Jharkhand: IAS Officer Upskills Digital Literacy & Digitises Govt Operations In Several Districts; Know More

Jharkhand: IAS Officer Upskills Digital Literacy & Digitises Govt Operations In Several Districts; Know More

Instead of renting systems, Aditya Ranjan bought computers with a vision of starting permanent computer training centres. Under the aegis of the district e-governance society, he trained over 2000 government workforce on how to use computers to carry out their daily tasks digitally.

We often forget the struggle we faced while growing up when we become monetarily capable or are in a position of power, but there are a few who work on correcting the system, so as to make the path easier for the future generation who are going to tread the same path.

Coming from a lower middle-class background and being a first-generation graduate, Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Aditya Ranjan faced many challenges while growing up. He didn’t have any mentor and wasn’t acquainted with the internet when he took his engineering entrance exams after Class 12, which was in 2006.

Realising The Importance Of Using Computers & Internet

Hailing from Bhendra, Nawadih, a village in the Bokaro district of Jharkhand, he was to give his computer-based entrance test for Birla Institute Of Technology And Science–Pilani (BITS–Pilani) in Kolkata. He struggled to give the exam using a desktop computer, and then the invigilator helped him. He secured 421 marks out of 500, which was good enough for admission at BITS-Pilani.

However, he only got to know about the online process to follow after the test to secure a seat once he was in the queue to take admission at BIT Mesra, Ranchi. Realising how a lack of knowledge of the usage of computers and the internet hampered his career, he took Computer Science at BIT-Mesra.

Taking A Step Towards Making Others Digitally Literate

After working in the software company oracle for two years, Aditya Ranjan gave his Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in 2015 and got his first posting in Deoghar. In 2016-2017, an exam was conducted by the Panchayati Raj Department of Jharkhand for the selection of 300 operators to carry out the digitisation of various processes like voter-id, Aadhaar card, Finance Commission Schemes etc., but only ten aspirants were able to clear the examination. Every aspirant had an eligibility certificate, but very few were skilled in using computers. The applicants were BCA, MCA, and B.Tech too.

In today’s age when from filling an exam form to seeing results, everything is online, there is a huge chunk of youth who are in a disadvantaged position because of a lack of computer skills. Then, Aditya was reminded of his struggle days and thought of doing something for the students.

He started free-of-cost computer coaching classes for the using idle computers, for those youths who didn’t have computer access and were digitally illiterate. Taking time after his work with a few of his colleagues, he would teach them different examinations, soft skills, and how to use different software.

Far-Fetched Vision Of Digitising Government Work

But the real change started when he was appointed as Deputy Development Commissioner in 2018, in the West Singhbhum District of Jharkhand, a tribal region. 67.3 per cent of the population of the West Singhbhum district are from Scheduled Tribes, and he realised that not only the students, here the government workforce was also digitally handicapped.

During Lok Sabha & Vidhan Sabha elections, the administrative department had to take computers on rent. Instead of renting & wasting money, he bought computers with a vision of starting permanent computer training centres. Under the aegis of the district e-governance society, he trained over 2000 government workforce on how to use computers to carry out their daily tasks digitally, which were earlier done manually, and were time-consuming.

Later, he was posted as District Collector of Koderma district in Jharkhand where digital literacy is approximately one per cent among the entire population of close to 10 lakhs. This is a tragedy, knowing that in today’s world, where ‘knowing how to use computers is a skill’ without which no one can be part of the current world and would be left behind, a lot of young students, particularly women, were being left behind.

Affordable & Reliable Teaching Centres

He started a full-fledged initiative here under the District e-governance society (DeGS). At present, nine computer learning centres are running under the DeGS computer training programme. The effort of the district administration led by IAS Aditya Ranjan wasn’t just to educate urban kids but also the youths coming from rural backgrounds. Students from nearby villages come there and undergo training on using computers. The focus of the centres is that those who have never seen a computer in their life are also able to learn how to use it and excel in their careers.

The enrolment fee for these centres is a mere ₹100, which is refundable once a student completes the course. The idea of the fee with refundability is to motivate students to come to classes from far-off rural areas and attend all classes.

The coaching centres being run in Koderma

Currently, 14 batches with 30 students in each batch are being run in these centres, which run from 6 AM in the morning to 8 PM in the evening. Learners include students, teachers, Anganwadi workers, ANMs, police personnel, SHG women and even people who are above 45 years of age. The centre also trains the participants in soft skills.

Till now, over 11000 students have been trained under DeGS, and 2,000 students are currently undergoing training. Over 70 per cent of the students are girls. These training centres have become bliss for those who could not access computers due to issues of affordability and accessibility. It gives them hope to do better and feel confident in competing with the world. The district administration is also working with different companies where interested students can get jobs.

The students with their certificates

A benefit which wasn’t thought of earlier has resulted after this training as people in these areas is now aware of cybercrime, Cyber fraud, Cyberbullying and the use/ misuse of social media. Once a student clears the training with 50 per cent marks and 100 per cent attendance, he is awarded a certificate and Rs. 100 is refunded to him/her.

Aditya Ranjan also says, “With time, all government schemes and programs, heavily-used mobile apps like Poshan tracker, Joldoot, Anmol, etc. and MIS like MGNREGA, e-gram swaraj, etc. are getting online. But people who are supposed to use it are far from digital know-how. No training for cutting-edge workers in government before digitisation is one of the major reasons for the failure of government schemes. Through this, Koderma’s pursuit of training government functionaries has resulted in startling results in the implementation of govt. schemes”.

IAS Aditya Ranjan receiving Gold Award in Digital India Awards 2022 by Hon’ble President of India

The Logical Indian appreciates IAS Aditya Ranjan for taking the much-needed initiative in a state like Jharkhand, where youth still struggle to fulfil their basic education needs. The district administration of Koderma won Gold in Digital India 2022 awards for the initiative DeGS Computer basic training at the grassroots level. It is the first time Jharkhand has won the Digital India award. Honourable President Draupadi Murmu awarded Aditya Ranjan on January 7 last year. We hope other districts which are being left behind in digital literacy get inspired and work similarly towards it.

Also Read: Jharkhand's Koderma District Administration Upskills Board Students, Achieves Exceptional Outcome

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Editor : Jayali Wavhal
Creatives : Jayali Wavhal

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