Rural Development

Villages are the heart of our country.But now a days, the condition of our villages is not good.Our Organization AIBI RESEARCH work for the welfair of such rural areas.We provde the poor people of these villages houses and other important materials. We make low-cost eco family houses in the rural areas. We have worked in many districts of our state for welfair of dowm trodenc people. Our work in Bhojpur, Saharash, Madhubani, Supall, etc. is laudable we focus on optimizing the enargy efficiency potential as well as the materials and resourses used and construction and promoting local craftsmen and their traditions and also keeping in mind the climatic and geomorphic local conditions to build a long-lasting sate housing.we also provide the villages better conditions of Education and health centres. We ever for the betterment of villages and we will make the villages strong and advanced in real manner.


Low-Cost Eco-Friendly Housing in Rural Areas


Most families living in rural India suffer from the lack to fulfil their basic needs such as permanent and sustainable housing. On one side, the rapid growth of population as well as the increasing costs of construction are widening the gap between those who possess a house and those who do not. On the other side, the growing aspiration to have a house is pushinga rural communities to opt for solutions which imply the use of building materials with a deep environmental impact.
Worldwide, the diffusion of eco-friendly practices in the building sector has been identified as one of the key factors that could help to drastically decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
There is an urgent need for construction models supporting the conservation of resources in order to provide millions of people with a house in India while at the same time promoting sustainable low carbon dioxide emission models.


PROJECT DETAILS


Providing a home for the millions of people living in rural India is a mission which is facing a double challenge: facilitating the building of structures at a price consistent to the low income of BOP families and the search of eco-friendly solutions applicable on a large scale.
Therefore we are focussing on:
• Optimizing the energy efficiency potential as well as the materials and resources used in construction
• Promoting local craftsmen and their traditions
• Keeping in mind the climatic and geomorphic local conditions to build a long-lasting safe housing.
The following tools are part of the project:
• Technology for the design and the construction
The building will apply to the principles of low energy consumption, by using high input energy materials commonly used in the traditional building sector and local resources. Moreover, the architectural structure of the houses will be developed through participative practices within the communities and it will take into account the local climatic conditions, the traditional elements and techniques of construction.
• Institutional reinforcement and training
The artisan constructor (the "Mason") is a fundamental link in the process of construction and consignment of the houses in rural areas; he is one of the key elements of the construction process. The training centre for artisans TARA Karigar Mandal (TKM) has the objective to strenghten the skills of the artisan constructors through technical trainings in bio-architecture, job opportunities and the acknowledgment of their social role. The training will focus on the partial construction of a demonstrative building in a well-visible central area of the community. The building will be devoted to social initiatives for the village, it will be a school or a council hall. This building will be identified with the rural district development agency (DRDA) as an instrument of training and awareness raising for the local communities.
• Proposal of services
The two key services in the region – housing and sanitation facilities – will be built by the local workforce trained by the project, with a quality checking performed by TMK The role of the local artisan constructors is a fundamental factor to guarantee the quality of construction, especially considering the use of alternative technologies.
• Entrepreneurial development
The project will help to strengthen the production of building materials, through the creation and the support to local micro enterprises. 2-3 local groups will be created and supported to create as many micro enterprises for the production and supplying of eco-friendly materials and finishing services such as fastenings, roofs, prefabricated panels for bathrooms. At the beginning, the micro enterprises will work as local branches of TMK. During the second year of the project, a buy back project will start and the micro entrepreneurs will purchase the property.
• Access to credit
The access to sustainable credit systems is one of the fundamental factors to create eco-friendly housing for disadvantaged families (with incomes lower than €40 per month) living in rural areas. The financial model will be constituted by a third provided by the financial institution, a third by the family itself and a third by the project. The contribution of Fem Sustainable Social Solutions will cover those costs (estimated to be 30-40% of the total costs) which cannot be carried by poor families due to a lack of support by government programs (government programs, on average, accede to the 2% of the requests at the most). The contribution of the family will mainly consist in workforce devoted to construction and the savings of years.

OUR PARTNERS

• Development Alternatives, New Delhi (India).
AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Low cost rural houses from local materials

A traditional rural residence is almost always based on adaptations to the local environment, and is often built with the labour of the villagers themselves without the need for external mechanised inputs. Surekha Sule reports on the Rural Building Centre, a NIRD initiative showcasing several such homes.

