On April 21, 2018 (Civil Services Day), Prime Minister Narendra Modi conferred the PM’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration on officers of the central and state governments. Instituted by the Government of India, these awards acknowledge, recognize and reward the extraordinary and innovative work done by bureaucrats across the country (individually or as a group).
PM conferring awards to bureaucrats. Photo Source- Twitter.
This year, the awards were given for innovation in districts administration and effective implementation of identified priority programmes like Goods & Services Tax, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Rural and Urban), Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana.
Awards were also given for promoting digital payments and innovation in public services. Senior IAS officers were felicitated for “ease of doing business in India” and for “information, education and communication of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin)”.
Here are the initiatives that were awarded:
1. Promoting Digital Payments
The administration of Manipur was felicitated for transforming Karang into India’s first cashless island. The remote island was cut off from the (Bishnupur) district due to insurgency for a long time. Incentives for training in digital payments were provided and five POS machines were installed on the island, read the award citation.
Community mobilisation and parallel activities were conducted for Aadhaar enrolment and opening of bank accounts by self-help groups and youth clubs. Awareness regarding digital payments was spread with the help of an online channel. Social media interventions were also applied for the same.
The officials of Daman (under Union Territory category) and Haryana’s Sonipat district (under Other States category) were also awarded for popularising digital payments in Daman and Haryana’s Sonipat too.
2. Reinventing Education Via Technology
The award for Innovation was given to the Banka district administration in Bihar for reinventing education via technology. The district uses mobile phones and smart TVs to deliver quality education to students even in remote areas.
Nearly 40 government schools of Banka district have been provided Smart TVs which enable students to attend virtual classes conducted by teachers and experts. For mobile users, the Unnayan Banka project has come up with a mobile App ECKOVATION, which can be downloaded from Google Play store free of cost.
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3. Skilling and Placement
One of the cluster of initiatives of the Ministry of Rural Development, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) aims to skill rural youth who are poor and provide them with jobs having regular monthly wages or above the minimum wages.
The two collectors who won the award for the best implementation of this important scheme are Telangana’s Karimnagar and Assam’s Dhemaji districts. Their exemplary work has added diversity to the incomes of poor families and catered to the aspirations of unemployed rural youth who have been able to secure employment in private sector during the last two years.
4. Affordable Housing
The best implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Rural) — that strives to provide pucca houses with basic amenities to all homeless people — was presented to Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district (under NE & Hill States category) and Madhya Pradesh’s Neemuch district (under Other States category).
For implementation of the urban arm of the same initiative, the PM’s awards went to Puducherry and the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). In fact, the Puducherry administration has come out with a comprehensive housing subsidy scheme and already distributed first installment for the same. GHMC won for the progress it has made in the implementation of Telangana’s 2-BHK Housing Scheme.
5. Ease of Doing Business
With an eye on encouraging innovation and faster decision-making, the government awarded three central teams of senior IAS officers for their work on GST, Ease of Doing Business and Swachchta Abhiyan.
Team GST, Department of Revenue (GoI) was awarded for their initiative ‘GST – One Nation, One Tax , One Market’. IAS officers Shailendra Singh and Ravinder of Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (Ministry of Commerce) were awarded for helping improve the Ease of Doing Business in India. IAS officer Yugal Kishore Joshi ( Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation) was conferred the award for ‘Information, Education & Communication of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin)’.
6. Crop Insurance for Farmers
The government’s flagship crop insurance scheme, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana(PMFBY) offers start-to-end insurance cover against loss of crops during the entire cycle from the preparation of sowing to harvesting and post-harvest cover to selected crops (crops left in the field in cut and spread condition for drying) due to poor yield.
The awards for the best implementation of this scheme was won by Maharashtra’s Beed and West Tripura. Beed is one of the worst-hit districts of Marathwada and effective implementation of this scheme has provided the much-needed relief to the farmers who face drought for consecutive years.
As for Tripura, Milind Ramteke (District Magistrate of the West Tripura district) shared the award with Arun Bhattacharjee (Deputy Director of Agriculture Department, West Tripura) for successfully implementing the scheme in the district through their personal initiatives.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)