The story of Madhya Pradesh can be put in three words “Nightmare to fairytale to nightmare again”. Yes, the verdict sounds a little harsh but considering the whirlwind performance of Madhya Pradesh government in the last four years, one can’t help but fear this trend.
SKOCH has been studying and documenting good governance practices for more than a decade and releasing the Governance Index of India. The effort has always been to bring in direct inputs from the field in the form of case studies, grassroots’ implementation and policy influences. Therefore, what could be termed as an impressive governance initiative for one or few states may not be the same for others, given their history of development and advancement. If we talk about Madhya Pradesh based on these parameters, while the state had topped the overall state ranking in the year 2015, it slipped to 4th position next year in 2016 and dipped further to number 7 in 2017. This year, the state stood at the 10th position, the worst performance in four years. This can largely be attributed to the bureaucracy, which bit more than it could chew to deliver to the targeted objectives.
As part of the State of Governance study, SKOCH sent request letters and also contacted through different channels like telephones and emails to all ministries, departments, municipalities, district administration and other government bodies for sharing project details and their achievements. The response was lackluster. As a result only 24 projects made to the shortlist. All of these projects were thoroughly studied and examined by the domain experts.
The Story So far
When Shivraj Singh Chouhan took over the BIMARU state of Madhya Pradesh in the year 2005, nobody was expecting any firecrackers and there was no way to drastically usher in development. In Chouhan’s own words, the state “faced the formidable challenge of removing historical constraints of developments”. There were serious issues of building confidence, scripting growth trajectories, curbing graft especially in delivery of public services, attracting investment, making bureaucracy effective and accountable and above all creating positive vibes. Although Chouhan had his share of struggles in the initial phase, he found his rhythm in quick time to lead the state.
One vital strategic vision that helped Chouhan achieve a stupendous turnaround was his determination to revamp the primary sector, which employs about 70 per cent of the state population. Therefore, agriculture and allied sector received massive boost from the state. The result of this dedicated focus was that Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest agricultural growth in the country for the year 2013-14. This was indeed an astonishing feat for a state that had a long history of low agricultural GDP. According to the data released by the Central Statistical Organisation, Madhya Pradesh’s agricultural growth was at an all-time high and the state had overtaken Punjab as the country’s grain bowl. The state that was producing 73.27 lakh MT in 2004-05 was now yielding a mammoth 193 lakh MT in 2013-14, a record 9.2 per cent share in the country’s total food basket. Madhya Pradesh was now the largest producer of oilseed in the country and “I thought until agriculture became profitable, the lives of the people would not improve I have always said that agriculture should be about profit, it should be about business,” Chauhan had then remarked.
The same approach was extended to social and development and similar strategies were implemented in education, health, sanitation ad Public Distribution System. The nation could see that Madhya Pradesh leadership had carefully thought through the strategic vision, challenges and means to attend such ambitious targets.
The unprecedented growth of Madhya Pradesh clearly reflected in its performance in SKOCH Awards as well, when it jumped to Numero Uno in 2015.
However, there has been a downslide ever since. While last year the state slid to number 7, the overall state ranking of Madhya Pradesh is 10 this year. What is the reason behind this downfall? Has the chief minster lost his spark or is the vision blurred? The policies were brainstormed, formulated, recognised and implemented but despite all these checks, is the government sure that the execution of these policies has been foolproof and the quintessential lackadaisical approach that is the biggest enemy of this country has led to their slowdowns? And the biggest question is: Can the government still salvage what is lost and would the public of Madhya Pradesh look at their hero in a new light and with another chance?
These are some questions that need to be analysed and understood. Madhya Pradesh government has set high benchmarks with their performance in the past but what ails the state suddenly. Let’s have a look at how the state has performed in different sectors vis-à-vis their performances last years.
