Creating awareness among the agricultural laborers in the following
areas - Indian Land Reforms Laws, minimum wages and equal wages for
women, Rights of tenants (Tenancy Act, 1956), untouchability
practice and atrocities against Dalits and Gender issues
Awareness is creating by organizing campaigns and training programs
The following are the problems of agricultural workers in the rural
Decrease in employment days as a result of Casurina and
mechanization, consequently migration.
1. Wages lesser than the minimum wages (which is varying from
mandal to mandal), the wages earned are a minimum of Rs. 35-45 for
men and Rs.25-35 for women.
2. Increase investment cost on agriculture for small and
marginal farmers, consequently they are turning into agricultural
Currently some of the Limitations in Taking the Process Forward Are
1. The unionization processes in the north coastal Andhra
Pradesh [Visakhaptnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulan districts] is in
the initial stage. Except PRAJA CHETANA there are no other
organizations in the north coastal district working with
agricultural workers and land issues.
2. PRAJA CHETANA is making efforts in forming the agricultural
unions in the 5 mandals but for a strong union at the district level
the numbers are not enough, hence to expand its operational area.
3. In the mandals where the union is working the women were
actively participating in the activities but their representation at
the mandal and district committees is nominal. Hence it is primary
to build leadership skills among them to represent and actively
participate at the mandal and district level forums.
4. To establish linkages between the policies, implementation
of it and monitoring of the same for example, The minimum wages act,
pending agricultural workers welfare bill, not implementing the land
1. With the experience in the formation of union in
Visakhapatnam, PRAJA CHETANA needs to cover other mandals in the
district as well as to take forward the experience to the
2. Not only formation of unions, but it needs to consolidate
the union by expanding its operational area in Visakhapatnam
3. In order to make the state level agricultural workers union
strong, the formation and strengthening of the district level unions
is a must.
A. Process Of Arriving At The Current Proposal
The above mentioned group’s problems/issues are linked and related
to the macro level policies, thus they need to extensively
participate in the group strengthening process. While looking at
the situation of the vulnerable communities such as dalits,
adivasis, agricultural workers situation, it is understood that they
are unorganized and unable to focus on the social aspects. PRAJA
CHETANA has embarked upon organizing all these vulnerable groups
together for collective action. In the rural society, women and
differently able are becoming marginalized groups and increasing
Based on the above situation PRAJA CHETANA will initiate efforts in
facilitating the dalits and the tribal communities [agricultural
labourers] to form into groups for collectively addressing their
issues, across 10 mandals in Visakhapatnam district.
To bring vulnerable communities together under one umbrella and
enable it to act up on the issues as well as put pressure on the
state and central government’s to bring in legislation towards
protecting the agricultural labourers
The Objective Of The Programme
The objectives of Praja Chetana are to extend the unions
consolidation in the mandals where it is operational and extension
to new mandals also to carry her experience to other districts too
is the current responsibility before Praja Chetana.
To turn union into a common forum for organized adivasis, dalits and
backward castes and to play a catalytic role in marking the union
work on the issues in the following sectors.
1. Adivasis, adivasis in non-scheduled areas
2. Dalits / Women
3. Agricultural labourers
4. Rural physically disabled
Activities Envisaged In The Current Proposal
A. Formation of sangha at the villages and formation and
strengthening of agricultural workers unions at the mandal and
district level – covering 14 mandals – disseminating the importance
of APVVU initiatives in the state, etc.
B. Building cultural troupe at the Mandal level for
dissemination of information
C. Dissemination of information – acts and laws relating to
land and the agricultural workers bill and the activities of APVVU.
D. Organizing agricultural labourers at mandal and district
level, networking at inter state level on rescheduling issue.
E. Facilitating the union members in the respective villages to
identify and taking up the land issues such as –1.Sanctiong of
pattas to poor encroachers of govt. lands 2.Cancellation of
irregular pattas sanctioned to ineligible people 3. Eviction of
ineligible people from govt. lands so that those lands can be
distributed to eligible poor people. etc.
F. To organize the rural disabled at the mandal level and to
federate them to the district level.
