Gujarat is one of the high growth states in the country. Average annual Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) growth rate of Gujarat from 2004-05 to 2014-15 was 12.11 per cent. Gujarat has achieved the distinction of being one of the most industrially developed states and contributes about a quarter to India’s goods exports. GSDP at constant prices (calculated by deducting inflation) rose by 8.76 per cent in the financial year 2013-14. Today, brand ‘Gujarat’ is globally recognised for its inclusive, sustainable and rapid growth, which is a result of the flowering of the ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ under the then CM and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The present Chief Minister Anandiben Patel has sustained and enriched the path of growth and using better and smart governance, has ensured that the state remains at the top. Gujarat has won 22 SKOCH Order-of-Merit for its various projects out of which nine have surpassed others and have bagged the coveted award.
Gujarat government has been effectively seen as promoting information sharing with citizens and transparency for its departments and their subordinate organisations through their respective websites. The state government has adopted innovative, constructive and result-oriented progressive policies for the promotion of e-Governance in the state and the government-citizen interface is now more effective, transparent and efficient. Let us take a look at how various departments and sectors of the state have achieved success in this year’s awards. Gujarat has to its credit eight Order-of-Merit for its Municipalities, six in Education & Skill, three in Governance, two in Health and one each in Agriculture, Finance and e-Governance. It has bagged the top Award in nine segments, mostly in Municipalities and Education categories.
Starting with Municipalities, the cities of Surat, Jamnagar, Ahmedabad and Baroda have all won awards for their effective projects. Ahmedabad and Surat Municipal Corporations won the Award for their projects SmartCity311- Mobile App-Based Field Works Monitoring (Ahmedabad) and Energy Efficiency Measures and Use of Renewable Sources in Municipal Services as well as Smart Water Supply Management for Surat. AMC has enrolled 570 field and senior officers in the mobile-app based system since Jan 2015 and it, along with a robust backend system, provided for all the data coming from field to be sorted and stored, accordingly providing a real time snap shot of activities happening in the field of the higher management. For SMC, the Smart Water Supply Management has achieved unsurpassed results and the city has consequently also been selected under Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) by the Rockefeller Foundation. Coming to Jamnagar, its Municipal Corporation’s Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP), which is MoEF / World Bank Project has done wonders for the people. With the primary objective of collecting the untreated sewage by constructing sewer collecting system with sewage treatment plant to prevent inland water pollution and protect the coastal marine life near Jamnagar city, the project has resulted in the reuse of 70 MLD of treated waste water for industrial purposes and has also generated power cost savings to the tune of R15 crore a year.
On the Education & Skill Development front, the state has performed remarkably well and is the highest ranked state in this category. The winners this year are Gujarat Council of Elementary Education, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan; Directorate of Employment and Training; and, Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board. The projects that were awarded are Kaushlya Pramanitata Yojana (Industrial Kaushlya Vardhan Kendra); Kaushlya Pramanitata Yojana (Shramik Kaushlya Pramanitata Yojana (Skill Certification); and, GIS School Mapping – Ensuring Access to Elementary Education and Eletronic Surveillance of the State Board Examination. The Industrial Kaushalya Vardhan Kendras (i-KVKs) scheme launched in 2014-15 with the mission Statement of “Skilling: in the Industry; by the Industry; for the Industry and beyond” in industry developed customised courses with certification from the GCVT (Gujarat Council of Vocational Training). As of mid-August 2015, 80 iKVKs have been set up where 2,252 trainings have been completed and 1,197 are currently under way. In the Electronic Surveillance Project, 55,000 classrooms covered, all private schools (90 per cent of the total) Board officials have persuaded school management to have CCTV cameras from their own recourses without any government aid. Approximately 300 TB data captured and viewed by 330 people in 15 days. As a result of this, 5,857 students were found guilty out of which, 5,354 were proven guilty.
Gujarat has to its credit eight SKOCH Order-of-Merit for its Municipalities, six in Education & Skill, three in Governance, two in Health and one each in Agriculture, Finance and e-Governance. It has bagged the top Award in nine segments, mostly in Municipalities and Education categories.
