“We have established a dashboard to monitor the progress of all development works under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) that displays the weekly progress of each project. The dashboard also reports the expected date of completion and actual date of completion. This alerts the senior officials of any project slippage and allows for the engineering work to speed up”, says Praveen Singh Pardeshi, Commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation to egov magazine.
What are the different areas of municipal services that stand to get benefited by the implementation of IT? How is IT being harnessed by Pune Municipal Corporation?
All municipal services require information, the absence of which makes the delivery of services a hard task. This becomes even more critical as the city grows. To give you an example, IT can enable information about the traffic patterns in the city. This can, in turn, lead to better planning of the road infrastructure as well as of the public transportation networks. Similarly, IT can enable better energy management across the city.
Currently, the corporation is providing all citizen services expected under the National Mission Mode Plan of the Ministry of Urban Development to the citizens in Pune. It is now moving ahead to benchmark itself against progressive cities in the West. In participation with industry the corporation has contributed to the establishment of the office of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the city. It is facilitating Municipal Wifi and Pune cards, as well as the creation of citizen accounts, to manage all citizen interactions and services.
The speed with which municipalities function has often attracted criticism, do you think IT can help in speeding up the work of municipalities? Also can it provide easy accessibility of services to people?
IT can ensure that information travels faster – we have established a dashboard to monitor the progress of all development work under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) that displays the weekly progress of each project.
The dashboard also reports the expected date of completion and actual date of completion. This alerts the senior officials of any project slippage and allows for the engineering work to speed up. Similarly, each contractor receives an SMS every Monday intimating him of the work needed to be done in the week. Each Friday the contractor is alerted of the accomplished work and any shortfall. This has begun to ensure a tighter control on the projects.
IT is also being used to create a single point of access to all citizens. Through a single point, multiple departments can automatically learn about transactions that are relevant to them.
How can IT bring in transparency in the functioning of municipalities?
We are working with Right to Information (RTI) activists to create a framework of Management Information System (MIS) to provide information to ensure transparency on the website. We have also created wiki’s to enable different departments to collaborate and share information on the various activities they undertake. We will shortly have wiki’s through which citizens would be able to contribute in enabling collaborative transparency with the Pune Municipal Corporation.
What are the issues that cropped up while implementing IT services in Pune Municipal Corporation?
Developing a focus on design had been a major challenge while implementing IT services. The absence of a clear IT governance and a clear road map has also been a major challenge.
What has been your experience of introducing technologies like Geographic Infomation System (GIS) in Pune Municipal Corporation? What benefits does it have?
GIS has existed in the PMC for more than 15 years. The biggest challenge is consolidating and integrating all the digital assets of the PMC. The other big challenge is building capacity to integrate various data tables across the PMC into layers to enable decision making. With the GIS services we will allow different departments to share project information and coordinate various land-acquisition, digging and road diversion exercises. We also hope to localise problem resolution. We are already using maps to enable citizens to identify potholes, pipe leakages etc.
What is the future of IT services you see in Pune Municipal Corporation?
PMC is expected to provide information services to businesses and other government bodies- particularly property inventory, know your citizen and similar services. PMC is also looking at using IT to monitor and regulate traffic, parking, energy, water, and solid waste management.