Blending Tech With Governance: How CM Yogi Adityanath Is Dragging Kumbh Mela Management Into The 21st Century (swarajya)
As millions of Hindu devotees are currently busy planning their itinerary for Prayagraj, the Uttar Pradesh government led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is leaving no stone unturned to make 2019 Kumbh a bhavya (grand) and divya (divine) experience for them. It’s not just the scale of preparations that’s many times bigger than 2013, the government, in a Sisyphean sort of quest, seems committed to rise to the herculean challenge that is organising a Kumbh mela.
How? One may naively ask. Well, in The_Yogi way. Behold.
...the state government has roped in services of 18 young professional management consultants on a contract basis. They are working with over 20 high-ranking government officials who constitute Kumbh Mela Pradhikaran (organising committee) and are helping them in employing technology on various aspects of governance during the mela.
Bah, consultant-vonsultant you say? Details kahaan hain??
Chiefly, the government is using technology in four ways.
First, to stop pilferage in civil supplies such as wheat, rice, sugar, kerosene oil, etc. During the mela, lakhs of people make Prayagraj their temporary home. To accommodate them, the government sets up a mini city, divided into many sectors, along the rivers Ganga and Yamuna. Then the government allots them land in sectors and gives temporary ration cards with which they can take their share of ration from fair price shops (FPS) which get the supply from mela godowns which in turn get their supply from Food Corporation of India (FCI).
...So, this time, the government has incorporated an inventory management system to ensure clear tracking of number of sacks coming to mela godowns and going to FPS. The earlier method of keeping track on thick registers and writing records manually is being replaced with a QR code system. Each and every sack of ration coming from the FCI will have QR code stamped on it which would be scanned at every stage, first at the godown and then at FPS as well.
Jai ho. Jai ho, yogi ji ki.
Second, the government is going full hog to make it a swachh Kumbh. It has installed 1,22,500 portable toilets throughout the mela area at regular intervals.
But merely installing the toilets doesn’t necessarily mean that people will use them. Toilets need to be kept clean. There must be round the clock lighting especially in the dark so that they are easier to use.
Majority of the toilets are installed by Lalloo Ji and Sons, a private company which has hired one sweeper to look after 10 toilets. For every cluster of toilets, there are five supervisors which ensure attendance of sweepers through mobile application by scanning QR code on ID cards of sweepers. The sweepers get paid Rs 295 per day.
... That’s not it. To add another layer of check, and to oversee the work of sweepers hired by the private company to clean its toilets, the government has given a contract to another vendor to ensure that sweepers are doing the job. This vendor has mapped each and every toilet and assigned its own force of workers to check if the toilets are being maintained properly. How? Its volunteers will carry out regular checks of toilets. They are armed with a mobile application which allows them to tick various options for why a toilet assigned to them is not working: is lighting proper inside the toilet, is it clean, or is it smelly, is water available, etc.
See? Not just allotting money but following up, ensuring it gets spent right, the assets created are of quality; said quality is assessed for assurance and monitored; post-sale maintenance and service getting attention.... all this in the gubmint sector? That in UP gobmint? Whoddathunkit,. eh??
And there's more.
Third, the government is scaling up its lost and found initiative big time. But more crucially, using the technology to make the whole process much more effective.
Earlier, there used to be just two centres in the whole mela area to report about lost items and relatives. There used to be serpentine lines of desperate people who would have lost someone outside these centres. These centres used to blare the names of lost people throughout the mela area creating unnecessary panic.
This year, the government has not only increased the number of lost and found centres in mela area to 12 (and three coming up in the city) and increased their sizes, it has also made them digital. Three big LCD screens will be put up outside each centre. Public announcement will not be done throughout the area but only in and around the centres. Names and photos of lost persons would be beamed throughout the city on 36 screens. Now, one doesn’t need to stand in queue for hours to report about missing people, they can just do it via an app.
Oh, read it all I say. In the meantime, my dil goes ummm-umm-ummm!
P.S. Yogi ji amar rahe! yogi ji, tussi great ho! jai ho, jai ho, jai ho yogi ji ki!!