The Smart Cities Mission (SCM) is based on the idea of using information and communications technology as the bedrock to modernise cities in order to make them more sustainable, liveable, resilient and inclusive. One of the key components of the mission is the provision of robust institutional infrastructure. Treading on the same lines, Kanpur Smart City Limited (KSCL) has launched an online service portal to increase the adoption of smart facilities across the city. The civic agency has also launched a mobile application to improve service delivery to its citizens.
With a view to provide better services to citizens, KSCL has started an online service portal, that is, a virtual civic centre. The various services offered on the portal range from online payment of electricity bill, property tax and water tax to applying for birth and death certificates, and registering complaints.
To benefit from the portal, users need to register with their mobile numbers and email addresses. Once verified, users can enroll for different services such as the payment of property tax, profession tax, and water bills. The enrolled services will be linked to users’ profiles and would enable them to carry out future transactions quickly, besides tracking old transactions.
Developed in collaboration with Kanpur Electricity Supply Company Limited (KESCo), the online payment system for electricity bill offers 24×7 convenience to its users. In addition, the system allows online complaint/service request registration, customisation of notifications and payment options; provides access to billing and consumption history; offers energy-saving tips specific to a home or business, and enables setting of reminders or alerts to help users stay within their budget. Meanwhile, KESCo has developed KESCo Mobile Self Service, a mobile application which allows consumers to check their billing and payment details, and make complaints and payments. Users can login into the mobile app with KESCo portal credentials. Upon completion of the login process, users can access their latest bill summary, view monthly consumption, billing and payment history using graphs, and register complaints and track status, etc. The app also provides consumption pattern for 12 months, the time of usage, information related to power quality and bill preview to smart meter prepaid consumers.
Launched in October 2019, the Kanpur Smart City app is an informative, android-based mobile application. It enables citizens to stay updated with the latest happenings and project details under the SCM. The app allows them to register complaints related to sanitation, dilapidated roads, strewn garbage, water pipeline leakage, encroachment, choked drains, etc., and get them resolved.
The app features various sections where complaints can be lodged. These sections are cattle catching, JalKal Vibhag (water department), sanitation, lighting, horticulture, etc. One of the key features of the application is that the complaints registered are straightaway directed to concerned officers. App users are then informed through an SMS about their complaint number and the timeframe within which the issue would be resolved. The app can be downloaded from Google Play Store.
In light of the successful implementation of various initiatives envisaged by KSCL, the Kanpur city was ranked eighth in the list of top 10 smart cities by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in 2019. As compared to 2018, the city improved its ranking by five positions. Further, the city secured first position in Uttar Pradesh.
The civic authority can progress further by effectively leveraging technology. In this regard, the online portal and mobile application are expected to significantly reduce the burden on KSCL’s officials, allowing them to concentrate on other core civic services. These initiatives would also reduce human errors in the billing process and improve customer satisfaction by allowing users to pay bills in a hassle-free manner. However, KSCL needs to make the mobile application available for iOS and Windows phone users as well to widen its coverage. The successful and timely implementation of these initiatives is anticipated to significantly improve KSCL’s operational efficiency and service delivery. Furthermore, these initiatives can serve as an example for other civic authorities to learn from. N