In order to support the expansion of smart facilities across the city, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has been taking various IT-related initiatives. In October 2014, it launched a dedicated mobile application for faster grievance redressal. This has led to more effective communication and timely redressal of complaints.
For creating an efficient service delivery system to streamline and improve its functioning, the authority is now planning to launch a water bill application, “m-sewa”, which will help customers upload their meter readings and generate bills through the mobile application.
DJB had launched the dedicated mobile application for addressing complaints regarding water supply and sewerage issues in the city as part of the Swachh Bharat campaign. This was DJB’s second initiative to address consumer complaints and incorporate their suggestions. The board had earlier launched a centralised 24×7 call centre with a computerised complaint management system.
The DJB application was designed by Intelligent Communication Systems India Limited and can be downloaded from either Google Play or the iOS store. Once the application has been installed, customers need to log in using their registered mobile numbers. They then have the option to continue using the application with GPS or without GPS. Complaints can be registered choosing the category head relating to the complaint. There are four main categories of complaints – dirty water, water leakage, sewer overflow and missing manhole covers.
Further, the complainant is required to give a detailed description of the problems faced, the location and the nearest landmark. The application not only allows citizens to report problems in their own residence area but also allows them to register complaints related to projects in other areas. The complainant can also post a picture of the issue along with the written description. After a complaint is registered in the system, it is automatically forwarded to the central control room for scrutiny and a unique ticket number is issued to the customer on the registered mobile number via SMS. The complaint is simultaneously forwarded to the junior engineer concerned. If the engineer does not attend to it within 24 hours, it gets escalated to the next level.
To check the status of the complaint registered, the complainant has to call the customer care number, 1916, and use the unique ticket number issued. Once the problem is resolved, the consumer is given the details of the concerned officials or the engineer who handled the complaint along with a picture of the resolved issue.
To make the system more transparent, the civic agency has launched a dedicated grievance redressal platform for DJB officials. From the junior engineer to the chief executive officer, all officers have access to the complaints database. The application has integrated its complaint redressal mechanism with the email system used to send grievances to officials. In addition, the application allows officials to check the status of a pending complaint. Both the platforms have been linked so that every time a complaint is registered, the officials are intimated in real time. The coexistence of both these facilities has led to faster communication, and effective and timely redressal of complaints.
The way forward
Going forward, DJB is set to launch the m-sewa mobile application, which will help consumers in uploading meter readings and generating their own monthly bills, thus empowering them. The application is being developed to address the mounting complaints regarding inflated bills. The new application will allow consumers to feed in their latest meter reading along with a photograph of the meter, based on which the water bill will be generated. The app will also enable online payments, including credit and debit card transactions.
This new application will reduce the pressure on DJB’s zonal revenue officials and help them concentrate on other work to streamline water supply, as the bills will be taken care of by the DJB mobile application. The application will also give reminders about late payments and pending bills. This system will allow consumers to generate their bills to their satisfaction in a hassle-free and convenient manner. They can also get a consumption graph to give them a better idea of how much water they have used over a period of time. They can even get records of their previous bills on this app. But the authority needs to make sure that random checks are conducted and actions are taken against anyone found misusing the application by feeding in wrong readings or uploading fake pictures of the meter.
If this initiative is implemented in the right manner, it is expected to significantly improve DJB’s operational efficiency and service delivery. The successful adoption of this application can serve as an example for other local water bodies to learn from and implement similar initiatives.