Maharashtra wins runner-up in four of the five award categories in the second edition of Janaagraha City Governance Awards. Held in memory of Mr V Ramachandran, a doyen of decentralisation, 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.
Maharashtra’s urban development department, Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport, 4th State Finance Commission, and state election commission won runners-up in the Best State, Best Civic Agency, Best State Election Commission and Best State Finance Commission categories, the highest for any Indian state.
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.
The Urban Development Department, Maharashtra won the 1st runner up award in the Best State Category for its ‘Decentralisation of Plan approvals’. The ‘JAGA Mission’ of Odisha was the winner in this category.
The Integrated Transport Management System of Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) bagged the 2nd runner up award in the Best Civic Agency category.
Maharashtra’s State Election Commission received the 1st runner up award in the Best State Election Commission Category for ‘Bifurcation of Assembly rolls and Digitisation of Local Body Voter List’.
Maharashtra also received an award in the Best State Finance Commission category, wherein the 4th State Finance Commission of Maharashtra received the 2nd runner up award for its recommendations to enhance autonomy of ULBs.’
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.
“The State Election Commission of Maharashtra has taken a large number of initiatives using information technology to improve the management of elections.Voter list bifurcation through software was one such initiative which has won the award. The Voter list software is being successfully used since 2015 replacing the cumbersome system of manual bifurcation of physical copies, which used to consume lot of time and efforts and was rarely error free,” said Mr Urvinder Pal Singh Madan (State Election Commissioner – Maharashtra).
“ The Integrated Traffic Management System (ITMS) mobile application and Public Information System (PIS) gives commuters real-time information on buses. This helps commuters to plan their journey. With this system, we have controlled overspeeding buses, route violations. Real time data of commuters is available. When commuters are more, buses can be arranged accordingly,” said Mr. Shirish Arawad (Transport Manager, Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport).