Session 4: Innovations in Government

Session 4 was chaired by Anjani Kumar Singh (Chief Secretary, Government of Bihar). At the session, senior state government officials from various departments shared examples of innovations implemented by them in their respective areas of work.

Dr. Vijaylakshmi (Division Commission, Patna) discussed innovations undertaken in Bihar in 2011-12 to increase the productivity and production of rice, which in turn, helped enhance food security and farmers’ income. Farmers were encouraged to adopt sustainable farming technologies by providing a timely supply of quality inputs, cash subsidies and skill development. Increase in rice production of 166% was achieved in 2011-12, as compared to the previous year. Bihar received the Best State in Rice Award by the Government of India in 2011-12. The gains were sustained in 2013, even though it was a rain deficit year.

B. Pradhan (Principal Secretary, Food and Consumer Protection) highlighted the use of IT in Bihar for reforming the Public Distribution System (PDS). This includes fully automated stock issue order generation, automatic reconciliation of payments by dealers at banks, computerised inventory management, GPS tracking of food grain movement by dedicated control rooms in each district, weighing food grains at door-step delivery, SMS alerts to vigilance committee members and some beneficiaries, transparency portal, help desks for technical issues, and call centres for grievance redressal.

Sanjay Kumar (Secretary, Labour Resources Department) said that a major challenge Bihar is currently facing is skilling 10 million people in Bihar in the next five years. To address this, the government is setting up a Bihar skill development mission to impart employable skills. It involves the coming together of 14 government departments, public-private management, district programme administration units and a centralised web portal to provide a common platform for those who want to be trained and training providers. Innovative interventions have also been introduced in the health sector. Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) and Anganwadi Workers are given mobile kunjis containing an assortment of about 45 simple interventions such as exclusive breast feeding for infants for the first six months, along with a mobile code for each. They can dial the code for a particular intervention and a doctor comes on the line and tells people the importance of the intervention. There is also a ‘mobile academy’ wherein health workers can test their knowledge by responding to questions, and the ones that do well are presented certificates by district authorities in public functions. Interactive, virtual classes for training of health workers have also been started.

By Nalini Gulati, Country Economist, IGC India-Central