UN award for institutions from Kerala, Jharkhand, MP

New Delhi, July 19 (IANS) Public institutions from Kerala, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh received this year's United Nations Public Service Awards for their exemplary initiatives at a ceremony here Friday.

The annual awards are given to public institutions for their creative contributions in improving the quality of life of citizens.

"Now more than ever, innovative ways of connecting people to their governments are needed. The three initiatives we are felicitating today are proofs that India is a global leader in finding creative, cutting-edge solutions for ensuring inclusive governance," said Lise Grande, United Nations' resident coordinator.

The Kerala government was awarded for its mass contact programme. The programme, which has been conducted twice since 2004, has strengthened direct communication between citizens and the state government by connecting people with decision makers and improving complaint resolution.

"The mass contact programme followed a three-pronged approach of ensuring the right to accessing public services, fast tracking grievance redressal and developing a first-hand understanding of real issues," Kerala Chief Minister Omen Chandy said at the award function.

The 'Swavalamban' scheme, which was implemented in Jharkhand's Dhanbad district, was awarded for its accountable, transparent and efficient system, enabling direct cash transfers of monthly pensions to senior citizens.

"Improving the efficiency in disbursement of pension benefits involved business process re-engineering, digitising information, collaborating with banks and post offices to receive pensions and simplifying procedures involved in securing pensions," said Ajoy Kumar Singh, secretary, department of food and public distribution, Jharkhand.

Madhya Pradesh's Gramin Haat initiative was awarded for boosting local economy, improving the economic status of women and strengthening women self-help groups by handing over to them the management of rural weekly markets.

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