Seva Mandir

Seva Mandir's mission is to make real the idea of society consisting of free and equal citizens who are able to come together and solve the problems that affect them in their particular contexts. The commitment is to work for a paradigm of development and governance that is democratic and polyarchic. Seva Mandir seeks to institutionalise the idea that development and governance is not only to be left to the State and its formal bodies like the legislature and the bureaucracy, but that citizens and their associations should engage separately and jointly with the State. The mission briefly, is to construct the conditions in which citizens of plural backgrounds and perspectives can come togethe...
Feb 5, 2014

Your Help is Changing Lives

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir

Today I want to share with you two cases. These two cases show the efforts of Seva Mandir in bringing the change in so many lives.

CASE I

The initiative of GVC (Village Development Committee) against corruption: Kaucha

Kaucha is situated in the Kotra block. Pastureland work is ongoing in Kaucha under MGNREGA (a government scheme). On the first fortnight of May, 22 laborers’ names—12 women and 10 men—were enlisted in the muster rolls for pit digging activity. After completion of the fortnight the measurement was taken by the engineer but the wage rate came to only Rs. 75 per day, which is much less than the stipulated minimum wage. Each laborer’s payment came to Rs. 750. The postmaster of the local post office was authorized to pay the laborers their wage. He gave each laborer Rs. 700 and kept Rs. 50 for himself as his own commission. The postmaster had no right taking a Rs. 50 commission from each laborer’s wage.

When the GVC (Village Development Committee) heard of the matter, they approached Seva Mandir’s Zonal Worker. Together with the Zonal Worker, the GVC leaders approached the postmaster who in the beginning denied having siphoned off Rs. 50 from each labor. Subsequently, the Zonal worker as well as the GVC leaders informed the post master that they would have to take up with matter to higher officials. It was in this instance that the postmaster, perhaps out of fear as well as guilt, owned up to his mistake and returned Rs. 50 to each of the laborers. The laborers were very thankful to the GVC and as a token of their gratitude and as way to reinforce their faith in the institution, decided to contribute Rs. 50 to their village development fund.

 

CASE II

Struggle of Gram Samuh (village group) for legal rights: Peepad Village

Village Development Group, Peepad gave proposal for pastureland development by Seva Mandir as an implementing agency in MGNREGA (a government scheme). The work was sanctioned and Seva Mandir became the implementing agency. Previously Village Panchayat (a local government body) and Forest department had done the work of plantation and wall construction on the site. But a mines owner encroached upon the pastureland and started mining activities there. Village people told him to remove the encroachment but he adamantly told denied doing so and started throwing debris in pastureland.

A big meeting held at village in which all people from village participated and they decided to fight with the mines owner. Villagers blocked the road and did not allow labour and vehicle of mining person to enter the village. Simultaneously, villagers had various level of talks with Gram Panchayat, Patwari, Rajasthan State Mining and Minerals Ltd., BDO and Forest department and got clearance at all levels that mining in that area is totally illegal. Then again a big meeting was held at Peepad village and this time they invited mines owner for talk. First he refused to come in the meeting but later attended it when villagers warned to be ready for next action.

Villagers had talk with mines owner and told him to remove encroachment from pastureland which he finally agreed and removed the encroachment from village pastureland.

Presently, wall repairing and plantation work has been done by Seva Mandir. Now pastureland is totally secure and 2 people from village, guard the pastureland and they get paid through villagers’ contribution.

 

Thank you so much for supporting this program. With your support these communities are raising concerns and dealing with social problems.

We are grateful for your donation and hope to receive a continuous support from you in the future too.

Warm Regards

Atul Lekhra

Links:

Jan 30, 2014

Thank You Friends

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir.

Wishing you a very Happy, Prosperous and Wonderful 2014. Thank you friends for extending peace, love and support to all of us in 2013. We look forward to another great year with you. Year by year, our association is getting stronger. Thank you very much for adding happiness in so many lives.

Today I thought of sharing with you two stories, one of Kanku and another of Devli, they both are members of self help group (SHG).

