Chapter 6 There are more than six lakh villages in India. Taking care of their needs for water, electricity, road connections, is not a small task. In addition to this, land records have to be maintained and Rural conflicts too need to be dealt with. A large machinery is in place to deal with all this. In thisAdministration chapter we will look at the work of two rural administrative officers in some detail. take over some of Mohan's land, and increased the size of his own field. Mohan was angry but also a little frightened. Raghu's family owned many fields and besides, his uncle was also the Sarpanch of the village. But even so, he plucked up courage and went to Raghu's house. A heated argument followed. Raghu refused to accept that he had moved the bund. He called one of his helpers and they began shouting at Mohan and beating him up. The neighbours heard the commotion and rushed to the spot where Mohan was being beaten up. They took him away. He was badly hurt on his head and hand. He was given first aid by one of his neighbours. His friend, who also ran the village post-office, suggested that they go to the local police station and file a report. Others were doubtful if this was a good idea because they felt they would waste a lot of money and nothing which they have been farming for would come out of it. Some people said many years. Next to his field is Raghu's that Raghu's family would have land which is separated from his by a already contacted the police station. small boundary called a bund. After much discussion it was One morning Mohan noticed that decided that Mohan would go to the Raghu had shifted the bund by a few police station along with some of the feet. By doing so, he had managed to neighbours who had seen the incident. Area of the Police Station On the way to the police station one of the neighbours asked, "Why don't we spend some more money and go to the main police station in the town?" "It is not a question of money. We can register the case only in this police station because our village comes in its area of work," explained Mohan. Every police station has an area that comes under its control. All persons in that area can report cases or inform the police about any theft, accident, injury, fight, etc. It is the responsibility of the police of that station to enquire, to investigate and take action on the cases within its area. The work at the Police Station When they reached the police station Mohan went to the person in charge (Station House Officer or S.H.O.) and told him what had happened. He also said that he wanted to give the complaint in writing. The S.H.O rudely brushed him aside saying that he couldn't be bothered to waste his time writing down minor complaints and then investigating them. Mohan showed him his injuries but the S.H.O did not believe him. Mohan was puzzled and did not know what to do. He was not sure why his complaint was not being recorded. He went and called his neighbours into the office. They argued strongly that Mohan had been beaten up in front of them and had they not rescued him he would have been injured very seriously. They insisted that the case be registered. Finally the officer agreed. He asked Mohan to write down his complaint and also told the people that he would send a constable the next day to investigate the incident. Maintenance of Land Records You saw that Mohan and Raghu were arguing heatedly whether the common boundary of their fields had been shifted. Isn't there a way by which they could have settled this dispute in a peaceful manner? Are there records that show who owns what land in the village? Let's find out how this is done. Measuring land and keeping land records is the main work of the Patwari. The Patwari is known by different names in different states - in some villages such officers are called Lekhpal, in others Kanungo or Rural Administration / 51 Karamchari or Village Officer etc. We will refer to this officer as Patwari. Each Patwari is responsible for a group of villages. The Patwari maintains and updates the records of the village. The map and the corresponding details from the register on the next page are a small part of the records kept by the Patwari. The Patwari usually has ways of measuring agricultural fields. In some places a long chain is used. In the above instance the Patwari would have measured both Mohan's and Raghu's fields and compared them with the measurements on the map. If they did not match then it would be clear that the boundary of the fields has been changed. The Patwari is also responsible for organising the collection of land revenue from the farmers and providing information to the government about the crops grown in this area. This is done from the records that are kept, and this is why it's important for the Patwari to regularly update these. Farmers may change the crops grown on their fields or someone may dig a well somewhere, The Khasra record of the Patwari gives you information regarding the map given below. It identifies which plot of land is owned by whom. Look at both the records and the map and answer the questions given below regarding Mohan and Raghu's land. VILLAGE - AMRAPURA 1. Who owns the land south of Mohan's field? 