Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG)

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
One of the biggest challenges in such big states like Gujarat is to ensure reach of education, skill development and awareness about various government schemes in each and every corner of the state ranging from big Municipal Corporations like Ahmedabad to remote small village in Bhuj. The intensity of the challenge increases manifold when the overall backbone i.e. network connectivity to reach to the remotest village not to be in place in the true sense or to be intermittent. The importance of network connectivity becomes critical as technology is the easiest way to educate and train mass of people at one go. Before the implementation of the Satellite Communication (SATCOM) initiative (also referred to as ‘GUJSAT’ - Gujarat Satellite Communication), there existed no means to ensure effective communication reaching to the citizens across the state for targeted audiences, first hand interactions, broadcasting various departmental (health, education, etc) instructions and alerts. This was leading to limiting the governments reach to rural and poor citizens. The problems faced by various government departments were: o No affordable mechanism in place to interact with thousands / millions of stakeholders at once o Cost of stakeholder communication was high and also the process was time consuming o No runtime training and development communication channel existed to reach out to masses o Departments did not have a reliable distance interaction enabler in place for expansion of knowledge in various areas like agriculture promotion and guidance, widening education access and training facilities, addressing the health queries of women and child, etc o Absence of converging facility available with the state for interaction with masses for the needs of various government and allied stakeholders departments like Agriculture, Education, Labor and Employment, Irrigation, health, Forest, Food and Civil Supplies, etc. o Limited geographical reach in terms of citizens o Absence of mechanism feedback to monitor needs of scheme beneficiaries and users. Participation of end user in policy making and influencing decision was a missing link. o Public officials, administration, scheme planners/ designer and implementation agencies could not interact with all stakeholders with so much ease o No means available for free training and awareness reaching masses in one go. o Arranging, managing and conducting the trainings, workshops, awareness campaigns was a challenging task involving huge cost and time. (e.g., training of millions of teacher has been conducted with little/no travel involved by trainers and trainee. Trainees from rural villages attend these trainings from their local school premise) This ICT initiative involves use of Satellite Communication for reaching out to citizens in the state of Gujarat which involves beneficiaries across sectors, demographics and government employees across the departments.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The idea first germinated as Department of Science and Technology, Government of Gujarat had a clear strategic objective to establish a state-of-art SATCOM facility under the ‘Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics’ (BISAG) wing as a part of Training and Development Communication Channel (TDCC) and “EDUSAT” programme of Indian Space and Research Organization (ISRO – Government of India). SATCOM provides services to government departments for telecasting educational, skill development, training and awareness programme through TV broadcast. The main drivers for the project were: o Provision distance education facility over SATCOM in Gujarat o Provisioning interactive mechanism for all the masses to talk to policy makers o Provide easier and effective access to various learning material o Training and awareness of large mass of citizens or any sector specific users o Expansion of knowledge in various areas like promotion of agriculture, healthcare, etc. o Widening the educational access in rural areas through training and awareness over SATCOM thereby facilitating a direct reach In the last 13 years of implementation, the project has proved to be immensely helpful for government departments and has become very popular mechanism amongst the user community as well. The initiative solved the problem through establishment of o Central facility for broadcasting studio channels was provisioned by Government of Gujarat through BISAG which is located in capital Gandhinagar. o About 50,000 receiving class rooms in Ku band established by various stakeholder departments o Every year about 3700 hours of live programs are telecasted o More than 25 user departments and agencies are utilizing the facility on regular basis o Helped to bring about transformation in Education, Training, Awareness and Development o Various educational, skill development and departmental trainings are carried out through high quality communication The target audience is spread across the city of Gujarat making this initiative unique. The user departments are responsible for creation of content and programs in the respective fields which include - o Primary, Secondary, Higher Secondary, Higher Education, Technical and Medical aspects o Health department, Animal husbandry, o Rural development programs like employment guarantee o Special Tribal department programs o Agriculture programs on soil enhancement, farmer awareness, fostering yield, etc BISAG GUJSAT has also helped ensuring citizen participation in identification, design, implementation and roll-out of various government schemes for citizens. The audiences can speak with the broadcasting station on the numbers being displayed and can participate in the discussion. E.g., One of the initiatives of SATCOM include program for ‘Guidance of gynic problems of rural women’. While the program is being broadcasted, even rural women can join