During the Rashtriya Ekta Divas address on 31st October 2015, on the occasion of birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi announced that the Government of India proposes to launch a new initiative called ‘EK Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’. The programme aims to further strengthen the existing cultural connect between different parts of the country and enhance interaction between people living in different states.
After the Prime Minister’s clarion call kick-starting the initiative, “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat” contest was organized on MyGov, Government of India’s citizen-engagement platform, from 5th November 2015 to 25th December 2015. Citizens were invited to submit their ideas and suggestions on structuring the programme so as to encapsulate its true spirit in all its various dimensions and capture the diversity that characterises India.
Entries were invited on the following general themes. These themes were only indicative and participants were free to include any other points they deemed appropriate. Identifying role of central government and state governments in implementation Identifying ways in which governments, civil society and private sector could work together. Specifying the Use of modern communication tools, including social media Documentation of success stories. Ways to make ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ a people’s movement rather than a government programme.
The contest received widespread with over 3,400 entries. Each entry had multiple ideas, therefore more than 50,000 total ideas and suggestions were given by the citizens. The contest entries were assessed using comprehensive evaluation criteria and a three stage jury process was followed. These included an initial short-listing phase, a second level detailed evaluation and short-listing and a final selection by an independent Jury consisting of senior functionaries of various government departments and external subject matter experts.
Some of the notable ideas shared by citizens on MyGov were: Long distance trains running between two partner states to have a “Bharat Store” selling handicrafts and traditional items of the state from where the train commences; Children’s Park with other state’s theme; a mobile app for home- stays; bed and breakfast facilities in a partner state for tourists; collaborative musical projects; joint assembly sessions between partner states, etc.
Finally, three winners were selected on the basis of the scores awarded by the jury. Aniket Choudhary from Jammu and Kashmir was adjudged the winner while Shashi Kumar Kulkarni from Pune and Tushar Khatri from New Delhi were adjudged second and third respectively.