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Friday, April 04, 2003

Attention citizens of Mumbai! A non-governmental organization (NGO), Praja has just launched an Online Complaint Management System (OCMS) in close association with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). OCMS was launched at the BMC headquarters yesterday (3 April 2003) by Mumbai's mayor, Mahadeo Deole and B G Deshmukh, the chairman of the board of trustees of PRAJA foundation

According to the press release by PRAJA,
The Online Complaint Monitoring System (OCMS) is designed to enable citizens of Mumbai register complaints and receive information on the complaint status quickly and easily, without the need to visit or call the Brihan-Mumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) ward offices at restricted timings.
All you need to do is to go to www.praja.org and fill in a simple form with the complaint details. On submission, you will be given a unique complaint tracking number, which helps you check the status of your complaint on the internet - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Anonymous complaints are accepted.
What if you don't have connectivity to the internet? Not to worry, the OCMS is a cohesive system. Complaints filed from any source - the net, phone calls and letters to the BMC - will be entered into the OCMS database. The BMC has a 24/7 complaint hotline telephone "1916." And, regardless from where the complaint is fed into the system, you will get a similar complaint tracking number.
Citizens can post their civic complaints online through the OCMS on PRAJA's website. Be it water shortage, encroachment, garbage pile-up or any other civic concern, people of Mumbai no longer will need to run to their area's municipal office to lodge a complaint. They can post their complaint through OCMS and be assured that it will be taken care of soon. A complaint officer in each of the 24 wards of BMC will monitor the complaints for his/her area and forward the complaints to the concerned departments in the BMC. If a particular complaint is not resolved within a stipulated time-frame, then it gets routed to a higher official, thus ensuring redressal. This stipulated time-frame is decided in a Citizen's Charter, a comprehensive document prepared jointly by the BMC and PRAJA. e.g. the Charter sets a time-frame of 24 hours for the redressal of issues like "Overflowing drains or manholes" or "Garbage not lifted from authorised collection spot".

The OCMS is also a complaint monitoring system. Higher officials in BMC can keep track and monitor the progress of grievance redressal by accessing the system.

Some salient features of OCMS... (taken from the PRAJA press release)
1. First of its kind anywhere in the world.
2. All the complaints - from whichever source - will be put in one cohesive system, making it easier to respond, maintain, and evaluate.
3. Each complaint will have a unique tracking number. The complainant can at any time of day or night check the status of the complaint online.
4. If the complaint is not heeded, it will be escalated to the higher officer automatically - up to the Municipal Commissioner. There is no human involvement in this process and it removes the scope for delays in dealing with citizens' complaints.
5. It will revolutionize the use of Information Technology in governance. E-governance is much more that simply computerization of government offices and better communications. This is an interactive system.
6. The OCMS will bring about transparency in governance thus improving governance tremendously.
7. For the first time an NGO is partnering the government in such an initiative.

I think OCMS is an excellent step towards creating an accountable and functional civic administration. BMC and PRAJA have taken the first step. Now it is upto the citizens of Mumbai to step forward and make this effort a success.

Finally... an applause for the people behind PRAJA for their wonderful initiative.


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Sameer/Male/27. Hails from India/Maharashtra/Mumbai/Prabhadevi, speaks Marathi, English and Hindi. Spends 60% of daytime online. Uses a Faster (1M+) connection. And likes Reading/Computers.