the discussion with esteemed physicians and renowned doctors sitting at the BISAG Studio. So any village participant can participate in discussion. SATCOM helps achieve the objective of inclusive growth with maximum ground participation through effective, responsive and low cost services and encouraging people’s participation. Also Video calling facility is availed in some programs like Teachers training where in video calling is carried out between schools and studio. This arrangement facilitates easier and faster interaction amongst the stakeholders involved in the developmental and educational activities across the state. GUJSAT is being used extensively by the education department for programs ranging from primary education to the medical students. BISAG network is also used to air practical technical training for .NET and JAVA teaching sessions conducted by private players like Microsoft and Tata Consultancy Services.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The solution is an innovative concept utilizing the SATCOM facility through reaching out directly to DTH through 2 fulltime live channel broadcasting facility. The project brings about innovation through - o Extensive use of technology for facilitating the awareness and training in critical areas of education, health, employment, and other government schemes. (e.g. around 0.25 million teachers of one subject of higher education went through a common 5 day training through SATCOM facility; this activity was repeated across many subjects). o The concept of using SATCOM is a unique mechanism to reach out to millions of users including rural population at very minimal cost and providing quality programs over the pre-established GUJSAT network. o The project leads to effective decision making as the user department participation has increased multifold and involves citizens at the grass-root level as well. (e.g., Hon’ble Chief Minister for the State conducts a live interactive session with 0.1 million farmers across the state). This is an example of holistic inclusiveness and participation. o Project enables responsive mechanism for all the sectors and across the user classes of society. (e.g., the status monitoring and tracking for Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee scheme is carried out through GUJSAT).

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
BISAG was established in April 1997 as a state nodal agency to facilitate the use of spatial and geospatial technologies for planning and development activities pertaining to agriculture, water and land management, forestry, disaster management, infrastructure and education and was formerly referred as Remote Sensing and Communications Centre (RESECO). It was re-named as ‘Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG)’ in December 2003. The program commenced in 1999 with the establishment of 2 channels that run approximately 5000 hours a year (about 100 hours a week). The implementation started with extended C band in the year 2000. And uses Ku band post 2005. This programme is supported by digital uplink Earth stations, TV Studio and transmission facility at BISAG Institute. The project has 2 channels dedicated for the programs in Education, Training, Awareness and Development across sectors (more than 25 departments) Transponder (1/6) is used which is free of cost provision by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for educational broadcasting. Central facility for GUJSAT was developed by Department of Science and Technology (DST) at BISAG and receiving classroom networks are being developed and extended by respective departments as per the departmental needs and facility requirements. The reach of the initiative is continuously spreading among the sectors and users leading to requests demanding addition of more channels to the facility. The project services are currently used by over 25 stakeholder departments as on today where in the training modules include end-to-end modules, department specific modules, target group specific and topic specific modules, etc. Target audiences utilizing the benefits of GUJSAT include students, teachers, villagers, govt. officials, farmers and private sector employees. Augmentation in terms of studios, channels, technology, is carried out on a regular basis to meet the increased demand of the user community. Government departments, agencies, organizations are being approached proactively to enhance the utilization of SATCOM network. Due to rising demand channels, out-reach, beneficiaries, connectivity, has increased multifold in past 10 years. The reception facility through DTH network is commissioned across the state at their respective offices as per the need of the department.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The project is implemented by Department of Science and Technology, Government of Gujarat with help of BISAG to establish GUJSAT as a mechanism to interact with ground level stakeholders and citizens. The stakeholders involved in the implementation for the project are - Department of Science and Technology (DGT), Government of Gujarat - Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG) - Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) - Various agencies of ‘Government of India’ (GOI) and stakeholder universities - Stakeholder departments of Government of Gujarat utilizing services include - • Rural development • Agriculture and Water resources • Health, Women and Child Development, • Forest and Environment • Labor and employment. • Educational departments (Primary, Secondary, ,Higher Secondary, Higher Education, Technical, Medical, ITI) • Tribal development • Animal husbandry • Urban development