G. Taking up campaign in the mandals of the respective district
H. Establishing network with the APVVU and other institutions.
I. Publishing of IEC material and booklets and newsletter
J. Establishing fact find teams.
1. Formation of sangha at the village and formation and
strengthening of agricultural workers unions at the mandal and
district level – covering 14 mandals –
PRAJA CHETANA proposed to work in 14 mandals of Visakhapatnam
district. The operational mandals are as follow:
1. Buchayyapeta* 10. Rambille
2. Ravikamatam* 11. Nakkapalli
3. Chodavaram 12. G.Madugula
4. V.Madugula* 13. Munchingput
5. Chedikada* 14. Anakapalle
*Current operational area
PRAJA CHETANA would organize the dalits, tribals by forming them
into sangha’s at the respective villages cutting across 7 new
mandals in Visakhaptnam. And it would strengthen the capacities of
the Union members in the current operational area.
The sangha members in the respective villages will be provided
information on the :
· Importance of sangha at the village
· Importance of agricultural workers union – at the mandal and
district and state level – resolving the isues relating to land,
wage and other problems in the villages.
· The union formed at the mandal level through its sangha
members at the village level will address the problems arising in
between vulnerable groups and would be facilitated to resolve the
issue at the village Sanghas.
· Importance of participation in the sangha and mandal level
meetings for collective action on the identified issues
· Welfare programmes of government to the poor – Dalits and
· Resolving of issues [ between the vulnerable groups ] at the
· Laws and Acts – Minimum wages Act, laws & Act relating to
2. Dissemination of information –act laws relating to land and
the agricultural workers bill
PRAJA CHETANA will disseminate information to raise consciousness
among tyribals and dalits communities on the constitutional
protections. PRAJA CHETANA with the support of resource persons
will disseminate the following Acts and Laws to the agricultural
· Fundamental Rights, and Directive Principles,
· Civil rights protection act 1950,
· Prevention of atrocities on S.C., S.Ts act, 1989,
· Land Reforms Act 1973,
· A.P. Tenency Act 1956,
· A.P.Land Ebncroachment Act 1905,
· Board Standing orders – 15,
· A.P. Estates abolition act 1948,
· A.p.Enams abolition act 1956,
· A.P.Assignment land prohibition of transfers act 1977,
· A.P.Homsted Act 1966,
· Cr.P.C. 1973 and I.P.C.,
Apart from the above, the people will be informed at length about
the loss they are put to due to non-scheduling of their area.
Declaring non-scheduled Girijan areas as shceduled areas in fact
does not pertain to any mandal or district or state. But this
problem is there both in the states where Vth scheduled is operating
and in the states where tribals are living but the area does not
come under Vth schedule (for example states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu,
Karnataka and West Bengal etc.).
As far as land issue is concerned, unions promoted by PRAJA CHETANA
will adopt the fair procedure as per the constitutional provisions
in resolving the issues.
3. Facilitating the union members in the respective villages to
identify and taking up the land issues such as – under dispute,
alienation, encroached, etc.
PRAJA CHETANA will enable the sangha to identify the extent of land
under disputes, alienation and other problems of the village and the
legal feasibility of it. The following procedure would be adopted
in enabling the agricultural labour to:
· Submit applications to Revenue Authorities
· To mount pressure on the officials through pamphlets,
posters and other media of publicity are taken use of.
The issues will be taken up to resolve them within the
constitutional purview through peaceful agitation paths like
dharnas, rally’s, protests etc, which are followed to give wide
publicity on the problems put forth before the authorities. Then
public is made aware of the problem and public opinion is built up
In cases of necessity, higher courts are approached and write of
mandamus is to be used.
4. To organize the rural disabled at the mandal level and to
federate them to the district level.
The disabled in the villages will be organised at the mandal to
ensure that their right to access services and benefits from the
government. The agricultural labourers union supports the DAP
groups at the mandal, while they seek benefits from the government.
5. Taking up campaign in the mandals of the district.
PRAJA CHETANA will conduct campaigns on the policies and laws made
by the central and the state governments that influence the lives of
agricultural labourers. PRAJA CHETANA will disseminate information
to people on these issues and raise debates among them, thereby they
could collectively take forward the issues to the macro level so
that policy changes are brought in their favor.
