On SKOCH State of Governance annual ranking for last year, Gujarat in 2020 is at #2, second only to the top performer, Andhra Pradesh. 2019 was one of the best years in Gujarat’s recent history, with the state exceeding expectations on several fronts. 2020 was a year of comparatively modest successes, especially on the economic front, with businesses hit hard by Covid-19. At the same time Gujarat continues to hold on its own as one of the most prosperous states in the country.
Gujarat in 2020 has prioritised administration, governance, water and public health and safety in response to Covid-19. We selected over 100 projects for deep study, out of which Gujarat did well in Water (#1), Police & Safety (#2) and Municipal Sanitation (#3) segments. These were at #2, #7 and #7 respectively in 2019. Similarly, other areas where the state did well include District Administration, Power and Energy and Women & Child Development.
Several interventions made the cut as highly impactful projects that can be replicated throughout the country. A common thread throughout is the efficient use of digital technology and innovative practices as a result of which public services can be bettered, social evils combatted and underserved communities empowered.
Gujarat continues to defend its reputation as one of the fastest-growing states in India. It excels in terms of modernising public administration, infrastructure and resources. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for a truly inclusive and integrated nation is obviously manifested in the use of technology for delivering good governance.
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The Water Segment Does Well In Gujrat State Of Governance 2020
The Sujalam Sufalam Jal Abhiyan 2.0 by the Water Resources Department, Government of Gujarat, is one of the most impactful schemes in the Water segment for 2020. The scheme is doing important work in the water harvesting category. Gujarat in 2020 is leading the way for Water-related programs, moving up from #2 in 2019 to the #1 spot in 2020.
The Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation launched the Development of Pond & Garden in Wasteland project. The responsible use, diligent maintenance and fair allocation of environmental resources spells the difference between real progress and development for development’s sake. Gujarat continues to be a brilliant example for the country in this regard.
The Govt. of Gujarat Water Resources Department established the Panam Multipurpose Dam to improve the irrigation sector. Water-irrigation plans typically have a project efficiency of 60% but the Panam project hit 100% with great ease. The government has used next-gen technology in the construction of the dam and canal system and also to implement ideas and monitor function. Non-destructive testing and early intervention and repairs have helped authorities identify common fault lines and make improvements. The canal has specifically been designed and engineered to deliver the required amount of water at the right time to minimise waste. Authorities convene with the Water Users Association in order to take feedback, assess best practices and make decisions about crop rotation, irrigation practices etc. The project helps 27,000 farmers over 32,800 hectares.
Policing During Covid Marks Gujarat State of Governance 2020
Frontline workers have always been the backbone of society but this has never been truer than in 2020. SKOCH has analysed hundreds of entries submitted from every state and the contribution of our men in khaki has been unparalleled. The police worked tirelessly to keep everyone safe, enforce pandemic and lockdown protocols and aid civil authorities during an unprecedent crisis. Two notable efforts include the Rajkot City Police for their response to the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the Gujarat Jail Department (Home) for prison responses to the pandemic.
The Office of Commissioner of Police Rajkot City launched the Surakshita App so that women can travel safely. Women can use the app to instantly alert pre-selected emergency contacts. At the same time, the app notifies the police control room in real-time. The app can be used to track a ride for 30 minutes so that an intervention is possible.
The Bhuj Division Police Department did particularly well in response to Covid. During the pandemic, the department has functioned efficiently, enforcing distancing, quarantining and lockdown protocols and penalising violators. In addition to this, the ‘Police Bandobast’ scheme for free rations distribution served all in need. The department also organised awareness-building and sensitisation programs for identified super-spreaders. In a compelling example of service to humanity, a Bhuj Division patrol officer identified a young woman in distress and intervened in time to prevent a suicide attempt. The department also arranged medical care and connected with and counselled the patient’s family through an incredibly difficult time. In another example of humanitarian assistance, the police organised rations for Assamese students living in Bhuj when the lockdown was introduced.
