Bal Panchayat Mechanism at a Glance

Objectives of Bal Panchayats (Child Parliament)
  • ensuring child development, especially the girl child;
  • enhancing child participation in development projects and using their talents; and
  • developing a platform where children can groom their talents.
Bal Sabha
  • Bal Sabha is the apex body of children’s group in a village.
  • Its members are between the ages of 5-18 years.
  • The members sit at least once in a month, but they can call for other meetings, in special cases.
Bal Panchayat
  • Bal Panchayat is the representative organ of Bal Sabha.
  • Its members are the elected/selected members of the Bal Sabha.
  • The age of the members is between 10-15 years.
  • Bal Panchayat is accountable to the Bal Sabha
  • Generally, the total number of the members of the Bal Panchayat is 10 percent of the total children of the village, but it has been advised to keep the maximum number to 25, to maintain smooth co-ordination between the members, and the activities of the individuals can be closely monitored. If the village is big and has more number of children, then more than one Bal Panchayats could be formed.
  • The posts in the Bal Panchayat are generally the president, secretary and reporter who are elected members and hold office for a period of six months.
  • Representatives for various posts are being elected or unanimously selected by the members.
  • The ratio of girls and boys in the Bal Panchayat is generally 6:4, but children decide whether to maintain the ratio or relax the norm, depending upon the existing situation.
  • Generally, the members are elected/selected for one year only.
Roles of Bal Panchayat
  • Sensitise villagers to the rights of children;
  • Raise awareness among children about their rights;
  • Eradicate gender discrimination practices;
  • Sensitise civil society about violence against girl child;
  • Awareness generation about environment conservation and protection;
  • Ensure quality education, improved health facilities and nutritional food for children; specially the girl child;
  • Have active participation in development work; and
  • Make efforts to ensure availability of basic amenities for villagers, such as water, electricity, etc.
Issues on which Bal Panchayats have worked
  • Promotion of girl education;
  • Ensuring quality education in schools;
  • Plantation;
  • Health, hygiene and sanitation;
  • Highlighting the apathy of the government machineries towards development work and its failure to discharge its responsibilities and thus creating pressure to perform; and
  • Fighting against social orthodox practices, such as child marriage, infanticide, dowry, etc.
Impacts and achievements of the Project
  • Constitution of social justice and development committees in all the six Panchayat samitis of project areas, which are having 65 members, mostly women;
  • Constitution of 45 social justice and development committees at the village level, which have 495 members, including 300 women and children;
  • Constitution of 47 Bal Panchayats, which have 560 members, including 334 girls;
  • A common platform and consensus for social awareness and sensitisation to violence against on girls, health and development;
  • Arrangement of schools and improvement in drinking water; with the help of the Bal Panchayat;
  • Constitution and operation of Self-help Groups by the children;
  • Information-gathering on the social condition and status of children, especially girls;
  • Building confidence of community and children themselves;
  • Increased freedom and dynamism of girls to get exposure to outer world;
  • Development of comprehension of violence, so that they can begin opposing the incidence of the same;
  • Questioning of the quality of education and health services by children;
  • Understanding the responsibility of formation of Bal Sabhas and Bal Panchayats by children;
  • Starting of dialogues in the community on Bal Sabhas, Bal Panchayats and child rights;
  • Understanding the electoral process with the elections of Bal Panchayats by the children; and
  • Realisation of the rights by the children and opposing violence against them;
  • Starting airing of concerns by the girls;
  • Increased awareness of community people, especially boys, against the disadvantages of gender discrimination;
  • Starting of co-operation by boys with their sisters;
  • Starting of discussion on preventing child marriage;
  • Increased sensitivity of village level social justice committees on girl education;
  • Gaining of confidence by children in themselves, due to participation in baseline survey;
  • Informal alliance between village and Panchayat samitis; and
  • Self-propelled/natural extension of the work.
SNo Village/Block/District Functions about the case Action Result
1 Ramthali/Kapasan/Chittorgarh Udai Lal, son of Kanhaiya Lal Gayri was engaged in labour work in a near by hotel. Udai was the member of Bal Panchayat. After knowing the incident, Bal Panchayat members met Udai’s parents and convince them that child labour is a big crime and counsel them not to send their son for child labour. Parents were convinced and Udai started going to school
2 Mata Ji Ka Kheda/Banera/Bhilwara Mamta Mali is an illiterate village girl. She was married when she was 12 years of old. Her parents asked her to stay at her husband’s house. She joined Bal Panchayat. Being the member of Bal Panchayat, she was trained on issues related to reproductive child health. After getting information on complication on early child birth, she refused to stay with her husband till she attains 18 years of age. Bal Panchayat members convinced her mother and in-laws and she stayed back with her mother. She started working for Bal-panchayats and started delivering lectures on reproductive child health issues. Bal Panchayat helped her to get her confidence and she became the active member of Bal panchayat even though she was illiterate.
3 Upreda/Nimbahera/ Chittorgarh Child marriage was a big problem in this village. Girl members of Bal Panchayat raised the issue in the Bal Panchayat meeting. Bal Panchayat members met village enders and sensitize them about the complication of early marriage. Cases of child marriage have been reduced considerably since then.
