E-Governance Knowledge Exchange for Indian Municipal Officials
Municipal officials from six states in India met in Bangalore on September 28-29, 2013, to share and learn from their experiences with implementing municipal reforms and e-governance. This peer-to-peer exchange workshop was the first in a series of cross-state knowledge exchanges being facilitated by the World Bank Institute (WBI) and the World Bank’s South Asia Urban unit, on behalf of the Department of Economic Affairs, Government of India.
Karnataka is one of the leading states implementing municipal e-governance, with lending support from the World Bank. The exchange was built around the experience and learning from Karnataka’s municipal reforms and e-governance program, which was initiated in 2004 to improve transparency and delivery of public services in the state. The program is being implemented in all the 213 urban local bodies, where it has computerized property tax payment and GIS mapping of properties, digitized birth/death records, and set up 24x7 consumer grievance redressal and modern accounting systems.
During the day long workshop in Bangalore and field visits to the Maddur municipality and Municipal Reforms Cell, the discussions focused on sharing of tacit knowledge and implementation guidance from key members of the Karnataka reforms implementation team. Political will, leadership, trust, and communication were highlighted as important factors for the success of the municipal e-governance program. The experience highlighted the strength of the partnership with the private sector to bring innovative solutions, institutionalization of reforms, and capacity building by the government. Other state officials discussed how Karnataka’s experience could be customized and enhanced to leverage technological advancements, and use similar platforms for urban planning and management.