Dr.Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Personnel, PG and Pensions delivered the valedictory address at the NCGG-NITI one-day Workshop on Good Governance Practices in Aspirational Districts in a Pandemic through a webinar today. In his address,Dr.Jitendra Singh said that District Collectors in Aspirational Districts have out-performed many non-aspirational districts in fighting the COVID-19 Pandemic and that the performance of Aspirational Districts represents an opportunity to prove the resilience of the Indian Nation. One of the reasons for this high quality performance was that IAS officers who had served as Assistant Secretaries in Government of India had gained from their mentorship in Union Government. Dr.Jitendra Singh said that the “show must go on with due precautions” despite the pandemic, as can be seen in the conduct of several entrance examinations – the JEE/ NEET/ CSE all of which have been notified. Only because of the collective people’s effort India was able to fight the pandemic better than other countries. He urged the District Collectors of Aspirations Districts to consistently focus on achieving continuous growth in developmental indicators.
Dr.Jitendra Singh said that the concept of Aspirational Districts conceptualised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi marks a major shift in political approach to Governance after seven decades of Independence in India. He said that it was also a shift to a more scientific and objective assessment of developmental activities, besides bringing about a sea change in work culture at all levels of Governance.
Dr.Jitendra Singh said that governance practices in Aspirational Districts of North Eastern States have found special focus in the one-day workshop with a specific session on the subject. He said that concentrated focus on North Eastern States had enabled the region to witness infrastructure development with new airports and train services. Further, North Eastern States were a model in management of coronavirus pandemic with Tripura, Manipur and Sikkim being corona virus free for lengthy periods of time. The North Eastern region did not witness any shortfall in PPE Kits, Masks, Hand Sanitizers at any point of time. Dr.Jitendra Singh complimented the National Centre for Good Governance, Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances and the NITI for successfully organizing the one-day workshop.
The valedictory session was addressed by Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI and Dr.K.Shivaji Secretary DARPG and DPPW. Amitabh Kant said that different regions of India are solving problems together under the Aspirational District Program. He cited the success stories of Aspirational Districts of Hazaribagh, Goalpara and Banka in this regard. Dr.K.Shivajisaid that during the COVID-19 pandemic, DARPG had made significant strides in reforms in handling public grievances, with integration of state portals with CPGRAMS, reduction in grievance handling time and feedback call centres all of which eased the citizen’s pain points in the pandemic.
The one-day conference had 5 technical sessions including Best Practices in Health Sector Governance, e-governance, Agriculture and Water Resource Management, North Eastern States and Educational Governance. 20 district collectors from Ramanathapuram, Sirohi, Narmada, Washim, Virudhnagar, Nandurbar, Wayanad, Raichur, Ranchi, Naupada, Bastar, Nuh, Cachar, East Garo Hills, Dhalai, Namsai, Baran, Banka, Vizianagaram and Sukma presented their experiences in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. The session chairs included Indevar Pandey, Special Secretary DONER, Anil Swarup former Secretary Education and Literacy, Dr.Shalini Rajneesh, Additional Chief Secretary Government of Karnataka, Bharat Lal Additional Secretary (Water) Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti and Dr. Santosh Mishra CEO, Tamil Nadu e-Governance Authority and Commissioner e-Governance.The participants of the workshop comprised of Senior Officers of DARPG, NITI, Central Ministries, Senior Civil Servants of Government of India serving as Central Prabhari Officers under the Aspirational Districts Program, Senior Officials from State Governments, District Collectors and District Level Officers handling the Aspirational Districts Program.
V. Srinivas, Additional Secretary, DARPG and Director General, National Centre for Good Governance said that the overwhelming message from the workshop was that Aspirational Districts had leveraged the benefits of technology and synergized developmental programs to fight the pandemic.