The “Trickle Down” Model (TDM) of socio-economic development advocated & pursued by the state administration after national independence sine (1947) found very little evidence of anything tricking down to the common masses. The failure of the model has caused concern which set ARM’s like –minded group of activists to think about a viable alternative strategy as a matter of urgent necessity. The situation became different from the past with the rising consciousness among an increasing number of people that the existence of mass poverty and reigning socio-economic handicap should and could be changed. Hence the christening of “Alternative for Rural Movement” (ARM). It was observed that there was a need for new and innovative approaches for a more equal and just development according to the real needs and wishes of the poor population on the basis of local needs and demands not only for the successful implementation of the proposed development projects but also for their lasting effects.
It was thus felt that modernization concepts with large scale development programmes where a ‘trickle down’ effect was hoped for, but rarely achieved through ‘top-down’ planning strategies should be superceded by more poverty oriented ,participatory development concepts through small scale programmes and ‘bottom up’ planning procedures. ARM has since then been trying to project & implement a people centred development vision that looks to justice, sustainability and inclusiveness as the principles of authentic development.
ARM views development as a people’s movement, rather than as foreign funded/ Government projects and enables people to develop themselves with the minimum available resources and maximum incorporation of prevailing administrative opportunities within the existing infrastructure.Thus the three basic ingredients of popular participation as identified by ARM team of development harbingers towards a sustainable social order include “mass involvement in decision making”, “mass contribution to development” and “mass sharing of benefits of development” in consonance with various UN resolutions.
Hence, the concept of ‘mass participation in decision making and implementation’ is viewed at ARM as a system of interlocking relationships between villagers & the village level institutions that mobilize this participation and strengthen the level of institution further up to the national mainstream . Our bottom up participatory long term approach, thus, seeks to release the social energy of the people towards attaining the self – defined goals of development and ratifies the principle of planning with the people through micro planning efforts with micro planning achievements incorporating the relevant principles of poverty alternation to contribute & complement this innovative paradigm.