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E-gov and Karnataka's Municipal Reforms Cell

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Recently, I saw some job ads from this much ignored body called Municipal Reforms Cell (MRC in short).  MRC was created back in 2005 to drive e-governance related reforms in Urban Local Bodies of Karnataka. As per the MRC website, 213 ULBs of our state were in scope via two separate funding schems.

Now, how has the progress been? We have websites for a lot of ULBs now (Mysore, Mangalore Mandya etc etc, many more TMCs and CMCs), but no counts on the MRC website - how many of 213 are live now? Websites showing up over last few years carry some standard citizen applications like birth certificate, death certificate and complaints management system.

Oh yeah, most of these city websites have the online complaints system now. Want to log a complaint with Mandya CMC, go here: http://mandyacity.gov.in/.... Or how about Mangalore? Here: http://mangalorecity.gov..... Funnily and oddly enough, BBMP still does not have this system implemented.

Regardless, I am curious to know how successful these e-governance projects have been. There are two sides to these projects in progress.

  1. Internal accounting and property tax systems for ULBs
  2. Citizen facing systems like the website, and complaints system

What is the uptake of complaints system for example? I tried running a report on Mangalore website, took for ever, returned a broken page. Tried the same for Mandya as well, long wait on the website, but no report shown.

Next and most important, whats up with the products which are listed as "in pipeline" for a long time now.

  • Works - to track and organize information on all works undertaken by ULB
  • Assets - to track UBL's assets
  • BuildingPlan - Internet enabled/online building plan approval system!

All three sound like really interesting systems, imagine if these expose data transparently to all citizens. We would know the status of every project, every upcoming building in our localities - is that useful or what!?

There is a contact link on the MRC website (http://www.mrc.gov.in/mrc...), and I am going to mail this post to the email address listed there. Hope to get a meaningful reply, and will share it as soon as I get one.

Comments

silkboard's picture

Tried again, seems broken for sure

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Tried once again, to get reports on complaints filed on some of these city websites. Page took a long time to load, and eventually ended giving a broken page. Try yourself - click on this to get a report from mandya site: http://mandyacity.gov.in/...

Have not tried registering complaint/greivance on any city's page - don't want to waste anyone's time in case there are people watching and acting on the complaints queue. Hope that part would be working fine.

silkboard's picture

Rajajinagara website and experiment?

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After I made this post, I was made aware of a similar initiative in Bangalore for Rajajinagara. See http://www.rajajinagara.k...

Not surprisingly, this page only has a note from Mr N L Narendra Babu, and the a new website mentioned here (http://mahalakshmilayout.kar.nic.in) does not exist.

I would think that this is a case in point - e-governance is not just about getting a website up about a locality, it takes a lot of content-updation mechanism and backend systems and support to keep thinks running.

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Rajajinagara website was very informative and interactive

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I have interacted with http://www.rajajinagara.kar.nic.in before it was suspended for relaunch as Mr.Narendra Babu has mentioned in his letter on that site.

Last time when I accessed it to upload a complaint about a park in Rajajinagara area, I was the 50,043rd visitor to that website and that too within a period of one year.  It means that citizens of Rajajinagara and Bengaluru had accessed and made use of the site for its static contents and interactive information system and Online Complaints Management System. 

- Due to wards delimitation process and redrawing of boundaries of assembly constituency segments, the website had to undergo drastic changes in its static content, ward details, OCMS menus and it is understood it is under preparation for relaunch.

- I have checked up with NIC and was informed that the package is readily available for use by any elected representative provided their requests are routed through proper channel i.e., legislature secretariat of Government of Karnataka in consultation with Mr.Narendra Babu.

- Many Government departments have, for over 10 years, been launching their websites through outsourcing  their construction, creation of static content, back end operation and web hosting and also for maintaining the site by payig fabulous amounts from the treasury account.  Invariably, they are never maintained and become outdated. 

example: http://kspcb.kar.nic.in/notifications.htm - the last notification on the website is dated July 2006 - Does this mean, no notifications concerning pollution control in Bengaluru been issued at all after that date? e&oe.

- e.Governance is a misnomer and except Bhoomi and outsourced Bangalore One initiatives, most of the IT efforts have never achieved the purposes for which they were launched;  the common man who is not IT savvy can never know the terms and meanings like website, portal, URL. 

- Still moneys are being spent - whose money is it anyways?

- Vasanth Mysoremath

 

 

Naveen's picture

Push to be for Usage

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SB,

These web sites are created when someone (eg. media or journalist/s, civic bodies, etc.) question them & request them for means to enable on-line filing for "convenience of citizens". Some ministers also "launch" web sites to help publicize themselves. Most often, once such a page is created, it remains unattended & neglected.

The real thrust for such pages to stay updated & current is pressure from citizens, which can only happen with active usage as a tool for enhancing interaction & efficiency - this is clearly not happening, barring a few instances.

VKM sir quoted the example of the rajajinagar site - at least that was a start, but to gain widespread acceptance, the focus must be on pushing citizens to use it more.

If services are made "on-line only" to make them convenient & efficient, it would ensure widespread use, but we are still far away from this, as it is now in many countries.

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

RJNr portal - extensively used 300+ complaints/50000+ hits

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Naveen sir,

Rajajinagar website's plus point was its easy steps to lodge complaints, I understand more than 300 complaints had been registered on the website.  There was built in auto escalation of complaints to the next higher officers with time constraints/ fixed schedules for lower officers to respond and finally reaching the head of the department of any the seven service providers if the complaint is not closed by the MLA office with necessary feed back from the field officers under a jurisdiction and also feed back to the email ID or mobile number of the docket holder..

- Another citizen friendly initiative in the website was a window in the home page menu column was  "how to....";  clicking on it would take us to a long list of "how to dos.... how to get a driving licence with access to various forms to be filled, similarly, how to get a passport , ration card, even details on how to start an NGO.. This I found a very novel method.  

- It had photo and video galleries of works under way, time schedules, project costs, and a window inviting citizens to suggest ways and means to improve the constituency.  

- I had found it highly interactive and citizen friendly... unfortunately, immediately after one year, the site had to be remodelled due to wards delimination, redrawing of constituency boundaries and creation of a new LA seat in Mahalakshmi Layout.

- Even now, I understand, it is readily available and free to use with simple exercises of converting the contents to suit an elected reps needs - not even two paise.

- Is there a political will because it is free lunch for these reps who want to outsource everything  of their.....?

- Vasanth Mysoremath

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