IF good governance is now both an economic and political imperative, it is crucial to examine what it means on the ground — and to celebrate its success. To that effect, on Gandhi Jayanti, in the 70th year of India’s Independence, the Express Group launches The Indian Express Excellence in Governance Awards to acknowledge excellence in governance at the level where it matters and counts the most — the district — through pioneering work done by the District Magistrate.
The awards were first announced in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Chairman, Express Group, Viveck Goenka, at the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards last year.
“These awards will celebrate District Magistrates from across India, who have best scripted and/or implemented change in their districts,” said Goenka. “Change that has touched men, women and children, change that has improved life literally on the ground, brought about by officers, the genuine ambassadors of good governance.”
By highlighting their work, the biennial awards will also aim to spread best practices across state governments, share innovation, ensure transparency, leadership and learning. The award will honour individuals by celebrating their systems and processes that fundamentally alter the interface between citizens, their representatives and public servants.
To ensure that the awards tap the largest pool possible, nominations may be made by the DMs themselves or any citizen of India or organisation.
The distinguished jury for these awards is headed by former Chief Justice of India Justice (retd) R M Lodha. It includes former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah; former Foreign Secretary Nirupama Menon Rao; former Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar, and former Group General Manager & Country Head, HSBC, India, Naina Lal Kidwai.
Each of them brings a unique ability and understanding of the government system and an intimate knowledge of those on the outside working with it.
KPMG will be the knowledge partner on this project. Each of the over 700 districts in India is large and spectacularly diverse with its own challenges, advantages and context.
To ensure a representative mix, the awards will cover over 15 categories, including for achievements in education, health, social welfare, implementation of Central schemes, community involvement. There will also be special categories for Northeast districts, Left Wing Extremism-affected districts, districts in Jammu & Kashmir and border areas.