Surat set to become a Smart City -- with help from Microsoft

Surat,December20, 2014: Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) and Microsoft India today announced their partnership to transform Surat into a smart city. The city administration is evaluating technology infrastructure to meet the changing needs of its citizens.
Says Milind Torawane, IAS, Surat Municipal Commissioner: “Surat is the fourth-fastest growing city in the world, with a population of 50 lakhs. It is a vibrant business hub - 80 percent of the world’s diamonds are processed in Surat, 40 percent of India’s demand for textiles is met by the city and it serves as the economic hub for several industries. In this context, it becomes increasingly important to leverage technology as an enabler of constant modernization. We are excited to partner with Microsoft to transform Surat into a sustainable and competitive city that cares for its citizens.”
"With various service delivery channels like City Civic Centre, Virtual Civic Center (Online services through website) and Mobile App, citizens are able to access the services easily and quickly. The adoption of IT has also helped in improving the internal efficiencies. Over the course of the next few months, we will work with Microsoft and its partners, Iconics and SoftTech, on solutions for water management and urban planning (building plan approvals). These along with other similar solutions will help us keep the citizen at the center of our development and fulfil our smart city vision."
Adds  Mayor of Surat, Niranjan Zanzmera: “By transforming Surat into a smart city, we are setting a benchmark for other cities in the country on how IT solutions can help empower citizens and address cities biggest challenges and fuel economic growth”.
The specific engagements between the Surat Municipal Corporation and Microsoft span the following:
- Surat has already implemented several e-Governance and citizen-centric solutions developed on Microsoft technologies, including,
- Government Administration systems including finance & accounts, property tax & revenue collections and material management
- Citizen services across RTI, Property tax payments, birth & death registration, grievance redressal system, vaccination alert system, application tracking systems, Disease Statistics/Reports for Hospitals and solid waste management system
- Utility services including Water supply and sewage systems
- To make citizen safety, a customized platform has been created for Surat City’s Police Department in collaboration with Surat Traffic Education Trust. The enhanced safety system assists the city police to effectively monitor and respond to security and crime threats in a timely manner
Over and above these solutions, earlier this year, Microsoft embarked upon a mapping exercise for existing infrastructure, envisioning how the city can build upon its current resources and develop long-term plans to better serve Surat citizens now and in the future
Microsoft has created a City Dashboard that provides a customized view of key performance indicators for the city. The Dashboard displays important indices at a city level and for specific city domains such as complaints, health, and project works, among others
On December 18 and 19, an ‘Appathon’ to develop applications that can lead to improved engagement with the city’s administration was held in Surat. Over 100 technical students, software developers & IT community participated in the Appathon and developed apps on the Windows platform
Says Neeraj Gill, General Manager – Public Sector, Microsoft India:, “Through a people-centric approach, we are focused on partnering with Surat in its next phase of transformation - by modernizing now and innovating for the future. Microsoft is excited about the work we have already undertaken and the future solutions we plan to deploy in Surat. Our global experience in implementing this program in cities around the world – from Paris to Chicago – puts us in a unique position to contribute to Surat. Microsoft CityNext puts the citizens at the very center, to help develop a sustainable and future-ready city. This can serve as a model for other Indian cities, in line with the Indian Government’s vision of 100 smart cities.”
Microsoft’s CityNext aims to empower Surat citizens with solutions that will make citizen services more responsive, increase efficiency and productivity of administration departments to engage with citizens in new and innovative ways, increase transparency with open data and expand digital inclusion with access to online services and digital literacy training.