A cluster of solar panels installed on a hillock as an alternate energy source; an automatic fare collection system that provides live daily reports and uses GPS to track vehicles for speeding or not stopping at bus stops and a neo-natal unit in the heart of Maoist territory.
These are among the initiatives that have won the first The Indian Express Excellence in Governance Awards that will be presented in New Delhi Wednesday.
The biennial awards celebrate the finest work done by district magistrates across the country — the women and men at Ground Zero of governance, who script change that touches countless lives.
Awarded to the most innovative solutions to governance challenges at the district level across India, the winning entries included projects like an anti-corruption drive along the international border, a garbage dump that became a nature park, a district hospital which now boasts of new operation theatres and a three-month-long drive to clean a river by as many as 28,000 volunteers.
As many as 249 entries were received from 84 districts in 24 states for the awards that will be given to district magistrates in 16 categories. Among them, one district has won across two categories and a single state has got four winning districts.
From ideation to implementation and innovation to impact, the awards capture a wide range of what excellence in governance means. The categories include: Agriculture, Education, Health, Implementation of Central schemes, Technology, Women Development, Child Development, Inclusive Innovation, Agriculture, Skill Development, Entrepreneurship and Energy.
The detailed reports of the project and its implementation were submitted by district magistrates and screened by a jury headed by former Chief Justice of India R M Lodha. Also in the jury: Wajahat Habibullah, former chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities and the first Chief Information Commissioner of India; Nirupama Rao, India’s Foreign Secretary from 2009 to 2011 who was also India’s Ambassador to the United States, China and the High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, and K M Chandrasekhar, former Cabinet Secretary.
KPMG, the knowledge partner for the awards, conducted an exhaustive check on the parameters of innovation, impact, implementation and people participation for all the entries.
The shortlist was then verified by reporters and editors of The Indian Express by field visits and an audit after which the jury chose the winners.