4 Motha/Nimbahera/ Chittorgarh Deforestation was a big problem in the village and women & girls have to walk to remote forest in search of wood. Bal Panchayat discussed the matter in their meeting and later discussed with the village elders about plantation. Matter was discussed with forest department and agriculture department regarding afforestation and plantation was done in the area.
5 Upreda/Bhadesar/Chittorgarh The village was in danger because of lack of sanitation. The matter was discussed in the Bal Panchayat meeting and they decided to clean the village. Villagers agreed to support the children but they were not ready to clean the area where lower caste people were staying. Bal Panchayat members got together and took decision to clean the entire village. Bal Panchyat members went against the wish of some villagers and clean the area where lower caste people are residing.
6 Kachlodiya/Banera/Bhilwara Villagers were facing problems of water borne disease and potable drinking water. The matter was discussed in the meeting and a map was drawn on water resources in the village. Children found that villagers are dependent on traditional water resources and open well. Some members then visited near by sub health centre (Kamalpura) and brought Potassium permanganate Problem of drinking water has been solved
7 Lal Ji Ka Kheda/Kapasan/ Chittorgarh Under Rajiv Gandhi Swaran Jayanti School scheme, a school building was approved for the village in place of existing school which was in dilapidated condition. The problem arose where to run the make shift school so that children should not suffer. Bal Panchayat approached the villager seniors and SJDC and discussed the matter. Villages contributed Rs 13,000/ and built a temporary shelter for running the school.
8 Kesharpura/Chittor/Chittorgarh Minor girls were eve teased by a person and were continuously harassed. Girls reported the incident to the village animator who then reported the incident to the Bal Panchayat. Bal Panchayat members reported the incident to the village elders and meet parents of person. The person apologised to the girls.
9 Chogawri and Khutiyan Ki Jopdiya villages/Gangrar/Chittorgarh The Bal Panchayat and the SHG complained that the hand pumps in their villages were not working and no effort had been made to repair them. The complaint was forwarded to the Block Development Officer (BDO) who immediately sent a team to examine and repair the pump. The pump was repaired and restored.
10 All 45 villages/6 blocks/2 districts Under Surva Sikhsha Abhiyan (Universalisation of Elementary Education), there was a provision to form a School Development & Management Committee whose responsibility was to decide on facilities of school children. There were no representation of children Bal Panchayat members in respective villages came together and decided to raise their voice for representation in the committee. Each Bal Panchayat write a post card and sent to the Education Minister, Government of Rajasthan and requested him to make a provision for representation of children A decision was taken at the state level and provision was made for representation of children in the committee.
11 All 45 villages/6 blocks/2 districts In the absence of lavatory in schools, children were facing problem. Boys were managing by going to open filed but girls were unable to go out in open. The matter was discussed in the meeting and each Bal Panchayat wrote a post card and sent to the Education Minister, Government of Rajasthan and requested him to make a provision toilet in schools A decision was taken at the state level and toilets in schools were made compulsory
12 Khute Ki Jhopdiya,Mukamji Ka Khera and Sowaniya villages/Gangrar/ Chittorgarh The Bal Panchayat and the SHGs complained about an ANM of their respective villages who was not visiting their village clinic The matter was registered with the concerned authority and requested him to take action The ANM started visiting the village on schedule after being reprimanded by her senior
13 Kalyanpura/Kapasan/ Chittorgarh The Bal Panchayat and the SHGs complained about a teacher who was not regular to the school The case was brought in the notice of Block Education Officer (BEO) The teacher started coming to the school on time
14 Akepur, Chotta Sadri The school children were falling sick because of the water at the school A letter was send to the health authorities asking them to investigate the matter Authorities started the investigation and arrangement was made for potable water in the school
15 Jalia/Nimbaheda/Chittorgarh Anita Kumari was admitted in a school hostel but had fallen ill after eating the hostel food her parents took her back after the incidence and asked for the advance money. The authorities refused to return the advance amount Anita and her parents approached Bal Panchayat Bal Panchayat discussed the matter with SJDC and other villagers and authorities were asked to return the due amount A compromise was reached and a part of the paid amount was returned
16 Motha/Nimbaheda/Chittorgarh The Sikhsha Darpan Survey, a project of Governmnet of Rajasthan was menat for identifying non going school children. The survey was not properly conducted. The surveyors claimed that there were 2-3 children in a hamlet not going to school but Bal Panchayat members found there were 27 children not going to school A letter was send to the authorities informing them of the mistake and requesting the opening of a school in the hamlet A school has been started at the hamlet
17 Bhimgarh/Rashmi/ Chittorgarh A girl in Class 8 was unable to go to school as she was disabled and could not walk to school The Social Welfare Department was notified of the situation The girl was given a tri-cycle to enable her to go to school
18 Kanpura/Nimbaheda/Chittorgarh The school teacher closed the school without any notice for 6 days A complainant was filed with the authorities Action was taken against the teacher and he was transferred
19 Arniya/Nimbaheda/Chittorgarh A scholarship was due to a student and had not been given to him The concerned authorities were informed of the situation The student received his scholarship