The SKOCH Group 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.
Our experience shows that owing to giant strides in information and communication technologies and their enhanced adoption across sectors for inclusive growth and economic development, impressive innovative measures are taken across the country to make governance efficient, transparent and speedy. In this endeavour, we define good governance in relative terms rather than in absolute. The playing field is level and not tilted in favour of any individual or group of states (or union territories, for that matter). 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.
This year, there were 313 SKOCH Orders-of-Merit, out of which, 69 SKOCH Awards were conferred. Given the overwhelming response to the SKOCH Governance Awards, this year we have introduced three categories of Governance Awards: Platinum, Gold and Silver. Then come the SKOCH Orders-of-Merit. Entries were open under a variety of classifications. These were Health, Finance, e-Governance, Transport, Rural Development, Governance, Municipalities, Education & Skill Development and Police & Safety. The details of parameter-wise scores for all states are given in Table 1 and rankings based on each individual parameter of all nine are mentioned in Tables 2 to 10. Though awards for Central Government are separate from the State/Union Territory rankings, they, too follow these classifications.
This year, the top place in the State/Union Territory league table goes to Telangana, one of the youngest states in India. It has won 10 SKOCH Awards (Platinum 5 and Gold 5) and 47 SKOCH Ordersof- Merit.
In the second place is Tamil Nadu, with 7 SKOCH Awards ((Platinum 5, Gold 2) and 24 SKOCH Ordersof- Merit. The third, fourth and fifth places went to Maharashtra (8 Awards out of which, 4 each were Platinum and Gold and 21 Orders-of- Merit); Madhya Pradesh (4 Awards out of which, 1 was Platinum and 3 Gold and 24 Orders-of-Merit); Gujarat (4 Awards out of which, 1 was Platinum and 3 Gold and 21 Orders-of-Merit); Jharkhand followed by Kerala comprise the top 10 slots in Governance this year.
At the Central level, various government departments won 6 Awards (3 Platinum and Gold) and 12 Orders-of-Merit this year. They won a Platinum and Gold Award each for the Transport category; one Platinum and two Gold Awards for e-Governance; and, one Platinum Award for the Governance category.
Going a step further, this year SKOCH has measured the performance of Urban Local Bodies in governance projects spread across classifications. The top five municipalities rated this year are Coimbatore (which won the Platinum Award), Pune, Surat, Tiruchirappalli (single Gold each) and Vijayawada (a Silver). Seventeen more Municipalities received the Award based on different projects. The municipalities that sent in their entries and the projects that they submitted were found to be impressive and effective in both the intent and the final impact.
In terms of Awards and Merits, for the first time, the category of Municipalities bagged the highest number of SKOCH Governance Awards (23) as well as the maximum number of SKOCH Orders-of-Merit (90). E-Governance stood second with 18 Awards and 88 Orders-of-Merit. The Transport sector came third (6 Awards and 20 Orders-of-Merit). The Governance category won two Awards and 29 Orders-of-Merit and Health 3 Awards and 20 Orders-of- Merit. It is clear that the focus and prioritisation of local government agencies as well as State governments is on the widest social, digital and financial inclusion possible as far as governance is concerned.
As India marks the 25-years of economic liberalisation, the Jury observed that the biggest gainers from the economic reforms in recent years have been the states, which were at the forefront of reforms, delivery of citizen services, delivering to the felt-needs and adoption information and communication technologies for governance.
Those who have done exceedingly well are in the “Stars” category. “Performers” and then “Emerging” follow it. The seven States that have performed the best in terms of rankings have been classified as ‘STARS’. These are * Gujarat * Jharkhand * Kerala * Madhya Pradesh * Maharashtra * Tamil Nadu * Telangana
The next 10 states and UTs, which have done commendable work, have been designated as ‘PERFORMERS’. These are: * Andhra Pradesh * Chandigarh * Haryana * Himachal Pradesh * Karnataka * Mizoram * Odisha * Punjab * Uttar Pradesh * Chhattisgarh
The remaining states from where SKOCH received winning nominations are grouped as the ‘EMERGING’. These are: * Assam * Delhi * Meghalaya * Rajasthan * Sikkim * Uttarakhand * West Bengal
Below, we present the snapshot of the individual categories along with a few winners from various states that were recognised in each category and a few representative and benchmark projects that shone at this year’s SKOCH Awards and SKOCH Ordersof- Merit.
In terms of the number of Awards and Merits, Municipalities stood first in both SKOCH Governance Awards (23) and the maximum number of SKOCH Orders-of-Merit (90).
India’s urban system consists of 7,933 cities and towns as of 2011 with a population of 377.16 million. It is now the second largest in the world rising from 5,161 towns and cities in 2001 with a total population of 286.1 million. The country has witnessed important changes and has posted a departure from looking at urbanisation since the adoption of Habitat II agenda in 1996. But it is still facing challenges including infrastructure deficit, governance and urban development among others.
