India is a country of villages and about 70% of it’s billion-plus people live in villages. To update the official data about the social and economic developments and its indicators for each village for granting a chance to get their shares in the cake of development, the government of India has launched a comprehensive data collection exercise for almost each of more than half a million villages across the country.
Currently, the government offices use the traditional forms of data collection and decade old data. Most of the villages are not connected to the Internet for providing information to the government officials.
Samina Makhija, project director of the data collection program, said that the government had proposed to initiate such data collection exercise in the 1980s but the proposal was delayed because of facing financial constraints at that time.
She further said that the government has all the necessary data and information about villages but the information is all scattered. It should be in a good format to use for the welfare programs. The comprehensive information needs to be in a single place.
However, she refused disclosing the cost of the data collection project but made it confirm that the exercise has been re-started on the Planning Commission to the government of India. According to her, the project has invited private individuals, researchers, NGOs and different institutes to join in data collection and they will be paid Rs 3000 for each village for which data will be collected.
Initially, the project will be started in the 28 districts defined as the most backward districts in the country. According to the report, the data collectors would note the information about the geographical features of a village, its infrastructure, schools and hospitals, number of toilets, access to roads, gender data. They will have to note down the information about the power consumption and the need of power of the entire village.
The states of Haryana, Orissa, Karnataka and Goa have started such programs in number of villages already. The government has planned to use country’s IT power to map out every village on a website by putting all the information of each and every village across the country. At the same time, the government officials have expressed confidence that this exercise will improve available information to carry out development work in each of the villages across the country.