(1). Kanku is a member of SHG named Shakti Mahila Samuh located in Magwas. She has studied till class 8th and has been a member of this SHG since 2001. She is unmarried and lives with her brother. While working with the SHG, she decided to start her own business of provisional store. She consulted with the other group members and they encouraged Kanku for starting the business. She took a room at rent for shop and took loan of Rs. 5000/- for buying stationary items to be kept in her store. Later, she took again an amount of Rs. 5000/- for increasing her items in the store. Now, she’s earning a profit of Rs. 10,000/- (approx.) every month and also repaying the installments and interest every month regularly. She’s very happy with her business and now looking forward to increase her number of items in the shop. The other SHG members and Kanku has realised the importance of SHG as they could get a good source of income through the interloaning system of SHG.

(2). Devli is a member of an SHG named Shakti Mahila Samuh of Mohd. Phalasiya village, since 2002. Her husband earlier worked as a laborer with other brick kilns in Ogna village. In 2008, she and her husband decided to start their own brick kiln business. Therefore she took a loan of Rs. 8000 from her SHG fund and they started their business on a small scale. Her group then applied for a loan under SGSY scheme of government and they were sanctioned Rs. 3,12,500 for different activities. The group provided Rs. 50,000 to Devli from SGSY loan for upscaling her brick kiln business. 

Devli’s family constructs 700-1000 bricks each day. They have employed three laborers to support them in their work. She herself works around three to four hours every day. Devli’s estimate is that her family earns a profit of around Rs. 25,000-30,000 per year. Though the income from this business is uncertain during rainy season, she feels that her income has still increased. In future, she plans to increase production as there is a huge demand for bricks in her area and also purchase plastic sheets to keep unburned bricks safe from rain.

Kanku and Devli always give thanks to Seva Mandir who introduced them to Self Help Group.

Once again thank you so much for your continuous support.

Have an awesome year ahead.

Warm regards,

Atul Lekhra 

Links:

Jan 22, 2014

New Clients, New Opportunities

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir.

Wishing you a very Happy, Prosperous and Wonderful 2014. Thank you friends for extending peace, love and support to all of us in 2013. We look forward to another great year with you. Year by year, our association is getting stronger. Thank you very much for adding happiness in so many lives.

Today I thought of sharing with you some more positive recent developments related to our dal mill (lentil processing) project.

The dal mill was commissioned with the view of adding value to the pulses, cultivated by the farmers in Kotra and in turn giving maximum returns to the farmers. Over the years, we have taken small steps towards achieving this objective. The past three months have seen many developments in the operations of the dal mill.

The numbers of clients have increased in the past three months. As also, we have started receiving bulk orders from our clients. Sahkari Upbhokta Bhandar, the largest government departmental store in Udaipur has started procuring dal from us. They have already purchased 2000 kilograms of dal from us and we are expecting fresh orders in the upcoming months. The latest addition in our list of clientele is The Lalit Laxmi Vilas Palace hotel in Udaipur. This is one hotel in Udaipur which is frequented celebrities and the affluent class. The fact that this hotel has entered into a contract with Nala Bachat Samiti for purchasing tuar dal testifies to the superior quality of dal produced by the farmers in Kotra. We are also in talks with Hotel Udai Kothi in Udaipur and hopefully we can strike a deal for supply of dal in the coming month.

Meanwhile, changes have taken place at the administrative front in the dal mill. The general body election had taken place after 3 years in the month of December in which a new panel of 11 core committee members were elected who will represent each of the six villages from which they belong. A meeting of the core committee will be held every month and issues related to operations of the dal mill will be discussed. The dal mill after breaking even in the last financial year, is for the first time running at a net profit of almost Rs. 30,000 according to half yearly financial report for FY 2013-14. Accordingly it has been decided to distribute net profit among the farmer members on the basis of their patronage in the dal mill.

A moisture meter will be installed in the dal mill which will enable in accurate measurement of the moisture content of the pulses and help us in ascertaining the correct selling price for the different varieties of dal.

The dal mill has hoisted visits from varied luminaries like Prof. Abhijit Dasgupta, an economics faculty at South Asian University which is promoted by SAARC. He is conducting a research on agricultural interventions by NGOs conducted by IFPRI and the dal mill will appear as a case study in the same. The dal mill was also visited by Mr. John Pheasant, an eminent legal professional from U.K. and his wife, Mrs. Felicia Pheasant, an educationist. The dal mill also hoisted a visit of 26 students from TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India) in the month of January whereby the students came to learn about the impact of livelihoods interventions on the lives of rural people.

Once again thank you so much for your continuous support.

Have an awesome year ahead.

Warm regards,

Atul Lekhra

Links:

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