Peoples Participation through Panchayeti Raj Institutions in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
Drinking Water and Sanitation Department

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
The state of Jharkhand is one of the newly created State of India. Till 2010 Drinking Water and Sanitation Works were viewed from a traditional, supply driven Public Works point of view. ‘Community participation’ was an element of lowest priority in Drinking Water and Sanitation Work. There was little quantitative and qualitative progress in DWS work. Creating sustainable Water and Sanitation facility with proper Operation and Maintenance Mechanism for Rural Poor was a myth. Water works was primarily depended upon Hand pumps without any protocol for operation and maintenance. DWSD used to put Hand pumps arbitrarily, often nearby the house of an influential locale. This may be termed as ‘Operational Privatization’ of a ‘Public asset’. The nearby household used to access unlimited Ground Water without any financial stake and provision for Operation and Maintenance. Rest of the village continued to drink unsafe water from natural sources without any interest or stake on Government support meant for them. Most of these hand pumps would either die in a short span of time due to inappropriate site selection, over use and/or non-responsive behaviour of its scheduled owner. Otherwise it would create an immediate water shortage on neighbours’ field and act as a ‘bone of Contention’ for economically and politically under privileged. Sanitation works under the Total Sanitation Campaign were being conducted in what is generally referred as ‘Supply Mode’. Flagship program of Sanitation was allocated based upon what can be best described as ‘Personal Contacts’ rather than ‘Need assessment’ or ‘Co verification/justification’ by fellow rural household. Target driven incentive transfer without assessing beneficiary interest and social milieu led to poor repair and maintenance. Engagement of agencies without community consent for construction support without Behaviour Change made the flagship program vulnerable to in appropriate accounting and dismal performance. This was the era that gave birth to the numerous Missing Toilets’ and ‘Slip Backs’ populating the State today. Creating sanitation assets without ownership, protocol and Community approval left the state in an utterly bad shape. Inadequate process and limited reach of Rural Water and Sanitation schemes primarily affected economically disadvantaged section in hinterland of the State i.e. Rural Poors. As a social group, women became the first victim of the situation. The key parameters that may capture the status of Water and Sanitation during this period are as under: 1. If community participation is measured through VWSC Formation and Bank Accounts Opening it was Zero [0] at the beginning of the initiative. Accordingly there was no Women participation in governing local issues related to Water and Sanitation. 2. Without Community participation there was only a handful [105 Numbers approximately] Rural Pipe Water Supply operating. There were hardly 10 schemes operated and managed by users. 3. Though few Nirmal Gram Panchayets were achieved, due to lack of Community based institution status could not be maintained for long. There were no Open Defecation Free Village till 2012.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Drinking Water and Sanitation Department initiated formation of Village Water and Sanitation Committee in 2010. The change process began with appointment of Shri Sudhir Prasad, an IIT Alumni of batch 1979 as Principle Secretary of Drinking Water and Sanitation Department during the Financial Year 2011. Shri Prasad, with his demonstrated faith on participatory action and decentralized local Governance pressed upon formation of VWSC as Executive Committee of Gram Panchayet. Summary of multifaceted strategic approach adopted over the last 3 years is given mentioned below: 1. Ensure End users participation in Decision Making: VWSC was formed as the last mile institution within PRI framework. VWSC mandated to have 50% Women Participation., A Village Women known as JalSahiya’ works as treasurer and is responsible for convening monthly meeting of VWSC. 2. Hand Holding Support to VWSC: Engagement of Civil Society Organizations [CSO] as Block Resource Centre [BRC] ensured participatory process. CSOs were engaged as BRC to conduct IEC activity and act as a link between District unit and Gram Panchayats. 