Bhubaneswar : Department of Housing and Urban Development, Government of Odisha for its project JAGA Mission was declared the winner under the Best State Category in the second edition of Janaagraha City Governance Awards. Piped Water Supply Scheme for all Urban Households, Public Health Engineering Organisation, Odisha won the Best Civic Agency.
Held in memory of Mr V Ramachandran, a doyen of decentralisation, the awards were conferred in a virtual ceremony byUnion Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Mr Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.
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.
G Mathivathanan, Principal Secretary, Housing and Urban Development, Odisha, received the awards for both the categories.
“We are delighted to receive the awards. The Government of Odisha launched the JAGA Mission with a noble and ambitious objective of transforming slums into livable habitats through a combination of land rights and a comprehensive slum improvement programme. Given its sheer geographical scale covering all 2919 slums with 1.8 milliion people living in 114 ULBs of Odisha, JAGA mission has become the world’s largest slum land titling and improvement programme. After 1.6 lakh families received land rights and land entitlement certificates, JAGA Mission has moved to the next phase of working towards transforming the slums into livable habitats called Adarsh Colonies. Massive slum improvement has commenced to provide the slums with necessary physical amenities and infrastructure,” he said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made decentralization no more an option but urgent compulsion and we are happy the Slum Dwellers Associations are emerging as fourth tier of governance structures with urban poor communities actively participating in development and governance process,” he added.
Speaking about the award for the Best Civic Agency for the Piped Water Supply Scheme for all Urban Households, Public Health Engineering Organisation, Odisha,GMathivathanan revealed that the transformative journey began from October 2017, to achieve piped water supply in every street and in every ward in all the 114 ULBs in the state.
“When we started this mission, this state was having only 60 per cent area covered with pipe networks and 25 per cent of population having house connections. There was a huge disparity in water availability, ranging some cities getting less than 10 liters per capita per day and some getting more than 300 litres per capita per day. It was here when our Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik decided that every household in urban areas should get piped water supply. With this mandate, we rolled out over 900 projects across the state with an investment of Rs 4000 crores and as a result nearly 100 per cent pipe water supply in 114 ULBS was possible in 3 years’ time. Today, 14 cities including Bhubaneswar now have 100 per cent house connections. We are targeting 100 per cent house water connections across the state by Match 2022,” he said.
“The Jal Sathis who are members of Mission Shakti Self Help Groups are our partners in urban drinking water supply management. They act as a link between public and water supply authorities and perform a number of functions on performance link incentive basis. The Jal Sathi model demonstrates that urban decentralization and partnership with community based institutions is key to improved and responsive governance,” he added.
The winners were chosen by an eminent jury comprising PriyankKharge and Arvind Bellad (Members of Legislative Assembly, Karnataka), Amitabh Kant (NITI Aayog), AshutoshVarshney (Brown University), NiranjanRajadhyaksha (columnist and economist, IDFC Institute),Sanjeev Chopra IAS (Director, LBSNAA), YaminiAiyar (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.