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About Prajateerpu
Prajateerpu's Origins
Action - Research Cycle

 

About Prajateerpu

  • Prajateerpu is literally translated from Telegu as 'the people's verdict'.

  • The first Prajateerpu was a six-day exercise in deliberative democracy that focused on the future of farming and food security in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

  • Involving marginal-livelihood citizens from all three sub-regions of the state, it took place at the Government of India's Farmer Liaison Centre (Krishi Vigyan Kendra) in Algole Village, Zaheerabad Taluk, Medak District, Andhra Pradesh from 25 June to 1 July 2001.

Prajateerpu was devised as a means of allowing those people most affected by the government's 'Vision 2020' for food and farming in Andhra Pradesh to shape a vision of their own. Grounded in the diverse traditions that are often collectively described as participatory action research, this deliberative process aimed to link local voices and visions of food and farming futures with national and international policy making. It also combined elements from established techniques such as citizens' juries and scenario workshops with safeguards such as an oversight panel, video scenario presentations and witnesses. Given the political sensitivity of many of these issues both in India and internationally, these safeguards were aimed at ensuring a demonstrably balanced and competent process of deliberation.

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About Prajateerpu
Prajateerpu's Origins
Action - Research Cycle

Prajateerpu's Origins

Released on India's Republic Day 1999, Vision 2020 sets out the future of Andhra Pradesh as envisioned by the Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP), a future in which poverty is eradicated. Vision 2020 seeks to transform all areas of social and economic life in Andhra Pradesh. It aims to build human resources, to focus on high-potential sectors as the engines of growth, and to transform governance throughout the state. The government's poverty-reduction strategy is intimately linked with the delivery of this comprehensive vision.

Fundamental and profound transformations of the food system are proposed in Vision 2020, yet there has been little or no involvement of small farmers and rural people in shaping this policy scenario. Local and state-level partners expressed considerable concerns about the possible impacts of Vision 2020 on agricultural biodiversity, the security of rural people's livelihoods and the very fabric of local food systems and economies. About three quarters of the state's recorded population of 70 million work in agriculture, and 80 percent of the farming population is made up of small and marginal farmers. It was in this context that a range of concerned individuals in India and the UK began to explore mechanisms of encouraging an informed public debate on the choice of policy futures for food and farming in Andhra Pradesh.

Extensive discussions between this group of potential collaborators brought the following organizations together in what subsequently became known as the Prajateerpu process: the Andhra Pradesh Coalition in Defence of Diversity (Andhra PradeshCDD), the University of Hyderabad, the All-India National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), and the UK-based International Institute for Environment and Development (lIED) and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS).

Despite their geographical distance and cultural differences, this core group of co-operative inquirers shared three sets of values and goals.

  • a commitment to holistic, inclusive and democratic ways of knowing and acting in the world, recognizing the possibility of transformative action through critical research.

  • the acquisition of knowledge - and the process of coming to know - should also serve democracy and the practical goals of social and ecological justice.

  • the participatory processes used should allow the democratic scrutiny of both 'facts' and values, bringing together critical analysis with an empathy for the insights and wisdom that can come from lived experience.

The researchers were conscious that their initiative was being undertaken as a rapid and somewhat top-down response to a vision that was already being implemented by the Government of Andhra Pradesh. However, they believed that the Prajateerpu process could potentially create a safe space for people directly affected by Vision 2020, enabling participants from marginalized communities to further develop their own political space, and to mobilize themselves and others to bring about change independently of the Prajateerpu organizers.

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About Prajateerpu
Prajateerpu's Origins
Action - Research Cycle

Action - Research Cycle

Reflection (1) Origins of process: May-June 2000.

  • Meeting with a large network of Indian academics, community and human rights groups to explore the possibility of a participatory action research process in Andhra Pradesh.

  • Reflection on recent experience of similar initiatives – locally, nationally and internationally.

Action (1) Foundations: October 2000 – April 2001

  • Establishment of collaboration between five partner organisations: the Andhra Pradesh Coalition in Defense of Diversity (APCDD), University of Hyderabad, the All-India National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), and the UK based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS).

  • Search for oversight panel members and agreements on roles and responsibilities.

  • Identification of witnesses, and the design of a rigorous methodology for recruiting jurors.

Reflection (2) Review and final stage planning: May-June 2001
Reflecting with our Indian partners, particularly concerning:

  • the method we had already piloted for recruiting jurors, and

  • the non-acceptance by two key stakeholders – DFID and the World Bank -– of an invitation to take part.

Action (2) Prajateerpu hearings: June - July 2001

  • University of Hyderabad team oversees jury selection in Andhra Pradesh.

  • Video script checked by oversight panel members and production of 3 videos.

  • Specialist witnesses screened, invited and briefed.

  • Media professionals (India & international) briefed on planned Prajateerpu.

  • Agreement with the University of Hyderabad to video record entire process.

  • Hearings take place over five days.

  • Process of reflection with the Oversight Panel at the end of each day - informed by the Telegu-speaking facilitators, who by then had undertaken their own reflection session about the day with the members of the jury.

Reflection (3) Further reflection with Oversight Panel, witnesses and Indian partners: July 2001 – February 2002

Reflections between partners continued as we brought together our report on the Prajateerpu process. Having finished the draft report in early February, MP toured India, talking to the various Indian partners and soliciting their input on the changes that should be made. We both also consulted our colleagues in IDS / IIED, drawing on their many helpful suggestions.

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Telegu Video Clips Audio Clips Pictures

 

 
Telegu Video Clips Audio Clips Pictures