As mentioned earlier, 24 projects undertaken by the state government in its different sectors were examined closely, and of these projects, three projects in two sectors namely sanitation and e-Governance had the right mix of feasibility and innovation. In the field of sanitation, from generating awareness about waste disposal to introducing a robot to champion the cause among public, Madhya Pradesh indeed tried quite a few methods that impressed the nation. A total of 9 projects in the sector were studies out of which two were found to have scaled up. If we revisit last year’s initiatives taken by the state, there were quite a few breakthroughs to emulate and look up to. Several innovative steps were taken, and we say innovative, because the government brought in solid waste management infrastructure supported by modern IT structure. This year too saw a few interesting initiatives like the introduction of a Robot to champion the cause of cleanliness and waste management.
Similarly, Madhya Pradesh has over the years, used technology effectively to ensure that benefits of the social welfare schemes reach the people in a timely and hassle-free manner. In 2017, a portal called Samagra, which literally means all-inclusive, was launched. The portal provided a common integrated digital platform for e-Governance. To redress people grievances, the State had introduced IT-based solution called Samadhan Online, under which Chief Minister regularly interacted with District Collectors through video conferencing to address the concerns of the common people. Taking the baton forward, this year the State Government introduced IT solution in judiciary by providing online registration, details etc of the court cases.
Here is a detailed analysis of all the projects that have scaled up in the last one year.
Swachh Bharat Mission
Taking cue from the nationwide drive for “Swachh Bharat”, the civic bodies of Madhya Pradesh have showed their sincerity and deftness in taking it forward. The Swachh Bharat initiative by the Municipal Corporation of Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh was found to be an honest and effective approach.
Municipal Corporation of Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh has taken significant steps towards solid waste management and aims to achieve zero waste management in the city of Chhindwara that has a population of over 2 lakh. Municipal vehicles with twin bins are installed and the people have been made aware about the fundamentals of dry and wet wastes. The Corporation has also been successful in making compost from daily city waste and the same is being sold to the farmers.
Clean-O Robot to teach Swachh India
To comply with the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, and to reduce soil, water and land pollution threats, Ujjain Municipal Corporation has initiated some steps that are both innovative and effective. The Corporation has introduced country’s first robot that teaches about “Swachh India”. The robot named Clean-O Robot, teaches source segregation, and takes feedbacks on the same from the citizens of Ujjain.
Besides this, the Corporation has taken it upon itself to spread awareness on source segregation of waste. As a result of this, there is citywide collection of sanitary napkins, diapers and their safe disposal with cost effective methods. Third important initiative taken by the Corporation is the implementation of a Commissioners’ Cycle Club. More than 21 officers of UMC cycle in every ward of the city from Morning 5.30am to 9.30 am and the club covered all 54 wards of the Ujjain City in three months. This small step has strengthened the overall monitoring mechanism of the city and definitely improved sanitation of the city.
Cooperative Judicial Court Case Management System
Cooperative Judicial Court Case Management System (CJCMS) is an IT solution to ease functions of the judicial courts and citizen services. The application automates various functions and facilitates downloading court case decisions, online cause list availability in public domain. It is 24x7 web enabled application, Unicode compliant and various role based logins.
CJCMS provides online registration of court cases, their transfers, remand/ reopen process, hearing date and order upload, final hearing through the system, case disposal and even makes the decisions available in public domain. It even has a tracking system and SMS alert facility to the lawyers, petitioner and respondents at each stage.
catching up Projects
Of the total projects that were studied, there were a few that lacked any steam but there were also a few that definitely have the potential to excel, with a little more planning, execution and time. In fact District Administration is one sector where the State showed improvement from the earlier year.
Even Municipal Governance has left its mark with some of its work. Even though six of their projects were studied, one project was able to stand tall. Government of Madhya Pradesh had taken a lot of impactful initiatives at the civic level that had helped catapult its overall growth in the initial years. A result of this was that Madhya Pradesh stood second in 2016 but then with some steam lost, it slipped to seventh position in 2017 and has still maintained the same position.
Before we discuss and analyse the projects studied this year, let us look at a few case studies from the past to understand the potential the state exhibited once.
