Data-driven governance under Smart Cities Mission

Data-driven governance under Smart Cities Mission

In each of the 100 designated Smart Cities across the country, the selected City Data Officer (CDO) is currently undergoing a six-week training by the "Smart Cities Mission" and Tata Trusts. The training helps the officer to “reimagine how information and data can overcome local issues”. In the "Enabling data driven decision making in Urban Local Bodies" course, their chosen case studies showcase their city's new technological objectives.

In Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, the CDO envisioned a new traffic system that automates e-challans through violation sensors. At Tumakuru, Karnataka, it was a refashioning of buses to include GPS tracking and sensors connected to a mobile application. In Chhattisgarh's Naya Raipur, the chosen problem was maintaining an uninterrupted water supply by monitoring hydraulic parameters in case of outages.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has developed a structured course specifically designed for training in data.

With the first batch of 35 CDOs graduated and certified, the next 65 officers began their training last week. In February 2019, a CDO was nominated by each city to lead the local data governance strategy. A third of the CDOs are either the Urban Local Body's (ULB) head, such as municipal commissioner, or the Smart City Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) CEO. Thirty of them are holding additional charge while only five are full-time CDOs at the Smart City SPV.

While the majority do have IT-related professional experience, many have a background in urban planning and architecture, engineering, finance, or law.

The course overviews data types, what data sources are available in India, and how to manage data in urban data platforms. 

The basics also included India's relevant laws (the pending Personal Data Protection Bill and the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy) with comparisons to Europe, US and China.

To help CDOs develop their own local case studies, the Tata Trust-developed curriculum explored five different governance sectors: public health management, solid waste management, urban mobility, improving school attendance, and participatory planning for development. The CDOs have also created their own city-data policies to take precautions in security and privacy.

The CDOs also gave their own suggestions for the cohort. Ranchi discussed the potential of linking the Open Data Policy and the "Right to Information" frameworks. Naya Raipur suggested that greenfield cities such as itself and Amaravati should be evaluated on infrastructure parameters such as length of clean water pipelines or number of streetlights rather than the number of citizens that will benefit from these services.

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