Learning a lesson from the Mantralaya fire that put numerous government documents at risk, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has begun the process of digitisation of files.
The civic body has decided that all its 68 departments will go paperless, even as state government officials are trying to reconstruct the documents lost in the ire last week.
The BMC aims to bring in the concept of an electronic office, or e-office, and has identified vital departments whose files will be taken up for digitisation in the first phase.
The initial phase will involve scanning the documents of all departments, followed by feeding them into a software to make transactions faster and easier.
“We have identified sensitive departments, such as estates, development planning and accounts, which will be digitised in the first phase. The IT [information technology] department is working on the software that can be used for the process. Once that is finalised, the tendering process to engage a vendor can begin,” said additional municipal commissioner Rajiv Jalota.
The digitisation process will be cost-effective and timesaving, and will also reduce the carbon footprint of departments once the use of paper files is minimised, civic officials said.
The BMC, however, has not set a time frame for the digitisation, with officials saying that the kind of revolutionary change required in the functioning of civic bodies will take years to implement.
“It has to begin somewhere. The department of disaster management will be taken up as a pilot project. We will begin scanning all our files to cut down on paperwork,” said Mahesh Narvekar, director of the department of IT and chief officer of the BMC’s disaster management cell.
“We are looking at the feasibility of the concept of an e-office. It is still in the preliminary stages,” he added.
So far, the BMC has digitised its property tax records under the new capital value-based regime of collecting property tax.
The Pune-based institute, Science and Technology Park, was entrusted with the creation of a digital database of these records. The BMC had also begun of scanning of all octroi forms since June last year.