A number of initiatives have been taken during the thirteenth Presidency to make the Rashtrapati Bhavan Estate a model township. It includes preservation of heritage, introduction of recreational and sports facilities, efficient management of security, water, energy and waste disposal systems, improvement of infrastructure, and creation of new facilities like sewage treatment plant, studio apartments, residential blocks, a ceremonial hall and an AYUSH Wellness Centre. When the idea of transformation of the Estate was first presented to the President of India, he gave a clear direction that we should fashion this Estate as a 3’H township that is Humane, Hi-tech and Heritage Township. Taking this forward, a value-driven governance model based on the core civilizational values of compassion and service to others was developed. This model seeks happiness to come not necessarily from material well-being but from following the highest principles of human existence like compassion, harmony and a spirit of service. Such initiatives at Rashtrapati Bhavan relate to pre-school children (Sanskar), specially-abled children (Sparsh), children in the 7-14 years’ age group (Sanskriti) and senior citizens (Samagam), together called the 4’S initiative. There are other initiatives relating to holistic healthcare and education; modernization of the Dr. Rajendra Prasad Sarvodaya Vidyalaya (which is located in the Estate); skill development; housing; animal care; e-initiatives, cultural programmes, and appreciation of art and history. These all have enhanced the quality of life of the residents of the Estate.
2. Improving living standards is a journey that is continuous. Possibility for improvement always exists. While inaugurating an intelligent operations centre for a smart President’s Estate on May 19, 2016 at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Hon’ble President had said: "If I were to use a word to describe a human emotion associated with this on-going transformation of quality of life in the township, it will be happiness. It is happiness that holds the key to the well-being of people and for the development of human society. Today, recognizing the smiles on the faces of my people, I will like to add one more ‘H’ to our model of 3H, and that is ‘Happiness’”. The smart President’s Estate is now a 4’H Estate - Humane, Hi-tech, Heritage and Happy.
3. The implementation of these initiatives at Rashtrapati Bhavan has been in close coordination with both Ministries and governmental and other organizations. The initiatives have been undertaken within the assigned budget and framework of governmental procedures and guidelines. Thus, changes have been brought about within the boundaries of the extant systems. Rashtrapati Bhavan has been able to achieve synergies for optimal utilization of manpower and material resources. This has provided the institution confidence that the template of change at Rashtrapati Bhavan can be replicated in other areas.
4. The knowledge and experience so gained by the Rashtrapati Bhavan can now be utilized for extending support to village level initiatives in areas of NCR. With this in mind, the President of India approved the initiation of a pilot project for conversion of a few villages in adjoining districts of the national capital region (NCR) into smart model villages utilizing the expertise gained by Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan Experience
For us at Rashtrapati Bhavan, a smart township means a ‘humane’, ‘hi-tech’ and ‘heritage’ township which ensures an enhanced quality of life that contributes to the happiness and wellbeing of its residents. Our focus has been on sustainable and inclusive development and to create a replicable model which may act as an example for other aspiring townships. A large number of initiatives have been taken in Rashtrapati Bhavan during the current presidency, with the involvement of various government and non-government stakeholders. To convert Rashtrapati Bhavan into a smart township, the following areas were prioritized for focused attention and time-bound implementation:
Improving the Infrastructure
- Water management
- Energy management
- Sanitation including waste management
- Eco-friendly and non-polluting internal mobility
- Housing for all employees
- An Intelligent Operations Centre (IOC) in Rashtrapati Bhavan and a Mobile App ‘Monitor’ was inaugurated by the President of India on May 19, 2016. It is a dashboard based system for water, energy, security and waste management.
- A Sewage Treatment Plant with a daily capacity of 20 lakh litres was inaugurated by the President on June 8, 2015, having been built in a record time of 15 months. It has the capacity to meet two-third of the water requirement for horticulture in the Estate.
- Sprinkler and drip irrigation system has been installed. This system has reduced the quantity of water required for horticulture purposes by 40 percent as compared to traditional methods.
- A drive for energy efficiency has been undertaken with the installation of around 1,200 LED bulbs in different locations in the RB Estate. A solarisation project with a capacity of 1.036 MW is under implementation and will be completed by end Sep 2016.
- The time for switching on and off the street lights is being carefully adjusted to save energy.
- An effective management system for segregation of waste for its disposal and vermi-composting of bio-degradable matter is fully functional.
- Equipment called green waste re-processor has been installed that cuts big pieces of green garbage into small pieces and palettes that are then taken for further compositing.
- The civic agency in-charge of household waste disposal (NDMC) has started deploying automatic road sweepers for effective cleaning and sweeping of roads in the Estate.
- We are in the process of installing a pyrolyses processing machine for disposal of plastics. It is likely to be installed by early Oct 2016.