Several steps aimed at the structural, functional and financial components of the municipal system have been taken, the underlying thrust of which is to strengthen municipal finance and governance in conformance with contemporary changes. With the recent thrust on Swachh Bharat, Smart Cities, solid waste management, garbage disposal, waste-to-energy and sanitation the landscape of the country will look quite different a couple of years from now.
Therefore, this year SKOCH has measured the performance of ULBs in Governance projects spread across classifications. The top-five municipalities rated this year are Coimbatore (which won the Platinum Award), Pune, Surat, Tiruchirappalli (single Gold each) and Vijayawada (a Silver). Seventeen more municipalities received the Platinum, Gold and Silver Awards based on different projects.
Coming first in the top-five municipalities, Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation won Platinum for three projects: Toilet First; Ukkadam Lake Restoration; and, Solid Waste Resource Management. The Pune Municipal Corporation won Gold for One Home One Toilet project; Surat, for Open Defecation Free City Project; and, Tiruchirappalli, for Best Practices in Construction of Community Toilet project. The Vijayawada Municipal Corporation won Silver combined for five of its projects: Digital Door Numbering System (DDNS); Solar City; Integrated Online Development Permission Management System (DPMS); AEBAS – Aadhaar Enabled Biometric Attendance System; and, VMC – SMART City Mobile App.
A Platinum Award each was won by Kochi Municipal Corporation for its Implementation of Non- Conventional Waste Water Treatment System; Thane Municipal Corporation for Solar Net Metering project; Erode Municipal Corporation for its Disposal of Solid Waste Through PPP Mode project; Durg Municipal Corporation for Solid Waste Management; Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation for its Education Training & Social Services Centre for PWDs project; Greater Chennai Corporation for its Works Management Module; and, Ranchi Municipal Corporation for Mobile Tower-Cum-High Mast Lighting System.
E-Governance stood second with 18 SKOCH Governance Awards and 88 SKOCH Orders-of-Merit.
E-Governance is generally understood as the use of information and communication technologies and cloud services at all level of the government in order to provide services to the citizens, interaction with business enterprises and communication and exchange of information between different agencies of the government in a speedy, convenient, efficient and transparent manner.
Telangana, the youngest state, was the table topper with 21 SKOCH Orders-of-Merit and 4 SKOCH Awards; Himachal Pradesh stood second with 10 Merits and one Award; and, Tamil Nadu, third with four Merits and three Awards. The Revenue Department (Land Administration) of Telangana’s Land Regularisation Management System Mabhoomi (a public portal for land records information); Consumer Affairs, Food and Civil Supplies Department, Telangana’s NIC Electronic Point of Sale; Meeseva CSC Telangana’s Akoli (100 per cent Digital Literate Village); Department of Information Technology, Himachal Pradesh’s eDistrict Project; Jharkhand Agency for Promotion of Information Technology’s (JAP-IT) Comprehensive Labour Management System; Tamil Nadu Department of Agriculture’s Comprehensive Input Supply Management System; Public Health Engineering Department, Haryana’s G2G/G2C – Customised ERP integrated solution in PHED, G2C – Consumer Service BISWAS (Billing Information System for Water and Sewer) available Online and Mobile App, SNK (Shikayat Nivaran Kendra) were some of the notable projects that outshone others.
The transport related projects were aimed at largely improving the integration of the backoffice functions and streamlining processes so that the overall transport infrastructure of the respective state could rise to a higher level of service delivery.
In the Transport category, there are 20 SKOCH Orders-of-Merit and 6 SKOCH Awards. Entities in Karnataka, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh won most Awards. The Intelligent Transport Systems with Mobile App, Prakruthi (Green Squad) and Bio-Bus (Go-Green-Think Green) projects of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC); Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL); Smart Card Variants and Initiatives for integration towards Common Mobility Cards and Use of VTS for Speed Control & Safety projects of the Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC); Development of Multi Modal transportation Hub at Surat Railway Station project by the Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC); J-CARD – A Multi- Purpose Mobility Card project of the Jabalpur City Transport Services Limited; and, Sarathi 4.0 Online Driving License Services of the Transport Department, Himachal Pradesh & NIC Himachal Pradesh won special mention.
Entries in the parameter of Governance won 2 SKOCH Governance Awards and 29 SKOCH Orders-of- Merit, the second place among all the classifications.
It is with the backdrop of disseminating inclusion benefits that the Governance category was ought to be assessed. This year, the states, which fared well, are Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Jharkhand. Some of the notable winning entries were the Jharkhand Directorate of Information Technology’s Mukhyamantri Jan Samvad Kendra; General Administration Department, Maharashtra’s Aaple Sarkar – Right to Services; Department of Social Justice & Empowerment, Haryana’s Social Security Pension Schemes Through DBT; Barrier Free Kannur of the Kannur District Administration, Kerala; and, Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System (CARINGS) of the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), Union Ministry of Women & Child Development.
