July 2010

For zonal officers, it’s ZOOM time!

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Project Name
Zonal Officers Observation and Monitoring (ZOOM) software

The organisation
New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC)

Key People
Amit Prasad, Director-IT; K Murugan, Deputy Director; Manish Manglik, Programmer

The benefits

  • Reduced paperwork and increased transparency
  • Reduced pendency of work
  • Removal of need for meetings on zonal observations
  • Creation of competitive environment amongst officers, as the status of work is there for everyone to see. This encourages self-motivation, instead of supervision and monitoring by higher authorities

By Prachi Shirur
Photo Joe

Amit Prasad
Director IT, NDMC

Specialised software is helping NDMC officials to slash paperwork and review progress of municipal work transparently

The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) is one of the premier municipal bodies in India. Its functions cover electricity and water supply, running of schools, crèches and craft centres, maintenance
of sewerage and drainage, sanitation,
inner roads, sidewalks and buildings, public conveniences, health licenses, medical services, building plan approval, and removal of unauthorised constructions and vendors.

Each of these functions is assigned to a related department like Health, Civil  Engineering, Enforcement or Education. Also, an inspection of the NDMC area is done by zonal officers who belong to different departments. For this purpose NDMC has been divided into 14 zones and each zone has been assigned to a senior inspecting officer.

The purpose is to resolve problems well before they turn into grievances. When the matter is reported by a zonal officer, the corresponding executive authority has to fix the problem in a time bound manner.

Earlier, periodic meetings for zonal offi- cers were held, where the officer would report their observations on paper. They would also send copies to the secretary’s and chairman’s offices. These observations would then be routed to different junior officers for carrying out the work. They would then report on the work progress with copies to the chairman, the secretary and the concerned zonal officer.  All this resulted in lot of paperwork, and also slowed down the progress of work.

The solution

The Zonal Officers Observation and Monittoring (ZOOM) software has been designed and developed in-house by the Information Technology department      of NDMC, which allows zonal officers to report their observations  using the software application, which simultaneously routes the      problems to the concerned executive authority immediately for    rectification. “The software was designed to counter the inherent problem in  paper-based reporting by the zonal officers,” informs Amit Prasad, Director, IT, NDMC.

The respective zonal officers and concerned heads of departments (HoDs) are logged in the system using link provided on home page. All the zonal officers have to inspect their respective zonal areas and record their  observations in the system. All such observations automatically escalate to the concerned HoD according to their ‘observation type’. After taking action on such observations, the concerned officer updates responses in ZOOM, such as work-in-progress or the likely completion date. Such updates will go in archives of both the zonal officer as well as the head of the concerned maintenance department.

Tech@Use

Application: Web-based
Database: Oracle 9i
Hardware: PCs (Pentium IV and above versions)
resources: Internet and Mobile
Connectivity Platform: ASP.NET 2.0

After implementation of ZOOM, it has become imperative for all officers to carry out inspection of their area. Else, their status on ZOOM will display a lack of activity and the system will automatically send them email and SMS reminding them of the pending work. A typical such email would read: “Dear officer, you do not appear to have carried out inspection of your area for more than 15 days. Please carry out the same.” A consolidated report of all defaulting officers is sent to the Secretary and also to the Chairman.

Parimal Rai, Chairman, NDMC notes, “ZOOM has transformed the complete inspection and reporting activity of zonal officers from an ad hoc process to a continuous process requiring little intervention. It is also a step towards m-Governance.”

“Ever since ZOOM has started, there is no more a requirement for meetings of zonal officers and head of departments to either review the pending inspections or the action taken by officers. The system prompts the officers through email and SMS and the reports are available on my computer as well as mobile. Earlier it was a cumbersome process requiring constant monitoring,” Gyanesh
Bharti, IAS, Secretary, NDMC notes.

All the resolved problems are sent to archives. Manoj Sethi, Director, Finance, who has been using ZOOM since it was launched, says, “ZOOM tells about the action taken in real-time basis. Because of the archives facility, I can see the repetitive nature of the complaints.”

Philip Bara, Director, Vigilance, says, “ZOOM report card helps me a lot. It tells me at what date my zonal inspection is due and informs me about the status of  work. The software is very user friendly.” According to Amit Prasad, “ZOOM  implementation is a remarkable achievement in a government department  where paperwork brings delay and lack of transparency.”

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