CHENNAI : The website of the Chennai Corporation has grown over the years, both in purpose and scope. Initially just a portal for information on the civic body, the website has hosted a number of services of the Corporation for over three years now. These services are growing by leaps and bounds in terms of the number of people using them.
With services from birth certificates and death certificates to submission of preliminary application procedures for town planning permission and the calculation of professional taxes, the website is part of the Corporation’s present drive to make the process of assessing and paying property taxes easier.
The website is by no means a popular one. According to the internet traffic measurement website alexa.com, the Corporation website (http://www.chennaicorporation.gov.in) is ranked 1,243 as far as Chennai users go. It clocks in at dismal ranks of 24,592 nationally and 1,75,655 globally. And that is understandable, considering the website is meant to make civic business easier for Chennai’s residents.
The website morphed from solely information provision to civic services in 2008, with components developed and added progressively by the Corporation’s EDP Cell. Since then it has received 27 lakh hits. Officials say it has grown from 3,000 to 7,500 hits per day in a space of three years.
A whopping 50 to 60 per cent of those who log on to the website stay for more than a minute, indicating that a majority of them are trying to use the website for one civic formality or another. The number of people using the website to get Corporation-related business done, instead of standing in serpentine queues at different offices, has seen rapid growth (see table).
The most popular service is unquestionably the birth certificate. Over 6.5 lakh certificates were issued in 2011, and close to 3.1 lakh have already been issued through the website this year. Death certificates come in a distant second, with online submission of application for town planning permission coming in third.
The Corporation’s website has seen significant growth in the number of people logging on to file civic complaints or pay property taxes online. It also features pages for Corporation officials to monitor various activities of the civic body from anywhere.
“We provide as many services as we possibly can,” says Corporation Commissioner D Karthikeyan. “As a civic body most of our work is on the ground. But we do make the effort to ensure that any service that can be provided online is provided online. The idea is to make it easier for the citizen to go about his or her business,” he says.
For now, given the track record of the website since 2008, it promises to attract more and more of the city’s residents to carry out their Corporation business with ease. And that is a task that the civic body has built the capacity to handle, according to an official at the EDP Cell.