The Finance category had 12 SKOCH Orders-of-Merit and 4 SKOCH Awards. The top performers were Kerala, Haryana and Punjab. The other states, which figured in awards in Finance category included Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand.
The projects that deserve mention are the Finance Department, Government of Kerala’s Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS); Value Added Tax Information System (VATIS) of the Commercial Tax Department, Gujarat; Mission Mode Project For Commercial Taxes (MMPCT) of the Excise & Taxation Department, Government of Haryana; and, Online Lagaan of the Revenue, Registration & Land Reforms, Jharkhand.
Education & Skill Development
The category of Education & Skill Development saw a total of 19 SKOCH Orders-of-Merit and 3 SKOCH Awards. Telangana and Gujarat were tied up at the top followed by Punjab and Madhya Pradesh, which were clear winners in this category.
India should also expand the size and scope of the education and vocational skills programmes in order to make its hundreds of thousands of workforce coming to the job market employable. Leveraging India’s democratic dividend of having world’s biggest pool of educated young jobseekers holds the key to the next phase of India’s economic development. If we could accomplish this mission, it would have catapulted the country on a sustainable, inclusive growth trajectory unparalleled in its history. Therefore, education and skills are one of the key parameters for leveraging the demographic dividend.
Some of the notable projects in this section were Green & Sustainable School – Sustainable Development for Future Generation programme of the Gujarat Council of Elementary Education; Revamping Skilling Initiatives for Youth in Telangana in the IT/ITES Sector project of the Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge; and, e-Chayan project of the Department of Higher Education, Madhya Pradesh.
Agriculture & Rural Development
There were 9 SKOCH Orders-of- Merit and 2 SKOCH Awards were bagged by various states in this category. Important structural changes are taking place within the rural development sector and there are definite signs of improved performance with many states affording a very high priority to development in this sector. Overall, there has been vigorous progress on the use of emerging technologies (ICT, cloud, etc) to improve governance and the public delivery system in rural India.
Jharkhand, Telangana and West Bengal obtained the top three spots in the SKOCH Awards. The Jury took special mention of the Institutional Strengthening of Gram Panchayat (ISGP) Project’s implementation on Transparency and Accountability in Gram Panchayats of West Bengal through GIS, Panchayat & Rural Development Department, Government of West Bengal; Rural Development Department, Jharkhand project of Bringing Accountability into Execution of Schemes: Reinvention of Social Audit Under MGNREGA and Yojana Banao Abhiyan: A Statewide Campaign for Decentralised Participatory Planning in 2015-16; and, Biometric Authentication of Aasara Pensioners by Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP), Telangana.
This category had 20 SKOCH Orders-of-Merit and 3 SKOCH Awards. Maharashtra topped over other states, including, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Chandigarah and Tamil Nadu. The Award Jury made special mention of the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram of the Health & Family Welfare Department, Telangana; e-Aushadi of the Public Health Department, Maharashtra; and, Central Patient Management System of the King George’s Medical University, Lucknow.
A global study – Annual Assessment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – released recently on health indicators has ranked India among 143rd among 188 countries citing various challenges, including mortality rates, malaria and hygiene. Although India has improved on Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) compared to its own indicators during past years, but compared to the world averages, there is a lot to catch up. But surely so, the death rate has slowed down owing to better availability of healthcare services in urban areas. This coupled with national social security schemes and state level insurance has provided a safety net. The focus is now shifting from healthcare to preventive health.
Police & Safety
While a modern economy expects its police force to be professional and responsive to help the state enforcing legal/commercial contracts and rule of law, the country’s police force is at odds with changing socio-economic realities. There are chilling statistics about misuse of power, false cases, top-to-bottom corruption and protection rackets concerning police organisations. Given the fact that policing is a State subject, efforts to reform the area have made little progress. But that bleak picture is now gradually changing.
This category had 9 SKOCH Orders-of-Merit and 2 SKOCH Awards. Telangana topped the list, followed Gujarat with Kerala and Punjab tying together. Three projects of the Telangana State Police – E-Challan System; CCTNS Project; and, VeriFast – Expeditious Police Verification of Passport Applications; and, eGujCop project of Home Department, Gujarat were accorded special jury mention.
Once again, the Skoch Governance Awards highlighted the fact that there is a strong correlation between governance, economic growth and development. Better-governed states attract investments and enjoy higher economic expansion. Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Kerala are ideal examples. In terms of economic growth, these states have been at the top largely due to the impressive initiatives taken by the respective leadership.
INCLUSION and the Skoch Group just hope that that there will be no dimming of vehement efforts made to improve not only Governance even by the laggard states to catch up on the competitiveness front.
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