The senior most IAS officer of Chandigarh is at the helm of affairs and has been working towards ensuring that the country’s first planned city also is among the first smart cities. Vijay Dev, Adviser to the UT Administrator, Chandigarh, in conversation with Priya Yadav enunciates his vision of a smart city that Chandigarh is on its way to be
How do you see smart city concept working in tandem with e-governance?
Chandigarh, the City Beautiful, is closest to becoming a smart city. Essentially, ICT plays the most dominant role in our smart city initiatives and is a very significant part of our efforts. We are highly sensitive to our very net savvy population and with the penetration of smart phones at all levels of society’s strata, it has become more imperative for us to come out with apps that are people friendly and service delivery is as easy as swiping their phone. Our ability to do so is indicative of our becoming smart. A large number of apps have been introduced by several wings of the department and are highly popular among our city residents.
What is the role of ICT that you envisage in making the city smart?
There is no doubt that infrastructural development is very important for a city to be smart. Things like urban mobility, solid waste management, development of roads, sanitation – all the parameters where Chandigarh has been scoring over a decade compared to other cities in the country. But it is ultimately ICT that makes you smart. It is ICT that gives the edge to the residents and make them smart. Take for example, urban mobility. You can make leaps by introducing smart cards for parking, have the most advanced form of travel, say, introduce metro in the city which is in the pipeline. But finally, it is the ease that a citizen is afforded by government intervention that finally makes a city smart. For example, in this age of smart phones, if we can provide information on your smart phone what is the density of traffic at that particular moment on which part of the road, that allows you to navigate the city at ease. Similarly, information like which bus is going to arrive where and when – with data upgraded down to the minutes and seconds, it makes life of a citizen easy and smart.
What is the plan for e- governance in the city and how far have we achieved it?
In Chandigarh, e-governance gets the highest priority. Various efforts are being made to provide services online.
(a) Database – elective integrating – one database is being created that is collective in nature and has digitised records of all departments.
(B) Service delivery from websites – all the information that residents need is available at the click of a mouse – be it pertaining to the government or their own personal records
(c) services of different departments is online – the database will allow the residents to be given their own personal passwords for downloading their own documents complete with e-signatures. This means that for procuring your certificate of any kind you don’t have to queue up in offices but just log on and electronic delivery will be made. Residents will have their own login ids and will be able to have their digital lockers where they could store their various documents and certificates.
These are the kind of initiatives that we are working on and already in various departments these things are happening. More than 80% of the hospitals are linked electronically for updating data on births in the city and certificates too are being issued electronically. Soon these services will pan out to other departments, including police and civil services.