The state of Uttar Pradesh has shown a curious performance graph. While it has topped the SKOCH ranking in transport sector among all the states, it is surprising and disheartening that the same has not been reflected in other sectors. When SKOCH studied the various projects planned and started by the State, it found that while transport, health and sanitation had a few noteworthy schemes, a host of other important sectors remained unimpressive. Neither e-Governance nor agriculture had any new initiative that reflected innovation or able execution. In the annual SKOCH State of Governance report Uttar Pradesh is ranked at 12th position this year, as compared to its 8th and 9th ranks in years 2017 and 2016 respectively.
Of the many schemes that were studied, SKOCH found that in Transport sector, the “Smart Card Variants – Cashless Initiatives” which is a step towards digital India is quite impressive and effective. The project is a cashless ticketing initiative where cashless cards have been issued to freedom fighters, Loktantra Senani, journalists, teachers (award winners at national and state levels). The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation has issued these plastic cards which have inbuilt RFiD and magnetic strips and can be configured for a variety of uses including common usage like bank credit/debit cards, ID cards, for financial transaction and so on. These postpaid cards have a travel limit to 4000 km in a year and so far 5000 cards have been issued. The benefits of the project are mainly reflected in improved efficiency and quality of services. The UPSRTC gets confirmed passenger load and they can check on the pilferage as well.
Another project in Transport sector that improves the rural connectivity and a project to clean 84 ghats are worth mentioning.
The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) has taken steps to connect all villages with the state through low-cost public transport system. The scheme entails providing a rural transport system which is regulated and provides safe connectivity to educational & economic centers operated at a discounted fare to suit the needs of rural populace. So the Corporation has initiated the operations of dedicated rural bus services to connect villages to district and divisional nodes. The endeavor is to provide rural operations with a fleet of 1,500 buses in a phased manner to provide connectivity to rural public of the state and these services are being offered at a discount of up to 25 per cent.
Despite initial bumps and teething problems, within three months, the rural operations were streamlined and at the end of financial year 2016-17, it earned a profit of Rs15.05 crore which rose to RS57.70 cr in 2017-18.
With this view and in line with the aim to provide public transport service to every village of the state in 2017-18, the Corporation has extended its bus operations to 9652 villages out of the 38,254 villages of the state. Thus the Corporation plans to connect all unserved villages by bus operations by the end of 2020-21.
Another project taken up by the Varanasi Municipal Corporation to clean the 84 ghats in the city is also laudable. The Corporation has actively taken up the job of cleansing and beautifying all the 84 ghats of the spiritual city and has been effectively working towards this mammoth task.
Besides these projects that are performing, one catching up project in the Health department is called “SORS”.
SORS or State Outbreak Reporting System, a project initiated by the Directorate of Medical & Health, is to detect the outbreak impendency and prompt & effective response to outbreak of diseases. The Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) was launched in 2008. This was done through the surveillance by tracking presumptive cases in OPD, laboratory confirmed cases at the community level. Moreover, since the outbreak cases were reported manually and there was no central repository for the information on outbreak, the state developed its own customised software application that can facilitate the timely collection, compilation and analysis of data. This helps in generating information and knowledge to mitigate outbreak severity.
Uttar Pradesh is one of the most volatile northern states in terms of political atmosphere and social structure. The state has huge roadblocks in terms of maternal mortality rate, low learning levels with high absenteeism, unemployed youth population, and very slow industrial growth rate. Despite the fact that that the state houses 20 per cent of agricultural households, its agricultural growth rate is not encouraging, and the state is marred by corruption. Amid all these challenges, any government has a huge baggage to deal with while formulating futuristic policies and approaches.