Cities are facing one of the major challenges in city governance in times of Corona. Dr Tejaswi Naik, Additional Commissioner, Directorate of Urban Development, Madhya Pradesh joined in a webinar organised by Elets Technomedia discussing on urban governance in times of Corona.
Speaking on the initiatives taken, Dr Naik said, “We, at the Urban Development Department, have given the responsibility to handle the call centres. We started two call centres, one for the medical issue and the other for lockdown related issues. We are handling 10,000 calls on a daily basis.”
Smart Cities Mission has been of a great help to the civic bodies and has enabled them to tackle the crisis effectively. “Most of the smart cities across the country have got an asset called COVID Control Room which is basically Integrated Command and Control Centre developed under the Smart Cities Mission”, Dr Naik.
There were various challenges from technology, human resource admin to governance. Initially, we were not able to take all the calls and revert to people in-time. However, by using technological aids thigs improved. “We are using IVRS system for landline phones at the call centre. Also, we have a chatbot at the portal. These eased on the efforts of people to reach the authorities”, Dr Naik added.
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“Finances is a major question when it comes to challenges and we need to lay focus on that as the economy has been suffering due to crisis. Hence, we need to look for newer ways of revenue generation other than the taxes at present”, added Dr Naik.
Dr Naik said that moreover, there is a need to revamp our public health services as in the times to come we need to be more prepared.
Preparations for Pandemic
On preparations, Dr Naik said, “Considering the call centre, we started landline phones then shifted to excel sheets. Then we shifted to google sheets and finally, we developed a portal on which people can post their complaints, issues they are facing, any help if needed, etc.”
Further, he said, “Inputs from people are taken seriously and considered while taking decisions. As people’s decisions are very important for governance to be effective.”
Dr Naik said, “Now, we have a database of the virus spread and its effect. And, I am pretty sure that in the times to come we would enhance our preparedness from our learnings and be more ready for any such situation.”