Municipal Sanitation Shines With Gujarat State of Governance 2020
The Vyara Nagar Palika has done commendable work in the field of Solid Waste Management. In order to tackle the problem of ever-growing landfills the department has transformed a dumpsite into a Resource Recovery Station based on Zero Waste. It is the first scientifically designed and developed waste processing centre in India. The project premise is that no domestic waste collected should end up in a landfill. Every last bit collected is recycled or repurposed to create more utility and less waste. The project is setting records for the highest waste conversion ratio, creation of employment opportunities and optimal use of land and other resources.
The Petlad Municipality has received the ODF++ status in the Swachchh Sarvekshan League-2020. The toilet facilities have been inspected and found to be well-planned and maintained. Additionally, vending machines that dispose sanitary napkins and dustbins for their correct disposal have been installed in bahtrooms. Incinerators have also been set up for proper waste management. Dedicated facilities with ramps for disabled persons are another step in the right direction for inclusive infrastructure. Technology is being leveraged effectively for optimum efficiency so that public and community toilets are listed on Google maps with locator aids. Finally, the concerned officials address grievances within 24 hours and an online feedback system has been initiated.
The Petlad Municipality has also done important work for slum rehabilitation. An Integrated Housing Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) was started to construct and allot 1BHK homes for slum rehabilitation. These homes are outfitted with electricity and gas connections as well as water supply. Sanitation services for door-to-door collection and sweeping are also a part of the project. The houses were allotted for Rs.30,100/- through a random computerised draw. The beneficiary population responded positively.
The Navsari Vijalpore Municipality is recognised for its contribution to the Swacch Bharat dream for raising community engagement and building shelters for the urban homeless population. The project identifies people living/ sleeping in public places such as railway and bus stations, construction sites, places of worship, pavements and parks etc., and seeks to offer them safer habitation. The team visited such spots and spoke with people about the shelter facility and its services and encouraged them to come in. In-house sanitation facilities have prompted an overall improvement in hygiene (personal and public) and disease prevention. The number of hit-and-run cases and accidents recorded has also decreased.
Livelihood Enhancement, Narmada
PM Modi’s commitment to helping the farmer community double their incomes has inspired the project. It is a compelling example of the integrative approach that Gujarat has come to be known for. Various departments and personnel collaborated to prioritise agricultural prosperity, farmer upliftment, environmental conservation (through the agricultural waste management schemes) and the nutritional needs of the people.
The project serves two important but underserved niches: tribal communities and the environment. The guiding principle is to use an inclusive approach to livelihood enhancement. With this in mind, innovative income generation schemes are used in tribal areas. For example, authorities are making an effort to promote industries like fibre processing, mushroom and honeybee farming and handicrafts industries. Another example is the effort to promote a market for care products prepared using tribal healing techniques. Apart from these niches, the administration has also introduced high-tech horticulture techniques, medicinal farming, value addition, new cropping patterns etc. to improved yields and earnings. The motto of ‘Wealth from Waste’ is a driving principle in Gujarat. With this in mind, there is an effort to minimise the harmful impact of industries and maximise the usability of trade products and by-products.
Health Sector Holds Steady With Gujarat State of Governance 2020
The Mission Indradhanush scheme is a highly impactful contribution to the Health & Nutrition landscape. The primary goal of this scheme has been to boost vaccination/ immunization programs in the region. The mission plan targets hard-to-reach areas and low-immunisation populations.
The MI programme works to promote child health and safety by targeting children who have received partial or no vaccinations. The program workers also conduct awareness-raising missions to educate people about the importance of immunizing their children. There is especially an emphasis on the migratory labour communities.
Mission Indradhanush has done exemplary work in the region. As a result, over 80% of the target areas have been successfully brought into the fold. MI also looks at reproductive health issues, communicable and non-communicable diseases. Capacity-building programs and support networks for community health workers and ASHA groups are also being prioritised.
Comprehensive Efforts to Improve Sex Ratio of Ahmedabad by Health and Family Welfare Department, District Panchayat Ahmedabad
The scheme has done meaningful work in promoting women’s safety, protecting the girl child and fighting gender crimes.