An interesting feat was achieved by Namili, a small municipality in Madhya Pradesh when in 2009 the corporation decided to rid the area of its acute problem of water shortage. The innovative approach of water conservation and local technologies were pooled together. A low-lying land parcel was identified as it received heavy storm water during rains. Together with other agencies, a natural drain ‘Kharcha Taalab’ was created and the problem of water shortage was solved. The Nagar Parishad converted a nearby dumping ground into a beautiful park and thus, the park and the lake together became popular as a regional tourist site. This was an encouraging amalgamation of local technology, traditional approach and community participation.
Over the years, the municipal corporations came up with similar simple yet effective methods to raise their own bar.
Here are the three projects, two from district administration and one from municipal governance, which SKOCH found viable, with potential and worth mentioning.
Rural Housing Scheme, Khargone
Khargone district, where majority of the population is Below Poverty Line, had an acute problem of housing. Taking cue from the Central Government’s “Housing for all by 2022” initiative, which aims at providing pucca house with basic amenities to all rural houseless households and those households living in Kutcha and dilapidated house, Khargone district is now the one of the frontrunners in achieving the mission goals in its populance.
Under the Pradhanmantri Awas Yojana, Khargone district had a target of construction of 21253 DUs in its 9 Blocks, for the year 2016-17 and 2017- 18. The district administration conducted a special drive for the orientation of Gram Panchayats. The targeted beneficiaries were selected from the SECC (Socio-Economic caste census) survey list 2011. Firstly the eligibility criteria of the beneficiaries were checked by distributing the targets to the Gram Panchayats. By organising special Gram Sabhas, the village Panchayats prepared priority list of beneficiaries on the following basis: Beneficiaries were selected on the basis of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Minorities and other categories which included houseless or single room occupants’ population. This exercise was completed within 15 days of the finalisation of the target.
After the identification of beneficiaries under PMAY-G, time limit of 10 days was set at the block level for beneficiary registration in AWAS Soft web portal. Photograph of the existing residence of the beneficiary and proposed DU site were Geo Tagged by Gram Rojgar Sahayak Gram Panchayat.
With an objective to provide quality living, a number of meetings were conducted with the project beneficiaries, in which they were motivated to construct toilets and kitchen platforms. Emphasis was laid on the construction of housing units as per the approved layout plan.
The district had successfully constructed 14166 DUs (till 31st December 2017) against the targeted 21253 DUs, which is 66.65 per cent progress and by March 2018, more than 75 per cent population has been benefitted.
Soil Health Card
Soil Health Card, an initiative successfully implement by the district administration of Neemuch, is an interesting and useful scheme launched for farmers. Farmers are often unaware about balanced fertilisation and soil health management. Due to the issuance of these soil health cards, farmers are being more aware about the importance of soil health management and have a tangible test report to trust when it comes to assessing the soil of their own lands.
Soil Health Management (SHM) is one of the most important interventions under “National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA). Soil Health Management aims at promoting Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) through judicious use of chemical fertilisers including secondary and micro nutrients in conjunction with organic manures and bio-fertilisers for improving soil health and its productivity.
Adoption of inappropriate policies and cropping systems along with faulty soil management accelerates soil erosion, micronutrient deficiencies, and impacts adversely the soil biodiversity and physical properties.
A detailed plan for the implementation of the scheme was worked out and the facility of soil sample collection was provided at block level. “Kisan Mitra” for the collection of the soil sample along with Rural Agriculture Extension Officers were deployed for the collection of soil samples on grid basis. This manpower led to more number of sample collection per day along with dispatch to the collection point. Timely delivery of the soil health card was ensured and once the soil samples were analysed, online entry of the results were made and soil health cards were prepared and distributed.
Anand Ghar, Old Age Home of Nagda
To provide facilities, care and services to the senior citizens, Municipal Corporation of Nagda constructed an old age home “Aanad Ghar” in 2016 and has been running the unit through ULB’s financial support only. The Day Care Centre that has the potential of 500 members provides qualitative and comprehensive care to the senior citizens so that they can live with respect and dignity. The centre provides legal and medical help as and when required and provides them free medical and health check up camps.
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