Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Odisha, Gujarat Win Best State & Civic Agency Awards in Janaagraha City Governance Awards


* Honourable Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Mr Hardeep Singh Puri conferred the awards in an online award ceremony on January 12, 2021 

Odisha took home the Best State and the Best Civic Agency award, while Gujarat took home the Best State Election Commission and Kerala the Best State Finance Commission. Indore for its PPP Based Integrated Solid Waste Management took home the Best Municipality at Janaagraha City Governance Awards. Meanwhile, Maharashtra won runners-up in four of the five award categories. 

Held in memory of Mr V Ramachandran, a doyen of decentralisation, the awards recognize ground-breaking work in decentralisation in urban context by institutions across government. The awards were conferred in a virtual ceremony by Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Mr Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. 

Delivering the keynote address, Mr Hardeep Singh Puri said that cooperative and competitive federalism are in-built into the design and execution of various schemes and missions. “My Ministry is clear that only a partnership between citizens, municipalities, states and MoHUA can deliver transformative urban change in this country. We have seen such a partnership in action, at scale, across hundreds of cities, in schemes like the Swachh Bharat Mission. In the next phase of urban development, we need to invest in building the capacities of municipalities as institutions of local self-government.  As part of Atmanirbhar Bharat, there is sharp focus on shoring up own revenues of municipalities through property tax and user charge reforms,” he said. 

“An innovative, effective and elegant way to catalyse the change at scale throughout the country is by showcasing best practices, celebrating them and facilitating healthy competition and peer learning,” Mr Puri added. 

Odisha won the Best State for its JAGA Mission under the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Meanwhile, the Best Civic Agency was awarded to Piped Water Supply Scheme for all Urban Households, Public Health Engineering Organisation, Odisha. G Mathivathanan, Principal Secretary, Housing and Urban Development, Odisha, received the awards for both the categories. 

“Government of Odisha launched the JAGA Mission with a noble and ambitious objective of transforming slums into livable habitats through a combination of land rights and a comprehensive slum improvement programme. Meanwhile, under the Piped Water Supply Scheme, 900 projects across the state with an investment of Rs 4000 crores were rolled out. As a result, nearly 100 per cent pipe water supply in 114 ULBS was possible in 3 years’ time,” G Mathivathanan said. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made decentralization no more an option but urgent compulsion and we are happy the Slum Dwellers Associations are emerging as fourth tier of governance structures with urban poor communities actively participating in development and governance process,” G Mathivathanan added. 

Gujarat emerged winners in the Best State Election Commission category for E-Voting. “Gujarat has a strong tradition of strong self-government institutions. Sardar Patel was the President of the Ahmedabad Municipality from 1924 to 1928. Gujarat Panchayat Act was enacted in 1960 and the state has a strong three tier panchayat system. The State Election Commission has adopted technology in a big way. Gujarat was the pioneer in the adoption of the online voting system. The Commission has mobile compatible website with two way interface upto the voter level. There are more than 1.5 lakh elected representatives in the self-government institutions of Gujarat. The State Election Commission is proud to receive the Janaagraha Award from the institution that is totally committed to empowering the citizens of the country,” said Sanjay Prasad, Honourable State Election Commissioner, Gujarat. 

Kerala’s Fourth State Finance Commission was feted for its recommendations on participatory governance and robust data ecosystem Decentralisation. 

“The Government of Kerala is delighted that the Janaagraha City Governance Award has been given to Kerala's Fourth State Finance Commission for its work on the devolution of funds to the local governments of Kerala. As you know, Kerala has a very strong democratic devolution structure. The Fourth State Finance Commission actually ensured that 25% of the state’s plan outlay would be given to the local bodies, panchayats, municipalities, block and jala panchayats. It also gave several far reaching recommendations in terms of the horizontal devolution of the funds, use of the deprivation index and also suggested various measures to augment revenues of the local bodies. It also made far reaching recommendations regarding maintenance of assets, the cost to borrowings including municipal bonds and setting up of a web based software for financial transaction for the local bodies of the state,” said Rajesh Kumar Singh, Additional Chief Secretary, Kerala Fourth State Finance Commission. 

“We are particularly delighted to receive this award which is in honour and memory of Mr. V.Ramachandran, who is also former Chief Secretary of Kerala and inspiration to all of us and who worked in the field of democratic decentralisation,” he added. 

Indore Municipal Corporation was feted with the Best Municipality award for its PPP Based Integrated Solid Waste Management. 

“The residents of Indore have taken upon themselves to make Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi' s Swachh Bharat Mission successful. Indore has been awarded the cleanest city for 4 consecutive years, for which I would like thank the residents of Indore, the garbage tippers and the various municipal body officials.  I would like to express my gratitude for the award that has been presented by Honourable Minister Shri Hardeep Singh Puri to the city of Indore. I would also like to acknowledge the unwavering commitment of our Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh, for making the Swachh Bharat Mission successful,” said Ms Malini Laxmansingh Gaur, Mayor, Indore. 