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29 November 2005 - Village houses may be artists' delight, and cement structures in villages may look like incongruous ugly dots in a picturesque landscape. But while urbanites may feel that village houses should retain their traditional appearance - and therefore be made of wood, stone, mud etc. - villagers themselves are quick to point to the irony in this: the well-meaning urbanites themselves have long ago abandoned traditional housing! Low cost, aesthetics, preserving traditions, and living in climatically suitable houses are all fine notions, but the durability of homes is also an important consideration. A mud house with a thatched roof needs continuous maintenance, whereas a brick and cement house is far sturdier, and has a longer life span. And villagers are as interested in the longevity of their homes as their urban counterparts.
But a traditional rural residence has important advantages - it is almost always based on adaptations to the local environment, and is often built with the labour of the villagers themselves without the need for external mechanised inputs. The simplest way to build a house, in the past, was to look around for the materials needed for the structure, and begin building the structure yourself. For the construction of village homes, therefore, the challenge today is to acknowledge people's desire for long-lasting structures, andthereafter ask what elements of functionality, value and aesthetics can be infused into the buildings. One person who took up this challenge vigorously was M N Joglekar, a former Executive Director of the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO).
A professional architect, Joglekar went beyond the standard knowledge of construction to study not just how these houses are constructed but how they are lived in. He set out to use rationalized traditional technologies, which are amply displayed at the Rural Building Centre of National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) in Hyderabad.
Fourteen typologies of rural buildings - from those in the Himalayan region to the hilly North-East to the rain-battered coasts to arid Kutch and the Deccan Plateau - stand in a circle, exuding aesthetics enhanced by the pictorial natural setting of the Rural Technology Park of NIRD campus. Recognising the great potential in promoting local-material-based traditional technologies, HUDCO had initiated the Rural Building Centre concept where building components can be manufactured by the rural people using local available material and through skill upgradation. Through this centre, precast components could be given to the rural people instead of cash, which is the typical form of assistance for home construction.
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A visit to this centre debunks the notion that durable houses cannot be without steel and cement, and that permanent, long lasting houses are a costly affair. During the recent heavy downpours, a few cement buildings nearby suffered leakages, but all these houses withstood the onslaught of the monsoon, and retained their exterior and interior intact.
The Rural Building Centre project depicting these 14 typologies is result of a trio working relentlessly with a vision. While Joglekar conceptualised the entire project, Brigadier G B Reddy (Retd) made it happen in just one and half year using army man's go-getting skills in executing the project. However, it still would have been just a dream, had it not been for NIRD's Director General Lalit Mathur's quickly sanctioning and enthusiastically supporting the project at crucial junctures. The Rural Building Centre was inaugurated on November 8, 2005 by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Rajasekhar Reddy, and was opened to the public to offer a view of rural traditional aesthetics reinforced through simple technical innovations for low-cost construction using local materials.
"When you dig up the ground to lay the foundation, you have soil which can be used for making mud-blocks and clay tiles right at the location. Thus there is no need to source building materials from the market, it is right there in the foundation" says Joglekar. The innovation is about strengthening mud-blocks through various simple technologies. Local availability of materials is also key; the west coast houses use laterite extensively, the Rajasthan houses too use stones even for columns, beams and the roof.
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Joglekar recognised that the challenge of providing long-lasting, utility-rich homes was particularly emphatic after a natural disaster, when people have lost their weaker old homes to the calamity, but only local materials are available for reconstruction, and victims must often respond to their situation using their own wits and wisdom. He evolved expertise in post-disaster reconstruction while working on rehabilitation projects for Bhopal gas tragedy affected people. Later the devastating earthquakes in Latur, Jabalpur, Chaumoli, and Bhuj left millions homeless, and Joglekar's knowledge and studies of rural housing gained during his tours in different parts of the country helped victims rebuild their homes keeping in mind utility, culture and climate.
Interestingly, the Kutch earthquake saw several industries - especially steel, cement and construction - come to the 'rescue' of the disaster victims. But many of these efforts were eventually abandoned as unprofitable. Rural reconstruction is not a high priority for builders; the houses are small structures of Rs.25,000-50,000, and there isn't much of a profit margin.
It is in this context that the Rural Building Centre like at NIRD assumes importance. The RBC's models and ideas have much potential to develop under housing assistance programs, and might even help circumvent the contractors' lobby that prefers to build houses based on the materials it can source cheaply from anywhere, without much consideration of the users' needs. The ideas from the RBC need to be taken to regional centres that further explore the details of various local construction options and demonstrate them, build capacities and make building components available. The need for doing this in the rural areas themselves is critical, since HUDCO found that its centre in an urban area aroused curiosity and interest, but did not lead to large-scale implementation. Centres more accessible to villagers who could then immediately apply its ideas would have been much more preferable.
Irrigation in rural India and the decentralisation test
"In India, 69% of people in non-irrigated areas are poor;in irrigated areas this figure falls to 2%."
Water for People, Water for Life.
The United Nations World Water Development Report, unesco 2003
The Green Revolution launched in India in the 1960s freely promoted irrigation as being in the national interest. Overexploitation of water resources and the ensuing exhaustion of water tables have prompted the authorities to respond in order to avoid social and environmental ravages. With help from leading international sponsors, India has set up development programmes based on participative management by the population.
Wells: The vicious circle
The village of Bhairkhanpalle is in the state of Andhra Pradesh, in the heart of the Indian peninsula. Geography has given this underdeveloped area around Bhairkhanpalle, in the Telangana, a semi-arid climate; history has given it an non-egalitarian social structure typical of many rural areas. Geology has bequeathed a granite substratum, making water tables hard to access and well-drilling extremely costly and haphazard. Yet there are plenty of wells in Bhairkhanpalle. The open wells used until the 1980s have given way to about 100 drilled wells equipped with submersible motor pumps, which draw water from as deep as 60 metres (compared to 15 metres with open wells). But too many wells have led to competition: as a result, two-thirds of them are already dry and have had to be abandoned. There are now 575,000 wells in the state of Andhra Pradesh, nine times more than in 1975. But how many actually work? In Bhairkhanpalle, one farmer drilled no fewer than 30 wells over four hectares, and only three yielded water. Some wells are only 1.5 metres apart. In many villages the irrigated area is shrinking, whereas the number of wells is paradoxically growing: the less water there is, the more wells are drilled, which makes water even scarcer. This vicious circle ultimately amounts to social and environmental ravage – not to mention that only the better-off farmers have any chance of maintaining their livelihoods, given that a well costs about 50,000 rupees1. Indian peasants have apparently decided not to face facts. A few months ago, a farmer from Bhairkhanpalle, unable to pay back the loan he took out for a well, took his own life. The same phenomenon can be observed in the alluvial plain of the Ganges, where in some places water-table levels are dropping by more than one metre a year. "Without water, the village will become a desert and we'll have to leave," said a despairing villager
Both a cash and a food crop, rice runs counter to nature in semi-arid environments. Widespread protests are now building against the high level of its floor price and the federal
government's purchase of part of production, which is intended to support prices and agricultural income artificially. These measures, which are environmentally harmful because they involve drawing from water tables, can hardly be justified in social terms because small rice farmers typically have no saleable surplus. Rice is, though, a profitable cash crop for larger-scale farmers. It still provides most of the daily food intake for most rural households, making it all the harder to replace with less water-thirsty crops. And in the country that is home to 40% of the world's "malnourished", there is another economic paradox: India is reduced to selling its surpluses by subsidising the price of rice for export, and is now one of the world's leading exporters.