3. Placement of Support Structure: Lack of functional authority and technically capable human resource was a major challenge to improve performance of flagship schemes in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene WASH Domain. Apart from BRCs that facilitate work at Block Level, professionally managed District and State Project Management Unit were brought into placed from 2012. 4. Path breaking Devolution of Power: Delegation of Power to PRI Functionaries has been notified on 2013. Before this there was no power vested on PRI. A. Gram Panchayat through Mukhia controls casual leave and administrative reporting of Plumber, Pump Operator, Hand Pump Mechanic and is empowered to give administrative sanction and take up Work less than Financial outlay of Rs.10 Lakh B. Panchayat Samiti through Pramukh controls casual leave and administrative reporting of Junior Engineer and Assistant Engineer and is empowered to give administrative Sanction and take up work with Financial outlay of Rs.10 Lakh to 25 Lakh C. Zila Parishad through Adhyaksh controls casual leave and administrative reporting of Executive Engineer and is empowered to give administrative sanction and take up work with Financial outlay above Rs.25 Lakh to 50 Lakh 5. Adoption of Good Practices and Stakeholder Engagement: During the last 4 years Six International Agencies and Donor organizations including WSP-SA, Water-Aid, Plan International, WWSCC-GSF, BMGF, FANSA were engaged as capacity building partners for the Village Community and Officials. They helped in defining Standard processes for enhancing community participation in Water and Sanitation program and Conduction of IEC and Capacity building events. 6. Sensitive Water and Energy Tariff Policy: User charges and connection fee has been made mandatory in Rural Pipe Water supply schemes. Pipe Water Supply (PWS) Scheme is now considered complete when 50% of the targeted number gets access to the scheme by depositing minimum INR 310 [for Non Commercial connection] connection charges. DWSD offers matching grant of the same amount collected by VWSC from User Fee, on annual basis to ensure proper O & M of the System. State Planning and Monitoring Unit (SPMU) strived to lower tariff of electricity unit charges for VWSC managed Water Supply schemes from INR 4.40 to INR 1.10 per unit and achieved it through convincing the Department of Department of Energy, GoJ. 7. Concurrent Monitoring and Grievance Management: A real time project monitoring facility with a network of 212 High definition and User Friendly GPS was installed in 2013. This enables community and officials to report scheme progress with digital verification note. A centralized Call Centre has been made operational with Manual Operators and IVRS system that records any Grievance regarding DWSD supported Water and Sanitation program in the State and take needful steps to address the same.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
In rural Jharkhand, Women are responsible for arrangement of water for household use. Also it’s women who face adversities due to lack of sanitation. Further they are the part of population who stays back in the village the entire day. Women led VWSC was the fundamental innovation that led to creations of systems and process of public service delivery within the mandate of Panchayati Raj. Further when seen in the light of comparative effort made by other government departments like Department of Panchayati Raj to Delegate Power to PRIs in terms of Funds, Function and Functionary, the initiative stands unique for a state where Soci-political and administrative set up for last 10 years has been best described as ‘disturbed’( UN data pose Head Count Ratio for Jharkhand at 55%. 18 among 24 districts of the state belong to Left Wing Extremism affected list by GoI. Since birth Political instability has been a regular feature in the State of Jharkhand. Before 2011, Gram Panchayet election took place 32 years back creating absolute lack of village institutions for public.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
While Project Management Unit was in existence since long, emphasis on placement of a professionally managed SPMU to endure the much required institutional innovation dates back to 2012-13A. A group of ten [10] state level experts were hired during 2012 to shape the framework of Community participation. In absence of PRIs, some ‘Not for Profit’ agencies have worked in the state to promote Self Help Groups. Conscious step was taken by SPMU officials to form VWSCs building on capacities of existing Women Savings & Credit groups. Experienced and credible NGOs in this field were roped in by SPMU for faster transformation. Chronology of Key techno managerial interventions tried by SPMU to roll out VWSC managed WASH program plan is mentioned below; 1. Women Leaders from VWSC [Jal Sahiya] took up Field Test Kit based Water Quality Testing from 2012-13.