Collector Office Panchmahal

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Panchmahals is a tribal district. Geographically district is consisting of forest area and hilly terrain. Tribals have their houses in very scattered hamlets. Most of population occupies in agricultural labor and that too in migratory nature. They migrate to other districts as far to 300-400 kilometers in crop seasons and come back during off-season or festivals. There are many essential services they required to obtain once in year from Government offices and for that they have to reach to the concerned offices which is sometimes 30 to 40 miles away and they had to spend their entire day to obtain service from the office The Government service delivery mechanism for these people in particular and for District in general was somewhat inadequate. As they are living in remote areas or being migratory labor, many a times they are not even aware of the benefits they are entitled of. Services like obtaining health card that carries benefits and treatments in high-speciality hospitals for serious illness or annual income certificate, caste certificate for financial assistance in education of their children. Also there were difficulties for old age persons to reach to office to avail various social welfare schemes like widow pension for poor who doesn't have anyone to support her family or old age pensions for persons living below poverty line. Also for physically challenged persons who is required to avail various benefits by government in form of some free services or assistance in earning for livelihood.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
To redress this problem, decentralization of service delivery system was required. Divided the district in small clusters of villages and entrusted cluster to the officer to oversee delivery of services from single point at cluster level.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
To reach out to all eligible beneficiaries of remote area of the district, district's villages were clubbed into small clusters consist of 5 to 7 villages and these clusters were designated point of service delivery for villages of that particular cluster. An officer was entrusted for each cluster who would oversee the delivery of services for all eligible beneficiaries. All ancillary services like medical check-up and certification for physically challenged persons were arranged at cluster level to avail benefits. This has helped the beneficiaries to avail services easily they required as they have to travel only 5 to 7 Kilometers to cluster point instead of 30-40 Kilometers to Taluk Headquarter. In case of physically challenged persons it was very convenient to travel nearby. Also there are limited beneficiaries as cluster covered only 5-7 villages which enable administration to disburse services quickly and effectively that also saved time for both beneficiaries and administration. Pro-actively advance assessment of remaining beneficiaries was done by the officer in charge of cluster which helped administration to cover cent percent beneficiaries of the particular scheme. Cluster based approach helped administration to reach out to the poorest of the remote area.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
There were two issues before administration awareness of beneficiary schemes of the Government for eligible poor who are residing in remote areas of the district and disbursement of the quality services in stipulated time. Government introduced many schemes for the people who live below the poverty line but it did not reach to all who lives in remote areas especially where population is scattered in hamlets and even if they are aware they even did not know the procedure to avail that benefits they are entitled and eligible for. To address these issues, district administration devised program called "Jan Suraksha Shibir" that literary meaning "Public Welfare Camp" and for that entire district's villages were divided into clusters consist of 5-7 villages and entire service delivery mechanism is established at this cluster point to disburse quality services quickly. An officer entrusted had to cover all 5-7 villages for assessment of eligible beneficiaries and these beneficiaries were informed about the schemes they were entitled to. The documents were collected and processed beforehand and they were informed to visit the cluster village where such camp was organised. The dates of such camps for entire district were widely published in advance from district level to village level to hamlets. On predefined day, all departments with their team establish temporary counter to disburse their services as and when beneficiaries of the cluster villages come. As beneficiaries were identified in advance and documents etc were processed earlier only final service was delivered in the camp. If any person who missed out and visit the camp, arrangement also made to process and verification of his/her documents on the spot. The system was established for each different services and the officer in charge ensured that service is delivered to each beneficiaries. This serve the purpose of covering entire poor and needy persons of the district for whom schemes introduced by the Government.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The District Administration has devised and implemented the initiative "Jan Suraksha Shibir" in entire District. It reached out to population of 16,42,268 of the District and its two phases of implementation 1,19,743 persons were served in one way or other.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The District Administration devised strategy to strengthen service delivery mechanism to reach out to the poorest who lived in remote area of the district. District is comprised of 605 villages. These villages were divided in small cluster of 5 to 7 villages and each cluster is entrusted to the Guardian Officer who is to look after these villages for all Government Programs and services. Guardian Officer along with other department officials did prior assessment of the eligible beneficiaries of these villages who can avail the services at cluster level. Once assessment was done, procedures were initiated for the services like filling up the forms, supporting documents like proof of income, proof of age etc. Providing such documents to those who are not having it, separate team of official and staff deployed. In case of physically challenged prior assessment of disability was done and according to disability the specialist doctors were sent in the camps. They diagnosed percentage of disability on the spot and certificate for disabilities distributed to the beneficiaries. For Old Age Pension scheme age proof is required. In remote area there are many cases where birth was not registered with Government some sixty years back. To ascertain age medically, doctor issues certificate after checking the person for approximate age and those who have certified for eligible criteria were given order of monthly financial assistance. Monitoring was done by in charge officer – Guardian Officer and District level officials. Man power deployed, for a day, was from the department concerned with the welfare schemes like Health and Family Welfare Department, Social Welfare Department, Department of Social Defense and Justice, Revenue Department. No further financing required for this initiative as it only devised as alternative service delivery mechanism. No formal evaluation was done.