Market failures

Water is also overused and wasted because it costs nothing. The electricity needed to run pumps is free in some states and heavily subsidised elsewhere, although the public agencies in charge of generating and distributing electricity are structurally loss-making. The power comes on for a few hours a day at most, so the pumps operate whenever possible to maximise the extraction of water; there is huge wastage. Farmers ultimately fall victim to the subsidies designed to help them. In areas where canals can provide irrigation, the price of water does not cover the cost of operating and maintaining the network. And the old village ponds – which the colonial government had taken over running because the farmers were supposedly incapable of rational utilisation – are generally no longer maintained for want of financial and human resources. The government, unable to strike the right balance between rights and duties, completely disempowered the farmers, who have lost all interest in the common good and now prefer to run their own wells when they can afford to.
In a situation dominated by collective schemes (alternative water distribution and payment of dues to maintain infrastructures) and an organisation designed to share a scanty resource, irrigation using private wells seems to offer a form of independence from surface water. But it is illusory. There is a de facto interdependence between surface water and groundwater; moreover, farmers whose wells draw from the same source create fierce competition – the origin of the water shortage – realising in the end that to survive their only option is to share more fairly. Yet individual choices nearly always prevail: access to water is privatised, and experience shows that this is a far from lasting solution to the problem of its rarity.
What are the solutions, if any? Extract
more water? The Indian government recently relaunched a plan to create a dense network of canals to link the large rivers. The main dam over the Narmada will soon be complete, as will the river Tehri dam in the Himalayas. But what then? Supply-side policies alone have reached their limits. Major reservoir-dam construction projects, the butt of criticism in India and internationally, are being abandoned owing to their environmental, economic and human costs. So the solution is not to find more water but to waste less and use it better. A proper joint-system of management must be set up, instilling in everyone a sense of communal solidarity and responsibility for the resource.
Villagers find it very hard to envisage operational collective-regulation. A farmer explains: "The farmers think the water and land belong to them, and can't do anything if their neighbour wants to drill a well. The principle is that everyone can do as they wish on their land, and live as they please." When the need to introduce a minimum distance between wells is raised, the reply is invariably, "Only the state can impose rules." But can the state bring in and enforce collective rules without minimal consent and the villagers' active participation?

