Giving urban bodies a digital makeover

Aug 25 2014, 02:27 IST
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SummaryE-governance is a hot topic these days and the German enterprise software maker SAP, which has a strong footprint in the government sector, is going full throttle to equip urban bodies and municipalities with modern IT solutions and services for efficient delivery of citizen centric services

For decades, various government departments—at the Central and state level—have suffered a technology bypass, relying on centuries-old processes and processes to manage and deliver public services. Simple day-to-day functions such as issuing marriage certificates, passport, birth and death registrations, or more complex tasks like tax collection, health services, water supply, city infrastructure development, including roads, parking or traffic signals—it is a difficult task for an ordinary citizen to get work done. Rural-urban migration and the hyper growth of cities in our country has only added to the urban chaos.

In today’s fast-paced environment, and thanks to Prime Minister’s direct intervention, the government has got keen on getting closer to the citizens with initiatives such as apps, mobile platforms, short messaging service etc. It aims to leverage wireless and new media technology platforms, mobile devices and applications for delivery of public information and services to all citizens and businesses. The big idea is to widen the reach of public services to all citizens in the country.

The government’s strong impetus on technology to make it run better is music to the ears of technology companies, which are aggressively promoting their latest solutions and services encompassing social media, cloud, analytics and mobility. The German enterprise software maker SAP, which has witnessed strong growth in the public sector in India, feels that various state-owned departments will unleash a major technology initiative in the next few months, with e-governance in the forefront.

Putting IT to work

Earlier this month, SAP announced that Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC), with a view to improve quality of life through better administration and citizen services, has implemented solutions from SAP to automate and centralise public service offerings. Available in Hindi, the solutions will help BMC manage and streamline its functions such as issuing marriage certificates, birth and death registrations etc. The solutions will also streamline permits, health services, water supply and tax collection, among other services.

Globally, about 25% of SAP’s revenue comes from the public sector. According to company officials, there are several more pilot projects happening with municipalities across India. In a first for SAP in the wider Asia Pacific region, BMC plans to deliver citizen services through project “CityApp.” This project aims to develop an SAP mobile app that will provide an easy

access point for city services and will help citizens navigate through city services, stay informed and engage with their neighbours. The “CityApp” project is intended to simplify citizens’

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