Going Online: PMC takes IT initiatives to streamline its operations

PMC takes IT initiatives to streamline its operations

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) was constituted in 1950 in Maharashtra for providing services like water supply, sewerage, stormwater drainage, solid waste management (SWM) and health care to more than 3 million people.

For the past decade or so, PMC has been taking e-governance initiatives to improve its service delivery. The civic agency has taken several measures to streamline its water supply and sewerage services and augment revenue collection, including setting up a grievance management system and an online bill payment system. It has also integrated the functions of the property tax department, the garden department and SWM with the geographic information system (GIS).

PMC has integrated its entire operational system with e-governance infrastructure. It provides various citizen-centric services online through a one-stop access point. These services are:

Online tax/user charge collection: PMC has launched an online payment facility for property and water meter bills. Under this, property and water bills are generated online by providing information pertaining to the ward, name, account number, consumer number, owner and property description.

Monthly water bills are delivered to consumers. Consumers can pay their property and water bills using credit cards, debit cards or net banking services. The online system captures and stores a record of bill payments. It is also capable of generating the records of cumulative outstanding bills along with pending and received amounts. Consumers can verify the bill amount on the spot. They can also lodge complaints online through email and get any required corrections made in PMC’s database.

For consumers who do not have internet access, PMC has set up citizen facilitation centres at different locations in the city. Consumers can pay their property as well as water meter bills at these centres and avail of all other services.

Grievance management system: PMC has also developed a grievance management system for receiving consumer complaints regarding civic services. The grievance management system accepts complaints through its website, email, mobile application, SMS, WhatsApp, ward/ department reception, call centre, Facebook, Twitter, etc. These are then routed to the concerned department. Once the complaint is registered, the complainant is assigned a token number, which can be used to track the status of the complaint. Besides, the complainant can email to  check the status.

The civic agency maintains a dashboard to monitor the progress of grievance redressal and take action in case of delays. The dashboard maintains a real-time record of pending and resolved complaints, maximum grievances resolved category, percentage of grievance resolved, grievances pending for more than 60 days, feedback, and citizen ratings (ward-wise and department-wise).

Mobile applications: PMC has developed eight mobile applications to improve civic services. These applications have enabled citizens to track their outstanding bills, the status of birth and death certificates and made the grievance redressal mechanism more efficient. Moreover, the mobile applications have provided an interactive platform to consumers, enabling them to connect with their service providers.

GIS tagging of buildings: PMC’s property tax department is using geospatial technologies for streamlining its departmental operations like assessment, billing and collection.

The department has appointed qualified system integrators to carry out a geo-enabled property assessment survey. This survey includes the use of digital map technology, on-field hand-held devices and advanced property assessment techniques. This is expected to help PMC create an updated detailed assessment data for each property within PMC limits.

AutoDCR 2.0: PMC has implemented a computerised system for scrutinising building proposals. AutoDCR 2.0, launched in May 2015, enables registered architects and licensed engineers to interact with PMC officials through the civic agency’s website. The scrutiny system does not require human intervention and works round the clock on first in, first out basis. This has helped the civic agency in reducing the time period to get the commencement certificate for construction purposes.

E-Sign integration: PMC has successfully integrated E-Sign to enable citizens/officers/stakeholders with a valid Aadhaar card and registered mobile number to carry out the digital signing of their documents online. The civic agency plans to integrate E-Sign with major systems like AutoDCR, property tax, licences/no-objection certificates and works management system to provide paperless solutions to its employees. The services of the Unique Identification Authority of India and Aadhaar e-KYC service are used for online e-authentication.

Key benefits of PMC’s IT initiatives

PMC’s IT initiatives have resulted in several benefits in the form of cost and time savings, and efficient service delivery. Some of the key advantages are as follows:

  • Easy access to authentic information enhances the decision-making capabilities of officials and improves customer satisfaction.
  • The registration and monitoring of complaints is possible on a real-time basis.
  • Reduced maintenance and operating costs.
  • Immediate notification of problems and the area of their occurrence.
  • The online system enhances the accountability and transparency of service delivery.
  • PMC takes regular feedback from users and citizens to handle any difficulties that may arise in the online system.
  • All the online services are constantly reviewed and assessed.

PMC’s IT initiatives have been widely recognised. The civic agency has won many awards such as the IUKAN Award: Benchmark of Best Practices 2015, the Skoch Digital Inclusion Award: The Benchmark of Best Practices 2013, the APTDC Award 2013: runner-up for Swach Model and PMC Best Practices, and the Nagar Ratna Award by the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission in 2010-11 for its outstanding efforts in improving civic service delivery.

Going forward, technological advancements are expected to expand the scope of initiatives for improving customer interface. PMC’s online services, grievance management system and mobile applications are expected to serve as an example for other local bodies to learn from and use to implement similar initiatives.