Connectivity key to better service delivery

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The MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) has set an example for other urban local bodies by introducing IT initiatives that focus on providing best civic services to its citizens. Mumbai's citizens neither have to travel to the corporation office, nor have to wait in long queues anymore.

The MCGM has a canvas, which is four times the municipal corporations in other parts of the country because not only it maintains solid waste management, roads and streets, and removes encroachments and unauthorised constructions but is also the water supply and sewerage board. This, in addition to handling emergency services like fire and medical.

The MCGM caters to the needs of its 12.7 million citizens with the help of a complex multi-departmental set-up and a network of 24 decentralised Ward Administrations. The complexities are further compounded by interactions with multiple governmental institutions headed by the State Government and other planning and operating agencies, which calls for well thought out intra and inter-institutional coordination. 

MCGM IT initiatives in Maharashtra were launched in September 2007 with nearly 100,000 employees and 34 departments catering to 125 different services. The objective was to provide better quality services to the average citizen. The functional goal of the MCGM IT initiative is to monitor and control its activities through the introduction of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) concepts. The MCGM is now in a better position to service its citizens through the (CRM) concepts; resulting in tangible and visible increases in the quality of services for the average citizen. It has become easier and faster for citizens to request for services.

For better functioning and to enable its citizens to get rid of queues, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has come up with a citizen portal. The citizen's service portal is enabled by solutions, consulting, and services by a consortium of SAP AG (provider of enterprise software applications) Siemens Information Systems (solution design and Implementation partner), and ABM Knowledgeware (domain expert and post-implementation support partner). It'll help in delivering benefits directly from government-to-citizens and government-to-business interactions. The portal is targeted to address the needs of the citizens, administrators, employees, and the corporates. It will provide services online through interactive forms, secured payment gateway for online payments, online registration of complaints and status monitoring, etc., to deliver citizen empowerment like never before. 

Citizens of Mumbai would be able to see a significant reduction in delivery time for the 215 new services by 25-50 per cent with the help of the portal. It has enabled single window service across multiple departments, avoiding repetitive data gathering from citizens and would be available anytime, anywhere.

The information residing in various offices across Mumbai was consolidated and 550 locations connected to make use of all this information. All the sources of revenue as well as expenditure have been computerised. The resulting process efficiency and fiscal discipline is bound to enhance the image of the city in national and international circles. Services like online processing of licenses and certificates will be available to citizens at the touch of a button. Apart from providing effective and better services to the citizens, MCGM is also putting its hands forward to conserve the old buildings with architectural heritage from the British Raj. Improved environmental services like water drainage; sewage and solid waste management is another area of work for MCGM.

MCGM has deployed SAP as the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, after a rigorous tendering process to integrate its operations and to adopt sector specific best practices. The SAP based ERP covers various functions such as finance and accounts, material management, human resources, fleet and workshop management, citizens’ portal and ward management, project systems and real estate. Sharing of data from a single information repository is one of the key benefits of ERP. Substantial change management and resistance management techniques have been deployed by MCGM to make this transition smooth. More than 2,500 employees have been trained on the different applications software and more employees are being trained.  

The communication gap between the citizen and the system makes the services less effective in any city. The Citizens Facilitation Centre (CFC) is an MCGM initiative set up to provide a feasible means of communication and interaction between the citizens and the MCGM. CFC is a single window service facility, making the system much more convenient for the citizens by allowing them to come to one place instead of having to go to different departments. Important functions of CFC include citizen’s ability to go to any counter and avail of any service, instead of the current setup where there are distinct counters for different services, fully automated back-end processes, courier option for citizen services – certificates/ licenses/ notifications, etc, a workflow engine to control and track the flow of information, data and correspondence, access of a comprehensive MIS by all the concerned departments / administrators according to role. The MIS displays data and statistics at the ward level, as well as the department level, courier option for citizen services – certificates/ licenses/ notifications, etc., use of parameterised escalation mechanism in case SLAs are not met.

The MCGM is planning to appoint cyber cafes as franchisees. These would function as “Cyber CFCs” and would supplement the MCGM’s ward based Citizens’ Facilitation Centres (CFCs).  In fact, as of August  2008, Mumbaikars can access MCGM services from any of 250 Sify ePort cafes to access services provided by the municipal corporation online.

All MCGM employees including temporary (“Khada Badli”) workers will be issued a Smart Card printed with their photographs and other necessary details as per MCGM specifications. The Smart Card issued will contain template of an employee’s Finger Prints and a few other personal details including a unique ID. This card will be used for registering Attendance and for Access Control (at few important locations) using a Wall Mounted Terminal. 

The vehicle tracking system is another initiative of MCGM IT initiatives. The GIS/GPRS based vehicle tracking system facilitates monitoring of the movement of vehicles numbering over 1,500 involved in removing solid waste from various parts of the city and moving them to the designated dumping sites. In addition, other key vehicles of the MCGM such as vigilance vehicles, ambulances, and cash vans have also been covered under this system. The benefits of vehicle tracking system for solid waste management include optimal utilisation of trucks, audit trail on the entire movement of trucks, alerts on over speeding, unauthorised stoppage, non stoppage, monitoring of delays and deviations, performance assessment of drivers, direct feed in from the weigh bridge and correct billing for private contractors.

The MCGM healthcare system that is currently under development will be web enabled and deployed in all 25 hospitals. There are more than 1,000 bed hospitals like the KM Hospital, the Nair Hospital and the Lokmanya as well a large number of peripheral hospitals about 16 in number which are in between 300-500 beds. All these, their medicine stock, inventory, patients, the patients’ records, will also come on e-governance. The data for all the patients across all healthcare centres of the MCGM shall be stored in a common data warehouse. 

The MCGM is now in a better position to service its citizens, better monitor and control its   activities through the introduction of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) concepts; resulting in tangible and visible increase in the quality of services for the average citizen. The deficiencies namely, lack of integrated systems, inefficient work procedures, lack of up-to-date and accurate databases, lack of data sharing, etc., has been eliminated with the help of digitisation, networking and deployment of appropriate software solutions. 

Importantly, MCGM understands the importance of institutionalisation of e-governance initiatives built carefully over the past two years. Care has been taken to depute support consultants  for initial 5 years period. Employees would be assisted in the areas which have high citizen interfaces by SAP support consultants provided by the consortium of Siemens –ABM-SAP .  This process will ensure tackling issues arising out of evolution of the IT systems as well as enhancement in the same. The initial benefits from this e-governance initiative have already started giving its results in the form of better revenue mobilisation and improvement in citizen services.

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