The department identifies that there has been a worrying trend of a declining sex ratio and a spike in crimes against women and girls in recent times. Analogous to this observation, research shows that gender sensitisation is linked to decreased crime rates. In other words, gender equality has been rightly identified as a cornerstone of a healthy society.
Under this project, authorities have conducted sting operations on sex determination activities in sonogram centres and looked into suspected gender-motivated termination of pregnancies. Consequently, the authorities have enforced the PC and PNDT Act more strictly. Defaulters have been penalised to help reduce structural violence against females. MI works with local healthcare workers to monitor communities and also spread awareness about the importance of girl children. They are also raising awareness about the need to fight social evils that lead to a skewed gender ratio.
The intervention has noted an improvement in the gender ratio in the region in just two years and has the potential to be replicated across the country.
Commerce in Times of Covid For Gujarat State of Governance 2020
No mention of Gujarat is complete without a nod to its business-friendly nature. We at SKOCH are inspired by how various organisations have rallied through the immense challenges posed by the pandemic and adopted new safe practices to be able to keep the economy stable and promote business growth. For instance, the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Ltd. is recognised for remarkable business continuity in Covid-19.
Gujarat State of Governance 2020 Prioritises Women & Children
The Spandan project by the Health Department, District Panchayat Patan, works to fight malnutrition and anemia. To this end, authorities organise screening processes, monitor weight and maintain individual records of children to prevent severe health conditions. Moreover, there is an emphasis on promoting menstrual hygiene awareness amongst adolescent girls and supplying them with sanitary napkins.
District Panchayat Dahod launched the Apni Maa Project. The scheme focuses on reducing the Maternal Mortality Rate and by extension, the Infant Mortality Rate and as a result, improving the overall quality of life of women, children and families in the district.
The state government’s State Management Centre (SMC) by Department of Woman and Child Development (WCD) played a crucial role in monitoring the Covid-19 situation, communicating with frontline workers and citizens and raising community awareness about the pandemic, and the health, nutritional and educational needs of children.
Serving the Underserved
The idea behind the Aspirational Indicators of Health programme by the District Panchayat of Dahod is that health and nutrition goals cannot be met in isolation by a few targeted schemes. There is more to health and nutrition than a few basic markers. Therefore, we need a multipronged approach to qualifying the various individual factors that affect a community’s well-being. The project helps raise awareness, advocate for intersectional care and mobilise participation in various schemes.
The Collectorate of District Anand introduced the Jan Vikas Campaign. The project is working for the upliftment of underprivileged and underserved people through government financial inclusion projects and guaranteeing the delivery of government services.
The year 2019 was the best performing year for Gujarat overall across a number of sectors. The sharpest fall in 2020 was seen by e-Governance followed by Health (non-Covid), and Municipal Governance. The fall was not as steep for Agriculture, Transport, Education, Governance (General Administration) and Power & Energy.
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The Uttar Gujarat Vij Company Limited serves over 36 Lakh consumers across the residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial markets. The company is using feeder bifurcation to reduce AT&C losses and offer greater power reliability. As a result, the overall quality of electricity utility services has improved.
The Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation played an inspiring role during Covid-19 boosting morale and offering incentives to help industries find their footing. As a result of this, many have resumed work with the result that the economy has stabilised and even grown despite the pandemic.
The Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation’s performance during Covid-19 is noteworthy. As a result, students, pilgrims, tourists and migrant workers were all transported back safely to their hometowns in over 20,000 buses.
Despite tremendous improvement in Water, Police & Safety and Municipal Sanitation, there were areas that did not see any participation by the state. These included, Disaster Management, Ease of Doing Business, Irrigation, Rural Development, Social Justice & Social Security, Urban Development and Labour.
The #1 slot in Women & Child Development and Ease of Doing Business was bagged by West Bengal. UP topped in Urban Development and Andhra Pradesh emerged pioneer in Rural Development. In District Administration, Tamil Nadu fared ahead of all other states