ITEC Chronicle A quarterly newsletter from Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation VOLUME: 02, ISSUE: 1-3
From The Secretary's Desk The year 2020 will be remembered in the history of our civilization as a year of unpredictable challenges. It began with optimism; however later, COVID-19 turned our world upside down. Unprecedented restrictions were imposed worldwide including ban on international as well as domestic travel. Our flagship Capacity Building ITEC programme was also impacted by these unforeseen challenges. As the year draws to a close, we can look back with some satisfaction that we did not deter from our goal of sharing knowledge, experience and expertise under the ITEC Programme with our partner countries.
Anticipating the global proportions of the pandemic and to minimize its spread, ITEC activities were suspended in the first week of March. We also started evacuating ITEC participants before India went into lock down and continued doing so by special flights or by Vande Bharat Missions’ flights. In keeping with the tradition of 'Atithi Devo Bhava', where guests are received as equivalent to God, we rendered all possible assistance to the ITEC participants who were stranded in India and these efforts were recognised by the participants and their home countries. Despite many unforeseen challenges brought about by COVID-19, new opportunities have also been discovered to strengthen our partnership and capacity building programme. During these testing times when international air traffic was disrupted all around the globe, the e-ITEC initiative of MEA came in handy to overcome the hurdles posed by the pandemic. We were able to reach out to more than 1500 participants across all ITEC partner countries with 28 courses (both in defence and civilian sector) till date, in diverse fields including management, meditation, coping with the pandemic, good governance, education and empowerment, to name a few. Special customized courses at the request of partner countries were also organized; sometimes at short notice. It is said that the coming years will rewrite the race of technological advancement. Our efforts are to meet this challenge and help equip our partner countries by providing soft skills as per their needs. This is India’s reaffirmation towards shared growth and prosperity aligned with our ethos of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. As a firm believer in health and prosperity for all and UN SDGs, we kept our supply chains open and supplied medicines and equipment to contain the spread of COVID-19 to 150 countries around the world; to many as humanitarian assistance. This gesture was well received and appreciated by our partner countries. Through this Newsletter, we hope to highlight the remarkable range and value of activities undertaken by ITEC, despite all constraints. We were able to achieve all this through the wonderful collaboration of partner countries, institutes and Team-ITEC. I hope that our partner countries and partner institutions will stay well, along with their families. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our stake holders for their support and encouragement. Wishing you Seasons’ Greetings and best wishes for the New Year 2021!
2020 Through ITEC Lens
The year 2020 will be remembered as a turnaround point in human history, not just because we are gripped by the tumulus effects of the pandemic but also because, this crisis has shown us the power of human resilience and our sheer will to move forward. We at ITEC transformed obstacles into opportunities with a fine amalgamation of knowledge and technology. Therefore, by prioritizing innovation and paving the way for digital transformation we introduced a number of e-ITEC courses and programs like the first ever Defense e-ITEC program, e-ITEC COVID management and mitigation courses along with e-ITEC Good Governance programs. Even as the COVID crisis continued to unfold, we were determined to move forward and go an extra mile to make the ITEC experience memorable and eventful for our participants. More than 1550 participants from over 55 countries took part in various e-ITEC program. Not only this, adhering to the Indian philosophy of Atithi Devo Bhava Team ITEC took utmost care of the participants who had to stay behind in India and also repatriated a total of 1200 participants safely at the earliest available opportunity. These changes wouldn’t have been possible without the coordination and cooperation at different levels of the government and most importantly the institutes and participants who welcomed this transition wholeheartedly and without any reservation.
Programs in Focus At ITEC this year, despite facing unprecedented challenges, we rose to the occasion and turned the tide in our direction. Therefore, in keeping with the exigencies of the time we ushered in a series of digital initiatives that helped in the management and capacity building in our fight against the corona virus. As the pandemic progressed, there was a renewed focus on enhancing our educational and governance capabilities by using digital technologies. ITEC introduced many e-learning courses along with e-ITEC Good Governance programs for our partner countries. Last but not the least, in order to successfully cope with the stress and anxiety brought forth by the Pandemic we need a holistic approach to living life. Consequently, e-ITEC programs on Buddhism were launched in order to put equal focus on mental health.
