MATUNGA, NOVEMBER 25, 2011: Don Bosco Development Society organized a one day workshop on November 24, 2011, on the importance of good governance in, inclusive development. About twenty five Salesians and senior staff members participated in the workshop. The focus of the sessions was on Right to Information, National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and Right to Water.Mr. Nikhil Dey, Founder member of MKSS and Co-convener of NCPRI spoke on MKSS’s journey in the enactment of RTI, NREGA, and presently, the Lokpal Bill. He stressed the fact that civil society participation is critical in enacting good development laws and ensuring their proper implementation. He shared his views on the working of RTI and NREGA in different parts of India. He was of the opinion that although RTI and NREGA may not be functioning at their best, they have certainly bridged the gap between the rulers (government) and ruled (citizens). The RTI has given the people the tools to make systems and functionaries accountable. Because of the NREGA, minimum wages have been raised all over the country. Mr. Dey said he was convinced that these laws were definitely contributing to the development of poor and backward groups.
The speaker for the afternoon session was the ‘Waterman of India’, Mr. Rajendra Singh, who received the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2001 for community leadership in water conservation and management. Presenting his experiences, he stressed the need to respect the traditional knowledge and wisdom on water among local of people, and criticized the corporatization of water and natural resources. He also stressed the need to engage youth and women in development issues, as this is the section of society that takes their commitment to social issues seriously. Further, he briefed the participants on the Water Parliament which he has established, encompassing the over 1000 villages he had worked in during the past thirty years. Finally, taking questions from the audience, he touched upon various issues including the linking of rivers project, big damns, mining on river beds and pollution of water bodies.
All the participants were highly appreciative of the sessions, and said that besides the new ideas that they had picked up during the day, they weregreatly impressed by the lives and commitment of the speakers. Concluding the programme, Fr. Savio Silveira said that through this workshop, the Development Office wanted to begin the process of drawing up the roadmap for the next five years, for the development work carried out in the Mumbai province. This next phase of our work would be characterized by the Rights Based Approach, and would focus on people’s participation and ownership of the development process. The workshop ended with vote of thanks to the speakers.