In an interesting model, civic bodies in the Indian capital outsource their citizen helpdesks

21st September 2014
In an interesting model, civic bodies in the Indian capital outsource their citizen  helpdesks

New Delhi, September 22 2014:  In a model that bears replication by   other civic bodies in India, the municipal corporations of Gurgaon and East Delhi in the National Capital Region have entrusted  their  primary interface with citizens to  a private IT services provider -- Navigant Technologies Pvt Ltd which specializes in providing citizen services to Government departments in India. 
The Navigant  help desk and call centre in these two municipal bodies,  receives all citizen inquiries and complaints such as  water, electricity problems, sanitation and  follows up the inquiry till the complaint is resolved. The company provides a similat service for  two electricity distribution agencies in the state of Haryana -- the Dakshin Haryana Bijlee Vidyut Nigam (DHBVN) and Uttar Haryana Bijlee Vidyut Nigam (UHBVN).
Speaking to IndiaTechOnline, Navigant's Founder-CEO  Ankur Bhatia, said,  by outsourcing the first level interface with citizens to a specialist   Business Process Operations  agency, the civic bodies are able to concentrate on their core competence and primary  tasks.   Dialogue with citizens calls for  human skills and sensitivity -- and lack of these attributes is arguably the biggest cause of  annoyance for  lay persons.
He stressed that  the services provided by Navigant go beyond logging and transferring complaints: their call agents, help the citizen navigate the multi layers of responsibility and  reach the ears of the  person or department that hold the buck.
Prior to setting up Navigant, Ankur has held various senior management positions with about 12 years of experience in value based selling of IT, Telecom, CRM & New Product Development Productivity tools, most notably with: TriVium Systems Inc., PTC Inc., HCL-Comnet (now HCL Technologies), etc.   
He set up Navigant in 2003  and  broke the mould of civic services when he  came on board  for Gurgaon Corporation in June 2011.  Street lighting failures,  sewerage,  garbage, sanitation, road and traffic issues,  unauthorised constructions,  storm water drains, animal issues, horticulture, taxation, fire and safety, licensing and billing...  an analysis of citizen grievances over the last  three years shows that  a wide gamut of  issues have been addressed and resolved. 
The data that the company shared with us, also provides fascinating insights into the priority areas for citizens:  In Gurgaon  they are keenly aware of the need to keep the new age town safe, clean and neat:  Over half the complaints pertained to street lights, followed by  sewerage,   sweeping services and garbage.
Thanks to entrusting the citizen call centre to outside experts, Gurgaon has brought down the average time to resolve complaints from91 days to 23 days.
The work that Navigant is doing for the municipal corporations is in sync with the thrust that the new government at the centre has placed on  smart cities.  Citizen service centres are not uncommon -- notably the FRIENDS centres in Kerala, the Bangalore One centres in the Karnataka state capital  and the e-Seva kendras  in Hyderabad -- but  these are mainly facilities to   provide a single window for multiple payments.
The Navigant service is not about payments but about complaints -- always a more sensitive issue and one that few  local government institutions in India have addressed -- till now.

Do you know of other instances of government departments  harnessing the Indian strengths in BPO and ITeS to reach out to theior consituents? Do share any examples you may have come across or encourage their authors to share details with us...  we wil be happy to highlight such citizen-friendly interfaces -- Editor. Email us at