Building plans are getting approved in just 15 days in Kerala’s Kozhikode, thanks to a digitization initiative by the city administration in partnership with a Bengaluru-based not-for-profit organization. The city used a technology solution called Building Plan Approval, developed by the eGovernments Foundation started by Nandan Nilekani and Srikanth Nadhamuni in 2003. The solution, developed under an open source platform called DIGIT, significantly reduces processing time and cuts costs.
The platform is fully hosted on the Cloud (internet-based server), and once a drawing is uploaded a report is prepared to ascertain whether the plan conforms to rules. All the stakeholders tasked with the approval process can see the applications or drawings in real time. It takes only a fortnight for the entire process to be approved, including site inspection.
“In 2015, when we elected a new corporation, it wanted to digitise the citizen services and reduce corruption. The state government suggested that we start with one area,” said Abdul Malik, chief town planner, Kozhikode.
At one point, 2,000 applications would be pending with the corporation, but it has since reduced to 200.
As interaction between the applicant and the corporation is limited, the scope for corruption has reduced. This is likely to be extended to other city corporations,” Malik said.
The platform cuts costs significantly since it does not involve a licence fee for AutoCAD (computer aided design), said Viraj Tyagi, CEO, eGovernments Foundation. Across civic bodies, existing software systems take longer to check drawings manually, he said.
BPA has brought together 546 city architects, engineers and supervisors under the technology platform for a seamless approval process. So far, 1,650 building plans have been approved. The platform has covered 219,605 square mt in plan area since May, when the city started using the new solution.
“Apart from Kerala, we are in the initial stages of implementing this cloud-based platform in seven to eight other states. This entire ecosystem helps reduce time and cost for one of the most important citizen services,” said Tyagi.
The open source DIGIT platform teams up with city administrators to leverage technology for better service delivery and enhanced productivity.