[Test Conducted in more than 2000 Habitations] 2. Transfer of Operation & Maintenance of PWS to VWSC started from 2010-11 . Involved women Members took up Tube well maintenance & Masonry work from 2011-12 [more than 400 women trained and employed] 3. Engaging VWSC to prepare Micro Plan on water security and sustainability work from 2011-12. [164 VWSC have taken up this work on pilot basis] 4. Engaging domain experts at District and block Level through placement of DPMU and BRC started from 2013-14 .[70 District Level and 500 Block Level workers engaged] 5. CSR Convergence initiative for assisting VWSCs 2012 26 CSR contacted; 14 participated and expressed their commitment. Experimentation with Collaborative project among DWSD, CSR and VWSC started from 2013-14.[ 2 project with ECL and TATA Steel under execution] 6. Adoption of Community Led Total Sanitation as IEC Strategy for Sanitation since 2012-13 across the State with 30 villages at Ranchi as tool .[ 90 Gram Panchayaet taken up on priority basis in 14-15] 7. Regular guidance note to VWSC for Demystification of Process and Technology were issued by senior officials since 2011. 8. Since 2011 a state level Award policy was adopted to Award performing PRI Institution & Individuals.[40 performers till date were Honoured on Jharkhand Foundation Day ] 9. New Website for DWSD started from 2012. The website helps VWSC leaders to reach DWSD. Computerization of Grievance Management System started working since 2012. [Mandate for operation is solving Tube Well problem within 72 hours] 10. Regular Field Visit by DWSD Officials 2012 Monthly field Visit and review is mandatory 11. Mobile Water Testing Laboratories for WQ Test initiated in 2013; Scientific Water Testing Facility is being provided at the door step of Villagers. Mobile Water Treatment Plants initiated in 2012. 12. Open defecation free Village achieved through participation of VWSCs since 2012. [400 Villages taken resolution to stop open defecation and constructed toilets on their own]

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Shri Sudhir Prasad, Additional Chief Secretary, DWSD, championed the initiative by engaging different stakeholders in various aspects of the initiative. The accrued efforts of the various stakeholders, has helped in strengthening the initiative of making peoples’ participation visible in the communities. Particulars of stakeholder engagement during the last two years (2010-12) are given below; A. PRADAN [Started 2012]: Community Managed Rural Water Supply Scheme is implemented through VWSC as pilot program in 20 Villages across 6 Districts B. BASIX [Started 2012]:Helping department with professional manpower support to establish and strengthen State Water and Sanitation Mission C. TSRDS [Started 2012]: Community Managed Rural Water Supply Scheme is being replicated with the help of UNICEF in 3blocks of 1 District D. Water Aid [ Started 2012]: Developed communication materials and training modules for the JalSahiyas and trained around 600 Jalsahiyas; developed community based participatory water security plans in around 30 villages in Santhal Pargana region of Jharkhand. E. WSSCC- GSF[ Started 2011]: NRMC Delhi as executing Agency of Global Sanitation Fund is working to create ODF villages under Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan in 4 districts through Nine partner Organizations F. WSP-South Asia [Started 2011]: World Support Program engaged to extend Research, Monitoring and evaluation support in sanitation domain G. Block Resource Centres [Engaged 2012]: 16 Civil Society Organizations were Selected as Block Resource centre through transparent process to scale up community involvement through appropriate IEC work H. CLTS Foundation[ Started 2012-13]: Facilitated international workshop and seeded foundation of Community based Total sanitation Movement in the state I. World Bank [Started 2012]: World Bank was roped in for a special project grant of 600 Crore over the next five years J. UNICEF -UNICEF provides strategic support to the department by enabling UNICEF provides strategic support to the department by enabling Communication and Capacity Development Unit: They are involved in demonstration Projects at a number of locations.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
