The Vision Management Unit is a team under the Planning Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh that comprises of a motley group of young professionals with a variegated set of knowledge and expertise, working together on data analytics and policy, performance indicators, best practices and global benchmarking studies to prepare comprehensive strategies to achieve the ambitious targets that the Government of Andhra Pradesh has set for itself in order to deliver on its promise of building a happy, inclusive, competitive and innovation-driven society.
The genesis of the Vision Management Unit found its roots in the bifurcation of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh in June 2014. This presented the newly elected State Government with the unique opportunity of planning the development of its people from scratch. There were several ways of doing this. The reorganization had opened up a singular opportunity to restructure the institutions of the state to cater to the aspirations of the people in a focused manner, but this opportunity came with a set of very high stakes.
Deliberating this neo-challenge led the Government to understand that a structured approach to goal setting was the best way forward. Previously, departments had been engaged in independently assessing and engaging with the people’s aspirations. But it became increasingly clear that there was a need to consolidate these efforts so as to not lose sight of the objective of such an exercise. This gave the impetus to the idea of crafting ‘Vision 2029’ for the Sunrise State of Andhra Pradesh.
The proposition of drafting a Vision that charts the growth ambitions of the state administration was no small feat. It entailed extensive brainstorming, widespread stakeholder consultations and ratification right from the top echelons of influencers to the people’s representatives on floors of the State Assembly. The Government felt the need to set up a specialized Unit to augment the efforts of the Planning Department to ensure that the Vision exercise would see through to its logical conclusion. This Unit, incorporated in March 2015 as the Vision Management Unit of the Planning Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh, was entrusted with the responsibility of anchoring the requisite thought and action for drafting the new Vision.
The primary purpose of the Vision Management Unit was to draft a Vision for the Sunrise State of Andhra Pradesh as well as monitor state action leading to its timely achievement. In its first year, the Unit engaged Ernst & Young (EY) to draft the Vision document along with 13 sector papers for each of the sectors identified as areas of strategic significance for the State of Andhra Pradesh. In addition, the Unit also amassed the expertise of public policy professionals hired from some of the best Institutes in the country to work alongside the EY team in initiating Index studies that benchmarked the new Andhra Pradesh state at the national level, review the sector papers and draft the vision. This process, requiring multiple iterations and drafts of the Vision as well as the individual sector papers took close to a year to complete.
The Vision Management Unit additionally organized the first departmental consultation at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, where State officials, industry stalwarts, academics, technical and sector experts were invited to discuss and debate the content of the draft documents. The consultation was mediated by eminent faculties from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM)-Ahmedabad. The Unit’s association with Performance and Delivery Management Unit (PEMANDU) from Malaysia, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the like enabled the strategic management of Vision programs and projects and coordinating the monitoring and implementation of activities of stakeholders across domains (both within and outside the government). The first wave of PEMANDU’s lab methodology was adapted to transform the Retail and Education sectors in the state.
The Unit has come a long way ever since. A second wave of labs on Governance and Urban development has been concluded and implementation of its initiatives is monitored regularly, several thematic studies on transformative areas identified in the Vision 2029 have been completed and taken up by the Government for action, the first ever computation of Andhra Pradesh’s Happiness Index has been accomplished alongside the ranking of Andhra Pradesh on the Global Competitiveness Index (for the second time in 2017), real time governance has been made possible through a sophisticated monitoring system at the State and District level designed for Vision & SDG monitoring across all departments, and so on.