With the world experiencing the IT boom, it is mandatory that municipalities embrace this modern day phenomenon. Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation leads the way. Read this interview with Dr. C.V.S.K Sharma, Special Officer and Municipal Commissioner to know about e-Governance in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, to egov magazine.
What are the different areas of municipal services that stand to get benefited by the inclusion of IT services? How is IT being harnessed by Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC)?
We are looking at all the services and backend processes involved in delivering such services. At the same time we are also using IT for internal processes like human resource planning and training etc. which is broadly categorised as:
- A comprehensive citizen-administration interface
- A government to citizen (G2C) and citizen to citizen (C2C) web platform
GHMC website http://www.ghmc.gov.in/ enables citizens to access various products and services provided by the GHMC from the comfort of their homes. Such as:
- Settlement and payment of property tax
- Payment gateway for online payments
- Instant birth / death registration
- Instant birth / death certificates’ issuance
- Submission and tracking of building plan applications
- Public grievance lodging through Parishkruthi
- Status of infrastructure works
- Tenders’ submission and management system
- Financial management system
- Citizens forum
- Opinion polls etc.
Almost every service extended by GHMC is being extended online, for citizen comfort.
The speed with which municipalities function has often attracted criticism, do you think IT can help in speeding up the work of municipalities? Also can it provide easy accessibility of services to people?
Yes, I admit that there is criticism in abnormal delays in delivery of services. We have taken adequate corrective steps for speedy delivery of services by adopting IT services. We are pursuing an integrated approach in providing better services to the citizens of Greater Hyderabad. Accessibility to services is being pursued through services platforms of citizen service centers, e-Seva kendra’s, facility centres and Andhra Pradesh (AP) online centres. Transparency of service delivery is enabled through less interventions of human interface between the officials and the citizens. Accountability of roles and responsibilities is ensured to have timely and quick responses to grievances and citizens problems. There is now lesser delays in dealing with service demands or grievances.
How can IT bring in transparency in the functioning of municipalities?
We have a four-pronged agenda – accessibility, transparency, accountability and responsiveness. For citizens who do not have access to Internet, fully computerised e-Seva and citizen service centres have been set up whereby, they can pay their bills and remit all municipal taxes. They can also request for birth / death registration certificates, apply for permits / licenses, etc. The corporation website enables citizens to access various products and services provided by the GHMC from the comfort of their homes. Almost every service extended by GHMC is being extended online, for citizen comfort.
The growth of IT services in GHMC offers an opportunity as well as challenges. The opportunity is the wider scope to serve more citizens using technology at the grassroot level. The challenge is to facilitate technology to reach every citizen to avail municipal services at his/her convenience.
What are the challenges that cropped up while implementing IT services in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation?
GHMC did face resistance in introducing IT services. We are overcoming them through job enrichment programmes conducted regularly in our training centres. We also aim at over all personality development.
Even after training is imparted, there is a need for re-training. I am sure that our continuous training programmes are creating impact and over a period of time we will be in a position to perform better using IT services.
We also conducted a study (SWOT analysis) covering various issues and the shortcomings which helped us to take appropriate corrective measure for overcoming the shortcomings and strengthening the positive points.
What has been your experience of introducing technologies like GIS in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation?
We made a beginning by establishing GIS Centres in GHMC and in our zonal offices and started realising the benefits of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. We are the first municipality in India to introduce (RFID) technology for our solid waste management, which definitely improved the efficiency in lifting and movement of garbage. We are further improving based on our rich experience in implementation. We are about to introduce the citizen interface centres or kiosks which will bring a sea change in citizen