This is based on its earlier experience, when the central government
tried to introduce an amendment bill for land acquisition act PRAJA
CHETANA conducted a campaign along with other groups on the anti-
poor aspects of the amendment bill and the draft national
rehabilitation policy was explained to the people. As part of the
campaign it conducted rallies and public meetings and cycle yathras
in the district. Similarly it has campaigned on the need for a
comprehensive act on government lands and on the agricultural
workers welfare bill, 1997, which was meant for the welfare of the
PRAJA CHETANA believes that campaigns are an important strategy in
building a movement of agricultural labourers.
It is expected to conduct atleast 2 campaigns in a mandal in a year
in 10 mandals and two in district level.
6. Establishing networks with other institutions
Whatever problem at micro level is examined, it certainly has
relation to the macro level policies. Hence in order to make the
policies coherent to people, advocacy efforts are a primacy. For
which, efforts will be made to establish linkages with other
people’s institutions/organisations. The micro macro linkages will
be established by the co-ordinator for collective at the mandal and
district level. PRAJA CHETANA will carry out the activities towards
the implementation of agricultural workers bill.
7. Publication of Information, Education and Communication
[IEC] material, booklets.
PRAJA CHETANA believes that information dissemination to the people
at the right is very important, as they lack it critically. Hence,
based on their problem PRAJA CHETANA will public IEC material,
booklets, phamplets, etc will be provided to Village and Mandal
level activists (workers) to build awareness among on the
communities on various social problems that affect their lives,
thereby after gaining relevant and appropriate information they
would collectively act on the issues. Initially the publication
will be on the
· Land Problems,
· Atrocities on Dalit, Adivasis and Women etc. which needs
immediate dissemination of information.
· W.T.O., and
· Issues of rehabilitation and policies effecting agricultural
Discussing with the union district secretariat, the project Director
evolves the information and communication material for distribution.
8. EXPECTED OUTCOMES AND MONITORING INDICATORS
1. Formation of mandal unions in 14 mandal of Visahakpatnam.
2. To form association for rural agricultural disabled and
District Level Association.
3. Publication of education materail on agriculturre – W.T.O.,
and issues of rehabilitation
· Extent of coverage of the union in villages
· Increase in membership of the union across the mandals in
· No of unions formed at the villages level
· Extent of outreach through cultural programs and campaigns
· Active involvement of the mandal unions in the issues of
adivasi, dalits and agricultural labourers
· Rapport with agriculture labour in 15 to 20 villages of
· No of persons to have availed IEC material pamphlets,
The Indian constitution declares social justice, social welfare,
equal opportunities an equal justice to all the citizens. The noble
objectives are reflected in the directive principles of the
constitution. The actions taken up by different governments, which
came to power since 1950 towards implementing these objectives can
be classified into four types:
1. Welfare laws
2. Land laws
3. Labor laws
4. Poverty alleviation programs.
The constitution has attached special significance to the protection
and development of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. It has
prohibited untouchability in every form. It has provided
reservation in legislature. It has constituted a national
commission to review the position of the scheduled castes and tribes
every year and gave it constitutional status. The central
government promulgated the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes
atrocities (prevention) act in 1987. Very extensive definition was
given to the term “atrocity” in this act. Unfortunately these laws
and programs meant for these marginalized groups for whom they were
meant and have not reached or changed their living standards
whatsoever. The main reasons for these situations are:
· Lack of awareness on constitutional protections and legal
· Lack of awareness on organization to demand or assert their
right and get them implemented.
The political parties have turned away from their responsibility to
bring awareness to people and focused their interest entirely on
coming to and continuing in power. The bureaucracy has joined hands
with the political force in power and is resorting to corruption and
crime taking advantage of the innocence, illiteracy and disunity
among people. In this background the issues of creating awareness
and organizing the ‘downtrodden’ marginalised groups has remained
Established as chetana in 1991, it was renamed Praja Chetana in
1998. From the beginning the organization has been working on the
land issues of tribals in the non-scheduled tribal villages in three
mandals of visakhapatnam district. The experience of working with
people lead to the reestablishment of Chetana as Praja Chetana.
