Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), has turned to information technology (IT) to help minimise revenue losses, modernise payroll accounting, create a digitised map and improve operational efficiency in general.
The computerisation drive is being funded from a $220 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for development works, and a grant of $42 million from Britain's department for international development (DFID). The DFID's grant and the ADB loan will go into the improvement of the service delivery mechanism and bringing operational efficiency to KMC's administrative functions. By 2008, the administrative system will deliver services at the doorsteps of citizens. “From downloading of trade licence form to birth registration, the citizen will not have to visit the municipal offices. Most of these jobs would be done from the KMC kiosks,” the official said. The task is huge – even if broken down into components. For example, the KMC is creating a geographical information system or GIS based on satellite imagery, that will detail topography and building information. Most of the existing maps and records are decades old, and for vast areas on the southern fringe, that were added to the corporation's jurisdiction, it does not have any records at all since these are with the state government's land records department. The GIS will lead to increase in transparancy, widening the tax base and provision of superior services to citizens. The KMC has allocated Rs 10 crore for the IT project and appointed Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) as consultant. The KMC aims to interact with citizens via computerised kiosks, doing away with rusty steel cupboards, dust-covered files and touts. The use of IT has already improved KMC's bottomline substantially. “With the introduction of computerised billing and debtors management at the 23 markets run by us, revenue collection for the year 2002-03 has increased by 58 per cent,” said one official.