Leveraging City Infrastructure Database in Digital India Initiatives

Leveraging City Infrastructure Database in Digital India Initiatives


Government of India recently launched Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban transformation (AMRUT) and "Smart City" Initiatives. Both these align to a common goal for a transparent, expeditious, economical service delivery. AMRUT initiative has a focus on providing basic services to households. While Smart City initiative focus is on revamping the services extended by municipalities with particular consideration to sustainable and inclusive development.

The above initiatives focus on physical infrastructure development through AMRUT and Smart Cities Mission is to drive economic growth to improve the quality of life of people by enabling local area development using technology. The introduction of IT initiatives as catalyst in both initiatives, ensure that they complement each other. The success of the program depends on effective usage of spatial information, on infrastructure in place to be effectively delivering the services to the end user i.e. the citizen. Creation of City Infrastructure Database (CIDB) and running common procedures in current administrative setup for service provision.is the key requirement.

This article is an attempt to describe a framework which can be adopted to replicate both initiatives in multiple cities.

Urban Infrastructure Provision – A situational analysis

The Infrastructure and the service provision for the citizen is the focus for both the programs. The background for these is already in place as, in almost all cities that are likely to be covered in the scheme as they have implemented projects like

  • GIS mapping of infrastructure with satellite image processing
  • User data base creation with regular updates with geospatial tagging
  • Automation of service delivery process with various e-governance projects carried out.

In addition to these, service delivery processes have undergone automation as part of several IT initiatives since inception of National e-Governance Plan in 2004; as a result information for many services, in static form has been made available with few services going online as well. However all these initiatives which are run in various departments have now an opportunity to be brought on one single interface platform for meaningful information exchange leading to better service delivery.

Every City system is composed of physical infrastructure components like roads, water, power, sewerage system and need to be backed by social infrastructure consisting schools, hospitals, recreation spaces etc. Along with these there are various services that are needed to be part of city as a system since these provide employment opportunities to citizens. The key element is Land under the jurisdiction of the city administration. Over this base i.e. land and the other elements like use of land, physical infrastructure laid over it. The built forms and their usage get linked. Along with these elements the various data attributes get linked to information like ownership of land, various permissions, fees levied etc. These cut across several service provider departments. All these form a cohesive eco system which the local administration drives with provision of variety of services.The challenge and opportunity lie in creating and maintaining a balance between provisions of these in sync with end user demand. Shared Infrastructure data, user information, service volume information etc. with adoption of Process Framework is a potential solution

The service catalog of city administration consists of service requests, permissions, complaints, incident reporting etc to name a few. The majority of these depend on infrastructure provision, availability, capacity parameters. In addition to these there are several validation checks through documentation submitted by user application. Often these are related to land details and applicant data; the usage of IT can bring in catalytic effect in the whole transaction with following key parameters,

  • Mapping of assets in city limits and availability of central database
  • Linkages to IT Solutions implemented in departments delivering services within municipal limits.
  • Citizen and Assets data at Municipal Corporation level giving the availability of service requested
  • The Capacity utilization of infrastructure getting monitored based on densification trend in area
  • The online validation of user information from other department data leading to faster closure of request.

schematic contents of City Infrastructure Database - smart cities, maps, gis

Illustration 1 below gives the schematic contents of City Infrastructure Database.

Role of CIDB in Service Delivery

The Ministry of Urban Development launched the National Urban Information System (NUIS) Scheme during the Tenth Five Year Plan (March 2006) to develop GIS databases for 152 cities/towns in the country. In addition utility mapping at is also being undertaken for 22 towns.

As depicted in illustration above service delivery is happening in multi-channel provider medium, where we have State Electricity boards for power, Water supply & Sewerage board for Infrastructure, ULBs for service provision , Revenue department for Land; over all we see all converging to land and its user data attributes. A centralized repository of such information forms a City Infrastructure Database as visualised under NUIS. Such a database for infrastructure with the linkage to spatial attributes, user / asset information can bring in service transformation which is proven in IT service delivery. Adoption of standard set of processes for all service procedures is the potential way forward for the expected change in end user experience.

These processes are generic in nature and provide a common mechanism for interdepartmental information exchange through the data systematically documented in CIDB. The IT solutions in place can enhance this exchange and bring about dramatic change in the service quality and benefits to both the end user and administration.

procedural interactions in service delivery lifecycle with end user, departments and CIDB - smart cities

Illustration 2: Provides the procedural interactions in service delivery lifecycle with end user, departments and CIDB.

CIDB benefits

The initiatives AMRUT and Smart Cities intend to create models emerging out of first phase select cities to be a guiding path for others to follow with replication of the model. The creation of central information repository propelled with IT solution linking the procedures in extending services can bring in wide ranging benefits for Service Delivery in Indian cities, some of these likely benefits are listed below.

  • Development of Service Catalogue required to deliver the services.
  • Maximise infrastructure efficiency and minimise maintenance costs.
  • Enhanced service delivery.
  • Ensure long term planning in context of city administration.
  • Optimized allocation of resources to all areas.
  • Account to citizen for public assets.


As per Gartner Research Note Sept 2011“A smart city is a sustainable urban area utilizing information and communications flows between systems in different vertical domains, such as utilities, transportation, healthcare, public safety and education. A central database of infrastructure , associated information like reported issues, infrastructure augmentations along with mapping of service parameters extended by all service providing departments in city has a potential to play a pivotal role in Smart City Plans or Service Level Improvement Plans (SLIPs) under AMRUT programs , realizing the intent of creating replicable solutions for urban service delivery.