The achievements of PRAJA CHETANA are briefly, as follows;
· The agricultural workers union in Visakhapatnam was
· As a result of construction of Paderu medium irrigation
reservoir (Rs.38 crores) in Jalamaplli panchayat of V.Madugula
mandal – many families were displaced. PRAJA CHETANA had created
awareness among the communities and facilitated them seeking
rehabilitation and compensation. As a result Rs.3.60 lakes worth
rehabilitation scheme was approved. Also PRAJA CHETANA facilitated
the tribals get irrigation facilities under the project. Though it
was not part of the project design to provide irrigation facilities
to the tribal communities, later the project redesign focussed on
providing facilities to 1200 acres of land belonging to the tribals
through high level canal, along with it the government sanctioned
Rs.70 lakes for the same.
· PRAJA CHETANA is making efforts to irrigate 1000 acres of
land across 14 tribal villages in the mandal to be covered under the
Pedderu project – left canal. All the success were as a result of
motivating the people for collective action in seeking
rehabilitation as well as irrigation facilities on Pederu reservoir
and Pederu high level canal and left canal. As an example of the
struggle carried out in achieving this is a 33-kilometer padayatra
was taken from Pedderu to Chodavaram, i.e., from project site to
irrigation department office at Chodavaram.
· PRAJACHETANA started creating awareness among the tribals
about the existing laws and rules. While educating them on the
rights and constitutional protections offered to the scheduled
areas, it started organizing tribals and enabling them form sanghas
for collective actions.
· PRAJA CHETANA organized the dalit agricultural laborers in
the non-scheduled/rural areas and enabled them to forming people’s
organization for addressing their rights. It has been enabled them
to address the land issues, by restoring land for tribals, and
· Formed people’s organizations of the tribals and dalits
across the following mandals:
· KALANALOVA GIRIJAN SAMANVAYA COMMITTEE, SANKARAM,
· TATIPARTRI GIRIJANA SAMANVAYA COMMITTEE AND
· RACHAKATTU NIRVASITUAL SAMITHI.
· The agricultural laborer’s organizations were formed to
enable the dalits and the tribals to assert their rights. Since the
structural functioning of these people organization being similar,
it was decided to bring them under umbrella of APVVU. Also, efforts
were made to link these people’s organization with Andhra Pradesh
Vyavasaya Vruthidarlula Union (APVVU), as there is commonality
between these institutions, towards asserting the rights of
· The activists working on unionization at the grass root
level should have a basic understanding of the legal and judiciary
matters, land records, land laws and administrative system.
Praja Chetana identifies the unorganized labour in the cities and
small towns also as part of the vulnerable section. The unorganized
laborers are none but those subaltern sections that were driven into
the towns who are unable to survive in the field of agriculture.
Hence they need to be organized and formed into unions.
Praja Chetana feels that the movements of the rural agricultural
laborers for their rights and the movements for rights of the
unorganized laborers should go hand in hand. Praja Chetana believes
that then only movements can sustain for long time and show their
influence for better advocacy for achieving their rights. Praja
Chetana has taken up an action research study on the working and
living conditions and legal rights of the unorganized laborers
belonging to eight occupations in eight mandals of Visakhapatnam
Dalit issues-our perspective
Discrimination exists in visakhapatnam district against dalits,
though it is not in as crude forms as in other districts. Here we
find intimate relations between scheduled castes and backward
castes. They address each other in blood relation terms. Where
dalits in this area have resisted untouchability and discrimination
changes can be seen coming faster. It can also be seen that
untouchability exists to greater extent because the dalits are
afraid to question. Our contention is that where the feudal systems
were not strong there is less caste discrimination, which is
testified in many, our experiences. A strong reason for this is
that, here majority of people are small-scale and marginal farmers.
Rich and feudal classes are rarely seen. So the feudal relations do
not seen strong.
A majority of dalits is agricultural laborers. Apart from
untouchability and social discrimination, landlessness is a major
problem. There is strong view that dalits have to be exclusively
organised on their unique problem of untouchability. But we feel
that the structure that can keep the dalits together with other
communities is a better one. This will bring them nearer to the
other people as well as increase their strength. Agricultural
laborers of all castes can come together on the land issues. It is
easier to turn the attention of people thus united to other caste
and social problems. The poor agricultural laborers can no where
feel a common identity outside their respective castes as much as in
the land issues.