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The project is a seamless integration between the various stakeholder departments of Government utilizing the services of SATCOM. Funds: The central facility was developed by Government of Gujarat at BISAG located in the capital Gandhinagar. The user departments are responsible for development of stakeholder end facility (CLASS ROOM DTH System, TV Set/Projector/Computer, Telephone line, FAX) through provision of DTH at their respective offices/premise located across the state in villages and blocks. The cost involved were primarily that of setting up the Satellite Communication network apart from training the operational staff. Technology and Infrastructure provisioning: Commissioning of central facility operational systems was carried out by DST at BISAG (studios, earth station, control room, receiving classrooms network, satellite transponder provided by ISRO, One-way video, and two-way audio system). Any citizen / department with capacity to establish a DTH (costing at $30) can avail the services free for life-time. Liaoning between the departments: The awareness about the services and promotion for the use of 2 channels was carried out through handshake with various stakeholder departments. The departments were encouraged to build the network of receptions and also ensure continuous utilization through quality programs. The project enables direct interaction with rural citizens and helps reaching to the desired scheme beneficiaries. This initiative helps bring about the ground level information, issues and concerns from the citizens/ beneficiaries.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
• The citizen reach has widened for government departments. The number of citizens that can be reached is equal to the number of people having Television with proper DTH connection. Free to Air channels available which an institute/ offices/individual can make use of without any payment. • Live broadcasting can be provisioned to various stakeholder departments. GUJSAT facilitates various types of distance educational learning through audio-conferencing, 1-way video 2-way audio-conferencing, total video-conferencing, 2-way interactive television, broadcast TV/Radio, tele-courses, etc. • Communication between government departments and users has increased resulting in better feedback mechanism to the system. These feedbacks and problems enable government and allied departments to better control and monitor the projects and schemes. (e.g., aids control board, employment guarantee scheme, etc). Regular and direct interaction is possible between the highest level officials with communities, staff, and experts which ensure better planning for implementing developmental schemes. • Technology enablement has helped reaching out to masses through SATCOM for any educational and health schemes awareness. SATCOM has helped government to directly interact with Primary Health Centers (PHCs), Schools, Farmers, Bankers, Students, etc. The direct interaction has ensured quality and effectiveness of the programs. • The travel cost has reduced for awareness and training programs for departments. Citizen participation in policy implementation has increased which helps ensure effective monitoring of citizen initiatives, effective implementation of Government Orders and Resolutions (GRs/GOs), etc. • The project has helped to touch upon the primary rural issues like school availability, addressing farmer concerns through direct interaction with Chief Minister, health allied programs solving the problems of rural women and tribal communities. The critical programs like women health concerns, scheduled technical trainings, operational training to staff are broadcasted on the SATCOM channels and can be tuned in across the state territory.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Implementation Functions: BISAG is an ISO 9001:2008 certified, ISMS 27001:2005 and CMMI level-3 certified Institute working in the space of Satellite communication and geo-informatics. Monitoring the operations of day to day functions: A dedicated team of SATCOM is deployed to manage and maintain the operational activities for the two full time transmission channels under BISAG. Various stakeholder departments converge to the BISAG facility for the services required to reach out to the masses. Evaluation of facility through technical experts: BISAG GUJSAT facility is utilized by almost all the department higher officials of Government of Gujarat and feedback mechanism is in place for improvement in services of GUJSAT. Also proactive 3rd party evaluation of facility is carried out by BISAG to assess the service quality and implementation. All the BISAG processes are ISO compliant. Training and Development activities: Training and development has played a key role implementing and managing the operations of GUJSAT. Various technical and operational trainings are conducted by BISAG for operational efficiency enhancement.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The primary obstacles in the process were: • Dependability of the project usage and success lies with the reach of the initiative to citizens; however, the reception facility for the SATCOM initiative is developed by stakeholder departments. This calls for a need to ensure quality programs and content to ensure acceptability. Involvement of various departments to provide their quality training programs is a key to success. • Brining various stakeholders and propagating the benefits to stakeholder departments was challenge initially • The penetration of DTH in year 2000 was very less and hence was a challenge initially • The capacity building and citizen awareness about visual learning system was a challenge • Bandwidth requirement was a challenge initially

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
