Amid high drama, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) launched its first citizen-facilitation mobile applications, which are a part of its M-governance initiative.
Mayor Sunil Prabhu of the Shiv Sena dedicated the initiative to Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray to celebrate his birthday, which was on July 27.
The three pilot applications will serve as an addition to the civic body’s citizen facilitation centres (CFCs) and is expected to reduce time that citizens spend in civic offices for bill payments, renewal of licenses and redressal of complaints.
On Saturday, hours before the scheduled official inauguration by Prabhu, leaders of the opposition parties, Devendra Amberkar (Congress), Sandeep Deshpande (MNS), Rais Shaikh (Samajwadi Party), and Dhananjay Pisal (NCP) staged a mock launch ceremony.
“We are not against the Shiv Sena president, but there is no reason the mobile apps be inaugurated in his name. Thackeray has never held a public post. The BMC has developed these apps by using tax-payers’ money and the mayor is just trying to take credit for other people’s work. This is the central government’s application, developed with the effort of senior civic officials,” opposition leader Amberkar said.
M-governance or mobile seva is a part of a countrywide movement to deliver public services to citizens and businesses over mobile devices using SMSes, interactive voice response system (IVRS), cell broadcasting service (CBS), location-based services (LBS) and mobile applications.
With these apps that can be downloaded for free, citizens can now use their smartphones to pay their water and property tax bills, acquire and renew various licenses and seek redressal for civic complaints that they may register online with the BMC, as all the apps are linked to the civic body’s web portal. The civic IT department has estimated that nearly five-six lakh mobile users in Mumbai will benefit from these applications.
While officially inaugurating the app, Prabhu brushed off the political incident and said, “The opposition parties are very childish to play these petty politics. You always look for some auspicious day to launch a service benefiting public. Uddhavji’s birthday is one such a day.”