Fix problems at the root, says Punjab Development Commission VC Seema Bansal
The newly formed PDC will look at how to incentivise enterprises and align them seamlessly with positive social impact, says Bansal.
Less than two weeks after the Punjab government set up the Punjab Development Commission (PDC) as a repository of research on good governance and best practices in development,
Seema Bansal, Vice Chairperson of the Punjab Development Commission (PDC) said bold decisions as opposed to populous ones will bring about change in the state.
Speaking to Manasi Phadnis, Senior Anchor, YourStory Media, at TechSparks, Delhi, Bansal reflected on her years of experience in education to point out that positive change could be inspired by the people on ground and permeate the government rather than always happen top-down.
“The agenda in development usually centers around four to five key topics - education, public health, nutrition, agriculture etc. Governments are becoming increasingly aware that every big challenge cannot be solved by them alone,” she said. “They have a constellation of organisations around them, helping bring in expertise, innovation, and help in monitoring and evaluation.”
Last month, Punjab set up the development commission as a repository of research on good governance and best practices in development,
While admitting that it was too premature to talk in detail about PDC, Bansal said a good place to start would be for the private sector to understand its role in the context of broader development issues.
“If you go to a young MBBS doctor checking 30,000 patients at a Primary Health Centre and give them a bunch of innovations on diabetes or disability management, they may not know what to do. Likewise, if you go to a government school principal and ask them to run six different edtech apps, it may not be feasible for them,” said Bansal.
“While these are some amazing innovations being tested and piloted in the country, they are all operating in very specialised niches. We must look at how to incentivise these enterprises and align them seamlessly with the positive social impact that PDC is working for,” she added.
Pointing out that the government is open to bringing in tech partners through a competitive process and on a commercial basis, Bansal said the need of the hour is to create an environment for honest, fair and transparent conversations on the different constraints development sectors face and effective ways to address them to bring about long-term change.
“Instead of working at the surface level, how do you say, create teacher cadres in government schools for more reasonable salaries; or understand why healthcare innovations are not working on the ground? These are some questions we should be asking ourselves,” she said.
Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti