Written by Abhay Singh
Translated & Edited by Debaleena Bagchi
Since the establishment of a DEF Centre at Vikrampur two years ago, we have worked tirelessly to organise activities and drives that help us remain true to the vision of ‘Smartpur’. Many noteworthy activities have transpired in the past and, with our most recent events, we are determined in our efforts to carry the endeavour forward.
On 17th February 2022, Vikrampur Hub Centre organised a governance camp where two retired government doctors, Dr Jagat Narayan Singh and Dr Mukhtar Singh, informed the attendees about various government schemes that they could avail. This session was attended by thirty-two of the most senior inhabitants of the village, among others.
Our third speaker, Mr. Abhay Singh, explained to the attendees the meaning of the pillars of DEF and the role that the centres play in upholding them.
The participants were also asked about the status of their ration cards and when we remarked that many of them did not possess these identification cards, we invited them, and the rest of the villagers, to come to the centre and register their details so that their ration cards could be made. They have also been urged to complete their e-SHRAM registrations.
On the same day, we also carried out a meeting of the Sehlakar Samiti at the Hub Centre. The same senior members of the village attended this meeting and were joined by twenty-four local farmers. They were informed about the Smartpur project and of all current government schemes that could be beneficial to them. The organisation and operations of the project was carried out by our Centre Coordinator Abhay Singh. Seeing how productive these meetings have been, it was collectively decided that the Sehlakar Samiti meetings will now be held once every month.
Beyond the laudable contribution of our team members, these events were made possible with the support and effort of community leaders like Kishan Kushwaha, Jogesh Kushwaha, Sashi Bhushan and Ram Chandra Gupta.
Over the two years that the centre has been running, such information camps have been aplenty. However, a health camp had been missing from our repository. Recent efforts have helped us make that possible and the introduction of such a camp has made the locals exceedingly happy.
On 19th February, 2022, we were able to expand our reach beyond the Hub Centre at Vikrampur and organise a free health check-up in the adjacent village of Bhairavpur. Dr Raj Lallan Pandey (MBBS) was available for consultation and the camp was visited by ninety-three villagers who also received their prescription medicines for free. We were also extremely vigilant about the ongoing pandemic situation and made sure that adequate safety measures, including social distancing, were maintained.
Recently, we were able to organise a camp to help participants open zero-balance accounts in Jagdishpur, a village close to our Hub Centre. On February 23rd, we partnered with UP Baroda (Gramin Bank) who helped set up a camp where fifty-seven locals opened zero-balance accounts.
Along with DEF’s organisers, present at the camp were Bank Manager Mr Ajit Kumar, cashier Mr Sarvesh Kumar and Mr PK Shrivastav. They explained to the locals the ins and outs of bank account management and available schemes such as the Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and the Atal Pension Yojana.
It was with the help of Mr Nagendra Kushwaha from the bank that we were able to open so many zero-balance accounts. The locals were pleased with the effort. Furthermore, the attendance and encouragement from the village head, Mr Manish Singh, contributed to the success of the event.
We have many such events lined up for the future and together we are working towards bringing our vision on Smartpur to fruition.
Abhay Singh is DEF’s project officer who coordinates activities in the district of Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh.
Debaleena Bagchi is DEF’s communications consultant and writer.