Planning Commission conducts Hackathon for its 12th Plan at IIT-KGP

Govt. of India Planning Commission reaches out to College and University students to present its 12th Plan

Online PR News – 12-April-2013 – April 9, 2013 Kharagpur/West Bengal – In a novel initiative the Planning Commission has reached out to the college/ university students through an event called Hackathon to present the 12th Plan to public at large. The event activities involved many of young creative designers, coders, film-makers along with policy and development enthusiasts from IIT-KGP and other institutions like Jadavpur University visualized and narrated the 12th Plan through infographics, short films and support the initiatives proposed in the Plan by developing software applications.

The plan was briefed out to the students by Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, who narrowed down the focus area to some key areas - Macro-economic framework, Agriculture and Rural Development, Health, Water and Environment, Energy, Education and Skill development, Urban development. Each area has clear national target. Plan programmes and policies need to be analyzed along with analysis of role of government resources in reaching the target. These were taken into consideration while preparing the presentations which were timed for less than 3 minutes. Sam Pitroda, advisor to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure & Innovations, explained the idea behind the event why students' creativity was sorted instead of a PR agency. The main objective was to explain the 12th Plan through Single Over-riding Communications Objective (SOCO) to 20% of Indian population who have access to laptops, smart phones, tablets etc. This will improve communication and collaboration of the government with public at large in real-time.

From the IIT-KGP zonal location the winners were, in the mobile application category, team 11th Hour from IIT-KGP and in visualization category team Titans. Titans chose Energy sector with their project titled 'The Way Ahead' which depicted info-graphic by the union of nuclear, solar and other renewable energy resources. This is also being realized by the government by targeting an increase in nuclear energy capacity of 562.5% (from 880 MW to 5300 MW) in 12th 5-year plan. Similarly ambitious targets have been set for solar (capacity of 22000 MW by 2022) and other renewable sources. The team depicted the importance of R&D and private players using symbolism with the policy of government that allocates budgets for R&D and also makes various policies favorable to private companies e.g. amendment of Nuclear Act in the 12th plan. The Mobile application of team 11th Hour provides for an interface where a user may input the health assistance it needs and would be provided with the existing public sector and PPP schemes whereby details of the program would be given. This would not only result in greater awareness among the people regarding the healthcare initiatives by the government but would also help reduce the dependence on high cost and often unreachable private sector healthcare. The application may be further extended to increase awareness in sectors like agriculture and education where a similar app giving information regarding Government loan/subsidy or scholarship schemes can be provided. The Jury members had representation of senior journalist Ms Pradipta Mukherjee from Bloomberg TV and Mr. Dilip Das, ex-IFS Officer and representative of Midnapore-based NGO Sarada Kalyan Bhandar. Also were present the acting Director of IIT-KGP Prof. Amit Patra and two officials from the State Planning Commission. The judging criteria were creativity, visual appeal and usability of submission - how well it communicates the message and is relevant to the 12th Plan.

The other locations were IIT Kanpur, IIT Madras, IIT Delhi, IISC Bangalore, IIIT Hyderabad, Jammu University, TISS Mumbai, Aligarh Muslim University, Delhi University. The final contest across all zones is yet to be declared. The Govt. of India will use the best submission selected from across the 10 zonal locations as part of its communication strategy with regards to the 12th Plan.