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The initiative devised as alternative to current service delivery mechanism and it was devised and implemented by administration by its officials. The idea was mooted by the District Collector in monthly review meeting with all department heads of the district and explored possibility to devise the mechanism to reach out to the poor of the remote area. Based on grievances received by the district administration in various forum about non-receipt of certain benefits and services, district administration in consultation with heads of concerned departments prioritize schemes and services which is most required and the least delivered like Health Card who covers for serious illness in multispeciality hospitals, the district health officer and his teams were engaged. As for disability, officers of Department of Social Defense and Justice in coordination with Medical Doctors engaged for ascertain disabilities for financial assistance to physically challenged persons.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The initiative termed successful as in two phases of its implementation nearly 69,712 persons were served in one way or other. Moreover it almost cover all potential beneficiaries who were entitled to have benefits of particular scheme as all villages of the cluster were proactively assessed by the Guardian Officer or officer in charge for Jan Suraksha Shibir for that cluster. It widen the health-net among the persons living below poverty line who can avail treatment at subsidized rate in multi-speciality hospital in serious illness like cancer, kidney failure or heart problems which they could not afford otherwise. It also covered 1,591 widows who were eligible for financial assistance in terms of monthly pension that could support her family. Jan Suraksha Shibir covered 2,053 beneficiaries who were living below the poverty line and eligible for old age assistance that augmented their livelihood. 2,929 physically challenged persons were diagnosed by the doctors for various disabilities and assistance in terms of free bus pass, financial assistance for education for physically challenged students etc were given.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The main challenge was to reach out to the poor in remote areas. To assess the eligible who are left out and unaware about schemes. It required both activities information dissemination to the last hamlet and then assessment of the eligibility. Teams were assigned prior to the date of "Jan Suraksha Shibir" and team not only inform and educate the villagers about their entitlement but also initiate procedure like filling up forms, whether they have sufficient documents or not and if not ascertain they obtain necessary documents to have them entitled for actual beneficiary scheme. This process required some time as team has to reach door to door for schemes like health card, old age pension, widow pension and disability assistance. But once all beneficiaries were accounted for then later process became very easy. It was done by forming team consist of village official as well as department official and staff.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The Jan Suraksha Shibir has provided platform for effective and quicker delivery of services than conventional platform due to cluster based approach. In various grievance redressal forums, it had been noted that certain benefits of welfare schemes do not reach to the poorest and vulnerable of the society who lives in remote area in small hamlet and in many a case they were not even aware of existence of the scheme. Person suffering from serious illness of heart, kidney or cancer cannot afford treatment beyond certain limit and he has to resort to some other means like disposing off or mortgaging farm land etc. they all were covered under MA-Vatsalya and MA-Amrutam health card schemes that enable them to get treatment in special hospital. Jan Suraksha Shibir assessed the potential beneficiaries, the poor and vulnerable, and proactively initiated procedure to disburse services. Widow woman living in hamlet, who support her family livelihood by miscellaneous labour work, doesn't have means to travel to the Taluk headquarter to obtain widow pension under the scheme. In Jan Suraksha Shibir, it covered all eligible widows and enrolled for pension and order issued on the spot. Same way for physically challenged persons it was difficult to travel to headquarter for disability certificate, he has to go to hospital with specialist doctor who diagnose him/her for disability and then again he has to approach Department of Social Defense for assistance. This rigmarole desist them to obtain benefits they covered all in Jan Suraksha Shibir at single cluster point. Delivery of services is more quicker and effective than conventional one as to obtain any scheme's benefits beneficiaries has to approach more than one offices for several reasons like for widow pension she needs to get death certificate of deceased from one department, certificate for annual income from other department. For health card person needs to obtain annual income certificate from one department and medical certificate for percentage of disability from other department and final disability certificate from another department. Jan Suraksha Shibir brought them under single umbrella for disbursement of service that made them deliver service more quicker and effective.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The initiative "Jan Suraksha Shibir" is meant for delivery of services quickly and effectively on the spot for the poor, disabled, widow and old age persons who either unaware of their rights to entitle for certain services and benefits or can't obtain it easily due to cumbersome process or dissuading public offices. Also department of offices that are disbursing services under various schemes are different and operated from different places so to complete entire process to obtain a single services was taking pretty long time and it was impossible for person travelling from remote area to get entire process done in a single day and get the service. Like for health card that covers health assistance in serious illness at subsidized rate requires proof of income in form of income certificate that is issued by other department. In case of disability certificate for financial assistance to physically challenged person, he has to obtain medical certificate from the specialist doctor depend on his/her disability which may not be available local level and he/she has to further travel to district headquarter or nearby civil hospital to get it and then produce it to department of social defense to obtain assistance. To avoid this rigmarole and ease of delivery the mechanism devised in form of "Jan Suraksha Shibir" . It certainly infused accountability in the department official as they could serve better and quickly to small lot of beneficiaries at cluster level. Also prior assessment and process by the Guardian Officer enabled them to disperse services easily as all documents required for the services is accounted for in advance.

 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)
The initiative "Jan Suraksha Shibir" aimed to better delivery services and envisaged to provide quick and effective services to beneficiaries of all schemes that include women and girls. To obtain Financial assistance for education for Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste girl requires to have certificate for annual income also several schemes from Social Welfare Department that provides bicycles for school going girls are required certain documents. These services were rendered in Jan Suraksha Shibir. Also as mentioned earlier for widows and women living below poverty line who are entitled for pension schemes were given pension orders in each Jan Suraksha Shibir. Thus the initiative is inclusive and covers women and girls both.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Collector Office Panchmahal
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Ponugumatla Bharathi
Title:   DM  
Telephone/ Fax:   02672242800
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Postal Code:   389001
City:   GODHRA
State/Province:   Gujarat

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