This is a story of six sarpanchs in India who are transforming their villages to script a story of new India. Let’s see what their initiatives are which are making them different from rest of the crowd:
1. Neeru Yadav
She is the first woman sarpanch of India who has taken major steps for rural development and has also started an FPO (farmers production organisation) in the name of “Sachhi Saheli Mahila Agro.” The Sarpanch established a “farmer producer organisation” with the help of SIIRD (the Society of Indian Institute of Rural Development) in collaboration with NABARD.
Neeru Yadav took up the role of chairman of the board of directors of this company. Through this, farmers will get fertilizers, seeds, and other agriculture-related things at reasonable rates. Farmers will also get the advantage of getting direct benefits through this.
Neeru has also made hockey team of girls in her village and is known as Hockey Wali Sarpanch. She is first sarpanch who has started Bartan Bank in her village to stop plastic use during weddings.
2. Arati Devi
Being a sarpanch at Ganjam district in Orissa, which is also her hometown, she has introduced the benefits of Public Distribution System to her village, which wasn’t known to most people. Now they avail wheat, kerosene and other items at subsidised prices.
Former investment banker and MBA holder Arati Devi was invited to speak at an International Leadership Programme in the US where she spoke about state government functions, government transparency and accountability.
She also started a major literacy campaign for women in the panchayat where only signatures would be recorded for official applications, instead of thumb impressions. She has been known to revive traditional folk art in Ganjam.
3. Meena Behen
Meena Behen, the first woman sarpanch from a village in Gujarat, has changed the lives of women in her village.
In the small village in the district Vyara in Gujarat, Meena Behen is the first woman Sarpanch her village has seen. Recently they built a road because the accessibility to the village was very bad. Pregnant women found it really difficult to go to the hospital and even the ambulance vehicle couldn’t come into the village because of this. Now the accessibility is much better.
Many were unaware of important government schemes. The all-women Panchayat took cognizance of that and ensured that Government schemes were utilized by people of the village.
Meena and her friends attribute all their leadership skills to the self-help group (SHG) that World Vision India helped form.
4. Chaavi Rajawat
Chhavi Rajawat has been heralded her as the woman who changed the face of rural Rajasthan. With innovative projects, she brought better water, solar power, paved roads, toilets and a bank to her ancestral village named Soda. She single-handedly enabled many projects in her village and also addressed a poverty conference at the United Nations in New York, US. Known as the glamorous jeans-clad MBA sarpanch, she is an inspiration to many and is the face of the young and modern India yearning for change.
5. Sushma Bhadu
Sushma Bhadu is a sarpanch from three villages in Haryana. She has to her credit of improving the dwindling education and sex ratio levels of her villages. But she is more popular for the “unveiling” of her ‘ghunghat’.
Fighting centuries old patriarchal and controlling norms of her society, she has earned the respect and admiration of her villages. She is elected sarpanch of three villages – Salam Khera, Chablamori and Dhani Miyan Khan.
6. Radha Devi
Radha Devi (in yellow saree) is the lady sarpanch of a village in Rajasthan.
Taking the help of local NGOs and self-help groups, Radha Devi confronted the school authorities in her village and persuaded parents into sending their kids back to schools.