State launches GPS, GIS to monitor MGNREGA projects

The UP government has introduced Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies for better planning and monitoring of works under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the state.

The government has started using these technologies on the pilot basis in village panchayats of three blocks —- one each in Lakhimpur, Unnao and Hardoi districts.

Under the project, National Informatics Centre (NIC) has incorporated Management Information System (MIS) data on all types of works sanctioned in the current fiscal for these village panchayats, complete with the latitude and longitude coordinates of the project site and GIS images of the site before and after completion of work. All details of the project with its site image are available with a single click on the Rural Development Department website.

The Rural Development Department has made available information on works sanctioned for nearly 57 village panchayats in Kumbhi block of Lakhimpur, 35 village panchayats in Kacchauna block of Hardoi and 30 village panchayats of Sikandarpur Karan block of Unnao district.

The information includes names of the district and block, name and code of works, type of work, work status, photographs and other details like duration of work and number of labourers engaged. The projects with these details have been highlighted on Google images using flags of different colours for completed, suspended and under-process, sanctioned and proposed works.

NIC Technical Director G P Singh said that use of GIS and GPS will help in monitoring of works and checking duplicacy of projects. Singh said that Chief Development Officers (CDOs) will take coordinates of proposed sites using GPS technology and NIC will use that to draw an alignment of the proposed work. "If these coordinates match those of other similar works done in past, this would show duplicacy," Singh said.

Singh said CDOs in other districts have shown interest in adopting the technology and some of them have started sending their MIS data to NIC. Singh said that a report about this pilot project has also been sent to the Centre's Rural Development Department where officials are planning to implement a similar model across the country.

Agriculture Production Commissioner Alok Ranjan said, "If the model is successful in these three districts, it will be extended across the state." The use of technology and availability of data online for public access will check duplicacy of works and bring transparency in monitoring the development works.

Under MNREGA, 14 types of works are done including water conservation and water harvesting, drought-proofing including afforestation and tree plantation, irrigation canals, land development, rural connectivity, flood control and protection works and renovation of water bodies.

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