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Transforming Gujarat’s Urban Local Bodies with citizen-friendly e-infrastructure!


e-City (Good Governance through e-Governance)

Gujarat has been witnessing a phenomenal increase in urbanization. Census 2011 figures show that the urban population of the state is 2.57 crore, which is 42.6% of the total population. The decennial growth of urbanization in the state is a staggering 35.8%. Fully responsive to the requirements of the burgeoning population in urban areas, and committed to sustainable development and inclusive growth, the State Government initiated a reform-driven flagship scheme, namely the Swarnim Jayanti Mukhya Mantri Shaheri Vikas Yojana.

Elements of quality and timeliness are quintessential features of Urban Governance, wherein IT-enabled services and e-Governance play a stellar role, and have significantly enhanced the citizen-friendliness of the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). Gujarat has been one of the front-runners in the implementation of e-Infrastructure policies and projects. Independent agencies have rated Gujarat amongst the most e-prepared states in the country. The Vision of Government of Gujarat is Responsiveness, Transparency and Accountability through e-Governance.

Mission

  • Provide easy access to information
  • Ensure speedy redressal of complaints and grievances
  • Provide quality services to citizens
  • Eliminate discretionary human interface
  • Expedite the decision making processes

Adoption of e-City Approach by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC)

AMC is one of the highly successful Municipal Corporations which have improved the delivery of municipal services such as registration of births and deaths, approval of building plans, delivery of primary health and education, city cleanliness, water supply, sewerage, street-lights, parks and gardens, by duly facilitating the citizens through the operation of e-City Centres.

AMC has effectively implemented ‘e-City’, i.e. e-Governance, to deliver most of the important services affecting the daily lives of the residents through 50 City Civic Centers (e-City Centers) located throughout the city.

Each e-City Centre houses sufficient number of nodes managed by well-trained Operators and System Managers, who promptly attend to the needs of citizens. Every node is equipped to handle all core activities, such as approval of building plan, grant of different licenses, redressal of complaints regarding civic amenities, payment of taxes, etc.

Services at e-City Centres

e-City Centres act as a single-point interface for 32 Government-to-Citizen (G2C) Services and 22 Grievance Redressal Services, which are attended to in a streamlined manner. The Services provided at the e-City Centres are:

1 Basic Citizen Services

  • Utility-driven Website : A single-window system to gain access to AMC’s intranet and the Local Area Network (LAN).
  • License for Shops and Establishments : Civic Centers issue licenses for shops and establishments.
  • Birth and Death Certificates : Website provides access to all hospitals to register births and deaths online.

2 Grievance Redressal

  • Online Complaint Registration System : All wards are connected through intranet and internet to receive and redress complaints in respect of civic services or matters related to municipal dues.
  • Online Information : The process of issuing tenders and sanctioning of infrastructure works has been computerized and put in the public domain.

3 Revenue Earning Services

  • Property Tax : A simplified tax collection system has been put in place.
  • Motor Vehicle Tax : Collection of ‘Municipal Lifetime Vehicle Tax’ has been decentralized. Citizens can pay the tax at any of the Civic Centres.
  • Professional Tax and TDO Fees : Process of payment has also been made citizen-friendly.

4 Development Services

  • Online approval of Building Plans : All City Civic Centers are equipped to conduct instant scrutiny and approve building plans through predetermined parameters, as stipulated by the General Development and Control Regulations (GDCR).
  • Engineering Module : The system has been devised to streamline the procedure and remove bottlenecks in project planning and implementation.

Salient Features of City Civic Centres

  • Citizens can readily avail themselves of services from any counter in any of the Centres.
  • Help Desks are fully equipped with necessary documents, forms and other required items.
  • Bio-metric authentication of intranet users provides foolproof security to the system.
  • Services may be provided beyond normal working hours.

Benefits of City Civic Centres

  • Efficient, speedy and transparent platform for the citizens, thereby dispensing with middlemen and obviating corrupt practices.
  • Quick response time, web-enabled quality services, paperless transaction, multiple modes of payment and reduction in service charges.
  • Data sharing across different departments; thus, bringing efficiency in administrative functioning.
  • Facilitation of decision-making process of the top management by furnishing the requisite information instantly.
  • Elimination of manual intervention through payment gateways and electronic transactions.
  • Higher revenue and enhanced cash flow.
  • Harnessing of technology to instill a sense of satisfaction and belongingness amongst the citizens and employees of AMC.


Awards and Accolades

The innovative practices and initiatives of the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in Gujarat have received wide acclaim, both national and international, in diverse areas of Urban Governance, including; (i) ICT-Enabled Municipal Initiative of the Year; (ii) Exemplary Horizontal Transfer of ICT-based Best Practice; (iii) International Best Practices and Innovative Use of Technology in e-Governance.

Way Forward

Given the replicability of e-City initiative, the system architecture and the software available with the AMC can easily be adopted and adapted. A number of ULBs have followed suit and operationalized City Civic Centers in their cities. As on date, there are over 200 City Civic Centers in various towns and cities and a systematic effort is being made to roll them out in all the ULBs in requisite numbers.

Furthermore, efforts are afoot to integrate the existing Management Information System (MIS) and Geographic Information System (GIS), after making them sturdier, into a Database Project and Financial Management System (DBPFMS) for an effective Decision Support System (DSS).

 
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