Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) is Asia's richest Municipal Corporation, due to the cluster of industries in its jurisdiction. Initially a Municipal Council, it was established as a Municipal Corporation in 1985. Like any Municipal Corporation, it looks after various services and facilities to its citizens. Keen to take citizen feedback and ensure that services are delivered efficiently, PCMC brought in changes to make life simpler for civilians under the Service Level Benchmark Project sponsored by Water Sanitation Programme.
The Service Level Benchmarks (SLB) program was launched under the leadership of the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) in 2009. In 2010, the SLB framework was integrated into the recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission. Since then, the program has been extensively adopted across the country, with over 1400 municipalities reporting their performance as per the SLB indicators in 2011.
As an extension to the SLB program at the behest of MoUD, the Water Sanitation Program, in association with PCMC, has implemeted a pilot initiative – 'SLB CONNECT' - to strengthen citizen engagement in the delivery of services. The potential of mobile and emerging media technologies is being leveraged to facilitate tracking of service delivery (on SLB indicators linked to customer service) based on citizen feedback.
- Sarathi Helpline - System to Assist Residents and Tourists Helpline Information is a helpline set up for citizens grieveances and redressal. This helpline adheres to questions such as procedures for Local Body tax, procedure to procure a water connection, etc.
- SCADA-Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) is also installed to monitor water services in the Municipality. The system monitors and gives real time data to the water engineers of the Corporation. Each engineer is given a tablet, which is programmed with the SCADA controls. This gives him the latest updates from the system and allows him to forsee any circumstances which may require this information. It is also a step to time-based, crucial desision making. The data collected by the SCADA system will be live soon for the general public. This will enable people to understand how the city gets its water supply.
- WhatsMap- is a service that has layers of information on the website. From sewer lines to Water Tanks to Local Administrative Offices- to enable citizens to view the municipal services virtually and empower them to access these with ease.
Apart from these three services, the Municipality is also keen on ensuring that water leaks are checked regularly. Through Helium Testing, the Municipality inserts Helium which is an inert gas at the start of the pipeline and checks for gas leakage every 100 meters. Executive Chief Engineer Praveen Ladkat says, "In order for water to not be wasted, this is one thing that we do effectively. Not being able to supply water because of leaks is shameful. So we do everything we can to get the leaks fixed as soon as possible".
A new website
Another dynamic concept that the Corporation has done is to upload a lot of information online. So the website has engineer;s and plumber's numbers, water supply charges, work orders and Development Plans among others. While the list is available in Marathi, they plan to release it in English soon. This, the officials hope will enable better transparency and spped up repair work.
Unlike the image of tardy government offices, PCMC office bubbles with enthusiasm to want to serve the residents of the city. Every bit of information and every piece of data that is collected will be put up in the public domain. This they have accomplished in phases, with effective deadlines and participation from their staff. P. Deshpande, a young officer who has been working with the Municipality for the last 1 year says, "We can all complain of 'babu' mentality but until we do not have the space to make simple decisions in good time, people will continue to complain. But when you create a space to work and witness your own hard work reflecting in your everyday life, you are motivated to come back and set more things right".
Be it water or filing taxes, this Corporation seems to have started on the right path.