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1. Uttam Shisksha - Enhancing the quality of primary education in Uttar Pradesh

As per 2011 census, literacy rate of Uttar Pradesh is 67.68%. Though the enrollment rate of students in primary school in UP is impressive at 94%, the matter of concern is drop-out rate of 11.85% coupled with poor quality of education. In UP, where per student expenditure increased 25%, the proportion of Std. III students who could read words decreased from 27.1% in 2012 to 15.7% in 2016. As per ASER 2014 report, of all the children enrolled in Std. V only about half of them can read Std. II level text. The learning levels are decreasing constantly over the last few years.

Increased spending has not translated to better teachers and students’ attendance. About 55.8% students were present on the day of survey in 2016. Basic amenities like infrastructure for drinking water and toilet facility is still not compliant with RTE Act in many schools.

How can change be brought about in the primary education system? What role can technology play in upgrading the learning level of students? How can all round development of children be focused upon through primary education?


2. Swachh Uttar Pradesh - Role of citizens in making Uttar Pradesh open defecation free

Open defecation is a casual routine among the citizens of Uttar Pradesh, especially in rural areas and defecation leads to spread of infectious diseases and poor health of children. It also poses safety concerns for women. As per the Swachhta Status report in 2015, about 52.1% of rural population still defecates in open. Though access to toilet is an issue, GoI’s toilet building mission is exceeding targets. Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath has reiterated the commitment to make the entire Uttar Pradesh ODF by December 2018.

Getting people to use toilets is proving to be difficult due to their culturally entrenched habits. 47% of rural households in five states (including Uttar Pradesh) said that they prefer defecating in open as it was ‘pleasurable, comfortable and convenient’.

How can community be engaged to bring about change in people’s attitude, behavior and actions towards cleanliness? How can compliance towards cleanliness be ensured?


3. Krishi Kalyan - Doubling the income of farmers in Uttar Pradesh by 2022

India is an agrarian based economy with majority of people’s livelihood dependent on it. However, due to low and volatile growth of the sector and low income levels of farmers, people are shifting from this sector. UP, whose 78% of population residing in rural areas is still dependent on agriculture, is ranked 18th among 23 states in India on HDI. This vindicates the predicament of agriculturally dependent people, mostly farmers.

For farmers to continue to be employed in agriculture, it is important for their income levels to be at least at par with other similar jobs if not more. The Government of Uttar Pradesh has decided to work towards doubling farmers’ income by 2022. However, there are some serious challenges to be faced for this goal to be achieved.

What steps should the state Government take to ensure doubling of its farmer’s income by 2022? What policy changes must be adopted by the government in this regard? How can farmers be encouraged to take up other allied activities as well apart from agriculture?


4. Digital Uttar Pradesh - Using technology for last mile delivery of welfare schemes in Uttar Pradesh

Internet penetration in Uttar Pradesh is very low at 17.97 persons per 100 (as of Sept 2016). India overall has an internet penetration of around 31% (as per Internet and Mobile Association of India). Uttar Pradesh is lagging behind in adopting digitization and this could hinder the state from reaching its full e-governance potential along with accurate delivery of welfare schemes.

Interestingly, Uttar Pradesh tops the list of states with the highest mobile phone penetration. It would be beneficial to the government and the public to tap into this resource to serve welfare schemes to the right recipients and to ensure accountability and transparency in the process. Government related information could also easily be relayed via this medium. Improving internet penetration and making the internet accessible and affordable would be necessary.

How can internet penetration be improved in Uttar Pradesh, especially in the rural areas? What is the impediment to use of internet by the overwhelming number of mobile phone subscribers? How can the government utilize this resource to provide information to the public and how can welfare schemes be disseminated better with the use of the internet reducing bureaucracy and red tape?


5. Paardarshi Pradesh - Ensuring zero corruption and transparency in governance in Uttar Pradesh

As per the latest report by Transparency International, India had the highest bribery rate among the 16 Asia Pacific countries. Nearly 7 in 10 Indians who had accessed public services had paid a bribe as against meagre 0.2% in Japan.

Corruption invariably leads to increase in transaction cost, uncertainty in the economy, lower efficiency, and distortion in social and economic development among other. The worst to get hit are the marginalized and poor people who are not able to access public services due to inability to fulfill bribe demands and petty corruption. In Uttar Pradesh, as per a survey conducted by CMS India in 2017, only 18% of persons taking the survey had heard about the Right to Information Act, 2005 as a means to unveil public corruption.

How can technology be used to put checks and balances in system? How can transparency and accountability be ensured till the lowest level? What role can citizens play in curbing corruption? How can public awareness be increased to inform them of their rights in accessing government information under the RTI Act, 2005?


6. Swastha Ghar Parivaar - Enabling access to quality primary healthcare across Uttar Pradesh

According to the Rural Health Statistics Report 2016, there is a shortage of 1346 Primary Health Centers in Uttar Pradesh. The statistics also state that UP has an unenviable record when it comes to maternal mortality rates and the highest child mortality indicators where 64 children die per 1000 live births and 35 children do not live more than one month from birth.