Participative management of irrigation


The 1990s marked a change in the government's attitude to local participation. It had observed two things: the failure of nature conservation policies, and the slow recognition of traditional know-how and social practices in resource management. Andhra Pradesh became a pioneer state in the participative management of irrigation3. A 1997 law transferred the management of all the surface irrigation systems to the farmers, who automatically found themselves convened into water users' associations.
This policy only applies to surface water. The fast rise in the number of associations is due primarily to financial incentives. The World Bank funded most of the project with a $142m loan in 1998. The associations, which each received 700,000 rupees, enjoyed undeniable success, but there is every reason to fear that they will collapse when the money dries up.
Officially pricing policy is supposed to comply with the French principle that water must pay for itself. Although the price has stayed fairly low, it tripled in 1997. Most farmers no longer view this contribution as a tax but as fair payment for a service, acknowledging that the associations need to work properly. But the state still owns and controls the irrigation infrastructure, and the associations are not yet in charge of collecting contributions. Despite extensive media coverage of the scheme's success, some farmers still do not know about it. And when elections are held, the turn-out is often very low (less than 10%). A lot of local businessmen who used to work hand-in-hand with the government, have managed to have themselves voted in as chairmen of the associations. "We've got no choice," a peasant acknowledges, "and in any case a chairman from a lower class or caste would have no clout in his dealings with the authorities and the private sector. It's better to elect a notable." The state pays 50,000 rupees to associations that elect their chairman unanimously – an incentive that severely diminishes the democratic nature of such elections.
"Watershed management schemes", which have also become participative, are encountering similar difficulties. They try to reconcile agricultural development and environmental protection, with the primary objective of maintaining the quality of the soil and farming land; but the conservation measures mainly favour landowning farmers and traditional beneficiaries. The only advantage for farm labourers, stock farmers and craftsmen is paid work to build small sloping dams designed by technicians and replanting of trees. For the government, participation is mainly a chance to reaffirm that citizens have duties first and rights second

The limits of small-step development

Launched in 2001 by the uk's international development ministry, the Andhra Pradesh Rural Livelihoods Programme (4) is the most recent participative development programme to operate at the micro-catchment area level. The areas' natural boundaries are the watersheds, but for easier management these have been redrawn along local administrative boundaries, with a maximum area of 500 hectares. The programme's main innovation is to decentralise the design of the development projects. Each year, the village council decides democratically which projects to implement, according to local needs: a hill dam, forest nursery or cattle enclosure. The programme's primary focus is on local resources and existing possibilities. The population must became the prime mover of its development, with the government only offering assistance. One slogan applies: Think local, act local. This is the framework within which Bhairkhanpalle voted to build a communal watering.
Yet there are no plans to eliminate or even reduce the economic and social constraints that affect the sustainable use of resources, in particular the lack of equality in the farming community with respect to land ownership, class, caste and gender. The pond-reservoirs once used to irrigate low-lying fields are now often used to percolate surface water down to refill the water tables. Farmers who previously used pond water to irrigate their fields have no real choice but to comply with the new practices. Wealthy drilled-well owners are proving to be the sole beneficiaries of this conservation measure: it gives them exclusive access to well water, which they could sell to their less affluent neighbours. These inequalities in power and representation in collective decision-making are a major obstacle to a truly participative approach, and there is no doubt that decentralisation could aggravate most of these inequalities if the counterweight of the public authorities disappeared. The village councils are still dominated by notables and political factions. Granted, the chairperson on each municipal council is now elected using quotas that favour women, untouchable castes and tribes. For instance, a woman chairs the Bhairkhanpalle council. But in a neighbouring village, the chairperson is the wife of the biggest local landowner.
The new participation-based development initiatives, which appear to be progressive and democratic, hide a dark reality. The state primarily views participation as an instrument, a convenient way of boosting the efficiency of its actions by transferring certain management costs to local actors without fundamentally calling into question the usual operating standards. Like other programmes currently being implemented in India, notably in the forestry sector, an overly egalitarian conception of society prevents projects from giving priority to helping those most in need. It is crucial to target the most underprivileged; otherwise, the free workings of social forces will above all benefit the groups best placed socially and politically to gain from decentralisation and deregulation.