Direction: Read the case study given below and answer the questions that follow:
Ralegan Siddhi is a small village in the district of Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. It has become an example for watershed development throughout the country.
In 1975, this village was caught in a web of poverty and illicit liquor trade. The transformation took place when a retired army personnel, settled down in the village and took up the task of watered development. He convinced villagers about the importance of family planning and voluntary labour; preventing open grazing, felling trees, and liquor prohibition.
Voluntary labour was necessary to ensure minimum dependence on the government for financial aids. “It socialised the costs of the projects”, explained the activist. Even those who were working outside the village contributed to the development by committing a month’s salary every year. Work began with the percolation tank constructed in the village. In 1975, the tank could not hold water. The embankment wall leaked. People voluntarily repaired the embankment. The seven wells below it swelled with water in summer for the first time in the living memory of the people. The people reposed their faith in him and his visions.
A youth group called Tarun Mandal was formed. The group worked to ban the dowry system, caste discrimination and untouchability. Liquor distilling units were removed and prohibition imposed. Open grazing was completely banned with a new emphasis on stall-feeding. The cultivation of water intensive crops like sugarcane was banned. Crops such as pulses, oil seeds and certain cash crops with low water requirements were encouraged. All elections to local bodies began to be held on the basis of consensus. “It made the community leaders complete representatives of the people.” A system of Nyay Panchayats (informal courts) were also set up. Since then, no case has been referred to the police. A Rs. 22 lakh school building was constructed using only the resources of the village. No donations were taken. Money, if needed, was borrowed and paid back. The villagers took pride in this self-reliance. A new system of sharing labour grew out of this infusion of pride and voluntary spirit. People volunteered to help each other in agricultural operation. Landless labourers also gained employment. Today the village plans to buy land for them in adjoining villages. At present, water is adequate; agriculture is flourishing, though the use of fertilizers and pesticides is very high. The prosperity also brings the question of ability of the present generation to carry on the work after the leader of the movement who declared that, “The process of Ralegan’s evolution to an ideal village will not stop. With changing times, people tend to evolve new ways. In future, Ralegan might present a different model to the country.”
What was necessary to ensure minimum dependence on government?