Friday, February 7, 2014

My Experiment For Good Governance: ICT in Rural Development

   Management Improvement: ICT in Rural Development
ICT has been proven a boon. It has touched all walks of  life. Urban areahas more communication facilities than rural.  Rural communication infrastructure is far behind than its counterpart in urban. This communication gap between urban and rural is wide. It is a big hurdle in rural development.
Still whatever facilities we do have, they are not harnessed properly. They are underutilized. Keeping this in view, I took an initiative how to use video calling without any extra recurring expenditure with prevailing facilities. The idea was conceptualized and practised during my previous posting as Chief  Development Officer (CDO) Ballia.
Now, I am repeating the same at my current position as CDO Firozabad. It is just a management improvement and nothing else. No new facilities are required. Hence, unutilized and underutilized capacities of the system are used to improve its utility and efficiency. 
For video calling or video conferencing, we need net points, desktop with web cam and headphones or speakers. Skype.com is a free site which provides communication facilities. Under  MNREGA, these all facilities are already  in place in each development Block. Our   Block head quarters are manned with an additional program officer, an accountant and a computer assistant.  
By opening Skype account at each block and  head office  and interconnecting with each other, we are managing effective communication. It is very simple. Some blocks did not have web cam and headphones.  Buying it from the market requires hardly two thousand Rupees. This is managed from contingency fund of MNREGA allocated to blocks as per norm.

This step fetched many benefits: one, it has a psychological effect on officials; two, attendance of officials improved; three, it helps in disciplining the employees; four, it improves system efficiency and utility; five, progress is improved; six, time management is improved; seven, it inspires and motivates officials as it is a  new tool for them; eight, it helps in promoting new technology adoption in rural development; nine, it saves time and money; ten, it is an effective tool for monitoring the progress.

Local Hindi daily papers highlighted this innovation. All papers pointed different beauties of this system in their published news. 
Hindustan highlighted it as new Scheme. It revealed its monitoring capacity.


Danik Jagran published news on this as an initiative. It says it is a new management. Workers would not be able to take French leave.

Daily Hindi Amar Ujala pointed this step has stirred block officials as it is a great check on them.

Video conferencing/ calling from Firozabad office with Ballia officials.





I addressed a press conference in Ballia as I/C DM. This was new for the officers, employees and media. So, it generated a new vigor in all. It was taken as a fanfare in a very positive way by all stakeholders.
Heera Lal
Chief  Development  Officer Firozabad, UP.