NITI Aayog & UNDP Workshop organise useful workshop at Ahmedabad

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Bilkulonline.com, June 10: Senior state officials from 26 states and union territories across India participated in a day-long national workshop in Ahmedabad to share experiences on GIS based Planning, Management and Monitoring of Government Service Delivery. Organized by NITI Aayog and the United Nations Development Programme in India, the workshop aims to introduce innovative models of GIS based planning for real-time policy interventions by showcasing experiences led by the state governments of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

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Speaking at the inaugural session, Dr.Varesh Sinha, State Election Commissioner, Gujarat and a pioneer of GIS based planning, commended efforts of NITI Aayog to facilitate experience sharing and learning between states. “Cross learning can play an important role for States to achieve quicker results by reducing experimental losses,” said Sinha.   He also shared the commendable work done by the Gujarat State Infrastructure Development Society in preparing District Human Development Reports that have steered planning and budgeting at local levels. While stressing the importance of technology, he also shared that with support from BISAG (Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-Informatics), GIS based maps are being used for the current delimitation exercise by the State Election Commission.

Vikram Singh Gaur, Joint Secretary, NITI Aayog reiterated the importance of continued inclusive growth, good governance and balanced sustainable development. “GIS is an important tool for planning and monitoring and can accelerate progress for regional sustainable and inclusive growth.”

At present, a fewof the State governments are using GIS based planning system for specific purposes. For instance, examples shared by the States indicated high utility of GIS tools for scientifically determining locations to create new infrastructure such as schools, PHCs, including for addressing issues related to crime. However, efforts are required to combine information from GIS and other sources of data to have an integrated statistical system that provides real time information for governance.

Notable effort has been made by the Government of Gujarat both in using GIS based Village Profile and Taluka Planning ATLAS that is shaping the ways plans are developed and budgets are allocated and spent and also in designing Gujarat Integrated Statistical System that combines data from more than 80 data sources at the State level and generates sector dashboards, analytical reports and visualizations based on more than 2800 data items. Principal Secretary to the Hon’ble CM, S Aparna, presented the above initiatives and highlighted the importance of these tools for policy makers in planning for people and regions especially in the areas which are lagging in development. “Four considerations – physical, managerial, financial and institutional are critical determinants to assess extent replicability of Gujarat’s experience across other States.” Practical experiences of using the above tools were also shared by District representatives from Kheda, Navsari and Surat.

Senior officials from other States, Apurva Chandra, Principal Secretary, Planning (Maharashtra), Rajendra Mishra, Principal Adviser, State Planning Commission (Madhya Pradesh), AbrashKanugo, Scientist, APSAC (Andhra Pradesh) shared their experiences related to GIS based planning. Government of Madhya Pradesh has initiated process of using GIS for mapping targets as identified as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Maharashtra elaborated on the use ofRemote sensing and Geographic Information System for Geospatial planning, including use of Government to Government sectoralmobile apps that have been developed for data collection and sharing. Andhra Pradesh shared in detail the manner in which GIS has been used for disaster risk reduction.

As part of this workshop, T.P Singh, Director, shall lead the visit of the delegates to Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-Informatics (BISAG) where the technological aspects regarding GIS application for planning were shared with the delegates.