In order to develop a robust approach in fighting the pandemic we need an enhanced capacity building plan of action for our healthcare providers. A total of thirteen e-ITEC programs were conducted in premier institutes like AIIMS Raipur, AIIMS Jodhpur, PGI Chandigarh, etc. on COVID-19 related issues for the healthcare professionals of ITEC partner countries. AIIMS Bhubaneshwar conducted one eITEC program exclusively in Bangla language for the benefit of health professionals in Bangladesh
A digital and a sustainable world is what our vision for the future should be. Keeping this in mind many customized programs were conducted for countries around the world. A specialized e-ITEC program was conducted at HSMI for Brunei Darussalam on Housing for Sustainable Habitats. Uniquely modified e-ITEC programs for Maldives were conducted by NITTTR Chennai in the field of online teaching and e-learning. Special e-ITEC programs were conducted for Bhutan at NISM and NLU Jodhpur. Customized e-ITEC programs for Eswatini were organized at PRIDE and NITTTR Chennai
In order to achieve the perfect synchrony of body, mind and the spirit the importance of meditation cannot be stressed enough. Three e-ITEC programs were conducted by the Vipassana Research Institute. The courses highlighted Buddha's life and his teachings of universal love and compassion. Two e-ITEC programs conducted on Vipassana were helpful in gaining insight into the Buddhist techniques of self- observation & exploration of mind and body.
Good Governance and development go hand in hand. It is not only a tool for building institutional capacity but, it also ensures delivery of quality public services in times of a crisis. Thus, two e-ITEC programs were conducted at NCGG on Good Governance practices during Covid-19 crisis. An e-ITEC program was held at BPRD on Policing in the course of a Pandemic. A special e-ITEC program was organized at AFMC Pune for medical personnel of CLMV countries.
Institute in focus -
NCGG, National Centre for good governance
The National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG) is an autonomous institute under the aegis of Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, Government of India. The NCGG has been set up to assist in bringing about governance reforms by carrying out policy relevant research and prepare case studies; curate courses for training civil servants from India and other developing countries; provide a platform for sharing existing knowledge and develop ideas for their implementation, both at the National & International Level. . The over-arching intended principle is to employ an eclectic approach for research, advocacy and dissemination of good practices for inclusive and responsive governance with ‘perceptible’ and ’sustainable’ transformation of the least developed” as the end-in-view. NCGG and ITEC (Ministry of External Affairs) share a strong relationship, and have successfully collaborated to conduct some of the below mentioned Training Programmes since 2014.
52 Mid-Career Training Programme in Field Administration for Civil Servants of Bangladesh & Special Training Programme for Deputy Commissioners of Bangladesh and 1500+ officers have been trained. Mid-Career Training Programme for District Administrators & Township Administrators of Myanmar. As of now 04 training programmes have been conducted with a participation of 100+ Civil Servants from Myanmar. Training Programme on Leadership & e-Governance for Cambodian Civil Servants with a participation of 30 Civil Servants. Special Training Programme for the Gambian Civil Servants & Study Tour of India with an active participation from 36 Senior Civil Servants from Gambia. Several e-ITEC program on COVID – 19 – Good Governance Practices in a Pandemic. The objective of these program was to disseminate India’s good governance practices in fighting the pandemic. These included esteemed chairmen and eminent speakers from different Ministries/ Departments and reputed institutions of Government of India. The participants of the workshop comprised of Senior Secretaries, Diplomats, District Administrators, and Health Experts & Senior Officials from 42 countries of Africa, East Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and South Asia. The e-ITEC program was inaugurated by Dr. Jitendra Singh, Hon’ble Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, & Shri V. Muraleedharan, Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs.
Shri V. Srinivas, I.A.S Director General, NCGG The National Centre for Good Governance is deeply privileged to be chosen as the institute in focus for implementing the ITEC Programs for December 2020. In July-September 2020 period, the NCGG has conducted two ITEC-NCGG workshops on “Good Governance Practices in a Pandemic” for 19 countries of Asia and 26 countries of Africa where the best practices in a pandemic – digital governance, healthcare, education, Vande Bharat Mission and redressal of public grievances were deliberated by eminent Indian and International civil servants. Over 450 delegates participated in deliberations. The Coronavirus pandemic has redefined India’s governance models bringing digital governance to the forefront. The ITEC-NCGG workshops have enabled knowledge dissemination and exchange of best practices across 46 countries. The NCGG looks forward to a strong, sustainable and long term engagement with ITEC.
