Officials and experts discuss developmental reforms and challenges ahead
Vishwas Dass | September 28, 2016
Asserting that Uttar Pradesh is emerging as one of the fastest developing states, chief advisor to the UP chief minister, Alok Ranjan, said that the state government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure seamless development. Ranjan was speaking at the UP Reforms in Governance Summit, 2016, organised by Governance Now in August in Lucknow.
“UP has become a state which can’t be ignored by anyone now. Look at the size of the massive consumer market which is difficult to find anywhere else in the country. The state is the first in milk production, sugar production, wheat production and the third largest economy in India after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The government has brought revolution in the work culture which has resulted in timely completion of projects,” Ranjan said.
According to him, things have dramatically changed in Uttar Pradesh. For instance, UP has become the country’s first state to have implemented direct benefit transfer (DBT) in supply of seeds and registered 50 lakh farmers online, he remarked.
“Sixty-seven percent population of the state is working in the agricultural sector which contributes 25 percent of the state’s GDP. The government has ensured that farmers get fertilisers in time and more youngsters get jobs under the agriculture junction scheme rolled out by the Akhilesh government,” Ranjan said, adding that flagship projects like commencement of metro train in Lucknow and Agra-Lucknow expressway would be completed within the stipulated time-frame.
Terming the laptop distribution scheme as one of the biggest schemes in the world, Ranjan said over 15 lakh laptops were distributed to meritorious students in the first phase. Lucknow metro, Agra-Lucknow expressway, international cricket stadium and Kamdhenu Dairy Scheme for strengthening the dairy sector were some of the key projects of the UP government he highlighted.
Commissioner, commercial tax, Mukesh Kumar Meshram, highlighted that UP is embracing IT at a rapid pace to strengthen citizen services. “As far as commercial tax department is concerned, we have made a lot of changes in collaboration with NIC in the last few years. Right from the registration stage, dealers need not visit the trade tax offices as they can submit all key documents online and get their trader identification number (TIN) online within 24 hours,” Meshram said.
Dr Sandhya Chintala, vice president, NASSCOM and executive director, IT-ITeS Sector Skills Council, applauded the UP government for opting IT to improve and increase an array of citizen services. “We are at the cusp of change and going through very interesting times. Technology is impacting the sustainability of every other aspect. We should make efforts to position India as a superpower by 2050,” she said.
Chintala further said that the role of UP as an IT destination is critical. “In every State, human resource is the capital wealth of that particular State. To have them upskilled and upgraded is the critical factor to have the socio economic growth. In this regard, National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), which in its 26th year, has been able to establish India as an IT destination globally. It has got 16,000 IT companies of which about 2,200 are members of the NASSCOM. But that they own collectively 96 percent of the business and about 95 percent representation of the human resource who are directly employed which is about 3.7 million today. And around 10 million odd are indirectly employed because of this industry, which today stands about 150 billion USD and poised to grow to 350 billion USD and UP’s role in creating this, is critical. In one of the things that we as an industry chamber understood is that without the human resource, this growth can’t be sustained. So therefore, NASSCOM has also ideated and indentified the IT sector State Council under the National Skills
Development Corporation (NSDC) and Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship plays a critical part,” she added.
Additional director general of police (traffic) Anil Agarwal outlined the role of UP police in modernising the citizen services. “I have been given the responsibility of integrated technology enabled citizen centric services and heading the citizen centric service cell. We have established four modern control rooms. Earlier, police control rooms used conventional technology where they had just one telephone line and an operator who may not attend calls round-the-clock. We have established a modern control room where every call is recorded, everything is done electronically and we have trail of every record,” Agarwal said.
He further highlighted that the UP police has set up four control rooms at Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad and Ghaziabad. “In Lucknow, we have ensured that a police vehicle reaches to the complainant within 20 minutes of lodging the complaint. The idea is to provide integrated emergency response system which is like 911 to get three important services – police, medical and fire rescue. It is aimed at rendering all the said services across the state,” he said.
Jai Agarwal, vice chairman, CII, UP state council and director, CP Milks and Foods Private Limited, said, “UP is the largest producer of food grain and it accounted for almost 19 percent share in the country’s total food grain output in 2014-15. It has become a hub for the semi-conductor industry. UP is ahead of all states in terms of the dairy industry. Resources, policy incentives, infrastructure and climate are best suited for investments in different sectors,” he said.
UP has a robust industrial infrastructure including 15 industrial areas, 12 specialised parks, four growth centres and industrial infrastructure development centres,” he added.
SB Nimse, vice chancellor, Lucknow University, highlighted that the state of higher education is neither miserable nor good in India. “There is a lot of demand to create suitable manpower for the country. For this, the role of higher education institutions is very important. To support the GDP growth, we need research of good quality. We have to reform the higher education sector on an urgent basis,” Nimse said.
Selva Kumari J, managing director, Kanpur Electricity Supply Corporation (KESCO), said Uttar Pradesh needs more power for its rural and remote parts. She outlined that the government needs to cover at least 1.73 lakh habitations under electrification. “Because of mega infrastructure projects, a lot of smaller towns are expanding and need more electricity. As more urban clusters are slated to transform into smart cities, they certainly require more electricity in future. Electricity pilferage is one of the biggest concerns of the KESCO at present,” she added.
Daljit Singh, director (works and infrastructure), Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC), said smart transportation is the backbone of the smart city project and it should be environmentally safe, seamless and sustainable. “When traffic volume increases beyond 50,000 per hour per direction traffic (PHPDT), problem of traffic through road transport cannot be solved easily. In such cases, rail-based transport systems are required. The central and state governments have sanctioned a north-south corridor comprising 28.8 km of LMRC and 52 percent of its cost is borne by European Investment Bank. LMRC has also been assigned as an interim consultant for developing Kanpur and Varanasi metro till full-fledged SPVs are floated,” Singh said.
LB Gautam, national head, Accuster Technology, said that the company has developed a portable laboratory in a suitcase that does not require big rooms to operate and can perform 37 bio-chemistry tests that cost less than '100. “The device is a boon for states like UP and Bihar where affordability matters a lot. All the latest IT features have been incorporated in this device. People will get SMS alerts for every check-up done through this machine,” Gautam said.
Sunita Mishra, dean, school of home sciences, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (BBAU), talked about the newly started community college which offers a three-month course on dietetics and nutrition. Many youngsters are opting for such courses, she added.
NK Goyal, president, CMAI Association of India, chairman emeritus TEMA; member Governing Council Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council, government of India, mentioned that full availability of internet connectivity in rural areas is yet to become a reality.
Vivek Banka, director, Maverick Digital, said that power of social media has grown significantly in the past few years. People are updated nowadays. “Governments have become more active on social media and are responding to people. We should update the citizens on real-time basis,” he said.
(The article appears in the September 16-30, 2016 issue)
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