IT and good sense for better governance

Oct 30 2013, 04:05 IST
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SummaryPimpri Chinchwad is a standout example of how integrated e-governance can improve urban service delivery

Pimpri Chinchwad is a standout example of how integrated e-governance can improve urban service delivery

Most Indian cities today are confounded by the challenge of delivering public services to a rapidly growing and more empowered urban population with rising incomes and even faster-rising aspirations. Whether it is collecting, transporting and disposing the solid waste or fixing street lights, issuing birth certificates or sanctioning building plans, billing and collecting utility charges for water and electricity or making it simple for citizens to pay property taxes, our city governments have to play catch up. Decades of neglect through too little investment in urban infrastructure and decaying systems of service delivery with growing inefficiency and petty corruption have brought things to such a pass that incremental solutions will not work. In such a situation, IT offers tremendous opportunities for leapfrogging in service delivery in a transparent and accountable manner.

Pimpri Chinchwad has emerged as a new generation star performer with e-governance. A number of Indian cities have implemented e-governance in some form or the other. But Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) stands out in its scope and sophistication in implementing e-governance, beginning in 2010, in a holistic manner, and the results are all too visible in better urban planning as well as significantly improved service delivery.

As the fastest-growing city in Maharashtra and the fourth-fastest in India after Surat, Hyderabad and Vizag, Pimpri Chinchwad has seen an increase in its population from 10 lakh in 2001 to 19 lakh in 2013. As the city's population grew by about 70% between 2001 and 2011, as high as 60% of the increase was due to migration. Migration to the city is largely driven by the employment and education opportunities in the region, and is dominated by working-age persons and/or students. In catering to the growing pressures emanating from rapid economic growth, increasing population, and changing demographics, PCMC has carved out a strategy for planned urbanisation and better governance with IT as a major instrument.

Pimpri Chinchwad was created in 1970 with the amalgamation of 4 villages—Pimpri, Chinchwad, Bhosari and Akurdi—into a Municipal Council. Towards the north-west of Pune, the second largest city of Maharashtra, and separated from it by the river Mula, Pimpri Chinchwad has virtually become a twin city of the former. It sits squarely on the Mumbai-Pune expressway, the first such expressway to have been built in India in 2003. The advantages of location have

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