ITEC Experience
Alumni Corner Many years ago I came to India as an ITEC trainee, over the years I have seen this ITEC program growing both in numbers and the scope. It is a very useful initiative of the government of India, many partnering countries are benefiting from the programme. Uzbekistan also participates in the ITEC program. Every year many experts specialists from Uzbekistan participates in different courses under the program they improve their skills, they improve their knowledge and they go back home with the improved skill and knowledge to apply it for the sustainable development of the country. Farhod Arziev Ambassador of Uzbekistan to India
Participant’s Perspective On behalf of the Housing Development Department, Ministry of Development, Brunei Darussalam, I would like to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to HUDCO SSMI and Government of India for organising the program on ‘housing for sustainable habitats, policy planning, design and construction technologies’, which was held from 19th to 21st October. A total of 14 participants took part in the program. The course provided a good platform for both countries to share and exchange views, ideas and experiences on housing development. The course has also widened the participants' knowledge and gave them insights on how they can further help our department to carry our mission of providing houses that are safe, good quality and yet affordable for the people of Brunei Darussalam. Hj Sufri Bin Hj Abdul Hamid Acting Deputy Director Housing Development Department
Defence Corner
It is a noteworthy accomplishment that when ITEC civilian programs were stalled due to the Pandemic, we were still able to find a way to conduct ITEC Defence courses. Regardless of all the adversities we faced due to Covid-19, the tri-service programs were launched in July 2020. DSSC 76 saw participation from countries like Myanmar, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Ghana, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria, Philippines, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Zambia, and Saudi Arabia. Similarly for HDMC-16, participants from countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Kenya and Thailand successfully attended the program. Naval programs were started from mid-September, 2020, while programs offered by the Army came on track subsequently from October 2020. Aviation related programs will begin from January 2021. We were able to successfully conduct these programs due to the zeal and commitment of our forces and officers towards their partner countries.
Since we were constrained due to many challenges confronted owing to the Pandemic for organizing physical classes, DPA-II division organized a few e-ITEC programs. These virtual engagements turned out to be fruitful endeavours. The first e-ITEC program on clinical management of COVID-19 for about 70 officers from medical branch of Cambodia, Laos PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam Armed forces had been conducted from 6-9th July, 2020. The program was conducted in collaboration with Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS). DPA-II Division, taking cue from the travel ban, started early repatriation of defence trainees. A total of 111 trainees had been repatriated to their respective countries during 19th-23rd March, 2020 period. DPA-II Division made sure that defence trainees stranded due to restrictions imposed by the travel ban were accommodated comfortably in their institutes. Additional 817 trainees had been repatriated utilizing out bound Vande Bharat Mission flights and special charter flights arranged by countries to repatriate their citizens in India.
Mr. V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs, attended the Inaugural session of the e-ITEC program on COVID-19 Good Governance Practices in a Pandemic along with Dr. Jitender Singh, Union Minister of State (Ind Charge)
Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Ind Charge) delivered the valedictory address during the e-ITEC Program on ‘Gender Inclusive Governance for Policy Makers’. Shri Akhilesh Mishra, AS,(DPA),MEA also participated in the program.
Dr Ibrahim Hassan, Minister of Higher Education, Government of Maldives enthusiastically supported e-ITEC trainings in Maldives along with Mr. Sunjay Sudhir, High Commissioner of India to Maldives and other dignitaries.
Mr. Sanjeev Chopra, Director of Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration addressed the Inaugural session on Day 1 of the e-ITEC program on 'Gender Inclusive Governance for Policymakers."
Ms Abhilasha Joshi , Joint Secretary, MEA delivered the Valedictory address at the successful completion of the e-ITEC program on "Introductory Ayurveda Course for Beginners" conducted by Vipassana Research Institute.
Mr. Hemendra Sharma, Director MEA, attended the inaugural ceremony e-ITEC programme on “International Commercial Arbitration” for the Bhutanese Judges.
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The year gone by posed many challenges but, the New Year promises new opportunities. In mapping the way ahead for a new India let us resolve to foster robust, sustainable and equitable relationships to advance mutually shared values and global aspirations for a brighter and better tomorrow.
Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Program Development Partnership Administration,
Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India