Eco-friendly and non-polluting internal mobility
- To improve physical fitness and reduce pollution levels, 100 yellow bicycles have been placed for point-to-point movement at designated entry gates for use by the campus residents.
- Battery-Operated vehicles (BOVs) have been introduced for internal use. With seven new BOVs being added to the existing fleet of four, a total of 11 BOVs will be in position by Jul 15, 2016.
- To provide transit and guest accommodation, Peacock Serviced Apartments comprising eight 1-BHK and another eight 2-BHK apartments have been constructed in a record time of 7 months and inaugurated on Jul 25, 2014.
- A recreation club to hold social functions by the employees, along with guest accommodation, has been set up.
- One hundred residential quarters for class-IV employees have been renovated in accordance with the principles of ‘Green Buildings’.
- Fifty new residential quarters have been constructed under a re-development plan. Seventy two apartments in a Twin Tower Residential Complex at G’ Point behind Dr. RML Hospital are under construction. The project is scheduled for completion by end of this year.
- Good governance, especially e-Governance and resident participation;
- Robust IT connectivity and digitalization;
- Opening up and sharing the Rashtrapati Bhavan with the citizens of the country in line with the thinking that the Rashtrapati Bhavan belongs to the nation and the people at large;
- This living heritage was thrown open to the people of India three years ago. Since then, more than 20 lakh people have visited the Rashtrapati Bhavan and its Gardens. To make Rashtrapati Bhavan a preferred tourist destination, three new tourist circuits have been developed. About 115 inovation scholars, writers, artists, inspired teachers and students have been hosted so far in Rashtrapati Bhavan under the in-residence programme that was launched by the Hon’ble President on Dec 11, 2013.
- E-outreach: The President of India’s website (in English and Hindi) has been fully re-designed and social media (Facebook, Youtube and Twitter) is being used to inform the public about the President and the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The official website has received over 418 million hits since its creation on August 3, 2012. Over 1.86 million people have visited the YouTube channel of Rashtrapati Bhavan and 3.7 million people have ‘liked’ the Rashtrapati Bhavan Facebook page. A study ‘World Leaders on Facebook’ by Burson Marsteller has ranked the President of India 12th most liked amongst world leaders on Facebook. The Rashtrapati Bhavan’s Twitter account launched on July 1, 2014 has gained over 1.87 million followers. Rashtrapati Bhavan has recently started live-streaming of events.
- An E-invitation management system to invite guests to events held at RB was launched on Sep 22, 2012.
- E-Management of visitor’s system (E-MVS) for on-line booking using the bar code technology was launched on Dec 21, 2012. An Online Payment Gateway was integrated with E-MVS on Sep 1, 2013. The payment gateway was also introduced in the AYUSH Wellness Clinic on Jan 1, 2016.
- A Video Conferencing Studio has been set up in RB on Dec 24, 2012 for the President to interact through video conferencing facility with Governors (on the NIC network) and with students and faculty of higher educational and research institutions (on the National Knowledge Network). During the last video conference with higher academic institutions on Aug 10, 2016, the President of India reached out to more than 130 institutions through the video conferencing mode and to over 1,200 locations through the webcast mode.
- E-office system of office administration has been started with effect from Jan 1, 2013.
- The E-Gifts Management System (E-GMS) has been developed and installed for documentation and inventory management of gifts received by the President. The system was launched on Apr 17, 2014.
- An enormous time-bound effort was launched for opening of bank accounts, issuing of Aadhaar cards, and provision of SBI Smart Change Cards (for cashless shopping in the Estate) for all the residents of the President’s Estate. Rashtrapati Bhavan was declared a Financially Inclusive Township on December 11, 2014.
- The E-Way System for effective communication between Rashtrapati Bhavan and Raj Bhavans has been established on Dec 22, 2014.
- RFID based Smart Identity Cards project for RB employees, residents of the President’s Estate and their visitors has been initiated for proper identification and security; Workmen Pass System for contractual employees has also been introduced.
- Since August, 2015, information about visitors of officers of President’s Secretariat is being sent to RB Security through Online Visitors’ Request Information System made available through the e-office portal.
- RB became a Wi-Fi enabled township on May 22, 2015 with 29 hotspots located throughout the Estate.
- The Assets Management and Tracking Information System (AMTIS) has been set up for a comprehensive digital inventory and cross references using RFID Tags of all art objects, heritage furniture, vintage carpets, original electrical fixtures and fittings, gifts to the President (and former Presidents) and other movable properties of the President’s Estate.
- The E-Pustakalaya project for bar coding and cataloguing of books has been completed.
- Restoration, conservation and preservation of heritage structures.
- Protection of flora and fauna
Restoration, conservation and preservation of heritage
- To restore, conserve and preserve heritage buildings in RB, INTACH was commissioned in Jan 2013 to prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) for the Rashtrapati Bhavan. INTACH submitted the CCMP on Jun 26, 2013 which laid down a vision plan up to 2050.
