In March 2016, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) launched a mobile application called NDMC-311 with the aim of improving the agency’s interaction with citizens. The application offers one-stop services and facilities to citizens, and is expected to help NDMC handle civic complaints in a more efficient manner. Effective implementation of this application is also likely to make service delivery in the NDMC area better and smarter through greater transparency, collaboration and cooperation.
The newly launched application offers a number of services under the tabs NDMC, Helpline24, All citizen services, Complaints, Quick pay, What’s near me, Traffic and parking, Connect with NDMC, and FAQ.
- NDMC: This tab provides general information about NDMC, including its history, vision, departments and upcoming events.
- Helpline24: Through this tab, people can contact departments or organisations for instant help in emergencies like fire, medical help, etc.
- All citizen services: This tab offers comprehensive information on electricity, water, property tax, real estate, vaccinations, birth and death certificates, plumbers, electricians, etc.
- Complaints: This tab enables residents to report civic issues such as potholes, waterlogged streets and garbage on the road. People can upload photographs, and lodge geo-tagged complaints, and track the status of their complaint. Further, there is an option to lodge dengue-related complaints, which is a recent addition to the application.
- Quick pay: Through this tab, people can pay their water bills, electricity bills, property tax, and real estate bills instantly.
- What’s near me: This allows people to search for nearby places such as police stations, metro stations, petrol pumps, taxi stands, hospitals, libraries, gyms, physiotherapy centres, hospitals, tourist places, monuments, etc.
- Traffic and parking: This tab provides real-time traffic updates and information about parking availability in different areas of the city. In addition, the application has a complete database of the total and vacant parking spots available for two/four-wheelers along with the parking fee per hour.
- Connect with NDMC: This allows people to get in touch with NDMC through Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Gmail, and provide feedback too.
- FAQ: All questions related to any NDMC department are answered using the FAQ feature.
The design of the application is such that once a complaint is submitted, the application automatically routes it to the concerned department. Thereafter, it generates a work order that can be tracked by both the department and the complainant. The interactive application allows the complainant to post comments that are automatically directed to the assigned officer. It also allows a complaint to be reopened by an unsatisfied citizen. Each category of complaint comes with a different deadline for resolution. Further, the application allows users to register a complaint on behalf of resident welfare associations.
Going forward, another feature will be added to the application, which would allow people to book an online appointment at hospitals or other medical care centres under NDMC’s jurisdiction. In the first phase, people can only book an appointment with the outpatient department at NDMC’s two hospitals – Charak Palika Hospital and Palika Maternity Hospital. Subsequently, the online registration system will be added for other departments as well. People can book an appointment online using their Aadhaar card number, after which an alert will be generated that can be used as a receipt to show at the hospital.
The application is available for Android and iOS users. To download the application, one can give a missed call to 7030215444.
Amidst the intensifying angst of citizens against various civic failures such as the spread of diseases, poor amenities, lack of streetlights and sewage issues, the launch of this application seems opportune. It is also in line with the central government’s ongoing agenda to promote digital, cleaner and smarter cities.
According to NDMC officials, the application is receiving a positive response. So far, 10,982 complaints have been received through this application, of which 10,541 (95.98 per cent) have been resolved and the remaining 441 are in the process of being resolved. However, an analysis of user reviews on Google Play suggests that users have run into communication errors and other technical glitches. While the role and usefulness of NDMC-311 are yet to be ascertained since the application is still new, a welcome beginning has at least been made.