Monday, June 20, 2011

Narendra Modi and the UNPSA...

Hi friends

This certificate, as reported by many bloggers, hangs
in the office of Gujarat C, Shri Narendra Modi
A few weeks ago, I happened to notice on Facebook many posts shared commending Shri Narendra Modi and the Gujarat Govt. for winning the United Nations Public Service Award, and on how this reflects on his governance in the state of Gujarat. Irrespective of my own personal feelings with regards to Mr. Modi, I decided to check on these awards, not to verify the authenticity of the claim made, but to understand what these awards are all about, and if there were any other Indians who have won this award.

The United Nations Public Service Awards are supposed to be the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service, that rewards the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions that lead to a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide. The first awards were given in 2003, and they are presently given in 5 categories:

Category 1: Preventing and combating corruption in the public service
Category 2: Improving the delivery of public services
Category 3: Fostering participation in policy-making decisions through innovative mechanisms
Category 4: Advancing knowledge management in government
Category 5: Promoting gender-responsive delivery of public services

Nominees are evaluated and the Awards in each category are given within the following geographic regions:

Ø Africa
Ø Asia and the Pacific
Ø Europe and North America;
Ø Latin America and the Caribbean, and
Ø Western Asia

So, even if we consider that only one entity from one region can win in any category, we can have a maximum of 25 winners each year. However, it so happens that the number of winners is very much less than that (around 12-16 each year) because some regions might not have suitable candidates for some categories in that year, or may not be aware of these awards. In some of the years, there have been two winners from some categories in the same geographic zone, perhaps prompting the UNPSA jury to have a 1st and 2nd place for avoiding such conflicts. Nominations have to be made by another entity than the institution being nominated, i.e. self nominations will not be accepted.

Since 2006, Indian entities have consistently featured in the winners list of UNPSA. The names and the categories they featured in are as follows:

1. 2006: Online delivery of land records, Revenue Department, Government of Karnataka, India (Category 2)

2. 2007: Information Technology and Communications Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh, India, for “e-Procurement Project” (Category 1)

3. 2008: Programme of Communitization of Public Institutions and Services, Government of Nagaland, India (Category 3)

4. 2009: Institutionalization of community managed drinking water supply programme and user level water quality monitoring, Water and Sanitation Management Organization (WASMO), Government of Gujarat, India (Category 3)

5. 2010: State-Wide Attention on Grievances by Application of Technology, Chief Minister's Office, Government of Gujarat, India (Runners-up, Category 1)

Based on the documents provided on the UNPSA site, there was also an Indian finalist:
1. 2008 (Finalist): Lokvani Society, Sitapur District, Uttar Pradesh (Category 1). My IIM Lucknow friends, recall the name from somewhere?

You can read more about these awards at the following link:

So before lauding any particular person/state for his/her achievements, we could look at the complete picture and appreciate the good done by various other Governments and institutions for better service of the Indian public.

Ciao for now.

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