Taking up the Mission Antodaya Survey (MAS) in the rural areas of the State appears a Herculean task with Novel Coronavirus pandemic presenting a serious situation at the grass root level.
While MAS provides critical inputs for the planning at grass root level, the COVID-19 has come as a stumbling block for the organizers to go for a detailed survey, officials said on Wednesday.
Notably, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj organizes the survey every year and it is a massive collaborative effort and participative exercise in the rural areas.
Along with the Mission Antodaya Survey, people’s plan campaign is also being taken up by Ministry of Panchayati Raj from October 2, 2020 to continue till January 31, 2021.
This time both the survey and campaign was to be taken up contemporaneously, officials said.
While survey will be done on digital mode, arranging surveyors in the time of the Pandemic seems to be a Herculean Task. However survey inputs are critical for development of the villages.
The results of these surveys provides input for preparing Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDP)s, which are very important for the development of villages.
While Fifteenth Finance Commission has been providing funds to the Rural Local Bodies in a big way, inputs of these survey and preparation of Gram
Panchayat Development Plans are critical for receiving such grants.
According to the sources, due to COVID-19 Pandemic it has been very difficult to go for such a massive exercise as officials in the grass root level are suffering immensely due to the pandemic and several offices are being closed down as many officers and staff are in the fold of the dreaded virus.
While survey data are to be authenticated by gram sabha, now in COVID-19 convening Gram Sabha is just not possible and it is also not advisable, admit officials.
Most importantly, Ministry of Home Affairs also issued COVID-19 Guidelines, which comes as a hurdle in organizing Gram Sabha, officials said.
However, Department of Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water is making preparations to go ahead with both survey and campaign as both are required for development of the Gram Panchayats, officials say.
District Collectors, who are preoccupied with COVID-19 Management will have to find out ways and means to go for such an initiative, officials admit.
Officials will be imparted training and modus operandi for taking up survey and campaign, which will be on digital mode, they say.
However, carrying out such survey and campaign in such an unusual period, seems a difficult proposition for the grass root workers and it has left senior officials in a worried state.