January 2, 2014
West Bengal Government launches administrative calendar for 2014
For the first time in India, a State Govt launched an Administrative Calendar for efficient, accountable and transparent governance. This initiative by the West Bengal Government was officially launched by the West Bengal Government at Nabanna on January 2, 2014. Hon`ble Governor of West Bengal, Mr. M K Narayanan officially launched the calendar. Present on the occasion was the Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee.
The Chief Minister in her speech said that administrative calendar is a symbol of good governance by the State Govt. `Today is a red letter day for the state. We have taken this step to maintain transparency, accountability in Govt function`, she added.
Hon`ble Governor of West Bengal MK Narayanan who officially launched the administrative calendar of the Govt said that it was the first time in the country that a Govt has taken the initiative to build an administrative calendar. He praised WB government's e-district project, rural banking project, rural electrification programme and Kanyashree scheme.
Excerpts of the speech given by Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee on the occasion:
I welcome you all. I wish a Happy New Year to all of you. We are obliged to our Hon`ble Governor, we are really grateful to you for your august presence today. This is a red letter day for us as this is the first time, our Hon`ble Governor came to us.
Sir, this is the first Government to bring out an Administrative Calendar. This day will be marked in history. West Bengal Government is first Government to maintain transparency, implement programmes, monitor target dates, maintain accountability, credentials and credibility. This Administrative Calendar is not a sudden decision. I had a meeting with the chief secretary of the state a few months back and asked for his suggestion. It was a difficult job. But if intentions are good and the mission is well set, and the work is action oriented, the Government can go by its vision. There should be a Vision paper too, which is now being prepared by all the departments. I did it when I was looking after the Rail Ministry. We will have a long-term, a mid-term and a short-term vision paper. There should be targets set to be achieved. This will ensure the need of innovations and the subsequent success in the competitive world these days. We have started this work and it will be fine tuned by the next time.
Nabanna was prepared within 45 days. I am proud of the officers who made this possible. Some sections only hype the flaws of this Govt, never highlight the good work done by us. Some people, who have done no work for 35 years, are crying hoarse over small issues these days.
Bengal has turned around. When we came in man-days lost were 78 lakhs. Now it is zero. We will take all hurdles in our stride and work for the development of the people. We were with the people, we are with the people and we will be with the people. We have taken several decisions, implemented new schemes that were never thought of in the last 65 years.
I thank all the workers, officers who made this administrative calendar possible. My request to you, monitor everything, try to achieve all targets before the deadline. The key words should be discipline, determination, dedication and devotion. Work culture has returned. We are trying to create new manpower. This administrative calendar is a symbol of good governance by our Government.
A workaholic CM
West Bengal Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee has always laid stress on timely completion of development projects to avoid cost overrun. To meet the objective, the chief minister holds regular review meetings with department heads and district magistrates. She had always considered developing an institutional mechanism through which the departments would deliver projects on time and their performance could be assessed any time of the year.
The calendar will list work to be undertaken every month by each department and set targets for completion. The concept is innovative as it puts in place a system to track development. If all departments fix their targets at the beginning of the year, it will be easy to push for achieving goals on time.
Till now, the physical progress of projects could not be measured because of the absence of a proper mechanism. The administrative calendar is set to address the issue.
Targets and timeline
All 61 departments will have to set targets on the progress of projects between January and December. This will create a transparent system of assessing progress at any given time.
For example, the technical education department will have to mention its monthly plan of setting up Industrial Training Institutes and operationalising them. Similarly, PWD officials will have to mention their monthly targets of repairing roads with specifics such as stretches and deadlines. The setting of targets and the timeline will remove ambiguities in project delivery.
When implemented according to the plan, the calendar is expected to fast-track projects as they will be divided into phases with monthly targets for each. This way, the government will find it easier to measure progress. The calendar will help detect delays at each stage, senior officials and ministers can intervene anytime to ensure timely completion of projects.
Setting of targets will also help improve work culture as the departments themselves will set the goals.
The biggest benefit will be public awareness. As the calendars will be uploaded on departmental websites and published in booklets, officials will be under pressure because common people will be able to raise questions if projects are not completed on time.
Incentive & penalty
Departments that will deliver on time will be rewarded and those who will fail to meet deadlines will face action. The main objective of the administrative calendar is to ensure accountability and spot non-performers, who will be penalised.
In keeping with the comprehensive incentive-and-penalty system, 60-odd employees and officials of the public works, health, women and social welfare departments will be rewarded at tomorrow`s programme for their contribution in achieving targets on time.