This study evaluates the effectiveness of a Community Driven Development programme under the Pudhu Vaazhvu Project of the Government of Tamil Nadu.
Currently, many government policies are implemented via government extension arms. At the same time, the new and streamlined model of directly involving the community (or potential beneficiaries) as implementers is also getting popular. This new model, known as the Community Driven Development (CDD) approach, operates on the principle where community members themselves take control of the development process, resources, and decision-making channels. This study examines the Government of Tamil Nadu’s Pudhu Vaazhvu Project (PVP), a CDD initiative implemented across four villages of Tiruvannamalai district in Tamil Nadu, to understand if the guiding principles of the model are being followed by the community.
As part of the study, several rounds of discussions were conducted with the officials of the Government of Tamil Nadu to understand the guiding principles of the model. Verification of the outlined PIP guidelines was done by attending the process and also understanding the participation levels of households, and their experience of the programme. VPRC members were also interviewed to understand the functioning of the group, its decision-making process, power structure, and participation levels.
The study finds that most poor families in the examined region are included in PVP PIP list (the PVP’s list of poor and very poor households). However, it clarifies that the inclusion in the PIP list does not guarantee benefits for the households. In this sense, it underlines the serious concern that women of the most disadvantaged households are probably excluded, particularly those women that face domestic violence and restriction in mobility. Furthermore, it notes that majorities of households that receive benefits have some kind of connection with the Village Poverty Reduction Committees (VPRC) members.
The findings of this study have important implications for enhancing the effectiveness of similar community-based programmes. By understanding the functioning of the VPRCs and the execution of the PIP process, this study can aid in better structuring of the programme to not only ensure an equitable and fair disbursement of funds, but also reduce the chances of loan defaults.