TO CUT down the time spent in getting approvals and licences from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and increase transparency in the processes, the information technology department of the civic body will introduce an online platform for over a hundred services in the coming financial year.
The BMC’s budget for 2017-18 will allot higher funds to the IT department than before for this and other projects. BMC officials said the emphasis was on introducing a transparent set-up for all departments and the online portal would handle applications of 111 kinds of approvals.
“Visiting government offices is time-consuming and no one likes to do it. The concept is thus to take everything online, which can make all kinds of transactions easy,” civic chief Ajoy Mehta told The Indian Express.
The 111 services include application for licences from shops and establishment department as well as tax payments, including property and water taxes and applications for certificates for birth, death and marriage.
The general public will also be able to apply for renewal of licences, tree cutting permissions, hoardings and other permissions online. Once the system is operational, the BMC will shut down the Citizen Facilitation Centres (CFC) where residents avail of these services now.
“The systems will run simultaneously for six months and after people are accustomed to the online mode of transaction, the CFCs can be done away with in a phased manner,” said an official.
Another civic official said the initiative aims at making people’s lives easier and can reduce manpower requirement. “With the online system, a resident can apply for a restaurant licence and get NOCs from departments, including the fire department, sitting at home. No resident will have to make trips from one office to another any more,” he said.
Last year, after two major scams surfaced in the roads and stormwater drains departments, apart from tainted contractors, many civic officials had been implicated. The civic administration then took up several measures to minimise corruption.
A senior civic official said the budget would reflect the same. “The budget will give a thrust on transparency and related projects. For the IT department, which will handle them, there will be an increase of about 50 per cent in budgetary allocations.”
In the current year, Rs 124 crore had been allocated for the IT department and it has submitted a request for about Rs 180 crore in the upcoming budget.
Some of the other projects the department will take up include implementing biometric attendance for all employees.
“Since there are 37 types of shifts in a day and around 25 types of leave, we are trying to streamline the system. Of the total 1.7 lakh BMC employees, we have registered around 37,000 in the biometric system. The bulk of work will be done in the coming months after which salaries and leaves would be calculated through an online application,” said an IT department official.
The concept of e-office will also be introduced, wherein all files and notes can be viewed electronically. “We have come up with this to ensure files are not kept pending. All councillors would be added to this system and they will be able to monitor the progress,” said the official.
He added that all heads of departments and ward officers will be able to conduct meetings through video-conferencing.
The IT department has proposed similar projects for education and health departments.
“To keep a check on dropout rates and performance of students, we will create a student life-cycle management system and all records of the child can be accessed online. Similarly, a health management system will be set up for hospitals where each patient will be given a unique identification number and all medical records can be uploaded onto it,” said the official.