SPMU, DWSD receives Fund from Government of India and Government of Jharkhand under Flagship schemes and state Plan support. Year wise financial outlay of the Department is estimated to enhance during this period from 315.21 Crore in 2010-11 to Rs. 609.21 Crore in 2013-14. However, Women Led VWSC initiatives was primarily planned and implemented through SPMU and hence expenses on State and District Level Project management Units have had a direct bearing on the initiative. During the period, approximate expense on the institutional structure i.e. Human Resource and administrative Expenses from Government Fund has increased from 3.53 Crore in 2010-11 to 19.34 Crore in 2013-14. Additional Support was mobilized from stakeholders and International donor agencies like UNICEF , WSSCC ,Water Aid and WSP-SA from time to time for training and capacity building of PMU [State and District Level], VWSC and its members. The initiative is presently being supported by 12 State Level, 62 District Level and570 Block Level Human Resource in 24 districts of Jharkhand . Additional 10 State level human resources and 40 district level human resource are placed with separate World Bank supported cell that is functional since 2013.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
A. Jharkhand has 29413 villages with human occupancy. Among them VWSC was formed in 28177 villages. 26250 VWSC has their bank account. Through this at least 1, 60,000 women members were mobilized to work on WASH issues. B. Presently More than 60 Rural Pipe water Supply schemes are owned and managed by VWSC. And many more new Mini Pipe Water supply schemes are being planned and installed in the same line involving VWSC from the designing phase. . 1. Bhurkunda PWS today has 850 connections. They collect Rs.62.5 /- as monthly charge. Total collection at present is Rs.14, 00,000/-. 2. Nirsa PWS today has 235 connections. They collect Rs.62 /- as monthly charge. Total collection at present is Rs.13, 00,000/-. 3. Noamundi Bazar PWS today has 215 connections. They collect Rs.150 /- as monthly charge. Total collection at present is Rs.11, 00,000/-. 4. Kolhan Hatin PWS today has 292 connections. They collect Rs.100 /- as monthly charge. Total collection at present is Rs.6, 80,000/-. 5. Siulibari East PWS today has 489 connections. They collect Rs.62 /- as monthly charge. Total collection at present is Rs.9, 00,000/-. C. Creation of Open defecation Free Village, Gram Panchayet and Block has been made possible by act of empowered VWSCs. Cases like Use and Maintenance of Community toilet in Bero Village of Ranchi District, Open Defecation Free [ODF] villages like Gadri, Hutar and Kewtia Village in Ranchi and Bakshi village in Lohardaga District, revival of Slip back toilets by Jalsahiya Yashmin Samad in Kashya Panchayat of East Singhbhum District ,Solid- Liquid Waste Management pilots in Latehar and Bokaro District are a few to be mentioned among a long list of villages where sustainable sanitation under Swach Bharat Mission[Grameen] was taken up by VWSC. Empowered VWSCs are provided with Funds to take up water and Sanitation schemes of their choice. During the last 2 year Fund transfer to VWSC by State are as under; 1. In 2012-13, 1576 VWSC were provided with NBA Fund worth 11.62 Crore. During this FY 1.45 Crore Fund was additionally transferred to VWSC. 2. In 2013-14, 8949 VWSC were provided with NBA Fund worth 33.20 Crore. During this FY 14.74 Crore Fund was additionally transferred to VWSC. The Funds were used by VWSCs for IHHL, O & M of Hand pumps, PWS and Soak Pit construction. For World Bank Project VWSCs are the executing authority and they are inviting Expression of Interest. Participatory Water Security plan has been prepared by more than 40 VWSCs. VWSC members successfully placed their plea for Energy tariff reduction and succeeded in getting the cost reduced 3 times over a period of 3 years.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
1. SPMU Monitors the strategy through Online MIS, physical verification as per protocol and concurrent evaluation by qualified third party. 2. Regular Physical and Financial data are entered into online MIS created by Ministry of Drinking water and Sanitation on monthly basis. 3. SPMU website has provision to receive grievance related to non-functional Hand pump. 4. GPS based Real time monitoring system for water and Sanitation schemes is carried out by Designated Junior engineers and Hydro Geologists. 5. As a routine process Call centre records and responds to the questions by VWSC members on regular basis. 6. Status of Fund transfer and Availability with VWSC is being monitored online and through Mobile Messaging Service in association with Bank of India from 2014-15. 7. Concurrent monitoring has been done on regular basis involving IIM Ranchi, National Institute of Financial Management [NIFM] and other 3rd Party Agencies. Additionally UNICEF is helping SPMU to facilitate the process and measure impact of innovations by closely monitoring 500Sample villages in 90 Gram Panchayets of the District.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
