Chandigarh: A delegation from Afghanistan, comprising of 49 civil services officers and professors of public administration from the universities of Balkh, Heart, Kabul, Kandahar, AND Nangahar visited Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration (MGSIPA), Chandigarh between 18th and 20th February 2015 as part of an endeavour to strengthen public administration education in Afghanistan.
Mrs Raji P Shrivastava, Director, MGSIPA briefed the delegates about the training and research activities of MGSIPA. Mrs Gurpreet Sapra, Special Secretary, Department of Personnel, Government of Punjab explained the functioning of the civil service in Punjab. Mr Rakesh Verma, Secretary, Department of Governance Reforms, Government of Punjab, in his presentation to the delegates, mentioned the structure of government in India and gave an overview of the Punjab Governance Reforms Commission and implementation of its various recommendations for the benefits of citizens of the state. He elaborated on the various services being provided to citizens under the Punjab Right to Service Act, 2011. He added that the government is committed to ensure that all services are delivered to the citizens in a given time-bound manner.
The activities aimed at reaching out to the citizens as part of National eGovernance Plan were also discussed. An overview of “e-district” was explained to the delegates. Mr Verma added that a citizens portal will be created soon where all citizens can avail different services provided by the government at one place without moving from one website to another.
The delegates interacted with the officers of the Punjab Government on various issues such as, administrative reforms, population, family system, challenges faced while implementing eGovernance projects, change management, etc. The civil servants from Afghanistan mentioned that they have just started administrative reforms and the young civil servants of Afghanistan with their exposure and learning from across the world have been contributing to the growth and development of the country as was evident during the last 10 years. The delegates expressed a desire to know more about Punjabi dance and music and appreciated its universal appeal. They also wished to have further interactions with Punjab government and its academic institutions via Skype or video-conferencing on the subjects of e-governance and public service delivery. They felt that such inputs would enable them to lift the standards of these services in the interior parts of Afghanistan.
The visit was co-ordinated by Dr Suzanne Griffin, Project Head, GiZ (Germany) and Dr C Sheela Reddy, Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi.