Sangtin Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan (SKMS) is a people’s movement in Sitapur dt., Uttar Pradesh. It emerged from Sangtin, a group set up by rural women to enable them to be bigger stakeholders in the processes of development at all levels. The SKMS Saathis are mainly marginal farmers or landless labourers in the rural parts of Sitapur district. A huge percentage are Dalit and women and men are equally active in the sangathan.
In the 8 years since its formation, SKMS has been instrumental in reviving and repairing canals in the district, ensuring employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), obtaining pensions for the vulnerable, realizing compensation during natural disasters etc. It was the first group in UP to realize unemployment benefits under MGNREGA – in January, 2009. almost Rs. 15 lakhs were paid to 826 families in 20 villages of Mishrikh and Pisawa blocks of Sitapur district. In recent years, SKMS has expanded its work to health, agricultural and livelihood issues.
SKMS has been successful through collective action – the current paid membership of the sangathan is above 4000, and overall planning is done by a 45-member core group. Most of the Sangathan Saathis (members) participate on a voluntary basis, with only 8 receiving honoraria for working with the Sangathan. In recent years, SKMS has expanded to about half the blocks in Sitapur dt. and has increased its participation in state-level and national campaigns and networks.