NGO: Arpana Research and Charities Trust


Arpana Research and Charities Trust was set up in 1962, as a non-profit organization working to improve health, provide education and enhance livelihoods through programs covering over 350,000 people in rural Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and in Delhi’s slum resettlement colonies.

Arpana is engaged in intensive health and rural development programs in over 248 villages of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, including, healthcare, maternity/ child welfare, livelihood and rights promotion, water and sanitation, farmers’ welfare and computer trainings. Arpana is also working towards education, health and development of over 50,000 people in slum resettlement colonies of Molar Bund in New Delhi.

IDRF Partner Since: 2000

Focus Area(s): Good Governance and Women’s Empowerment

Location: Haryana

Project Title: Good Governance: To Increase Attendance of Women and Scheduled Caste Members at Gram Sabha Meetings


IDRF is working with our long time NGO-partner Arpana and Association for Democratic & Inclusive Governance (ADIG) (implementing partner) to work on a project to ensure the strengthening of Gram Sabha and Gram Panchayat Development Planning. Arpana and ADIG have started this project to strengthen bottom-up planning and functioning of Gram Sabha in selected Gram Panchayats in District Karnal, Haryana. Their main strategy is to encourage Self-Help Groups to engage with Panchayats, either as elected representatives or as responsible citizens. About 68% of Indian population still lives in rural areas, hence Gram Panchayats have very important role in attaining sustainable development goals in the villages. Panchayats in Haryana remain weak as powers and funds have not been devolved to them, besides patriarchy and caste hierarchy remaining big challenges in these villages.

Women’s participation in politics was affirmed in Panchayat elections in January 2016 with 49 Self-Help Group members elected to different panchayats in the district. Our partners conducted orientation on roles and responsibilities of representatives, rural development schemes, identifying needs of the villagers and prioritizing them and process of preparing Gram Panchayat plans, etc.

The duration of this project is from April 2017 to March 2020 and it covers the most backwards Gram Panchayats to be taken up in each phase from the Gharaunda Block in District Karnal. A pilot project to strengthen Gram Panchayat Development Planning and Gram Sabha was carried out from 2016 to 2017. Five Gram Panchayats were selected for this pilot program and for each year thereafter, five more panchayats will be added making the total to 20.

Year Total No. of Gram Panchayats
2016-17 Pilot 05
2017-18 10
2018-19 15
2019-20 20

Some major achievements of the Pilot Project:

  1. Staff and elected representatives received orientation about Panchayati Raj system, Gram Panchayat Development Planning and Gram Sabha
  2. Gram Sabhas and Ward Sabhas were organized to identify and prioritize the needs
  3. Selected Gram Panchayats formulated Gram Panchayat Development Planning and uploaded them onto the State Govt. website
  4. Self Help Groups were oriented on Gram Sabha participation and raising concerns during the meetings
  5. Groups of trainers were formed and trained to conduct awareness through street plays
  6. Media reports were prepared and released to help spread awareness about Gram Panchayat Development Planning to other Gram Panchayats in the region

These achievements have led to a marked increase in attendance in Gram Sabha meetings and women Self-Help Groups. Schedule-caste members express their needs and concerns in the meetings and functioning of Gram Panchayats has started becoming transparent and accountable.

For the rest of the duration of the project (2017 to 2020) Gram Sabha awareness and mobilization will continue with one focus theme like education, health & nutrition, sanitation, and income generation, etc. identified in consultation with the Self-Help Groups. Implementation of Gram Panchayat Development Planning in Gram Panchayats will be monitored in the new Gram Panchayats. Active standing committees of Gram Panchayats will look after and monitor focus areas assigned to them. This project will also orient the Gram Panchayats on convergent role of planning and monitoring for attainment of the goal of sustainable development and making these villages poverty free and attaining other relevant goals.

Please click on the link to learn more about Arpana Research and Charitable Trust’s multifaceted activities for the underrepresented and underprivileged section of the society.

Village level Self Help Group Meeting

Capacity building of elected members

Formation of working group at Village: Sadarpur