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Someone (BPAC?), please fund a CIO for Bangalore

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Governance

"Can't fix it if you can't measure it". That is what a lot of people say. There is a lot that gets measured by BBMP/BMTC/BWSSB/BESCOM/BDA etc. But we just don't get to see. Want GIS data used for creating masterplan to be public? Want to know the city's water consumption, and inflow from each source every day? Want to know the power in/power out/power denied stats each day? Want to know the road accident stats by police station every day? Yes, I want to.

The funny thing is that all this is being measured. Moreover, many departments want to share a lot of this out regularly as well. But they probably don't know how to do it. Plus, data is a funny thing. Its value is best know to who needs it, not who produces it. So, a lot of what may be useless for govt dpts/agencies, could be gold for us :)

So a request here. Can someone please fund a CIO (CDO or Chief Data Officer could be a better name) for Bangalore? BPAC, could you? The role would do a couple of things

  • Job Description: Work with all city government/agencies to put out as much information (as in data) out to public as possible.
  • Technical aspect: Assist any interested city government/agency in helping automate intake and outflow of information/data to residents of Bengaluru. Use experience from all this assistance to develop technical standards for storing and sharing data.
  • Job will be measured by:  how much data is put up, on easy to access channels for public (internet, phone, printed)
  • Value to govevernment: Tech help in getting their data organized. This will help their internal operations get better, they will get to make better decisions. And perhaps,, citizen goodwill through transparency, though this will not be an immidiate benefit.
  • Value to citizens: Less opinions, more fact based talk in public spaces. Better way to keep in touch with the city.
  • What the job is NOT: not a government funded or legislated job. Just someone fulltime, technically proficientm who would go around with a data begging bowl each day, and put all the beggings out in an organized public data store. That's it.

Some of us here have talked around about Open Data in past. We found it a bit too much of a thing for us part-timers. A lot needs to be digitized first. Whatever is being digitized can be shared, but that also requires serious technical work (to organize and keep data in one place so that sharing is easy).

As a city, we could either wait for this thing to move on its own (open data standards may emerge from some central govenrment or state government driven initiatives), or just take a plunge by just funding a CIO full time, along with an office of tech volunteers and let them loose on any govt department/agency that would be interested. Lets just get something going fast. More and more organized data, regularly, in public space would be a solid thing for the long run. Public would be able to build their own secondary measures of everything on top of primary data coming from government. Once the "measures" emerge, we can all do a better job of "fixing" whatever we want.

Why BPAC? Well, first, they may have the money (5 years CIO @ 30 lakhs / year = 1.5 Crores). Second - this may help them keep tabs on elected government during the next five years, third - they would have data behind their decisions to back candidates and write the agenda for Bangalore  for next elections :).

Comments

silkboard's picture

govt created role ...

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Not sure how such a role would work out. Who would this role or department report to - a minister, BBMP? Or should some existing department be tagged with this responsibility - egovernance (DPAR-AR), DPAR itself, may be the Planning department? How would this person be hired - civil servant itself?

Debating and resolving all of above would take time. While government can figure things the right way, right of information and citizen charters exist, we can just start drawing out information and floating it in public domain rightaway through a funded and publicized siphon called the CIO !

murali772's picture

very much the need of the hour

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I notice we had gone through this debate earlier, in 2010 (here). Quite as you say, it is very much the need of the hour, and one should think that B-PAC comprising of industry honchos rooted to Bengaluru and Karnataka, and thereby the biggest stake-holders, are ideally positioned to back it. A government agency doing it will neither have the right kind of motivation, nor can they expected to do a quality job, as we have seen repeatedly. May be we should have talk with B-PAC.

Muralidhar Rao
vatsan007's picture

Enforcement

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75 users have liked.

Not sure of how this will get implemented.

Even if B-PAC reviews the reports/provide suggestions, ultimately the onus of implementing it lies with the Govt., which will choose to implement it at its own pace and with its own/known people(by awarding contracts to the who own allegiance to local politicans). Who will be the watchman so that it gets implemented according to the recommendations made by the experts?

 

- Srivatsan

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

PAC - Public Affairs Center could help

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Padmashri Dr.Samuel Paul of PAC - Public Affairs Center may be consulted since PAC is already involved in evaluating and issue of Report Card on functioning of Government Departments.

With reg to water supply, 24X7 (a big hoax in Mysore with JUSCO as the operator), none of the Trustees of Water (BWSSB/VVW, Mysore) know which pipe goes where.  At a recent meeting in Mysore, this question was never answered by any of the authorities in control of water supply.

Similarly, a number of Raja Kaluves run under Bengaluru and they are burried/filled with muck etc.  Sometime early 2000 a Raja Kaluve was spotted near Navarang Theatre in Rajajinagar after digging about 20 feet.

It might be possible to locate the various kinds of pipes - water, sewage and other pipes underground with the help of remote sensing sats (GIS/GPS) which could map the entire Bengaluru as a pipes based skeletal network.  This may help any CIO to do some practical thinking for sustainable, replicable and economical planning.

silkboard's picture

The CIO thought - nothing official about it

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Guys, as I see it, this role doesn't need to prepare any report cards, doesn't need any "official sanction", does not require BPAC (or other sponsors) to review anything.

We just need a person who would, through RTI or citizen charters or through personal contacts, by hook or by crook, would just build a respository of public information on all citizen service aspects of Bangalore.

Rest of us will build report cards etc on top of this data, but burdening this "CIO" with that job will defocus him/her.

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