The winners were chosen by an eminent jury comprising Priyank Kharge and Arvind Bellad (Members of Legislative Assembly, Karnataka), Amitabh Kant (NITI Aayog), Ashutosh Varshney (Brown University), Niranjan Rajadhyaksha (columnist and economist, IDFC Institute),Sanjeev Chopra IAS (Director, LBSNAA), Yamini Aiyar (Centre for Policy Research) and SK Das IAS (Retd.) (Chair of Jury, Member of Janaagraha’s Governing Board). 

“Covid 19 has starkly reminded us of the need for government to be close to citizens, at the ward and even polling booth level.  Decentralised governance with citizen participation inherently built into its design is inevitable for surmounting the challenges of our cities and neighbourhoods.  We need more and more governments, and more and more political and administrative leaders, to put their might behind empowering our municipalities and neighbourhood communities.  Through the Janaagraha City Governance Awards we are committed to amplifying such efforts,” said Srikanth Viswanathan, CEO, Janaagraha. 

Online Event Link can be accessed here –      

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Winners of 2nd Edition of Janaagraha City Governance Awards              

Best State 

Winner - JAGA Mission, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Government of Odisha 

Ist Runner-Up – Decentralisation of Plan Approvals, Urban Development Department, Government of Maharashtra 

IInd Runner-Up – Geo-spatial Mapping of Urban Properties, Commissioner and Director of Municipal Administration Department, Government of Telangana            

Best Municipality 

Winner – PPP Based Integrated Solid Waste Management, Indore Municipal Corporation 

Ist Runner Up - My City Beautiful City, Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation         

IInd Runner Up - GIS Based Property Tax Administration System, Raipur Municipal Corporation              

Honourable Mention - Zero Waste Initiative, Kollam Municipal Corporation  

Honourable Mention - Decentralised Solid Waste Management, Vellore Municipal Corporation 

Honourable Mention - Decentralised Solid Waste Management, Petlad Municipality 

Best Civic Agency 

Winner – Piped Water Supply Scheme for all Urban Households, Public Health Engineering Organisation, Odisha 

Ist Runner-Up – Municipal E-Governance Project, Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company 

IInd Runner-Up – Integrated Transport Management System, Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport 

Honourable Mention – E-Platform and ERP System, Mussoorie Dehradun Development Authority 

Best State Election Commission 

Winner - E-Voting, Gujarat State Election Commission 

Ist Runner-Up – Bifurcation of Assembly Rolls and Digitisation of Local Body Voter List, Maharashtra State Election Commission  

2nd Runner-Up- E-Election Software, Uttar Pradesh State Election Commission    

Best State Finance Commission 

Winner - Kerala 4th State Finance Commission            

Ist Runner-Up - Bihar 5th State Finance Commission  

IInd Runner-Up - Maharashtra 4th State Finance Commission          

Panel Discussions 

The award ceremony was followed by 3 panel discussions on topics: 

Power to the People: Is a truly empowered City Government possible in India? 

Making Decentralisation work in India: Learning from Successes 

Women Leader’s as Change Agents in India’s Cities 

The panelists consisted of senior Indian and foreign politicians at the center, state and city levels, senior bureaucrats, and inspirational women leaders. 

Janaagraha City Governance Awards  

Janaagraha City Governance Awards are instituted in the memory of Mr V Ramachandran, a doyen of decentralisation, to recognize ground-breaking work in decentralisation in urban context by institutions across government. 

V Ramachandran, a former civil servant, known as the father of democratic decentralisation, set many a precedent with his visionary efforts and contributions in formulating participatory planning practice and Panchayati Raj. He also played a seminal role as a Member of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission in pushing the envelope on administrative reforms in India, and especially on decentralisation to local bodies. He was also a Member of the Governing Board of Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy. 

About Janaagraha 

Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy is a non-profit trust in the Jana group co-founded by Swati Ramanathan and Ramesh Ramanathan in 2001. Janaagraha's mission is to transform the quality of life in India's cities and towns. It works with citizens to catalyse active citizenship in city neighbourhoods and with governments to institute reforms to city governance (what we call "City-Systems"). 

The "City-Systems" framework is a whole-of-systems approach to solving for India's cities. It comprises four distinct yet interdependent components: Urban Planning and Design (master plans, design standards for public utilities), Urban Capacities and Resources (municipal finance, municipal staffing and technology), Political Leadership (empowerment, legitimacy) and Transparency and Citizen Participation (public disclosures, citizen participation, service level guarantees and grievance redressal). 

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