2. Mark the common boundary between Mohan's and Raghu's lands. 3. Who can use field no 3? 4. What information can one get for field no 2 and field no 3? Legend Boundary Well Grassland Kachcha Road Pakka road Tree and keeping track of all this is the work of the revenue department of the government. Senior people in this department supervise the Patwari's work. All states in India are divided into districts. For managing matters relating to land these districts are further sub-divided. These subdivisions of a district are known by different names such as tehsil, taluka, etc. At the head is the District Collector and under her are the revenue officers, also known as tehsildars. They have to hear disputes. They also supervise the work of the Patwaris and ensure that records are properly kept and land revenue is collected. They make sure that the farmers can easily obtain a copy of their record, students can obtain their caste certificates etc. The Tehsildar's office is where land disputes are also heard. Father inherited our house from his father And everyone says he'll leave it to brother But what about me and my mother? To expect a share in my father's home, Is not very womanly, I am told. But I really want a place of my own, Not dowry of silk and gold. (Source: Reflections on MY FAMILY, Anjali Monteiro,TISS) A New Law (Hindu Succession Amendment Act, 2005) Often when we think of farmers who own land, we think of men. Women are seen as people who work on the fields, but not as people who own agricultural land. Till recently in some states Hindu women did not get a share in the family's agricultural land. After the death of the father his property was divided equally only among his sons. Recently, the law was changed. In the new law sons, daughters and their mothers can get an equal share in the land. The same law will apply to all states and union territories of the country. This law will benefit a large number of women. For example Sudha is the eldest daughter of an agricultural family. She is married and lives in a neighbouring village. After her father's death Sudha often comes to help her mother with the farming work. Her mother has asked the Patwari to transfer the land and enter her name along with the names of all the children in his record. Sudha's mother confidently organises the farming with the help of the younger brother and sister. Similarly Sudha also lives with the assurance that if she ever has a problem she can always depend upon her share of the land. Other Public Services - A survey This chapter has looked at some of the administrative work of the government, especially for rural areas. The first example related to maintaining law and order and the second to maintaining land records. In the first case we examined the role of the police and in the second that of the Patwari. This work is supervised by other people in the department, such as the Tehsildar or the Superintendent of Police. We have also seen how people use these services, and some of the problems that they face. These services have to be used and made to function according to the laws that have been framed for them. You have probably seen many other public services and facilities provided by various departments of the government. Do the following exercise for your village/by visiting a nearby village or looking at your own area. List the public services in the village/area such as: the milk society, the fair price shop, the bank, the police station, the agricultural society for seeds and fertiliser, the post office or sub post office, the anganwadi, crèche, government school/s, health centre or government hospital etc. Collect information on three public services and discuss with your teacher how improvements can be made in their functioning. One example has been worked out. Publicservice Fair-priceshop(ratioshop) Healthcentre Milksociety What did younotice abouttheir work?The shop wasopen. Threepeople came.They all hadyellow cards.They boughtsugar andrice. Kerosenewas notavailable. Area covered This shopcovers twovillages. What do theyneed to do inorder to usethe facility?They need aration card.This has to bemade at thetehsil office. Problemsfaced bythosemanagingtheserviceThere isnotenoughsupply ofkerosene. Problemsfaced bypeopleRice is ofvery badquality.Wenever getkerosene. Improvementsthat can bemadeImprovequality ofrice. Makekeroseneavailable.The fair priceshop shouldbe kept openevery day. Rural Administration / 55 QUESTIONS 1. What is the work of the police? 2. List two things that the work of a Patwari includes. 3. What is the work of a tehsildar? 4. What issue is the poem trying to raise? Do you think this is an important issue? Why? 5. In what ways are the work of the Panchayat, that you read about in the previous chapter, and the work of the Patwari related to each other? 6. Visit a police station and find out the work that the police have to do to prevent crime and maintain law and order in their area especially during festivals, public meetings etc. 7. Who is in charge of all the police stations in a district? Find out. 8. How do women benefit under the new law? 9. In your neighbourhood are there women who own property? How did they acquire it?