e-Governance

Common Website for Urban Local Bodies in the Offing

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Taking a next step towards e-governance, the Union Ministry of Urban Development plans to come up with a common portal that would provide all information about urban local bodies. The website will be accessible to common man.

The National Institute of Smart Governance (NISG) will be assisting the Ministry in putting the portal in place by dovetailing the national-level software architecture, State and the ULB architecture, announced Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna to presspersons on Friday.

Mr. Krishna was in the city for the review meeting on implementation of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in the south attended by senior officials of Karnataka, Kerala, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. About Rs.6, 450 crore has been released for 65 cities through the Mission.

The portal, making use of the available software as well as developing new applications, would be accessible to the common man and would help in faster disseminating of information helping in quickening the process of allocation of funds.

The Centre would provide necessary assistance for hardware and manpower, he said.

“JNNURM is doing reasonably well but we have identified bottlenecks in waste management plants with land acquisition being a major issue. There are also issues of encroachments on storm water drains. However, there is not much difficulty in water supply schemes which form two-thirds of the Mission component,” Mr. Krishna explained.

Progress of reforms proposed on accountancy practices and property tax collection utilizing the GIP-Satellite based data and linking it with the available tax data in the ULBs has been notable features. It is successful in Bangalore and a pilot project is on in Hyderabad.

Such precise data of properties would improve property tax collection which was the main source for the ULBs and ensure equity public participation.

Yet, there were issues of “property titling” which has to be sorted out despite computerized records, he admitted.

Similarly, a “viable solution” has to be worked out the issue of earmarking 20-25 per cent of developed land to economically weaker sections and the low income groups as it has remained a non-starter in many ULBs.

“We are considering taking the city as a whole unit for the proposed Rajiv Awas Yojana,” he said. Ongoing housing schemes would continue while a solution is worked out.

Mr. Krishna urged the ULBs to complete projects before March 2012 so that additional central assistance can be released.

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