Another important aspect in the dalit issues is the internal
discrimination among dalits themselves. The dalit movement has not
given much attention to this problem. Those who are relatively more
developed and enjoy more status among dalits are not ready to
recognize this problem or its intensity from humanitarian
perspective. It does not appear unethical for them not to resolve
this issue or not to try towards a resolution. The consequences of
such neglect are pretty clear today. Hence we should start out for
humanitarian solution for the internal contradictions among dalits.
This would not harm their unity, but can actually create a
sustainable and strong base for it. This is the perspective of
Praja Chetana on dalit issue.
Praja Chetana feels that by forming agricultural labourers union and
by bringing dalits, adivasis, backward castes and other poor in to
them, it is possible to build a real people’s front from the grass
Agricultural women labourers
Women have been participating in large numbers in the land struggles
that took place in various mandals. However, not much was done to
organize them into exclusive groups. For the past two years PRAJA
CHETANA have started a program of bringing them together in small
thrift groups. Mahila groups are working in Madugula, Cheedikada
and Ravikamatham, Buchayyapeta, Nakapalle, Pendurthi, V.Madugula
mandals. PRAJA CHETANA aspires to extend their scope and form a co-
operative bank for rural agricultural women labourers. For this to
happen, special training programme needs to be conducted for them.
The Rural Differently Able Persons (Physically Disabled)
The situation of the disabled in the society is pitiable. That of
the rural disabled is still worse. The rural disabled are not able
to get the available social welfare facilities from the government.
The first condition for getting any such facility is to produce a
medical certificate that confirms the disability. It becomes very
difficult for the rural disabled to get such certificate. They are
least aware of and have information about the welfare schemes that
are meant for them. PRAJA CHETANA has strive hard to organize the
disabled agricultural labourers in Buchayyapeta mandal. It is one
of the objectives before PRAJA CHETANA is to extend this experience
to other regions and organize the rural disabled agricultural
By conducting campaigns on the policies and laws made by the central
and the state governments that influence the lives of agricultural
labourers, we can disseminate information to people on these issues
and raise discussion among them. When the center tried to introduce
an amendment bill to the land acquisition act, Praja Chetana
conducted a campaign along with other groups. Campaigning on the
anti-poor aspects of the amendment bill, the national rehabilitation
policy was 3explained to the people. As part of the campaign it
conducted rallies and public meetings for two days in the district.
Similarly it has campaigned on the need for a comprehensive act on
government lands and on the agricultural workers bill, 1997, which
was meant for the welfare of the agricultural labourers.
Praja Chetana believes that campaigns are an important strategy in
building a movement of agricultural labourers.
Praja Chetana participated in many training programs conducted for
adivasi youth and activists of the agricultural laborers. In the
parichay training program meant for adivasi youth conducted by the
organization laya since 1992, Praja Chetana is participating as a
resource organization on law and administration faculty and it has
designed a training program in three stages for the mandal and
village level activists of the agricultural labourers unions.
The activists working on unionization at the grass root level should
have a basic understanding of the legal and judiciary matters, land
records, land laws and administrative system. Praja Chetana
recognizes the fact that in addition to field experience training
programs are needed to gain this king of awareness..
Situation In The District
In Visakhapatnam district, out of the total workers there are 59.92%
agricultural workers, of them there are 2,56,936 dalits(as per 1991
census), as agricultural laborers in Visakhapatnam district. The
medium irrigation projects in the district are Konam, Kalyanlova,
Tandava and Raivada and with this support farmers carry out wet land
cultivation. However, with the insufficient irrigation facilities
some of the farmers gave up dry land cultivation and turned these
lands into alternative cultivation i.e., to Casurina cultivation. As
a result of this, the wage employment days for agricultural workers
has decreased. Consequently, during the last 5 years the
agricultural labour was seasonally migrating to delta areas of
Godavari districts in search of agricultural wages. Also some
families have been going for long term migration Kashmir and other