Interview

e-Governance in Municipalities: A Boon : M. Ramchandran, Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, India

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Mission Mode Project on e-Governance in municipalities focuses on improving national element of citizen services through defining service levels and outcomes; facilitating effective interaction between local government, citizens and other stakeholders,” says M. Ramchandran, Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, to egov magazine.

What role do you want the municipality Mission Mode Project to achieve? How do you think that such an initiative is going to provide efficient and transparent government at municipal and urban local body level?

Mission Mode Project on e-Governance in municipalities focuses on improving national element of citizen services through defining service levels and outcomes; facilitating effective interaction between local government, citizens and other stakeholders; improving quality of internal operation of local government; enhancing transparency and accountability; enhancing citizen interface and improving service delivery to citizens.

The ULB (Urban Local Body) is the first interface between citizens and the government. Introduction of e-Governance in municipalities will assist them in the following manner.

  • Improve their quality of services – by reducing the number of customer visits, reducing time required to request and for provision of service, reducing fees and enhancing existing revenues, and others.
  • Improve efficiency and transparency through streamlined processes & information management system

Thus, Mission Mode Project (MMP) will help improve service delivery and improve quality of    ULBs’ internal operations to support and stimulate good governance. Under how many phases do you think the digitisation of municipalities would be completed in the country? Presently,   the MMP on e-Governance in municipalities shall cover all ULBs in 35 cities with population of above one million as per 2001 census. Coverage to other towns/cities will be expanded based on the outcome of this MMP in the 35 cities.

What is the criteria of selection of municipalities? How
do you decide which municipality has to be given a preference?

The municipalities have been selected on the criteria of population (all ULBs in 35 cities with population of above one million as per 2001 census). Preference has not been given to any specifi c municipality.

What is the budget of the municipal e-Governance project and how is it shared between centre and state?
The MMP on e-Governance in municipalities would be implemented under JNNURM  (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission). Central government share would be met out of the earmarked funds under JNNURM 

The funding pattern is as under:

For cities/urban agglomerations, with four million and above population – centre and state  will provide grant funding upto 35% and 15% respectively, of the project cost. 50% of the project cost will be borne by the ULB or parastatal agencies.

For cities/urban agglomerations, with population between one million and four million –  centre and state will provide grant funding upto 50% and 20% respectively, of the project cost. 30% of the project cost will be borne by the ULB or parastatal agencies.

What is the current status of municipalities Mission Mode Project? How many  municipalities you think are working as per expectations?

The MMP on municipalities has been launched by the Ministry of Urban Development  recently. Currently, the ULBs are in the initial stage of preparing their detailed project reports (DPRs) to access funding under the Mission mode project.

What is the role played by the private sector in implementing Mission Mode Project?

The guidelines clearly state that the MMP on  e-Governance will be implemented at the  municipal level through a business model preferably by public-private partnership (PPP). Private sector will play a signifi cant role at various levels and stages during the mission.  Private sector may bring in technical support for managing/implementing the mission at central, state and ULB level. As per the guidelines, the State Implementation Consultant (SIC)  is expected to be a team of expert consultants who will support the state and ULBs in  preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR), rolling out the e-Governance project and  monitoring implementation. ULBs may seek private sector expertise in preparing DPRs, implementation of the project, operating and maintaining several services on a PPP basis,  training and capacity building of the ULB.

What is being done on the capacity building  front of the municipal staffs?

Upto 5% of the funds under JNNURM, is allocated for training and capacity building. These  funds are to be accessed by the cities/towns. The Mission Directorate has undertaken training  of ULB/parastatal staff and elected representatives from municipalities, under Rapid Training  progarmme under the mission.

Lastly, how long do you think will it take to get all the
municipalities in India digitised?

JNNURM is proposed for a seven year duration from 2005- 06 to 2011-12. The mission mode  project, for the 35 cities, is expected to adhere to this mission period. The coverage and time  frame for other town/cities will based on the outcome of the MMP in 35 cities.

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