Egovernance and Bangalore

The best piece of local news I read over the weekend was about e-governance (E-governance … face of BMP). And, in there, I liked the talk of a “real” and usable public grievance redressing system.

As I have maintained, the best way for us to get better local-governance is by actively participating in it. And the easiest and most practical way to participate, besides voting, is to complain! Yes, don’t vent around in vain, complain to the authority who is in a position to do something about it.

But, good and usable complaint systems are not around yet. A dream system, internet based, would be like this:

  • Pick your locality, say Whitefield (actually, Mahadevapura)
  • Pick what you want to complain about, it has to be one from a fixed list
    • of all “assets” owned by local government, like power lines, roads, water pipes etc
    • of “recent jobs” (or “works” as they call it) carried out in the locality
  • As an example, you could pick the recently widened and worked upon ‘Varthur road’.
  • And then you type in some free form text. For ‘Varthur Road’, say “missing pavements”.
  • Now, you get a complaint number.
  • And the complaints site has a system to tell me what is happening with the complaint I lodged a few weeks ago. Just provide a complaint number and it will tell you a thing like
    • “read and dismissed”
    • “read and merged with complaint xyz”
    • “read and acted upon”
    • “incomplete, supply details, pictures etc”
    • Or whatever. But some status, that I can track and seek more information on if I want to.
  • Last but not the least, I should also be able to see other complaints, and stuff like “most complaint about asset or work”.

Notice that this ‘dream’ system is almost a marriage of proactive RTI compliance by local government (list of assets, works, and status of complaints) and regular public grievance redressing system.

The press release on Egovernments foundation and BMP partnership didn’t describe the exact complaint system Mr Srikanth Nadhamuni is building. But I am hopeful that it will be on similar lines. And it will sure be a lot better that the current way of going to one of the four citizen service centers of BMP.

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4 Responses

  1. a lot of cmcs across state have this egov portals. check out kengeri, udupi etc … wonder how diff the bmp web is gonna be.

  2. All these sites were setup and are hosted by egovernment foundation only. They dont have this type of complaints system though. Whatever modules BMP is going to adopt, same will be rolled out to other CMC sites run by egov foundation – thats a fair assumption.

  3. thanks. we’ll wait and watch.

    one thing in B’lore- PPP, especially involving IT-dheemantaru, is a popular cure-all. question: why not rope in these world beating IT maayavadis to solve problems for which they have real solutions? aka egovernance?
    (as against how to detangle the mekhri circle knot)

    have you checked out the sundry govt sites developed by accent tech?
    highly uninspired layouts and tepid even corny visuals. disfunctional functionality and almost no depth.
    lack of public interface -> the’ve got something to hide -> golmal.

    how about automatizing, networking and streamlining of the internal procedures of the various sarkaari departments? what do the IT mahants have to offer here?
    too many hands + no cross referencing + mutable transaction recording + = golmal x 4

    how about setting up some solid IT infrastructure for B’lore governance. property, registration databases with some serious cross referencing functionality. how about coming up with biometrics integrated system that ties birth certificate, school records, vehicle, property records , taxes, police records, passports, to death records?
    (why PAN # etc, why not biometrics?)

    too many hands + no cross referencing + mutable transaction recording + leaky internal procedures = golmal x 4 x 16

  4. Tarle,

    As far as I know egov foundation is funded by Nandan Nilekani. And from limited interation I had with egov’s managing trustee Mr Nadhamuni, he has similar ideas – cross referencing data across various streams.

    The thing is, we all have good ideas and picture of where we want to go with egovernance. The problem is how to get there. A big bang approch – do a massive interlinked web of information systems – wont work. Because, doing this information system will require approval (reason: budget) from the same people this system will aim to expose.

    The practical approach may be to do it slow. Put egovernance in departments here and there. And before the netas and babus know, these islands of information could start joining to form a usable web.

    Not the most intuitive way to develop a software system. But looks like some folks believe in it. Wish them luck.

    And incidentally – the poor quality (as in user interfaces) of these egov type sites is a topic I am writing my next post on. Dont steal my thunder. Supply material if you have more, here -> silkboard [at] gmail [dot] com

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