KDMC Sets Standards For Online Citizen Services

by Hinesh Jethwani    Jan 13, 2004

Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) Maharashtra, India, has embarked on a major e-governance project, setting standards for the rest of the state.

Speaking to CXOtoday, Subash Patil, systems manager, KDMC, said, “We have embarked on a local e-governance project, which effectively translates our massive public database to an online storehouse. To effectively manage our data, we have migrated from our earlier Foxpro system, to Oracle 9i.’

Wipro Infotech helped KDMC deploy Oracle 9i, and the software development was done by Oracle certified partner, ABM Knowledgeware Limited. Wipro has signed a 3-year call based support contract with the company, which is extendable to 5 years.

The project initiative was first launched in 1999, and it encompasses all public documents like birth certificates, water tax, property permission certificates, etc.

Bill payments are supported through remote Citizen Facilitation Centers (CFC’s), and hence security is a prime issue. The corporation employs a modular security system, with Oracle 9i providing its own internal database protection, and firewalls coupled with an authentication server working on the external front.

KDMC serves the citizens of the twin cities of Kalyan and Dombivli, providing automated access to all functions and services related to more than 100 citizen services.

In doing so, the corporation broke free from the archaic manual systems it had used for decades to carry out day-to-day administrative tasks. The corporation’s previous systems were inefficient, and hindered citizens from submitting payments for municipal services on time.

Today, 1.2 million citizens of Kalyan and Dombivli use KDMC’s Oracle-powered portal to access local CFC’s for more than 100 services.

KDMC selected Oracle for its technological maturity. “We also evaluated DB2 but selected Oracle Database and Oracle Application Server (OracleAS) for stability, performance, and sustainability,” said Dhanraj Khamatkar commissioner of Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation.

Reliability was a primary consideration as well. “We cannot afford downtime,” Khamatkar added. “Because government data is more valuable than the infrastructure that processes or stores it, we invested in the most secure database. Ninety percent of the collections for our 120,000 water connections and 160,000 properties are being done through online systems today.”

Following its 2002 implementation, KDMC set a water and tax dues collection target of US$1.33 million for November. At the end of the month, KDMC exceeded its goal, collecting US$1.88 million.

The new efficiencies delivered by the Oracle system have meant faster all round services. Water bill payments, which typically took an hour to process, now take minutes, and issuing birth certificates, which required a minimum of 10 days, are now cleared in 15 minutes.

In addition, the processes that involve physical verification on site, have built-in mechanisms that automatically alert supervisors when site visits have been pending for more than two days.

Oracle reports and forms allow the municipal commissioner to get a complete overview of the corporation on departmental activities, geographic areas, and complaint types–a comprehensive overview that was not possible with the previous system.

Downtime, too, is a thing of the past. “We’ve been live for 17 months and haven’t had a single incidence of unplanned downtime,” Khamatkar said. “Since the day we started operations, we have rendered 58,506 types of services, collected 10,1064 water and tax bills, and redressed 28,130 complaints.

Approximately 400 to 500 citizens apply for various services, and 50 to 60 citizens file complaints every day at KDMC’s site.

A staff of two manages the complete Oracle system in KDMC’s data center at the Kalyan head office. The system is made up of two Sun E 450 servers running OracleAS and Oracle Database.

The e-governance initiatives at KDMC have been greatly appreciated and recognized by the state authorities, and the Government of Maharashtra has decided to replicate the initiatives in 240 municipal bodies in state.

For its efforts, KDMC was awarded a Certificate of Recognition from the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances, and Pensions, Government of India, for “exemplary e-governance initiatives.”