As we have discussed earlier the administrative and Political setting of the State itself was the major obstacle in this process. There was initial inertia internally from DWSD as well. However , lack of peoples participation ,Knowledge and idea are the key issues that is faced by any instructional change or Business Process re-engineering initiative were typical hurdle of this initiative as well. The inertia among officials was overcome by organizing monthly competitions on best performing officials and encouraging them by appreciation. This helped the officials understand, read and know about the minute aspects of the initiative and hence focus better . At the community level, VWSC played a crucial ole in informing people and making them participate.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
Incorporation of women led VWSC has made a positive contribution to WASH sector initiatives in following manner: 1. Tube well repairing time improved from 15 Days to 5 Days (As feedback received from the field); 2. Project Conceptualization to O& M transfer time reduced to 6 to 8 Months (Compared between VWSC involved project supported by PRADAN and normal projects). 3. Improvement in construction time of Toilet and sanitation facility (From demand to supply cycle used to take more than a year while presently it is completed in three months). 4. Any Complain is addressed electronically on the same day and physically within 2 working days. At State Project Management Unit, DWSD representatives get regular call from the participant villagers, GP representatives and other individuals/institutions. While in the year 2012-13 only 715 grievances was registered, in 2013-14 Call Centre registered 1095 calls. The effort made by DWSD is reflected in the positive movement of a few Key indicators as per the parameter fixed by Government of India. Key Result area is given below; 1. Community Participation measured through VWSC Formed with Bank Account stands at 26250 as on August, 2014. Each group engages 12 village residents to discuss WASH issues at least once in a quarter formally. 2. Provision of Safe and Sustained Water supply measured through Number of Rural Pipe Water Supply Schemes stands at 350 schemes working; Additional 5000 PWS are in progress. 3. Financial Sustainability of PWS Schemes measured through Number of PWS generating revenue from users stands at no less than 58. 4. Water quality was a major problem in Jharkhand. Districts of Palamu and Garhwa are challenged by Fluorite occurrence. Districts of Sahebganj and Pakur are challenged by Arsenic. Nine [9] other districts are challenged by excessive Iron. 26047 Jal Sahiyas were trained in Field Test Kit to extend door step testing facility in the villages through VWSC. In last two years they have examined 24242 common sources. 5. Drinking Water availability is a major challenge in many parts of the state. With VWSC in place State was able to pilot schemes on Drinking Water Security and Sustainability planning at five locations. 6. With VWSC the NBA[ Now SBM-G] implementation strategy in the state has experienced a major shift from targeting families to targeting communities; essentially proclaiming that we are no longer counting toilets but taking stock of ODF villages. Further, the loan through Revolving funds was being disbursed to the VWSC taking the community as a unit. 7. This not only addressed the issue of 'saturation approach' but also covered under the campaign the 'slip back' households. Being a part of a community level consensus, the slip back households also expressed desire to opt for new toilets constructed as a result of their own commitment to achieve ODF Status. 8. Involvement of SPMU to stand by VWSC has given administrators and Political Community of the State new hope. Honourable Chief Minister have already declared that Steps shall be taken to ensure aspiring PRI electoral candidates shall have toilets in their houses as a pre-qualification of contesting election. 9. The candidates will have to obtain a certificate from Gram Sabhas certifying that they have a toilet in their house for contesting election. Also, the Government would consider making toilet pans VAT free for bringing down the input cost of Individual Household latrine construction cost. 10. Provision of sustainable Sanitation Facilities measured through Open Defecation Free villages stands no less than 98; Additional 100 Villages are expected by FY 2014-15.