Telangana in 2020 makes the Top 10 list for our annual SKOCH State of Governance review, albeit with some setbacks. Telangana in 2020 moves to the #9 spot, after having featured at #6 in 2019. Despite this change in performance, the state continues to do well in a year affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. One category that shines particularly is that of e-Governance. Telangana in 2020 moves up from the #10 spot in 2019 e-Governance to #1 now.
We have also evaluated some noteworthy projects in the Response to Covid category. For instance, Suryapet Municipality Telangana used digital technology to great effect against the pandemic and coordinated different services and tasks on a citizen-first platform. Suryapet was the first place to put the entire town under containment simultaneously. Similarly, District Administration Narayanpet has launched project T-Consult to help rural and semi-urban populations connect remotely with doctors through digital platforms. This was not only essential to avoiding Covid-19 transmission risks but also prevented problems like self-medicating and lack of immediate care in medically-underdeveloped parts of the state.
The following table shows the best sector-wise performance by Telangana in 2020. We can see that e-Governance has clearly experienced an exponential growth in the past year. A significant number of projects by Telangana in 2020 belong to the niche. Also worth noting is the performance in the Power & Energy and Skill Development sectors. These are especially noteworthy because they were not ranked for 2019 at all. In other words, there were no projects submitted for consideration in these niches in 2019. To move up from being a non-performer/ non-participant in a category to ranking in the Top 10 for it certainly deserves applause.
Power & Energy
Telangana In 2020 Tops e-Governance Charts
The Department of Language & Culture, Government of Telangana, introduced T-Culture in the hope of streamlining and empowering the arts, literature and culture landscape of the state. The platform intends to collate resources pertaining to and for the state’s artists. It is an attempt to move communication and representation online for greater access and exposure.
Firstly, smart IDs with QR codes are replacing traditional cards to avoid malpractice. These cards are issued as part of a stringent application and verification process so that artists can not only be granted a formal place within the system but also look forward to having it protected. Secondly, the platform lists details of all events by the department so artists can take notice. The department is also using the web and mobile app to issue announcements directly to the artists via e-mail, SMS and push notifications. The new platform is also a powerful compendium, carrying e-books and resource materials.
Power & Energy Ranks #5 For Telangana In 2020
The Transmission Corporation Of Telangana Limited ran a 14-Day Online Live Training Program to 198 Nos. Employees During Covid-19 Pandemic. The authorities recognise that there is a shortage of manpower for the Operation and Maintenance of EHT Substations and Lines in the state because of large-scale network expansion. At the same time, Telangana State Power Generation Power Corporation (TSGENCO) closed 8 old units of the Kothagudem Thermal Power Station in Paloncha. TSGENCO supplied TSTRANSCO with 198 staff for 41 Substations across various Telangana districts. TSTRANSCO advised the Corporate Training Institute to plan a 14-day training program for these teams on matters of Safety, Operation & Maintenance prior to their appointment. The training modules are designed to for capacity-building and upskilling suited to the Power & Energy sector. Virtual training sessions have allowed the institute to continue imparting technical knowledge and skill training despite the Covid-19 situation.
Skill Development Is #4 For Telangana In 2020
MCR HRD Institute of Telangana introduced Virtual Training Program for Skill Development – Training & Capacity Building. The guiding principle behind this project is to show resilience in a time of adversity and turn challenges into opportunities. With this in mind, the institute adapted its civil services training modules to the digital space. After sending trainee civil servants back home before the lockdown was enforced and the transport crisis could shape up, the institute designed a new format to impart the remaining 50 days of training.
The institute set up a Training Information Management System to exchange reading materials, projects, PPTs and videos. They used Google Groups and social media to coordinate virtual training sessions. In order to keep conversations dynamic, participants were encouraged to use chat tools on eLearning platforms. The concept was expanded to include extracurricular activities as well as the academic goals. For example, the institute conducted virtual events for Civil Services Day, India Day, Army Symposium etc.
The following table lists governance sectors in which Telangana has enjoyed consistent performance in 2020. As heartening as it is to see states progress markedly across the years, it is equally important to prioritise consistent, sustainable standards.
Police & Safety
Telangana in 2020 falls to the #9 position from #3 in 2019, but still continues to rate well for some effective projects. Interestingly enough, this change in ranking is in contrast to the general trend of District Administration improving in 2020 all over the country.
District Administration Kamareddy developed their website with the S3Waas framework – Secure, Scalable and Sugamya. The USP of this website is that district websites across the country will be nearly identical in terms of structure, but context/district-specific in terms of content. A contemporary aesthetic, dynamic design, bilingual nature (English and Telugu) as well as integrated search function come together to make for a very user-friendly experience. Digital presence is the next generation of district administration, making it possible for citizens to access all kinds of information at their fingertips. This includes details about the officials of the district administration, different facilities, services and utilities available to the public, departments and their activities, important documents, latest notices and last but not the least, a section devoted to tourism and the rich sociocultural landscape of the place.
Telangana in 2020 continues to perform evenly across the Municipal Governance sector, maintaining its position at #9. Municipal function has improved in 2020 in India with increased local initiative-taking. By the same token, Telangana has some noteworthy projects to show in the category.
Ramagundam Municipal Corporation launched RMC Corona Warriors in order to fight against Covid-19. Firstly the corporation worked proactively to arrange sanitisation tools in advance. Secondly, the migrant crisis became a priority. It was one of the biggest problems facing many states and Telangana was no different. The authorities established shelters in major labour camp clusters and also gave food and monetary aid to each person. The NTPC helped the Municipal Corporation conduct medical tests for the migrants. The authorities also set up night shelters and offered meals to homeless persons. The authorities used regular fever surveys and medical camps, especially in the Red Zones, to monitor the situation and the spread. The RMC worked in tandem with many other departments, such as the fire department, police department SHGs, NGOs and District Medical and Health Organisation to contain the crisis.
Police & Safety
The Police & Safety sector has become more robust in 2020 across the country, with state forces rising up to tackle Covid-19. Telangana in 2020 drops down the charts somewhat, moving to #5 from #1 in 2020. Nevertheless, the Telangana State Police did an incredible job in response to Covid-19 and we congratulate them for the same. Firstly, the police were at the frontlines enforcing lockdown orders and pandemic protocols throughout. Secondly, they helped bridge gaps in goods/services deliveries and coordinated statewide efforts to provide humanitarian assistance.
Preparedness and capacity-building are crucial at a time of crisis and to this end, the police forces worked hard to liaise between different departments without incurring unnecessary risks. In view of the dangers of physical meetings, senior officers used Multi-location Conferencing to run staff meetings. Similarly, WhatsApp groups helped the police, city authorities and medical community coordinate relief efforts. The authorities set up an Integrated Command and Control Centre to raise awareness about the situation and standardise response protocol. The state police recognised the importance of and worked towards maintaining operational continuity during the pandemic.
It is important to explain that no state can perform well in every category every time. Governance is complicated, dynamic and subject to influence by so many factors. In 2020, administration has been significantly affected by Covid-19. So it stands to reason that some categories show more progress or activity than others. It must also be noted that sometimes administrations or project stakeholders do not submit projects to us for review and so their efforts go unnoticed. With this in mind, we look at some of the categories we are left underwhelmed by for Telangana in 2020. These include Agriculture, Ease of Doing Business, Education, Finance & Revenue as well as Governance and Health. The list of Indifferent performers also includes Infrastructure, Rural Development, Transport, Urban Development, Water and Women & Child Development.
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