1. The virtual classroom training is efficient way to provision training facility to millions of audience in one-go, ensuring access to the best experts, teachers and resources from all locations. This also leads to collaborative sharing of knowledge through uniformity of content in training and education. 2. Government reach-out to the citizens and primary stakeholders has increased multi-fold through director DTH based interactions 3. The message delivery and program communication has become efficient as the information, message, scheme data, roll-out plan and policies are put in front of millions in one-go. 4. The citizen (stakeholders in schemes of education, literacy, family welfare, primary healthcare, etc) can participate in the decision making and voice out the ground reality to the planning and execution agencies of Government. 5. Brought inclusive growth in policy making as the citizen participation has increased 6. Efficient planning, implementation and monitoring can be ensured through the use of citizen communication and feedback mechanism. 7. The convergence has been provided with various government departments in the form of SATCOM-BISAG. The services can be rendered by any government department or stakeholder agency to reach out to the population of over 65 million citizens in the state of Gujarat. 8. Millions of teachers are trained per year through various subject-wise programs. 5 day trainings conducted per subject and teachers attended the same from their respective schools or village government offices(15 million man days training in last three years, Training Cost Rs.15/teacher , Total cost saved 220 million). 9. The utilization pattern during the last 5 years depicts sharp rise in the use 1252 hours (in 2009) to 3913 hours (in 2013). 10. The actual spending in reaching out to citizens through GUJSAT has reduced to hardly 5% as the travel cost of the end participants has reduced to zero and management and coordination activities have reduced.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Yes. The project has been catering to over 25 government departments and stakeholders and can be extended further. The operating costs for the activities of the projects being managed through BISAG are minimal. SATCOM currently runs two channels. Approval for 16 channels is being sought from the government to extend the activities further. The services can be extended further through provisioning e-literacy through all kinds of educational channels. The program can be replicated easily in any state of India or any country in the world as the core concept involved is the already established satellite technology. Main components required for replicating this solution are: • Satellite with a particular Mhz transponder allocated for such projects replication • Training material from various departments • Awareness drives to promote such educational channels The solution is easily replicable and scalable with • One-to-many (No limit to increase) communication across state or country • Simple to use technology for all the department users availing the facility • Low cost of operation and hence replication is easy • Easy to implement solution at the user end as well • Availability of expert assistance to large numbers of beneficiaries (teachers, doctors, etc) over SATCOM • No physical infrastructure / resource movement reducing travel cost

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
• Program has helped to provision the education and awareness at door step till the rural villages at absolute no cost. Technology has proved to be an effective enabler in bringing literacy and awareness. • BISAG brings together the relevance and benefits of technology used for mass communication using the principle of acceptability, affordability and adoptability. • Simplicity of operations has been a key achievement in the project which has helped most of the government departments to take the services. • Creation of virtual class room environment can lead to mass training facility creation for the state or country leading to huge saving in terms of cost, time and travel. More frequent training and educational program can be organized without physical movement of participants from their location. • The technology enablement can help reaching out to masses through SATCOM for any educational and health schemes awareness. SATCOM has helped government to directly interact with health centres, doctors, schools, teachers, farmers, bankers, students, etc • The travel cost has reduced for government in policy implementation and also ensures effective monitoring of citizen centric initiatives • The project has helped to touch upon the primary rural issues like school availability, addressing farmer concerns through direct interaction with Chief Minister, health allied programs. The critical programs like women health concerns, scheduled technical trainings, operational training to staff are broadcasted on the SATCOM channels and can be tuned in across the state territory. • If the benefits of programs start showing the results and reach, there is always an increasing demand to the same. BISAG is in receipt of adding dedicated 16 channels for Schools, Higher Education department, Gujarat Technical University (GTU), Sardar Patel Institute of Public Administration (SPIPA), Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University (BAOU), Industrial Training Institute (ITI). • The concept is unique because user departments use the facility from GUJSAT-BISAG to reach to their target audiences spread across 26 districts and till village level (gram panchayats). So user departments use services of GUJSAT for transmission of pre-scheduled programs and live campaigns. • GUJSAT has brought about transformation in access and reach with low cost and in the area of education and training. The success of SATCOM is an example of providing acceptable, affordable and adoptable services to huge masses.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG)
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Ramesh Suthar
Title:   Manager – BISAG  
Telephone/ Fax:   +91-9099922040/ 079-23213091
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   Near CH '0' Circle, Indulal Yagnik Marg, Gandhinagar-Ahmedabad Highway,
Postal Code:   382007
City:   Gandhinagar
State/Province:   Gujarat

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