Employment is a right, unemployment dole is not, village head tells youth
M Rajasekhara Panicker
29 May 2016
The Thalayazham panchayat in Vaikom taluk of Kottayam district in Kerala made history when it took a vow to forego unemployment wages.
According to the villagers, they decided to ask youth to take the vow, after they realised that if each youth contributed to making the village self sustainable, it will stop their dependance on unemployment wages.
Unemployed youth have found jobs in their own villages, thanks to a decision taken by the Thalayazham panchayat (Photo: The Sunday Indian)
“Employment is right, whereas unemployment is not. Unemployment dole is given to people where there is no employment,” said panchayat president MD Baburaj.
According to Baburaj, the panchayat called a meeting of 520 people who had been receiving unemployment wages and told them that employment was their legal right.
The panchayat thereafter, took the responsibility of giving employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), giving training under various schemes and helping individuals and groups get bank finance.
“Where is the room for unemployment now?” says Baburaj. “We called a meeting of youth who receive unemployment wages and asked them to give an undertaking to do work under MNREGA and forgo unemployment wages.
“We have given the name 'Ente gramam, swasraya gramam’ (My village, self-sufficient village) to this scheme. We plan to make this village self-sufficient in grains, meat, milk, egg and vegetables,” he added. The panchayat has a population of about 25,000 people, of which 90 per cent are literate farmers.
The panchayat chalked out schemes to meet targets. “1,500 acres were cultivated this year, if we can make it 3,000 acres and cultivate two times, we will be self sufficient in paddy,” says a beaming Baburaj.
The schemes worked, say villagers, because of public mobilisation. “The villages were organised into 50 houses each, and youth from each of these groups extended their help,” explains Baburaj.
“We produced an additional paddy yield of 170 quintals. Areas that come under Upper Kuttanad were also made fertile and cash crops were planted. About 2,000 to 3,000 people are working under MNREGA. The panchayat has enough funds and projects which can accommodate surplus hands,’’ said panchayat secretary B.Vijayan.
The panchayat has taken care to rehabilitate those who are unable to do physical work, as well. They are being given help to organise schemes befitting their abilities.
The son of a poor sweet shop owner, Chandra Shekhar Ghosh today sweetens the lives of women in poverty stricken homes with loans. G Singh traces the incredibly phenomenal rise of the founder of Bandhan Bank that has Rs.12,500 crore deposit now
A love for dosas led to two friends in college fabricate an automatic dosa maker that is making waves by enabling chefs roast the crispy dosas that they were earlier not able to make outside Tamil Nadu. Usha Prasad has the interesting story
After experiencing the trials and tribulations of people from small towns and villages in seeking medical facilities, Dinesh Batra vowed to take specialised health care to smaller places. Today he is living his dreams, says Narendra Kaushik
From a poor fruit vendor’s son, who grew up eating jack fruit for snacks in an obscure Karnataka village, to owning a Rs 108 crore company making fruit flavoured ice creams in Mumbai, Srinivas Kamath has come a long way, says Somma Banerjjee
When there is an eatery at every nook and cranny, why do people travel as far as 200 km for lunch in an obscure village near Erode? Usha Prasad brings the flavour of UBM Namma Veetu Saapaadu, served in a plantain leaf for the whole family
From selling samosas on Chennai streets to setting up his own pakora shop to owning a Rs 1.5 crore company supplying delicacies to five star hotels, J Haja Funyamin has come a long way. P C Vinoj Kumar captures the flavour of a success story
Bhungroo in Gujarati means a hollow pipe. But Biplab Ketan Paul gave the word a new meaning by an innovation that has led to water availability, soil improvement and women empowerment, thus helping 14,000 farmers, says Kavita Kanan Chandra
Two friends in Kolkata, keen on turning their culinary delight into business, rejected job offers in a campus interview to start a momo kiosk. Eight years on, their venture started with Rs.30,000 has grown into a Rs.100 Cr entity, says G Singh
In a region known for farmer suicides and parched fields, Gudivada Nagaratnam Naidu returned to his roots, giving up a job, and went on to create a farm revolution. S Sainath visited Naidu’s farm near Hyderabad that’s even got an apple tree
Aasife Biriyani, popular among Chennai’s foodies and sold through nine outlets, was dispensed from a pushcart 18 years ago. Founder Aasife Ahmed made it a Rs 70 crore turnover chain by just not compromising on quality, says P C Vinoj Kumar