Unleashing the community potential of Indian villages

1 Accounting Freedom
This is based on transparency. All village success stories in India use transparency as a vital keystone. In such successful villages, if computers are not in vogue, they use the walls of the panchayat buildings and other public walls in the villages to put up information for display. What the village policies are, who has been receiving benefits and what funds have come into the village are examples of such information.

Let alone villages, all nations and leaders who follow the principles of transparency have prospered. ... A righteous leader is usually transparent in his dealings. Therefore, transparency facilitates the emergence of good leadership in a village, and it also helps in the creation of an environment that minimizes corruption.

The other dimension contained in this freedom is the principle of systematic accounting. When proper accounts are maintained, it reduces friction and unnecessary litigation to a great extent. We shall see more of this as we touch upon the various components of this freedom.

The central resource in this is a universally accessible computer (or computer network) alongside suitable documentation, which holds all vital information concerning the village within the village itself. This data should be updated under the direct administrative control of the village body and should always be available for reference by any member of the village community.

The factors that are listed under this freedom do not readily appear to be freedoms. For example, writing accounts or documenting clearly who has received what benefit cannot be categorized as freedoms in themselves. And yet, they are important ingredients for the setting up of freedom in a village. When a village successfully ensures that the components of Revenue Accounting freedom are implemented, it lays strong foundations for building up freedom. Therefore, these may be treated as freedoms themselves.

A village should have a complete record of the land holdings in the village updated to within a week of the last changes made in the tahsildar’s office, preferably computerized. It should be available for inspection at any time and accessible to all members of the village community. Click here for details.
1.2 Taxes (a record of taxation and expenses)
Every village should have a complete record of taxes and revenues recovered from the village. Whether it is the revenue for land, dwellings or other constructions or for the consumption of electricity and water… Even arbitrary collections for festivals… Proper audited records should be maintained for suitable inspection by revenue officials who visit for government audits and be made accessible to all members of the village. Click here for details.
The village should possess a complete list and details of the schemes of the central and state governments which are available for the development of villages and their citizens. Also, once government help is received, the village administration should maintain records of the status of such help being given to the members of the village. Click here for details.
The village must maintain a complete data bank of the members of the village, stored in a computer and based on a pattern given by the state. Click here for details.
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