- Conservation work for the 65 identified heritage buildings has been completed to bring back the original elements of the historic landscape and design.
- As identified in the CCMP, two Clock Towers and PBG buildings have been restored. Major projects viz. ceremonial hall and new Garages have been constructed within record time of less than a year.
- A Rotary at Block No. 1 inside the Roundabout in Schedule ‘B’ area, which was in a dilapidated state, has been restored in record time of five months and converted into the ‘Public Library’.
- A Rotary at Block No. 8 in Schedule ‘B’ area, which was ready for demolition, has been restored and converted into the AYUSH Wellness Clinic within a period of three months.
- The Coach House and Stables, erstwhile resting place for horses of the President’s Bodyguard and dilapidated over time, have been restored and converted into Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum Phase-I.
- A World-Class Museum (Phase-II) at the site of a heritage building, where the President’s Garage was earlier located, has been inaugurated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on Jul 25, 2016.
Protection of flora and fauna
- Massive effort has been made to restore the original flora and fauna of Aravali range through replacement planting of identified species.
- Trees such as Neem, Jamun and Mango, that attract lot of birds, have been planted.
- A Wetland around the Sewage Treatment Plant has been developed by planting various species of trees and shrubs to support the habitat for various fauna. Species of birds sighted in RB have increased by 22 percent from the 91 recorded in a 2002-03 survey to 111 spotted in a 2013-14 survey.
- Promoting healthcare and wellness of residents
- Promoting education and skill development
- Community welfare ensuring safety, security and care of residents, particularly women, children and the elderly
Healthcare and Wellness
- The President’s Estate Clinic was inaugurated by the President on Jul 25, 2015 after extensive renovation. Services of the clinic have been augmented with specialists from various disciplines like child psychology and counseling, and physiotherapy, and modern diagnostic services.
- The AYUSH Wellness Clinic started on Jul 25, 2015 to provide residents treatment and therapy in alternative medicine or traditional medicine.
- Yoga Classes are being conducted regularly for residents.
- The Fitness Centre for employees and residents has been up-graded.
Education and Skill Development
- A Public Library for use by residents and their children has been opened.
- Digital Literacy Programme called ‘Shakti’ was launched on Nov 20, 2013 in association with Google to empower women in the field of education, information, internet, communication, finance, etc.
- Recognition of prior learning (RPL) under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana is being implemented in RB under which more than 1500 contractual and regular employees in 20 skill categories are being trained, assessed and certified. The aim of the project is to ensure that all the semi-skilled and skilled employees in RB are certified of their skills.
- Dr. Rajendra Prasad Sarvodaya Vidyalaya in the Estate has been converted into a model school through a multitude of initiatives like up-gradation of infrastructure including a renovated library, new furniture, graphics lab, electronic display board, beautification of building through posters, paintings, maps and inspirational quotes, Wi-Fi facility, and establishment of a Knowledge Floor with a Knowledge Hub and a Financial Centre. The academic performance of the school students have gone up from a pass percentage of 88 percent in 2011-12 to 99.3 percent in 2013-14. The school has also been declared a solar-powered green school on Dec 11, 2015.
- A Science and Innovation Museum called ‘Navachara Kaksh’ has been established at Rashtrapati Bhavan with the assistance of M/s. Intel India. It has a compelling mix of information, scientific know-how and inspiring innovation designed to encourage young people on the path to scientific discovery and learning. It was inaugurated by the President of India on Aug 4, 2015.
- The 4’S of ‘Sanskar’, a play school for children followed by ‘Sparsh’, a rehabilitation programme for differently-abled children, ‘Samagam’, a support initiative for senior citizens, and Sanskriti, to inculcate the habit of reading and value-based learning in children in the age group 7-14 years, have been initiated. Mid-day meal/ supplementary food schemes have been successfully introduced through these four initiatives.
- A full-fledged Shopping Complex to cater to the daily requirements of the residents was inaugurated on Jun 4, 2013.
- ‘Shakti Haat’ in the shopping complex is an outlet for the Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) to display and sell their wares. Their skills have been upgraded in the areas of vermi composting, sewing and stiching, beauty and skincare, and making of decorative flowers, envelopes and candles, etc.
- To promote a community feeling, food festivals are being organized at the Shopping Complex during Baisakhi, Gandhi Jayanti and other festivals where all residents participate with enthusiasm.
The initiatives mentioned above, taken at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in a fixed timeframe without any time or cost overruns, have scope for replication at village/ township levels. We took all these initiatives after careful planning and with participation of the stakeholders at all levels. The results of these initiatives are extremely encouraging and are visible in the improved quality of life in the President’s Estate. This success has given us the confidence that this model can be effectively adapted to convert selected villages into smart model villages within a fixed timeframe of one year.