If all goes as planned, then civic officials sitting over files for years can soon be put under the scanner with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) ambitious plans of going completely digital in the next five years. The civic body’s standing committee recently passed the proposal of scanning and digitization of all civic documents at a cost of Rs 81.13 crore.
The BMC has appointed two firms M/s Data Matix Global Services and Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL) for the digitization of over 50 crore documents. It is also in the process of appointing third-party auditors to conduct security and technical checks for the cloud-based server where the documents will be made available with specific keywords.
“The audit-trails will enlist details about when a project was initiated and the number of departments it passed through for permissions and also the delays caused. Right now, the hard copy of a file may pass through 20 different departments without any notification of the same,” said additional municipal commissioner SVR Srinivas, who is also in-charge of the IT department.
BMC is most likely to engage global consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to conduct the audits. It is also procuring a server capacity of over 50 terabytes and creating a data centre at the Worli office to run the server.
The civic body has a total of 64 departments dealing with public subjects like health, water, roads, garden, property tax etc. Some of the departments like development plan, building proposals and estates have the oldest of records, the paper quality of which seems to be deteriorating with each passing day.
“Accessing data for RTI queries will also be difficult if we fail to digitise documents more than 100 years old. We have already scanned over 2 crore documents,” said another civic official. Learning from its mistakes after the Mantralaya fire of 2012, the BMC had proposed the plan of electronically processing and digitising all documents to not only improve efficiency but also change the way the civic body functions.