Facing problems while paying water bills and property tax through a civic body mobile application? Unable to upload a picture of a potholes pic on the website? Hardly getting weather updates? All these problems will start vanishing as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) aims to implement an Information Technology (IT) policy this year.
Since the launch of various digital first approaches- from uploading building plan files, to applications for building construction and payments for services like water bills, property tax and license fee, BMC has been faltering for permanent technical support staff to solve the issues. It recently appointed one of its officers as the IT director but has been slow in solving citizens’ problems. BMC has had to depend on consultants for IT solutions for years.
The policy not only aims to set up an in-house department of IT professionals who will lead to integration of services with existing applications that will be customised as per BMC needs but also check on various loopholes.
To weed out corruption and implement the digital first approach, the policy includes rules/guidelines for employees accessing the system. Departments will have to maintain the logs with details of the employees, date and time of incidents and details of the incident.
In 2014, after loopholes were created in the software to award contracts to a few favoured contractors, the software developer of e-tendering system, and 23 civic officials were under scanner. The accused had, from a number of wards, allegedly opened invites for bids after midnight and closed it within a few hours instead of keeping it open for a mandatory seven days.
In case of similar incidents, an information security committee will review the logs at the end of each month. Recently too, the BMC staff was under scanner for using the office computer for social networking sites and downloads that slowed the official work. With guidelines in the place, the civic body believes that it will curtail such practices and help in nabbing offenders.
“The policy has been drafted. We are waiting for reviews and suggestions from other departments before it is approved and implemented,” said a senior civic official who did not wish to be named.
Highlights of the IT policy
To weed out corruption and implement digital first approach, the policy includes rules/guidelines for employees accessing the system, like officials should not connect to non-BMC networks (e.g. Personal mobile phones) without approvals.
Log monitoring- Departments will have to maintain the logs with login details of the employees, date and time at which any incident occurs, details of the incident and name and id of the person recording the incident.
Information Security Steering Committee- Information security officer will review all the logs at the end of each month.