This innovative rural development programme was launched in 1979 at Panathadi Panchayat of Kasargod District. Gramotsava literally means ‘village festival’. The fist Gramotsava was essentially a development campaign. A backward Panchayat which had seen very little of development suddenly woke up and worked with determination for its time bound development in a unique and fascinating manner. This was an exercise in rural development with people’s participation. Through a series of dialogues with the local people, Dr. Bose was able to encourage the people to device a Plan of Action for the development of their village, based on felt needs. This was implemented with the co-operation of Government departments, semi government agencies and voluntary organisations with local participation. This programme has been implemented in 200 panchayats of Kerala after an evaluation by the Government of Kerala. The Central Planning and Monitoring Unit of the Government of Kerala in its evaluation of the Gramotsava programme, has observed, “They (the people of the village) were able to bring together different governmental agencies, local bodies, social workers and voluntary agencies in a common goal. This way constructive development leadership, which is wanting in a great degree in the country was provided”.
File to Field
The ‘File to Field’ Pogramme was initiated in Kollam in 1985. It seeks to provide a single window service of government, semi government agencies and non-government organizations in backward rural areas. This experiment found government officials moving to the villages and opening counters at the local school to redress the grievances of the public in a transparent and effective manner. It generated a lot of enthusiasm among the public, and Government departments were moved to abandon red tape and take decisions relating to rural areas with a sense of urgency. This has been evaluated by the Centre for Development Studies as a very effective innovation to make bureaucracy more responsive to the needs of the common man. The evaluation report observes, “People’s participation in the programme was very good. The involvement of the women during and after the programme was evident and sustained as revealed by the degree and awareness which the rural women folk showed at the time of the socio economic survey”. The File to Field has been the forerunner to the People’s Planning Programme launched by the Government of Kerala. The People’s Planning Programme subsequently became a matter of state policy for Kerala. An adaptation of this programme , ‘Mass Contact’, spearheaded by the Chief Minister of Kerala won the prestigious UN Public Service Award.
The Simplified Procedure for Early and Effective Disposal (SPEED) was launched to clear pending files in government offices in a time bound and transparent manner. This was later adopted for statewide implementation by the Chief Minister of Kerala.
COMPUTERISATION IN ADMINISTRATION
Dr. Bose introduced computerization in the Chief Minister’s Office in 1991 during his tenure as Secretary to Chief Minister of Kerala. Computerization of all files enabled easy retrieval, facilitated monitoring and enabled updation. Through this, the Chief Minister had access to any petition submitted to him by anyone anywhere in the State. Inspired by the success of this, other Ministers of Kerala also computerized their offices. This initiative can be considered the first significant effort at e-governance in the state.