Hobby groups to selfie points: Digi Thane to be more city-centric
Digi-Thane — a city-centric platform launched two years ago to link the corporation, citizens, government and commercial establishments — has now turned into a civic body portal, functioning primarily as an online gateway for paying bills and taxes. In order to make the platform more city-oriented, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has decided to launch multiple initiatives, such as adding the option of connecting people to alternate forms of transportation, bringing people together through hobby groups, reaching out to more communities by adding useful features for them.
TMC launched Digi Thane, the first such city-based digital platform in the country and second in the world after Tel Aviv, on January 23. Apart from bringing together the citizens, TMC and local businesses, the platform allows residents to pay their bills and taxes, work as an access card and ATM card, and offers discounts at various outlets for members.
While conducting a study on sustainable cities, along with the central ministry of housing and urbanisation, the corporation realised that the platform has become more of a TMC portal, instead of city application. Sameer Unhale, additional municipal commissioner of TMC, said, “If we want to reach out to more people, we will have to connect different sections of the society and involve people-friendly initiatives.”
Unhale said TMC is working on changing the mobility behaviour of residents to decrease the use of private vehicles. “We will create more sustainable transport options like cycles and connect citizens to the same through the application. The portal will also give updates on bus movements in the city. Another initiative is to create selfie points at prime locations and geo-tag them on the portal to bring together more people to these locations,” he added.
Unhale claimed that all these initiatives do not require a big budget and are easy to attain. “We are already conducting different quizzes and seminars related to the city. We are also planning to make hobby groups through the application. People can meet others having similar interests through this platform,” he said, adding that they are trying to get auto-rickshaw drivers on the platform too. TMC has written a letter to the regional transport office, seeking guidance on how the issues of auto drivers can be highlighted on this application. “Similarly, we can bring other communities onboard and make it more of a Thane city portal rather than a TMC portal,” Unhale said.
Activist Sanjeev Dutta, however, said the corporation should first properly digitise services required by citizens. “TMC is boasting about Digi-Thane, but it is not even able to provide an efficient online tax payment gateway or digitise other services regularly needed by citizens. In Naupada and Uthalsar wards, residents were supposed to get digitised water bills, but most of them still don’t get any bills. TMC has failed to take the Digi Thane portal to residents.”
1.8 Lakh people registered on Digi-Thane
TMC claims that more than 1.80 lakh Thane residents are registered on the application. This is still less than the five to six lakh people TMC had targeted
Digi Thane services can be availed though the app or the website www.digithane.thanecity.gov.in or the Digi Thane card. People can apply for the card through the website.