Dr Praveen Gedam, a fearless IAS officer, devised a sand mining approval and tracking system -SMAT to curb illegal sand mining as the District Collector of Solapur. His path breaking usage of technology is now endorsed by the Ministry of Environment and Forest as well
The Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has come out with new guidelines on sand mining, which are largely based on a model developed and implemented by Dr Praveen Gedam, while serving as District Collector at Solapur in Maharashtra. At present, Dr Gedam is the Municipal Commissioner at Nashik and keynote speaker at Moneylife Foundation’s 6th Anniversary programme to be held on 6th February at YB Chavan Auditorium, near Mantralaya, Mumbai. Mr RC Sinha, another path breaking IAS officer, the man behind Mumbai-Pune expressway, 42 flyovers in Mumbai and development of New Bombay will preside over the function.
Solapur has always been notorious for the illegal sand mining and mafia gangs that operate without fear due to support from politicians. When Dr Gedam took over as District Collector of Solapur in January 2013, he too faced stiff opposition from the sand mafia gangs. Illegal sand mining was rampant in Solapur district as sand excavation was happening from sand beds that were not part of any auction. Once sand was mined illegally over and above the permitted quantity, the sand miners used to even produce forged receipts. The same forged receipts were also used multiple times.
The Solapur district administration under the guidance from Dr Gedam came out with a plan for e-tendering, e-auction and digital monitoring for sand mining. The administration set up control rooms at sand ghats on the only access road. All other access roads to sand ghats were closed. The administration also brought in SMS-based transport permits, developed new online software, mahamining.com for multi-layered tracking on sand mining and also installed closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras at several places. The whole system was known as sand mining approval and tracking system (SMAT).
"Use of technology alone was not enough. We had to be ruthless in our enforcement of the new tracking system to hurt the sand mafia economically," Dr Gedam told DNA.
The results of this e-governance initiative were astounding. With these measures, the Solapur district administration increased its income to Rs78 crore (in FY2013-14) from a mere Rs22 crore (in FY2012-13) by e-auctioning, increased collection of fines and fool-proof monitoring of sand mining through SMAT. These efforts from district administration also saw about 425 first information reports (FIRs) filed against the illegal cartels of sand mafias in FY2013-14 alone.
Last year, Dr Gedam was invited by the MoEF to make a presentation on SMAT before Minister Prakash Javadekar and senior officials in the Ministry. The guidelines issued by the MoEF on sand mining are largely based on SMAT like allowing the district administration to handle clearances of mining leases below five hectares, strict monitoring of illegal mining, usage of unique barcodes, SMS permits and quick response (QR) codes.
Dr Praveen Gedam is the Chief Guest and Keynote Speaker at Moneylife Foundation's 6th Anniversary on 6 February 2016 at Mumbai. Come and listen to several such initiatives of Dr Gedam to improve civic facilities and betterment of citizens’ lives. Here is the link to know more about the program on 6th February (https://www.moneylife.in/events/6anniversary2016/index.html ). Admission is free but registration is mandatory. You can register online for this program by using this link www.moneylife.in/event/116.html
Life Insurance : LIC Tops in Claim Settlement Ratio, Once Again
Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has emerged as the top-ranked insurance player in terms of death claims pay-out, with a settlement ratio of 98.19% compared to 89.4% clocked by private life insurers, according to IRDAI’s (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India) annual report for 2014-15. The private sector has shown improvement as its average claim settlement ratio inched up to 89.4% in 2014-15 from 88.31% in the previous year. Nine private insurers registered a settlement ratio of over 90%; Max Life led the pack at 96.03%. The claim settlement ratios of the top life insurance companies are given in the table below:
Another nine companies, including SBI Life, Aegon Life, Canara HSBC Oriental Life and Exide Life, recorded a claim settlement ratio of over 80%; two companies, namely, DHFL Pramerica and Edelweiss Tokio, settled less than 60% claims.
Jaipur : All persons with disabilities will get a unique identity card within one-and-half years that will be valid throughout the country, union Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot said on Tuesday .
"This identity card will be valid throughout the country and will help the disabled get benefit of welfare schemes," Gehlot, minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, said here while addressing an editors conference on social sector issues.
"It is the vision of the government to have an inclusive society in which equal opportunities and access is provided for the growth and development of Persons With Disabilities (PwDs) to lead productive, safe and dignified lives," he added.
Gehlot also said that the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill has been drafted and all stakeholders are being consulted before it reaches parliament.
The minister said that to frame laws for transgenders, a bill was likely to be introduced during the budget session of parliament.
"The ministry has drafted an umbrella scheme for empowerment of transgender persons and 'The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2015' has been drafted and is likely to be introduced in the upcoming budget session of parliament," he said.
He said the government has also enacted a new bill to check atrocities against Scheduled Castes (SCs).
"Now many more offences against SCs have been brought under the purview of the act and provisions have been enforced from January 26, 2016," he said.
Gehlot said the government has decided to develop all major spots related to the life and work of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar as memorials.
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.