Andhra Pradesh in 2020 has emerged as the top performing state on annual SKOCH State of Governance Rankings, replacing Gujarat from 2019. Last year, Andhra Pradesh was at #4. The reason for this splendid performance was a number of measures taken by the state during the past two years to make governance more efficient, inclusive and transparent. After ranking in the top ten for the past several years, the state has finally acquired #1 position for the first time now.
Out of 123 innovative projects that were selected for evaluation from across sectors, Andhra Pradesh topped the three sectoral rankings – Police & Safety, Rural Development and Municipal Sanitation. Police & Safety and Rural Development gained top spots, which were at #4 and #3 respectively in 2019. Municipal Sanitation also joined the league of top performers in 2020, in contrast to 2019 with no projects evaluted for the same.
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In the e-Governance sectoral ranking Andhra Pradesh improved its position to the second spot this year from the eighth position in 2019. Amongst top gainers, Andhra Pradesh also acquired the third position in two sectoral rankings – Municipal Governance and Ease of Doing Business. Likewise, the Agriculture, Skill Development and Water, wherein no projects were selected for evaluation in 2019, improved their rankings to five, six and seven respectively in 2020.
Municipal Sanitation In Andhra Pradesh In 2020
Municipal corporations and urban local bodies in Andhra Pradesh have been on the forefront in implementing sanitation drives. For example, the Guntur Municipal Corporation has developed facilities to convert plastic waste into synthetic fuel.
Tuni Municipality has introduced an initiative called ‘Wealth From Wet Waste’. It is a comprehensive solid waste management system for the purpose of better sanitation. With this in mind, project workers first collect wet waste from households and commercial establishments. Then the wet waste is properly segregated. After that, the waste is composted at ward level itself by onsite composting method. The project is based on 5R principles – Reduce, Reprocess, Reuse, Recycle, and Recover.
Salur Municipality has launched a project for beautification of community toilets. The authorities launched the project for the purpose of achieving an Open Defecation Free target. More people have been motivated to use the toilet facilities as a result of this plan.
Pithapuram Municipality has introduced innovative measures for citizen engagement in Swachh Bharath activities.
Rural Development In Andhra Pradesh In 2020
The state has introduced several innovative measures to bring more transparency and efficiency in the implementation of projects related to rural development. For example, the Panchayat Raj & Rural Development department has adopted innovative approaches for capacity building and training under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). The state also uses the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) system to distribute the wages under MGNREGA. As a result, Andhra Pradesh has registered the second highest number of DBT transactions. The state government has transferred nearly Rs 90,000 crore into the accounts of beneficiaries through DBT.
YSR Rythu Bharosa is an interesting model for village level procurement at a pre-announced MSP and is reporting good outcomes for the farmers. Another, YSR Cheyutha Scheme focuses on economic empowerment of middle-aged women through giving them livelihood linked loans for over 4-year period, is an example of financial inclusion with outcomes.
DRDA-SEEDAP Anantapuramu has implemented innovative steps for Skill Development. It is conducting training in various skill sets. DRDA-SEEDAP Anantapuramu primarily focuses on providing trainings to youth from underprivileged sectors who otherwise doesn’t have a fancy education and turning them into a pool of skilled human resources and also helping industries to hire trained resources without incurring expenditure on making them ‘Production Ready’ and hence in that sense is also contributing towards writing a story about social empowerment.
Police & Safety In Andhra Pradesh In 2020
Andhra Pradesh government has introduced e-Learning solutions for providing training to police officials. To this end, the government has established dedicated e-Learning centres at 10 different locations with state-of-the-art infrastructure. The module incorporates audio-visual materials on key topical issues concerning the police. The areas covered include Prevention of SC/ST Atrocities Act, Juvenile Justice Act, Sensitisation on tribal issues as well as the Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act, and Criminal Procedure Code. The total strength of Andhra Pradesh police department is around 80,000. As a result of this endeavour, nearly 25,000 officials have been certified under this scheme. The course has thus helped thousands of police officials develop a better understanding of the legal system.
Apps For Women’s Safety
Andhra Pradesh authorities have taken several innovative steps in order to improving women’s safety and security. They have launched the ABHAY and Disha apps in particular with the aim of enhancing women’s safety and security. Following the ghastly Disha incident in Hyderabad the department launched an emergency response system for women in the form of a Mobile Application. This application records 10-second Audio & Video clips and sends them to the Police Control Room along with the user’s location by just with a single click on SOS/panic button. The Hand gesture/Shake my Trigger feature also lets users send SOS to Control Room. The police response time has reduced drastically, thus enhancing the safety of women and children. So far, citizens have sent in nearly one lakh SOS requests. And of these, 600 have proven actionable and nearly 112 FIRs have been registered.
Prakasam District police has launched an initiative called ABHAY (fearless). The initiative is launched in response to brutal murder of a girl in Hyderabad. ABHAY is an emergency ‘Drop Home’ service launched by Prakasam Police in order to help women at odd hours. Any woman who finds herself in any helpless/dangerous situation between 9 pm to 5 am can simply dial 100 and a nearby ABHAY vehicle will promptly come to her rescue and provide a safe ‘Drop Home’.
Andhra Pradesh In 2020 Prioritises Long-term Goals
Andhra Pradesh government led by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has taken measures in order to affect far-reaching changes in the past nearly two years. Such changes focus on bringing markedly greater efficiency and transparency and ensuring inclusive growth and development.
Outlining the vision of his government Reddy said, “I am proud to steer the state of Andhra Pradesh, which has embarked on a new journey of sustainable development with focus on inclusive growth. This road towards sustainable and inclusive development traverses through the chosen path of ‘Navaratnas’ – our 9 assurances to the people of the state in ensuring that our students have good skills and learning outcomes, youth are gainfully employed and every family stays healthy and happy. It is the right time to explore the immense potential of this state and I wholeheartedly welcome industry to become partners in this journey”.
While there were top gainers, there were a few set-backs as well. District Administration has done well as a sector overall but dropped in Andhra Pradesh from top spot in 2019 to rank 3 in 2020. Health (non-Covid) marginally came down from #2 to #3. In Governance (General Administration) and similarly in Urban Development no projects qualified for assessment in 2020.
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Despite set-backs, the projects evaluated were found to be well performing but they were far lesser in number than 2019 when state emerged as the top performer in District Administration. District Kurnool, for instance, rid farmers of looming draught for last two decades, which forced them to migrate. With efforts under MGNREGA, check-dams, recharge pits, farm ponds, desilting and contour trenches works were undertaken in order to recharge the rain-fed area and induce to reverse migration. It has also reduced the use of fertilisers by nearly 70 per cent; as a result farmers’ income has improved.
In order to double farmers’ income, Ananthapuramu introduced Kisan Rail connecting the district directly with Azadpur Mandi, New Delhi for better price. Consequently, trucks have been replaced by rail and that has reduced the travel from 6 days to 36 hrs and post-harvest losses have reduced to nearly zero.
Water Conservation and Response to COVID have also been outcome oriented projects undertaken by Vizianagaram District.
While the state registered improvement across many areas, yet there are sectors wherein the state did not submit any projects for assessment. These include Disaster Management, Education, Infrastructure, Irrigation, Labour, Power & Energy as well as Social Justice & Social Security, Tourism & Culture, Transport and Women & Child Development. At the same time, states like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Bihar, Punjab and Karnataka had a sizeable presence in these areas.
Andhra Pradesh was at #1 position during 2019 for District Administration, which slid to #3 in 2020; furthermore, Health dropped a notch from #2 to #3. Last year Governance was at #5; however in 2020, no projects were submitted for evaluation. Of course, there may be many more successes that have to be pro-actively submitted for evaluation to be nationally benchmarked on outcomes. The state can surely perform better in these areas.