MUNICIPALITIES are regarded as the closest ‘point of service’ for the citizens with the government as they provide basic services to citizens living in urban areas. By adopting Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), public service delivery by the urban local bodies (ULBs) could be restructured to meet the needs of their citizens effectively and efficiently. Thus introduction of Information Technology (IT) by the local authorities is important for improving the accessibility to basic service delivery to the citizens. Some of these services include payment of utility bills-water, electricity, property, issuance of issuance of birth, marriage and death certificates, facilitation of lodging complaints and their hassle free redressal, and so forth. e-Government is being adopted by municipal governments worldwide and citizens are being provided the above mentioned services online so that they can access the services without travelling long distances and without waiting in long queues. Many cities such as Singapore, Shanghai, Dubai, to name the least, have already succeeded in modernising their public administration by the use of technology.
India has embarked in this mission to reform its urban governance in a big way. The Ministry of Urban Development here has made the use of ICT a mandatory requirement at the level of urban local bodies. It is envisaged that once this project is implemented. it will stimulate good governance within the urban local bodies and improve transparency and accountability. Since these are going to be very large implementations covering the entire municipalities across the states in India, the project is being implemented on a public-private partnership basis. Partnerships are being established with the major industry solution providers, like Oracle, SAP and so on, to improve internal efficiencies and service delivery.
India has a number of successful examples of e-Governance in municipalities such as those of Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation in Maharashtra, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, eSeva in urban Andhra Pradesh, to name a few. But it is still at an early stage and has not obtained many of expected outcomes such as cost savings, downsizing, improved citizen satisfaction, increased revenue collection and so forth. In this issue of the magazine, we bring for you the perspectives from the policy makers, solution providers, experts and implementers on the arena of municipal e-Governance in India, its vision, goals and progress. Hope you will enjoy reading this special issue on municipal e-Governance.