The Vichaar Seva Mandir organized a discussion on The Future of Voluntarism at the Auditorium of Mohan Singh Mehta Memorial Trust (MSMMT) on 16th July.
The discussion was graced by the opinions of Bharat Singh, Minister at Rajasthan State Government, Abhijeet Bannerjee, Economist and Julian, writer and former BBC correspondent.
Sir Mark Tully, Former Bureau Chief of BBC, Jagat Mehta, former Foreign Secretary, Aditi Mehta, Principal Secretary of Government, volunteers and intellects were present during the discussion.
Sir Mark Tully greeted by Bharat Singh PWD Minister, Abhijeet Banerjee from MIT, Ajay Mehta President, Seva Mandir and Julia (ex-BBC correspondent)
The speakers unanimously voiced the opinion that true leaders and trust in honest leadership cannot be developed without the active participation of citizens in politics. This should include the discussion of Voluntarism, which is the idea of reliance on voluntary action to maintain an institution.
Public Works Minister, Bharat Singh proposed that the only solution to the current blame-game between governance and citizens is the engagement of public with development projects.
“Governments are not fluent with the notions of responsibility, the mindset is as old as the British Raj and needs to be rethought”, Julian highlighted in her address. She further added that effective and extended development calls for virtues like fidelity and altruism from all participating parties.
Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Abhijeet Banerjee, articulated his surprise about the fact that members added to different committees made under various subjects of Panchayati Raj are unaware of the committees themselves. Banerjee said several bodies, divisions and committee falling under Panchayati Raj are in dire need of public participation.
Abhijit Banerjee has conducted multiple surveys by Seva Mandir in Udaipur and is currently a co-author of a work-in-progress study titled “Teacher-Student Ratios and School Performance in Udaipur, India: A Prospective Evaluation” with Michael Kremer, Jenny Lanjouw and Peter Lanjouw.