Today Google.org announced the launch of the Google.org Gram Panchayat Puraskar (GGPP) to celebrate innovative gram panchayats and encourage more innovation in local governance throughout the country, INDIA. A total of 10 prizes will be given out – 5 for each State.Google.org will reward the top five panchayats in two states, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, with a prize of Rs.5,00,000 (approximately $10,000 USD) which they can use to do more good in their communities.
The prize will be awarded in one of six areas: education, health and nutrition, water supply, rural infrastructure, rural electrification, and resource mobilization. The winning panchayat must include a wide variety of social and income groups, share information with villagers, respond to citizen’s feedback, and by tracking the quality of programs.
The Gram Panchayat will have to demonstrate the following:
- Inclusion of all social and income groups in village decision-making or planning.
- Sharing information with villagers such as Gram Sabha dates, proceedings and action items; record maintenance; Gram Panchayat plan
- Community tracking and monitoring of the budgets and quality of the programs
- Working with other programs to reach development objectives
Gram Panchayats were Mahatma Gandhi’s original vision for a free India – an India made up of thousands of “little Republics” where people meet their needs through self-reliance. Today, panchayats are responsible for implementing development programs. They often create positive change at the grassroots level, but their success stories aren’t as well known as they should be. For example in Kerala, a panchayat that was committed to education made sure the entire village was completely literate. And in the Thar district of Rajasthan, a panchayat converted the area into a tourism spot, which increased the incomes of inhabitants.
We hope the contest helps gram panchayats celebrate successes, share ideas with one another, and improve the quality of public services in villages all over the country INDIA. Help us show these innovations to the world. The contest is open for applications from December 12, 2008 through January 25, 2009. To enter the contest, visit the contest website www.google.org/ggpp.html or pick-up an application at your district or block panchayat office in Karnataka or Andhra Pradesh.
“India is one of the largest, most populous democracies in the world and the government allocates large amounts of funds to the Panchayats for local level development. Clean water,
health and education are the key elements of human welfare and play an instrumental role in economic development. Google.org is committed to enhancing development in India and taking innovation beyond Google” remarks Shailesh Rao, Managing Director, Google India.
And, check out what Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar, the Union Minister of Panchayat Raj had to say about the competition: