It was quite a shocking revelation for Anarjit Chauhan, Nerul resident, and activist when he realized that NMMC still didn’t have an IT department. It is an even more of a bewilderment as the approval for hiring software and hardware engineers was given way back in 1999.
It is ironic how for the past 2 years NMMC has been going hard on campaigning to own a domain for them online to run all its administrative work, yet somehow they lack an IT team.
“Considering the series of e-based projects that NMMC has been undertaking, I was keen on knowing the staff strength and their qualification. I was shocked to know that no such department existed. Considering that the GB had already given its approval, the reason for the delay was even more surprising,” Chauhan said.
In Navi Mumbai, 32 public services were made online as part of the IGS(Intelligent Government Services), and the cost incurred by NMMC for this project was Rs.10 crores. However, a tree census that was conducted after 8 years based on GPS, revealed that the estimated cost of the project was Rs1.5 crores.
Some of the public services that were taken online are bus tracking, ticketing system, and routing system. All these were monitored by IITS(integrated Intelligent Transport System).
When questioned about the issue under RTI, the NMMC officials replied that no such category has been even included in the staffing pattern. This response furthermore led Chauhan to believe that the possibility of forming an IT department in the future is low. Moreover, Chauhan also said that he was under the impression that all the decisions on the e-projects for the city was made by a team of technically skilled people, especially considering the amount that went into making these projects.
One other thing that concerns the activist is the security of all the online information that has been provided by the citizens and how little the security is being monitored by NMMC.
However, to somewhat refute the concerns, Municipal Commissioner N Ramaswami has made sure that there are executive engineers with IT skills and expertise. “I am not aware of the RTI response but all the e-based projects are looked upon by engineers with appropriate qualification. There is also a consultancy firm to assist us further,” said Ramaswami