The health sector too has seen two Order-of-Merit, one bagged by Food & Drugs Control Administration and the other by Health Branch, Sabarkantha for their projects Xtended Licensing, Laboratory & Legal Node and Swasthya Samvedana Sena respectively. The Sabarkantha project was launched in association with UNICEF and NHL Municipal Medical College (NHLMMC) with the objective of contributing in the reduction of Maternal Mortality Rate and Infant Mortality Rate in the district. Here, by using a mobile application, contents are shown to beneficiaries as per need. At the end of the session, with the use of quiz module, post-education assessment is done. As a result of this programme, a total of 523 health workers and a total of 11,27,288 population numbers (Antenatal mothers, postnatal mothers, adolescents) have been benefited. The Xtended Licensing, Laboratory & Legal Node project, has launched a web and mobile-based system linked via www.xlnindia.gov.in and apps which helps in G2C services with respect to drugs and licensing and also helps in regulation, monitoring and standardisation of the FDCA guidelines. As a result of this scheme, good practices of Gujarat state have been widely incorporated in rest of the states too.
Now, looking at the Governance sector, the Distribution of Benefits to Maldhari Tribes of Gir Forest and Ness (An initiative for Tribal Community under Gatisheel Gujarat Programme) and SUGAM District Collectorate-(Services Using e-Governance Applications on Mobile), both implemented by the District Administration, Junagadh have done quite well with the former having won an award too for its excellent performance. The District Election Officer & District Magistrate, Surat won an Order-of-Merit for the Best Electoral Practices project. The Maldhari project, Samvedna, was done with the objective to ensure all applicable government benefits reach in the remote and inaccessible forest areas and an attempt to bridge the economic and social gap with a focus on improving HDI and Social / Civil Infrastructure. The Sugam project (Services Using e-Governance Applications on Mobile) was launched with the objective to provide instant information of government schemes and status of works.
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The Finance category won an Award for Gujarat for its interesting and effective project Value Added Tax Information System (VATIS) executed by the Commercial Tax Department. The issue that was creating challenges was the transition from sales tax to VAT and a poor delivery system. This is a web-based, tax payer–government online interface with least human intervention. A total of 1,09,09,492 e-transactions took place under this project for the year 2014-15.
Finally, as far as the e-Governance category is concerned, the General Administration Department has implemented a project called ‘Sathi’ – Gujarat eHRMS, which won the state its sole Order-of-Merit in this category. The eHRMS application will ease the work of personnel management and also improve the efficiency of the same. Important government information required for day-to-day administrative activities like recruitments, training, transfers, etc. is available online on SATHI application. The government officials can avail latest government rules and notifications as well as benefits available for them in a simple and fast way.
In terms of overall social development, Gujarat has many more miles to cover to ensure that its economic growth translates into improved and sustainable human development. Although there has been significant improvement in terms of health and education infrastructure over the years, the challenge remains to further improve the access to these basic services for communities in remote and marginalised rural areas.
In the sphere of social development, one of the main challenges faced by Gujarat is the high prevalence of child under-nutrition, coupled with a slow reduction in the Infant Mortality Ratio (IMR) and Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR). These challenges have drawn the necessary attention of the state government.
It is quite evident that the Gujarat government is committed to make sure that the dividends of rapid economic growth reach the weakest sections of the society. This is reflected in the policies and programmes directed towards sustainable human development. The state is now all set to attain the developed world’s infrastructure benchmarks, accelerate industrialisation, improve healthcare infrastructure, create a widespread network of educational institutions and post‐harvest agriculture infrastructure to ensure better access to markets.
There has been a marked increase in foreign investments in the State’s key sectors. Enjoying consistently a higher growth over the last decade, Gujarat is India’s most industrialised and urbanised state with 38 per cent of GDP contributed by secondary sector. Gujarat offers wide opportunities even in times of a shaky global economy, driven by its entrepreneurial spirit, strategic maritime location, next-generation infrastructure, stable transparent governance, business-friendly policies and long-term vision.