challenger-2005
challenger-r-h-patil

Lifetime Achievement: Dr R H Patil, Chairman, CCIL

Dr R H Patil. Chairman, CCIL receiving the Skoch Challenger Award for Lifetime Achievement from Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia. Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission

Dr Patil has been instrumental in changing the face of the Indian stock markets. Apart from helping to set up the National Stock Exchange that handles more than 10,000 crores a day at transaction costs that are a tenth of what they were a decade back. He helped set up National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL), introducing paperless trading and killing the problem of fake share certificates. Dr Patil also set up the Clearing Corporation of India that handles forex trading that has already brought the costs down by half.

challenger-uttaranchal

Education: State of Uttaranchal

General Rawat, Honourable Minister for Tourism, Uttaranchal receiving the Skoch Challenger Award for Education conferred on State of Uttaranchal from Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission

The state is taking computer literacy and computer aided learning to all schools from 6th to 12th standard. Today 98 per cent of the schools have been covered under the programme. It has touched the lives of 5,54,000 secondary school students and is expected to touch 4,00,000 more this year. It is not just the quantity, the quality has improved too. The yearly results have gone up from 34 per cent to 45 per cent for tenth standard and 45 per cent to 60 per cent for 12th standard in places. Even the absenteeism in teachers has gone down and they are showing a renewed vigor.

challenger-bengal

Health: State of West Bengal

Mr. Manabendra Mukherjee, Honourable Minister-in-charge IT, West Bengal receiving the Skoch Challenger Award for Health conferred on State of West Bengal from Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission

In keeping with the slogan raised by West Bengal – Advantage Bengal – the state is making strides in becoming a second IT hub for the country. The state’s most notable experiment, of course, is what it has done with telemedicine. Investigation reports of patients in districts towns are transmitted to large hospitals in Kolkata. Doctors make a diagnosis and suggest a line of treatment. So far, 1,500 patients have been treated in this fashion even for serious diseases. In one instance, life of a few days old infant was saved through a recommendation on using locally available medication and tools through tele-medicine. There are many more such instances.

challenger-assam

Citizen Services Delivery: State of Assam

Mr Tarun Kumar Gogoi, Honourable Chief Minister, Assam receiving the Skoch Challenger Award for Citizen Services Delivery conferred on State of Assam from Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission

The unique “Government at the Doorstep” project of the government of Assam clubbed with computer kiosks set up under a project called “Aamar Seva” are efficiently delivering government services related to the DCs office in a much more convenient fashion. The impact becomes even more pronounced in remote areas like Majuli where the Mishing tribals ordinarily would need to trudge a two day journey to Jorhat and back to get even basic government services. Significant improvement is seen even in the Sales Tax Computerisation project. Jallukbari, a sales tax gate near Guwahati featured as the most corrupt sales tax gate in the country on national news about a year back is today a model of efficiency and citizens report a major reduction in instances of corruption.

challenger-sbi

Social Impact: State Bank of India

Mr A K Purwar, CMD, State Bank of India receiving the Skoch Challenger Award for Social Impact conferred on State Bank of India from Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission

Given the size and customer base of SBI (100 million customers) any change in SBI impacts a large part of India and its people. While the private sector banks with their sophisticated technology are still largely catering to the creamy layer alone, it is SBI that is bringing the benefits of such technology infusion cutting across all kinds of customers. Including those, virtually at the bottom of the banking services pyramid. Its current technology infusion program and shift to core banking is not only making it better positioned in the corporate market but also impacting thousands of SMEs, small entrepreneurs and millions of consumers giving them a competitive edge similar to what is available to customers of MNC or private banks. Given the size of SBI, the ramifications are not just economic but go beyond and border at driving social transformation.

challenger-pnb-2005

Exemplary Use of Technology: Punjab National Bank

Mr S S Kohli, CMD, Punjab National Bank receiving the Skoch Challenger Award for Exemplary Use of Technology conferred on Punjab National Bank from Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission

In 2000, just a fourth of PNBs branches were computerised, today the figure is over 97 per cent. Needless to say, the Core Banking Solution or CBS that allows customers to access and operate their accounts over the net, through telephone or an ATM on a 24x7 wherever, whenever basis is winning PNB a lot of friends. Over 500 branches of PNB spread across 101 cities transact on a real time basis with same screens. PNB was also the first bank to be selected by RBI for conducting a pilot on real time gross settlement. The bank during this time has forayed in credit cards, Kisan credit cards, debit cards, and has also entered into an ATM sharing arrangement with other banks.

challenger-citibank

SME Enabler: Citibank

Mr G S Sundararajan, Managing Director - Commercial Banking Group & Asset Based Finance, CitiBank receiving the Skoch Challenger Award for SME Enabler conferred on Citibank from Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission

Citibank is perhaps the only bank in the country that focuses very closely on small and medium enterprises. As several of the 5,000 SMEs that Citibank has in its portfolio testify – they didn’t go to the bank, the bank came to them. The bank’s biggest USP, is that once it has assessed the firm’s needs, strengths, and future promise, it does not ask for any traditional collateral, usually the stumbling block that all SMEs in the country face when they go looking for bank loans.

