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INDIA

FASTEST GROWING
FREE MARKET DEMOCRACY

INFORMATION
TECHNOLOGY

Indian Municipalities Become


People Friendly

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P A G E 2

I N F O R M A T I O N T E C H N O L O G Y

INDIAN MUNICIPALITIES BECOME PEOPLE FRIENDLY

When the going gets tough, the tough e-enable themselves.


To cope with the grow-
The percentage of India's population living in cities and urban areas has
ing pressure on infra-
doubled to 28.8% by 2001 from 14% at the time of Independence. To
structure, numerous
cope with the growing pressure on infrastructure, numerous city
city municipalities
municipalities across India country are turning to technology to ensure
across India country are
better levels of city governance.
turning to technology
to ensure better levels
E-governance in India is becoming increasingly popular because more and
of city governance.
more elected politicians are seeing the sheer economic sense of the
exercise.

• India’s first e-governed municipality in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad


district recorded an 85 % in tax recoveries.

• The first nine municipalities in Gujarat that implemented e-


governance saw tax recoveries grow from 35 % to 65 %. As a
result, more and more urban municipalities across India are tuning
in.

• Anand, a rural district in Gujarat which pioneered India’s co-


operative movement—has nine municipalities. Each is e-governed.

• The municipality of Visakhapatnam, a port city on the eastern


coast provides a number of basic services online, including tap
connection status, status of garbage pick-ups, sanitation tenders,
and building plan status.

• Coimbatore, a bustling city in the southern state of Tamil Nadu


has computerised its database for property taxes and water
charges.

• The municipal corporation of Surat—a state in the western state


of Gujarat which shot to limelight on account of a plague epidemic
in the nineties—now has an award-winning system for addressing
citizen complaints.

• Jabalpur—a city in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh uses


a management information system that has helped the city improve
its resources mobilization.

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P A G E 3

I N F O R M A T I O N T E C H N O L O G Y

INDIAN MUNICIPALITIES BECOME PEOPLE FRIENDLY

The economic logic of e-governance is causing winds of change to blow


across India’s cities. In the past, the country’s municipalities always
In most parts of India
looked up to their state governments for sustenance. As a result, they
though, modernisation ended up functioning as an agency of the state government, which
of municipalities re- defeated the very purpose of setting up municipalities as autonomous
mains a state govern- bodies.
ment initiative. In
Gujarat, till now, 51 Since the 2000s, however, municipalities are showing that they can be
municipalities have financially savvy. For example, in 2000, the Ahmedabad Municipality
introduced the e- became the first in the country to come out with a US $ 22 million bond
governance system, issue. In the following years, the municipalities of Hyderabad, Chennai
while 58 more expect Nashik and Vishakapatnam have followed suit, raising resources from the
to introduce it by capital markets.
October.
In most parts of India though, modernisation of municipalities remains a
state government initiative. In Gujarat, till now, 51 municipalities have
introduced the e-governance system, while 58 more expect to introduce
it by October. The remaining 32 municipalities will be covered by year-
end. Once this happens, Gujarat will become the first state in India to be
completely e-governed.

Some state governments are building their initiatives block by block. The
Karnataka government, for example, started by computerising six of its
largest municipal corporations to cover functions such as property tax
valuation, collection, issue and record of death/birth certificates, water
supply billing, consumer complaints and internal MIS functions. The
second phase involved networking 100 smaller municipalities.

The Andhra Pradesh government, on the other hand, has opted for a
state-wise rollout. It has set up 253 e-service Centers across the State
covering 117 municipalities.

Impressed by these initiatives, other state governments are keen to


follow suit. Rajasthan is busy drawing up a detailed plan to rope in IT
majors and line up funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The West Bengal government is setting up a geographical information
system within the sprawling city of Kolkata with the financial support of
agencies like UNICEF.

Such initiatives are impressive, but not without drawbacks. For one, the

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P A G E 4

I N F O R M A T I O N T E C H N O L O G Y

INDIAN MUNICIPALITIES BECOME PEOPLE FRIENDLY

initiatives are fragmented and standalone—which makes it difficult to


create a national MIS backbone for municipality governance.
While Indian cities
provide settings as
“We are trying to create a standard uniform platform for exchange of
engines of economic
information for enabling e-governance. This is why I suggest that
growth, they are facing
geographical information systems (GIS) should be used in urban area
enormous challenges:
administration,” Dayanidhi Maran, India’s Union minister for Information
pressure on land, water,
Technology said at a conference in August.
education and health
resources.
Urban India contributes to 70% of India’s GDP. While Indian cities
provide settings as engines of economic growth, they are facing
enormous challenges: pressure on land, water, education and health
resources.

This will accelerate even further, and by 2021 over 41% of Indians are
expected to reside in the urban area,’’ points out S.K.Gupta, Head,
Centre for Environmental Science and Engineering, IIT Mumbai.

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AUGUST 2004 P A G E 5

AUTOMOBILES

The India Brand Equity Foundation is a public - private partnership


between the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India and
the Confederation of Indian Industry. The Foundation's primary objective
is to build positive economic perceptions of India globally.

India Brand Equity Foundation


c/o Confederation of Indian Industry
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INDIA

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www.ibef.org India Brand Equity Foundation