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Government to geo-tag assets under MGNREGA scheme

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Assets or facilities created under the MGNREGA scheme in each panchayat will now be geo-tagged along with photographs of the facility through a partnership between Minisrty of Rural Development and ISRO, according to a PIB release. Geo-tagging assets will allow the government to enforce better monitoring, recording, and terrain mapping for future development works.

Assets created under MGNREGA include farming/agricultural facilities like man-made canals, dams, and irrigation & sanitation projects, among others. Such assets will be geo-tagged with pictures, and will be visible on the government owned Bhuvan mapping platform that provides 2D/3D maps, and other geospatial applications, the release added. Note that since Bhuvan is an open-source mapping platform, these assets will probably be visible for public viewing as well.

Geo-tagged assets will not only ease identification and monitoring; it can also be implemented to perform additional developmental works on existing assets like creating watershed and drought-proofing irrigation facilities through terrain mapping.

Geo-tagging assets has more advantages

The ministry releases certain amount of funds, which is directly transferred to the beneficiary who is responsible for building assets in panchayts and other rural locations. Some existing/older assets may require renovation, or at times, con-joined with newer projects. Since the inception of MNREGA, there were allegations of corruption and leakage of funds during transfer.

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To tackle these setbacks, the government introduced a revamped ‘Fixed Asset Register (FAR) last month, which is designed to easily retrieve information about assets through properties like Asset ID, location, convergence schemes, renovations performed, beneficiary name and ID, etc. All such information is updated real-time and stored centrally in NREGASoft—a software for managing and monitoring assets online.

Each time a fund is released or an asset is deemed for renovation, the information gets stored in NREGASoft, while they are geo-tagged with pictures, which additionally can be used to denote progress of a project. This will allow for better transparency and identification of assets in real-time, especially with the Bhuvan integration.

No of assets: A report from thewire points out that during 2015-16, the government build more than 2 million assets, which might include renovations, and convergence. In 2014-15 the government spent Rs 42,084 crore (`$6.1 billion) for the MGNREGA project, added the report.

Recent developments in e-governance

-In this month, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) said it would open dedicated FASTag lanes at 48 different toll plazas on Delhi – Mumbai, Mumbai-Chennai Corridors.

-Last month, the Indian government paid a total of Rs 122.4 crore has been as commissions to Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) who help facilitate routine operations in Common Service Centres across the country.

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– The government also launched an online trading platform for farmers, connecting them to a network of wholesale agricultural markets in April.

-In the same month, in a bid to reduce human involvement between tax officials and citizens, the Income Tax department launched an ‘E-filling’ facility.

– In March, Election Commission of India (ECI) launched a set of mobile apps, and other online initiatives related to electoral processes, which can be used by candidates and political parties to submit mandatory filings/statements or request certain permissions.

Read our coverage of E-governance services here.

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