Raining e-gov awards

Real recognition will remain service to people


Samir Sachdeva | July 15, 2011

When the Gyandoot project won the prestigious Stockholm Challenge Award in 2001, it was the first e-governance initiative that caught the attention of the whole nation. Dr Rajesh Rajora, the then district magistrate of Dhar district in Madhya Pradesh, became the e-governance champion of the nation. But a decade later no one is talking about the project or the champion behind its success. It is not even known that the project has sustained till date or not.

One reason why few people have heard of Gyandoot today is the dilution of importance of awards in the area of e-governance. The way many agencies are coming forward to award various projects in the country, the number of awards distributed in a year will become more than the number of projects getting implemented. No doubt, this mad race for awards started with the national e-governance awards which were launched almost a decade ago. Then came international awards, which added fuel to fire. The national awards have now inspired states like Kerala and Madhya Pradesh to announce their own e-governance awards.

Private organizations, having recognised the opportunity, have started conferring their own versions. Many organizations and publications like Computer Society of India, CSDMS, Digital Empowerment Foundation, Good Governance, CyberMedia have started giving several awards in this burgeoning area. After all, it just costs a memento to honour someone. This is beginning to look like Bollywood, where too many awards run after too few films and artists.

Moreover, the winners are not chosen after some ground survey of the project and the decision is made on the basis of the documentation provided.

The excitement in the e-governance ecosystem over the awards is to the extent that certain projects get implemented on the parameters of national e-governance awards – just as some movies are made with national film awards in mind. The awardees feel no less than Salman Khan or Katrina Kaif while receiving these awards.

No doubt, recognising people who have done good work is important, but it has to be more pragmatic. Otherwise, such recognitions will lose their meaning. And, at the end of the day, the real recognition for an initiative will come from its sustainability and service to people.



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