Indian govt may open data platforms to public scrutiny in January

Published Date: 12/25/2018 8:40:06 PM
Ahead of the parliamentary election, the government is set to open its data platforms for major flagship programmes to public scrutiny in order to showcase its achievements.

Infrastructure developed under every urban renewal scheme – Smart Cities, Housing for All, AMRUT, Swachh Bharat and HRIDAY – will be geotagged and a unique app will enable any citizen to access information on its implementation, said officials.

The ministry of housing and urban affairs, which is spearheading the highest number of flagship programmes, is developing the app and is likely to open its data platform to public in January 2019, they said.

“Internally, the opinion is that we do not need to be diffident about anything,” a senior official told ET, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The achievements under all schemes are noteworthy and opening our data platform to the public would only enhance transparency in governance.”

The app will involve geotagging of all infrastructure created and then uploading the unique address with videos and photographs under all schemes. So far, this has been done by the rural development ministry for its flagship programme Prime Minister Awas Yojana (Gramin).

The biggest challenge is being posed by Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, under which 6.2 million individual household toilets and about 5,00,000 community and public toilets have been constructed. “Geotagging all of them with photographs is a tedious task but ultimately it is creation of assets from government funds. So it will happen gradually,” said the official.

Apart from launching the app, the government plans to create a video wall, which will be housed on the ground floor of the housing and urban affairs ministry’s office in Nirman Bhawan. For the past two months, the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), the government’s main construction arm, has been working at the entrance of the ministry.

Anybody wishing to access information on the schemes will be able to get data on the video wall. “Anyone would be able to walk in and touch any city in India and it would throw up different icons for different urban and housing sector schemes – for instance, one icon for smart city or affordable housing,” said the official. “If you touch a scheme icon you would be able to get information on the target and the achievement, along with other details including contractors implementing the project, project cost and likely date of completion.”

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