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Many a times Government develops program and officials function with a fundamental assumption that ‘Poor’s don’t know’. Also an intentional or unintentional delay in sharing program information affects quality of program implemented. In village context many information remain with Mukhia. But Rural Community living at the hinterland are often victim of this information asymmetry. This can be best treated with presence of a Community based Institution affiliated to Local Self Governance Institution. This acts as a fundamental building block and helps in generating demand. Also presence of such an institution acts as Learning Group and helps make democratic decisions without missing efficiency. During the period 2011-14 SPMU was able to broad base benefit transfer and enhance Service Delivery through publication of more than 25 Books and manuals written in local vernaculars setting protocols for VWSC Functioning and sharing it with 4418 Gram Panchayets across the State Presence and regular meeting of such a body acts as an inbuilt concurrent social audit tool. VWSC is a community based institution mandated by Panchayati raj Act working as 1st point of referral. Power to VWSC as well as other tier of PRI has been transferred. Jal Sahiya and other workers are engaged on job work basis. They are receiving regular engagement and economically viable proposition within local area. More than 50 VWSCs are collecting revenue from Water connection on regular basis; this helps them to sustain financially. There is increasing need of water and Sanitation service in the state. Even Corporate wanting to invest into local social issues are now looking at VWSCs as an upcoming investment opportunity. With increasing emphasis on PRI and due professional support VWSC initiative address the need of transparent people centric governance at the last mile. Being need driven initiative, sustainability of Women Led VWSC as a mandated but financially independent body in Jharkhand is assured. The experiences with this initiative has brought forward an important component that can help in solving the implementation bottlenecks of many major governmental schemes at the grassroots.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
Failures of Flagship programs are simply passed on to beneficiaries with a seemingly lame logic ‘Poor’s Don’t Do’. And as a vicious cycle often Government programs banks on this fuggy logic to run the program in Red Tape. Even finding of papers related to 13th Finance Commission mentions that program fails for lack of ownership by the participants. SPMU, SWSM experienced while experimenting with a Women led community based institution that due delegation of power and responsibility to local institutions like VWSC is the critical gap in all flagship programs. There has either been an individual based approach [lacking peer commitment] or an over dependence on NGO centric community Mobilization approach [keeping minimal to be done or achieved by the community]. Involving community to do the things and getting professionally rewarded for their achievement seems to be a more sustainable and driving arrangement for Social and Administrative reforms. Coming to infrastructure projects and business sustainability in Rural India there is a long standing view [read ‘Myth’] “Poor’s’ don’t pay”. The view is well adored by certain political and administrative schools. The school essentially works to lobby for Free Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities. As a result without community commitment, stake and participation Indian WASH sector has been dubbed as ‘Graveyard of Public investment’. In places where VWSC took responsibility of Pipe Water Supply Receipt on account of Connection Fee and Monthly Water Taxes has been much better than the once run by DWSD itself .VWSC ensures due supply, monitor usage and charge separately for Household and commercial connections. DWSD Pays an equal amount to the VWSC on annual basis as matching grant. This is encouraging VWSCs to charge at an appropriate rate and recover investment and O & M cost. We learn, subjected to Service and sensitive pricing as per local condition, poor’s are the first to pay when it comes to ensuring basic services like Water and Sanitation.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Drinking Water and Sanitation Department
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Sudhir Prasad
Title:   Additional Chief Secretary to DWSD  
Telephone/ Fax:   0651-2491410
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   DWSD, Nepal House Secretariat, Doranda
Postal Code:   834002
City:   Ranchi
State/Province:   Jharkhand

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