National online urban database in offing

Access to urban development-related data will be eased
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First Published: Wed, Nov 21 2012. 11 40 PM IST
The database will make it easier to access authentic urban development-related data, including municipal finances.  Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
The database will make it easier to access authentic urban development-related data, including municipal finances. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
New Delhi: The government is set to sanction funds for a national online database that will make it easier for town planners and researchers to access authentic urban development-related data, including municipal finances.
The plan to develop the online database was initiated by the urban development ministry in February and the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) has submitted a proposal on it to the ministry.
The project is expected to cost the ministry around Rs.50-60 lakh a year. NIUA will be assisted by National Informatics Centre (NIC), an agency for managing the government’s technology infrastructure to create this database.
A lack of adequate, reliable and standard data on urban development has often been cited as a deterrent for measuring the success of a lot of welfare programmes.
“Urban data is currently scanty and scattered,” said a senior government official working in the urban development sector.
States and municipalities are struggling to glean data for various schemes of the ministry, said another official from the urban development ministry who did not want to be named. “Now the National Institute of Urban Affairs is collecting all the secondary data available. Successful planning and evaluation requires robust data which is not there,” the official said.
Debolina Kundu, assistant professor at NIUA, said that the data will be of use to policymakers, researchers and academics.
Kundu said the initial datasets will come from the urban development ministry.
“However, the data from secondary sources like Census of India, National Sample Survey Office, Central Satistical Office, Annual Survey of Industries, Economic Census, National Family Health Survey, Central Finance Commission’s municipal finance data, National Urban Information System, Institute of Urban Transport, Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy will also be collated and compiled,” she said.
There will be data for states, cities, districts and towns and will be categorized under broad heads such as demography and urban transport. Partha Mukhopadhyay, a senior research fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, said,
“The database can be very important and will require a lot of work to put together. NIUA will be able to put it together only if the ministry gives them strong support.”
neha.s@livemint.com
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First Published: Wed, Nov 21 2012. 11 40 PM IST
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