challenger-citibank

ICT Man of the Year: Dr N Vijayaditya

Dr N Vijayaditya, DG, NIC, receiving the Skoch Challenger Award for ICT Man of the Year from Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia. Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission

NIC has been at the core of most of e-governance projects in the country, whether its Bhoomi in Karnataka, CARD in Andhra Pradesh or Tamil Nilam in Tamil Nadu. NIC has reached the unreached, touching the lives of millions of Indians. NIC has also gone ahead and successfully integrated the three projects in Andhra Pradesh namely, CARD, LR-MIS, and e-Panchayat, wherein a citizen can get his Record-of-Rights from the Gram Panchayat office rather than the MRO office or the Sub-Registrar Office situated miles away from his home. Another ambitious project, AGMARKNET links up 750 mandis in the country and provides online information on prices of over 300 major commodities - another 2000 mandis will be connected in two years and balance 4000 in 3-4 years.

challenger-anil-sahasrabudhe

Academic Excellence: IIT - Guwahati

Dr Anil Sahasrabudhe, Deputy Director, IIT-Guwahati receiving the Skoch Challenger Award for Academic Excellence conferred on IIT-Guwahati from Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission

Set up as part of the Assam Accord during Rajiv Gandhi era, IIT-Guwahati is perhaps the only educational institute of excellence that was established and has flourished amidst all odds in a state where going is never easy. IIT-Guwahati has been able to maintain the legendary excellence of the IIT institution despite being located away from the mainstream and in a place where even getting faculty can be a daunting task. Known for research in areas like design, mechanical engineering and computer science it today has a 150-strong faculty and a student strength of 1,500. It is also doing excellent work in locally relevant areas of putting bamboo to innovative use and earthquake engineering.

challenger-ashok-jhunjhunwala

Rural Delivery Systems: Prof Ashok Jhunjhunwala

Prof Ashok Jhunjhunwala, IIT-Madras receiving the Skoch Challenger Award for Rural Delivery Systems from Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission

Prof Ashok Jhunjhunwala has taken the benefit of wireless networking to the village India. Helping the local entrepreneurs in Tamil Nadu and other parts of India to set up a village internet kiosk offering services like browsing, DTP, video-conferencing and e-mail; the kiosk also duplicates as a classroom teaching computers to the village children. There are more than 2000 such kiosks already operational. The entrepreneur is helped in her venture by banks like SBI with soft loans. The kiosks are also offering agri-clinics and veterinary services.

challenger-surojana-devi

Grassroots Woman of the Year: Smt Surojana Devi

Uttarkashi receiving the Skoch Challenger Award for Grassroots Woman of the Year from Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia. Dy. Chairman, Planning Commission

Gram Pradhan in Village Darkaan situated at an altitude of 7000 ft in District Uttarkashi, Smt Surojna Devi is illiterate but aware of her rights and entitlement. She contested the election a couple of years ago and defeated a male pradhan of 16 years standing. Being a woman she has developmental issues as her priority and has solved the drinking water problem in her village by laying a pipeline and bringing water to her village using gravity. The village has no road or electricity but boasts of a 24x7 water supply.

challenger-avdhash-kaushal

Grassroots Man of the Year: Mr Avdhash Kaushal

Mr Avadhash Kaushal, NGO-RLEK receiving the Skoch Challenger Award for Grassroots Man of the Year from Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia. Dy. Chairman, Planning Commission

Padamshree awardee, Mr. Avdhash Kaushal has been fighting for the rights of the marginalised hill communities since the early 90s. Working towards promoting gender equality in local self government through capacity building for women, Mr Kaushal has been running the NGO called Rural Litigation Entitlement Kendra. His efforts have yielded results to the extent that today Uttaranchal has over 40 per cent women in Panchayati Raj institutions against mandated 33 per cent. His team traverses the hill path for days together, conducts training for women panchayat members regarding their entitlements and also holds training workshops to ensure that they become at par or even better representatives of the people.

challenger-bangalore-agenda-task-force

Public Private Partnership: Bangalore Agenda Task Force

Prof S Sadagopan, Director, IIIT-Bangalore receiving the Skoch Challenger Award for Public Private Partnership on behalf of Bangalore Agenda Task Force from Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission

The Bangalore Agenda Task Force has been constituted by the Government of Karnataka with several eminent professionals as members. In the past couple of years, it has successfully created a platform for all key civic organisations to develop and integrate their short-term and long-term work plans for Bangalore. BATF has actively encouraged civic-minded individuals and corporates to identify with the city’s aspirations in health, education, and infrastructure. While it can do with more support at its home turf, it is already emerging as an aspirational role model for other metros.

challenger-orissa

Editor’s Choice - State of Orissa

Mr Baya, Orissa receiving the Skoch Challenger Award conferred on State of Orissa for Editor’s Choice category from Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission

Orissa is implementing an e-Governance plan for Panchayati Raj, which comes closest to the citizen services delivery system and can be scaled to incorporate all the 29 areas that need to be devolved to the Panchayti Raj institutions as per the 73rd amendment. Pilots are already running in several Gram Panchayts in the state. This compared with largely MIS and control oriented plans in most other parts of the country.