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Digitisation Augmenting Education & Health In Narmada: Jincy R Williams

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Jincy R Williams

Elets Technomedia organised a three-day virtual India Transformation Summit from July 10 to July 12, 2020. The summit brought in light the growth and development of India in the past few years. Jincy R Williams, District Development Officer (DDO), Narmada district, Gujarat participated in the summit and addressed on ‘Local Governance through Digital Transformation’.

Narmada is one of the aspirational districts of Gujarat. It has an undulating terrain with around 14 per cent of its area under forest cover and 18 per cent of its population is predominantly tribal residing in villages. Hence, digital interventions have been quite a challenge in Narmada, said Ms Williams while opening her address. Addressing digital interventions in Narmada, she added, “Despite all the challenges that surfaced while implementing digital interventions in the district, we came up with innovative solutions, especially for the field of education and health.”

Considering the remoteness of Narmada district, especially the 290 villages, there was a need to introduce some offline programme as well for improving education in the district. Also, it was difficult for the district administration to monitor the presence of the teachers and other monitoring staff in the schools. To tackle all such inherent challenges in the district, we had to develop a special application named e-pen with the help of a Hyderabad-based IT firm. The application was developed such that it can function both in online as well as offline mode, told Ms Williams.

She added, “This application helped in monitoring the staff as now teachers can register their attendance on a real-time basis on the application. We, basically, wanted to ensure that the teachers mark their attendance in the real-time, the work on the field can be ensured, and the knowledge sharing and all the other messages from the district authorities reach them in real-time.” This has been a successful programme in the district, told Ms Williams.

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Adding on digit interventions in education, Ms Willams mentioned, “We also have a command and control centre for education in the district with which the programme we started was also linked… We have used this programme for knowledge sharing and also for the clarification of complaints that we receive and we found the programme to be successful.”

Talking about measures taken during the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns, she said, “We have also tied up with different agencies and NGOs to help us with digital transformation, especially in the field of education.” Further, she mentioned that in the district, the teaching of GCERT couple was conducted through Diksha app as well as through QR codes in the textbooks of GCERT.”

Speaking of the health sector, Ms Williams said, “We have also tied up with Piramal Foundation. Recently, NITI Aayog has developed a programme named – ‘Surakshit Dada Dadi, Nana Nani’ programme and Piramal Foundation is working closely with the district to help the elderly through digital interventions. We have around 56,000 elderly people in the district. We have collected the database of all the senior citizens with the help of Piramal Foundation and we track them to ensure their safety. Besides this, we are also doing knowledge sharing and fulfilment of the needs of the Piramal Foundation and many other NGOs.”

Concluding her address, Ms Williams said, “As we are able to augment the education services in the district and help the senior citizens by our various initiatives in the health sector, we have been able to bring in a certain level of digital penetration in the Narmada district. Hence, the attempt to augment the education and health sector using technology has been successfully implemented.”

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