, and not on standalone components. The premise is that successful change occurs when all components of an organisation are aligned, i.e. the vision, skills, incentives, resources, action plan and results. Our work with the two Panchayats has helped us evolve certain key foundational principles. (1) We believe that the GP is pivotal in improvement of service delivery and governance at the last mile. (2) The focus of capacity building should be on building a strong GP organisation, which will enhance their absorptive capacity to leverage different efforts and resources directed at them. (3) Elected representatives can contribute significantly towards the GPs performing their mandated roles. (4) Lastly, a number of policy changes have to be instituted to create an enabling environment for the GPs to function as equal intergovernmental bodies.
In addition to its current efforts in Karnataka, Arghyam is also looking at scaling up this project with the help of a few academic institutions and the Government of Karnataka.
- Initiatives undertaken under the GP-OD initiative have aided in development of an organisation structure in the GP, which is aligned to the line departments as well as Standing Committees of the Panchayat.
- Overall, the outputs from the GPOD project are aligned to the key components of an Organisation Development initiative, and include developing GP vision and mission and mapping 17 processes of the GP.
- In addition, the project has helped office bearers and functionaries of the panchayat to understand their structure and roles, develop perspective and annual plans, as well as provided hand holding support to implement their respective plans.