As the second largest in area and fifth most populous state of India, Madhya Pradesh has a huge responsibility to carry in the country’s growth and development. However, its economy is not commensurate to its size and it’s only the tenth largest among Indian states. As an agrarian state, Madhya Pradesh has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately.
Be it the shadow of examination leaks or citizen security issues, the state has received a lot of bad reputation in the mainstream narrative. Moreover, it’s rare to hear about development efforts in the state as its human development indicators rank it at the 26 position out of 29 Indian states. Madhya Pradesh is fighting an uphill battle against public perception and demography to carve a place for itself but has it succeeded?
During the SKOCH State of Governance 2019 study, it was found that Madhya Pradesh actually has a lot more going for it than we notice. The state is ranked at the seventh position in this year’s governance ranking owing to its projects and initiatives ranging from housing, citizen safety to digital transformation. The state has seen some tremendous work happen over the last years, which is now showing up in its investment potential as well.Madhya Pradesh is set to build a 1,000-watt floating solar power plant. RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani recently committed investment to the state in battery manufacturing and rolling out Jio’s advanced technologies for the state. Moreover, CMIE, a Mumbai-based business information company, has said that unemployment dropped in the state from 7.2 per cent in December 2018 to 4.2 per cent by the end of September 2019. This shows CM Kamal Nath and his government’s concerted efforts in turning around the state and bringing in a new vista for the heart of India.
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“Madhya Pradesh has a lot of opportunities to invest here. We have opportunities in every field, so I will discuss this with many industrialists and talk about how they can gain confidence in the state,” Chief Minister Kamal Nath said.
In other events, he has laid down a clear vision for his government and how he plans to scale Madhya Pradesh to even greater heights when it comes to governance. “There has never been a better time to invest in Madhya Pradesh. Others sometimes walk the walk and talk the talk but we walk the talk. Madhya Pradesh is magnificent. If you convince us that something is beneficial for our citizens, it can bring in more jobs and prosperity, you will find us willing and responsive partners,” the CM said at a recent industry event.
Let’s take a deeper look in the projects that the government has initiated.
Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana
Building on the success of PMAY, the housing scheme launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, different municipal bodies in the state are actively participating and fast-tracking the process of construction and delivery of houses. The biggest challenge in this effort sometimes is the availability of land and bringing it from squatters. The government has found innovative solutions such as offering incentives and motivating the officials to do more.
For instance, the Municipal Corporation of Katni is working to provide benefits to thousands of people. Till now, more than 5,000 people have benefitted from the housing project in the urban areas.
Vehicle detection and Integrated Surveillance
To check crime in the state and increase the safety of the citizens, the Madhya Pradesh government has initiated the Madhya Pradesh Police Vehicle Detection Portal and Integrated Surveillance System project. Under this project, thousands of cameras have been installed across 60 cities covering the entire area of the state in an integrated manner. These cameras can automatically detect vehicle number plates, which gets fed into a database and the dashboard. The footage is available in real-time across the control rooms and ensures police intervention before events escalate.
The composition of the system includes mounted cameras as well as mobile surveillance vehicles, which have improved the quality and reach of surveillance and tracking. The scheme provides transparency in police action, easier timelines to control and check events and acts as a force multiplier to keep a watch over all the critical areas on a 24*7 basis, which has vastly brought down crime and incidence rate in the state, said Upendra Jain, ADG, MP Police Telecom.
The government started a new initiative to make the state safer for women and children by launching the project SAFE. SAFE stands for Strict message for offenders, Adequate punishment, Fast trial and Effective trial. The idea is to fast-track cases of abuse against women and children by using a 360-degree all-means-necessary approach to provide speedy justice at a time when cases tend to languish in the courts for decades.
As part of this project, the forces have been trained across the state. Capacity building initiatives have led to the use of more innovative tools to conduct the investigation and chargesheeting faster, which helps fast-track the process of justice, said Rajendra Kumar, DG, Public Prosecution. For instance, the state now uses psychometric behaviour analysis, tracks analytic and behaviour changes through training programmes, case study analysis in trainings and team building seminars by external experts.
The conviction rate has moved up from 30 to 70 per cent in the state and 21 death penalties were given in 2018, making it the highest in the country.
ICT for transport
Madhya Pradesh has moved to digital transformation journey for all its governance departments. In the transport division, the state has launched a mission mode effort under, which services are being offered online and digital tools are being used to manage the operations of the department, said Madhya Pradesh Transport Minister, Govind Singh Rajput For instance, now driving licenses and registration certificates are being issued on smart cards.
A Management Information System has been implemented, which provides tax calculation and trends in revenue to the decision makers and officials. At the same time, services such as appointment booking, application and tax payment have all moved online using payment gateways and POS terminals. The government has also developed automated driving test and launched a fitness tracking solution to ensure safety of citizens on the road, added its Transport Commissioner, Shailendra Shrivastava.
Success of Dastak Abhiyan
To improve health indicators and life expectancy of children, the government has launched a one of its kind programme called Dastak as part of which, health officials visit each house in rural areas and inform families about child healthcare. These officials also have kits to provide aid and they identify malnourished or sick children and arrange for their treatment in government facilities. The government is aiming to reach 75 lakh children over the next few years through this programme.
In the Rewa district, most of the areas are tribal and composed of tough terrain. There, the district administration has successfully launched this programme in mission mode by planning the dates of travel around the problematic weather. Moreover, meticulous micro level planning and coordination between teams has ensured real-time data gathering and immediate course correction.
The initiative involves weekly review meetings and an additional 1.5 lakh children were covered in the last round due to exemplary execution of the programme.
Madhya Pradesh is a rising state, which is shedding its old baggage and marching towards a growth trajectory on the back of business investments and improvement in welfare indicators. The state is set to achieve high growth rates due to farm reforms and a focus on technology led welfare delivery. The Chief Minister’s task force on bringing in investments is a step in the right direction. Going forward, the focus on improving health indicators as well as educational facilities should be more concerted and we might see Madhya Pradesh toppling other states off the governance charts.