System developed by Information Kerala Mission

With the Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) for the building permit software currently being used by the City Corporation set to expire in a month’s time, the civic body is mulling shifting to a new software system developed by Information Kerala Mission (IKM). As per a Government Order issued last year, all local bodies were asked to shift to the IKM system for its building permits.

But it’s a hard choice for the civic body. According to sources here, the current software supplied by a Pune-based firm has an entirely digital workflow with minimal human intervention.

“The submission of application, uploading of plans and the approval is online. The software is integrated with AutoCAD and hence proper drawings should be submitted. In case of any discrepancy, it cannot get past the system. The comments made by the officials at each stage can be traced by the applicant online,” said the source.

Though the system functioned smoothly at the main office, barring minor glitches, it could not be successfully implemented in the zonal offices, where a part of the work, including monitoring of the building plan, was done manually. There have also been cases of rejection due to erroneous submission of plans. As per the requirement, all building items such as proposed plot and work should be drawn on different layers.

“They sometimes draw more than one item on the same layer, thus causing error in height. Such plans will be rejected. But in the end, the blame for this too falls on the software,” said the source.

The builders’ lobby also complained about insistence on proprietary software such as AutoCAD, which will incur extra costs, and requested to go in for open source software. Many of them are reportedly using pirated software. Plans drawn on these would not be accepted by the software.

In the case of IKM’s software though, the building plan is evaluated manually, while the rest of the operations are online.

“In this software, the length values of the different parts of the plan are manually fed into the system. It is not open to tampering. It has a multi-level approval system and even if someone tries to change the values, the old ones cannot be tampered with. The IKM software is but planning to integrate AutoCAD at a later stage,” said an IKM official.

The IKM software comes at a negligible cost compared to the one offered by the company, said sources.