UP also has the largest share of all communicable and non-communicable disease deaths in India. It is an urgent need to improve access to quality primary healthcare in UP, as mortality rates can be reduced significantly by building up the primary care facilities available. It is imperative that the status of health care in the state be improved, with maximum focus on primary health care, as the societal unit starts with families.

What are the current issues with primary health centers in the state? How can reach of quality and affordable primary healthcare services be ensured to each citizen? What steps must be taken for better doctors and medicines availability at hospitals? How can technology be harnessed to allow for maintaining public health and education?


7. Surakshit Pradesh – Ensuring safety of citizens for a prosperous Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh has for long faced a heavy brunt of crime and criminals, leading to a perpetual state of fear and insecurity among the people of the state. In 2015 alone, UP reported over 40,613 cases of violent crimes (including over 4700 cases of murder) which accounted for over 12.1% of all violent crimes nationally. UP also reported the highest number of cases of Special and Local Law crimes, accounting for 58.2% of total all crimes reported in the country.

Women in UP have suffered due to an increase in incidents of eve-teasing and unsolicited advances. Over 35,500 cases of crimes against women were registered in 2015 and many others were either not reported by the victims due to fear or no complaint was registered by the police.

This has greatly reduced the confidence of the common people in the law enforcement agencies of the state, while also affecting the growth prospects of the state's economy.

How can policing in the state be improved? How can the police system as a whole can be made more citizen friendly? What are the ways of improving co-ordination between the police and the community to tackle crime? How can technology be leveraged to improve real-time response and investigation of crimes?


8. Antyoday Se Sarvoday – Empowering the disadvantaged and marginalized population of the state

A slow rate of growth of the economy affects the disadvantaged and marginalized sections of the society more than anyone else. Adoption of inclusive policies are essential to ensure the benefits of economic growth are available for these sections. This is especially relevant in case of UP where nearly 24% of the population belongs to the Scheduled Castes of which more than 44% is below poverty line. Similarly, over 33% of the other households are also below poverty line. SC and BPL households also perform poorly on human development indicators, leading to a vicious cycle of poverty.

The revival of UP's economy will have to include steps to empower and engage these sections of the society. Their equitable participation in economic growth requires sustainable and inclusive measures which would provide the means for gainful employment, avenues for sustainable incomes and access to better social services.

What steps can be taken to better target the disadvantaged section under various existing schemes? How to address the barriers faced by these sections in accessing government services? What new measures are needed to facilitate greater participation of these sections in remunerative activities? How can social upliftment of marginalized section of the society be brought about through social change?


9. Jan Bhaagidaari – Engaging citizens of Uttar Pradesh with governance

Citizen experience is an important goal in making the government more effective and friendly. It is important to reorient the government processes to place the citizen at the center of government's interaction with the public, to ensure an adequate level of service and convenience for the citizens. Citizen charters and public service delivery legislation help set the standards for these services. Institutionalized mechanisms for grievance redressal provide a good way of ensuring such feedback.

Similarly, as the primary users of government services and policies, the voice of the citizen-customer forms a key input in designing and implementing schemes and policies. The higher the level of consultation and engagement of citizens in policy-making, the higher is the chances of a policy's success.

How can ICT (Information, Communication and Technology) be used further to make the citizen's interactions with the government more convenient?  How can citizen-stakeholders be engaged in the decision making process? How can development planning be made more participative at various levels of government? How can citizens bring about a change in governance for good?


10. Kaushal Yuva – Enhancing employability of the youth of Uttar Pradesh by means of skill development

The national unemployment rate is 4.4%, whereas in Uttar Pradesh 6.6% of the population is currently unemployed, per August 2017 figures. In recent times, it has become common to come across instances of highly skilled persons, often with masters degrees and PhDs applying for jobs that they might be overqualified/untrained for.

Uttar Pradesh also has one of the lowest female labor force participation rates in the country, a mere 11.2% whereas it is 23.8% nationally and as high as 54.3 % in Chhattisgarh. It is evident that there is lack of awareness of opportunities available after completing their education as well as lack of vocational training and skilling that makes the youth more employable in today’s job market.

What can be done to improve the awareness about job opportunities available after secondary and tertiary education in Uttar Pradesh? How can the youth be guided to pursue relevant vocational training which will improve their employability in various sectors?  What measures can be taken by the government to educate youth about the multifold opportunities that will present themselves if they keep their skillset relevant by enrolling in skill development courses? How can the participation of women be increased in the skill development schemes run by the government?


11. Apna Ghar – Ensuring housing for all in Uttar Pradesh

With nearly a million identified slums (999,091 to be precise), Uttar Pradesh urgently requires housing for the poor. In the government’s own view, “Adequate housing is one of the effective means to alleviate poverty because shelter is usually the most expensive item for the households.” The state is number four nationally in slum population - more than 6 million people – in 293 towns, according to this census abstract. About 24 per cent of Uttar Pradesh’s urban poor live in temporary shanties.

Without these facilities, health suffers and living standards fall, increasing their cost of living and keeping them in poverty. The Government of Uttar Pradesh has decided to work towards “Housing for All” by 2022. However there are some serious challenges to be faced for this goal to be achieved.

How can innovation in urban planning tackle of land scarcity? How can private players be incentivized to participate in the scheme? How can technology be leveraged to make land record data more reliable?