Organisation for rural development
Rural development has become the fundamental objective before us, particularly in developing countries, as without it we cannot make any headway towards progress. Progress, according to third world countries, means fundamental change in the outlook towards life.
Change in outlook can only be effected when transformation of our rural society takes place through active pursuance of development programmes. Without giving a new look to rural economy, we cannot achieve any worthwhile progress. In fact, in developing societies, it is the village which sustains national economy.
Each activity for development has its own requirements with respect to type of organisation and administration. Different blends of authoritative and facilitative administration are needed by each. Variation of styles of administration to meet these various needs are seldom adequately recognised and honoured for the welfare of the society.
In general, a predominance of facilitative organisation and administration favours greater participation by field personnel of individual or unified programme components as well as by rural people. We can say that the style of organisation, administration and feasible types of programme coordination are intimately interdependent. The more facilitative the structure of organisation and administration the more feasible and effective coordination by consultation can be.
Basically, rural development requires formulation of policies and their implementation and that is hardly possible if a nation does not have efficient and strong organisational set-up. In a society with a loosely knit social fabric the task in hand becomes very hard. We need to remember that the success of any plan depends on having well-knit efficient organisations at different tiers of national life.
All developing nations are seized with developmental activities and engaged in a bid to give a new shape to the rural economy. It needs sound organisation in which people can feel a sense of participation. Creating that sense of participation is vital along with setting up and development of an organisation. A strong organisation is the main criteria for development. Efficient and sound organisation can deliver goods to the people at various levels. Institutions ought to be developed to intervene, lead, guide and assist the rural population in this behalf.
In rural development people are beset with problems -- poverty, ill-health, illiteracy, insufficient housing etc. The programme of rural development should contain the principles of organisation of self-help for the rural population, coordination of the various rural social services organisations, utilisation of all available resources -- men and materials etc -- to the fullest extent for all-round rural welfare. The people should be organised from the bottom to achieve self-reliance.
Building a sound organisational and administrative structure is a painstaking job. The organisations that operate in different tiers of the society should be so developed and strengthened that it can catch the imagination of the masses. It means that the organisations shall have to work in close cooperation with different units and the people.
In fact the people/masses associated with them shall have to work as dedicated organisers, keeping the interest of the people uppermost. An effective organiser is he who can understand the people be able to go deep into their problems, that is, their hopes and aspirations, and tries to solve them through his personal as well as organisational improvement. Here, decentralisation of administration is absolutely necessary to fulfil the ultimate objective of rural development.
It has been repeatedly confirmed that administration from top does not work through the links to the bottom, not because the links are inadequately specified but because they do not tend to behave as links. The existence of a gap between the "leaders/officials" and the led in developing societies cannot be overlooked.
This is a situation which needs to be taken into account for any programme of rural development. The sooner the gap between "leaders/officials" and the led is narrowed, and a spirit of active long-term cooperation between them is aroused, the better and more encouraging would be the picture of the rural areas.
Bangladesh has gone through various phases of political transition during the last four decades. The rural, social and political institutions also underwent the same transformation, because with the political changes the past ideas of approach towards rural development programmes also changed.
The present inherited colonial organisation and administrative tiers failed to achieve meaningful rural development objectives, and it is impossible to implement future rural development programmes with the same structure. Administrative reform is need of the hour to change the lot of the rural population. Non-government organisations have been working to change the lot of the rural people since independence, but the rural problems are the same as they had been before.
The principle objective of rural development should be the creation of a spirit of self- discipline and organisation, self-help and self-reliance, sacrifices and social services amongst the masses. What is lacking in our country is a systematic procedure for operation of the programmes, compilation analysis, documentation, decision-evaluation and monitoring etc. Accordingly, we need a working method, a procedure for bringing all the existing know-how to bear upon formulating a rural development programme.
What is needed is a comprehensive approach to rural development, which will incorporate various components dealing with different aspects of rural well being, and for coordinating the planning and implementation. So, a planning and monitoring unit should be created. It should be manned by the economic cadre officials at upazila level to formulate policies/programmes/projects as well as monitor the development works at grass root level.
The spurt in developmental activities can come only when people are organisationally mobilised at grass-root level through people-oriented administration. Development cannot be imposed from above. It is indigenous to each society and builds primarily on its own resources. The ongoing rural development projects should draw lessons and concentrate on institution building rather than on other project related activities. The people's participation has to be an essential ingredient in such effort. All such efforts have to be integrated into the changed indigenous system and should be accepted by the same.
Rural development will not take place without fundamental changes in the present approach to development as well as administration and government activities. An attempt has to be made to organising the rural people (villagers), and make them more responsive to their needs and conscious about their capabilities.
There is no doubt that a rethinking is necessary about the role and responsibilities of the existing local organisation/local government bodies if they are to play an effective role in rural development. Besides, new thought has also to be given to the present administrative structure and governmental system, which require changes in their perception and outlook, responsibilities and present role in rural development.