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Mumbai Civic Body BMC Issues Tender Seeking Generative AI Services to Automate Tasks, Facilitate Service Delivery

The BMC intends to incorporate the AI “coaches” in the BMC ecosystem to address problems faced by citizens as well as its own employees.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) of Mumbai has issued a tender seeking to establish an Information System to digitise BMC operations and incorporate generative AI technology for enhancing access to information, and service delivery to citizens.

The BMC aims to launch an AI “coach” for every employee and citizen to provide a platform for “learning, adopting, and automating” digital work. As stated in the tender, “BMC wants Generative AI enabled coach to guide citizens with precise, up-to-date information through digital portals and applications. This ensures citizens receive reliable and current information regarding government services, policies, and assistance programs.”

The civic body has also highlighted the challenges faced by Mumbai residents resulting from improper access to information, reduced government-citizen communication, limited online service options, inequitable service distribution, lack of transparency, etc. Similarly, BMC employees are faced with challenges related to manual processes, lack of real-time data, difficulty in information retrieval, increased risk of errors and security breaches, etc. The BMC intends to incorporate the AI Coach in the BMC ecosystem to address these problems that hamper efficient governance.

What does the proposed information system entail?

Citizen AI Coach: The Citizen AI coach will primarily assist the citizens with:

  • Service accessibility: Facilitate easy access to information about key services such as details of ward offices, license application, bill payment, guide to administrative processes, etc., in multiple languages.
  • Transaction support: Guided assistance to streamlined process for transactions related to property tax, water bills, licensing, permits, and other municipal services.
  • Emergency information: Disseminating reliable critical information during emergencies in the form of emergency protocols, safety measures, and relevant guidelines for public safety awareness.
  • Continuous improvement: Capabilities to learn and adapt based on citizen interactions for continuous improvement in providing accurate and relevant information. It will also include user feedback mechanisms for the same.

Employee AI Coach: For employees, the BMC intends to establish an Employee AI Coach offering the following:

  • Personalised learning: Provide curated resources tailored to an individual’s learning needs and employee skill set.
  • Operational support: Serve as an “initiative-taking troubleshooting assistant” to provide real-time solutions to common issues by analysing patterns, historical data, and potential challenges, and also minimise disruptions.
  • Integration with workflows: Automate repetitive tasks, streamline daily operations, integrate with existing workflows, thereby allowing employees to focus on strategic tasks.

Functional features of the AI Platform

The BMC AI guide will essentially enable a digital walkthrough of BMC portals for citizens. This will be facilitated through generative AI conversations in simple as well as complex languages to address user queries.

Specific features/requirements outlined in the tender:

1. Digital Adoption (Walkthroughs)

  • Step-by-step guides within the application to help users navigate and complete tasks more efficiently. Contextual tips, pop-up messages, and instructional content to assist users in real-time, reducing the learning curve.
  • Clear instructions and guidance on how to initiate and navigate the adoption walkthrough.
  • Support for guiding users through sequential steps or branching paths based on user inputs and interactions.
  • Presentation of textual, or graphical, or multimedia content to illustrate concepts, instructions, or demonstrations.
  • Customization of the walkthrough experience based on user preferences, profile information, and previous interactions.
  • Tracking of user progress through the walkthrough, including completed steps, current position, and remaining tasks.
  • Visual indicators or progress bars to convey progress and completion status to users.
  • Availability of the conversational walkthrough across multiple channels and devices, including web, mobile, messaging apps, and voice assistants.
  • Content and guidance in languages – Marathi and English, catering to a diverse user base.

2. Generative AI Conversational Chat

  • Interactive dialogue to clarify user queries, provide explanations, and offer assistance as needed.
  • Capabilities to perform general conversations like greetings, answering questions about BMC and its services, etc.
  • Utilising knowledge banks, and frequently asked questions to guide users through various services, find out eligible schemes for them based on user’s location.
  • Ability to learn from previous conversations, making future interactions more personalized and efficient.
  • Avoiding unnecessary questions, and make intelligent assumptions, ask for optimum information at a time.
  • Understanding a user’s “intent” — this refers to its capability to comprehend the user’s motive or goal behind a particular query or statement.
  • To improve a bot’s ability to recognize user intent, the chatbot needs to be trained using a variety of examples and language resources.
  • Capability to have context-aware, end-to-end conversations without restricting users with a certain template or pattern, able to understand multiple intents in one sentence.
  • The platform must be equipped with a feature that converts speech into text and vice versa with high accuracy to facilitate easy interaction.
  • During voice interactions, the BMC AI Guide should provide cues when it expects the user to respond, avoiding assumptions. It should provide clear, concise, and planned options for user responses.

3. Feedback Mechanisms: The project requires the agency to incorporate mechanisms for collecting user feedback, suggestions, and ratings to evaluate the effectiveness of the BMC portal walkthrough.

4. Integration with external systems: The proposed information system will also be integrated with relevant backend systems, databases, APIs, and third-party services to access information and perform actions. Additionally, integration with other digital platforms and applications will be done to support end-to-end processes such as analysis, and tracking information about service usage, maintained sessions, services availed per session, average interaction time, idle time etc.

5. Robotic process automation:

This would involve assistance in automating tasks like data entry, form filling, data extraction, report generation, and more. The information system must be capable of automating repetitive, rule-based tasks across various applications and systems without human intervention.

Security requirements of the information system

The tender also detailed the requirements related to data security and privacy controls in the proposed information system. Here are some of the key points mentioned:

  • The system design must include capabilities for identifying potential threats and vulnerabilities specific to the system and its environment.
  • The architecture should have appropriate security controls related to access, encryption, and intrusion detection systems.
  • It should incorporate methods to classify data based on sensitivity and define security measures accordingly.
  • The agency is required to implement encryption mechanisms to protect sensitive data at rest and during transmission.
  • To protect the integrity of transactions, mechanisms to detect and prevent unauthorised modifications must be deployed.
  • The deploying agency is also required to maintain an audit trail and comprehensive logging system to record all activities within the Information System. Additionally, log files are to be securely stored and regularly reviewed to detect and investigate any suspicious or unauthorized activities.
  • In order to establish user access controls, the agency is required to enable user authentication, (e.g., passwords, multi-factor authentication), authorisation, role-based access control (RBAC), and user privilege management mechanisms.
  • The agency must ensure that the system is built in accordance with India’s data protection and privacy laws. They are required to implement measures to protect the privacy and confidentiality of data, including access controls, data anonymization, de-identification techniques, and policies for handling and sharing information.

Notably, the BMC has also sought to integrate the information system with State and National portals for publishing various reports and information for public access. However, it is unclear what exactly integration with separate portals means. Further, the implementation agency is required to integrate the information system application with existing GIS maps with the BMC for access to spatial and non-spatial data for analysis and decision-making.

“GIS coupled with services data would assist BMC with policy making decisions, setting goals, and evaluating outcomes by linking service data with socio-demographic, environmental, administrative, and services infrastructure,” the tender informed.

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Curious about the intersection of technology with education, caste and welfare rights. For story tips, please feel free to reach out at sarasvati@medianama.com

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