Tata Trusts announced that its flagship – project Data, Evaluation, Learning, Technology and Analysis (DELTA) has impacted 17 lakh population across 1248 villages through data-driven governance in select districts of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Jharkhand. As part of the DELTA initiative, Tata Trusts has conducted tablet-based data collection with over 300 data points on a massive scale, which policy and decision makers can use to make quick and effective decisions that can drive meaningful outcomes, prioritize activities, optimize resources and track the progress of government schemes, programmes and services.
Tata Trusts initiated pilot projects in four locations - Vijayawada (Rural) in Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh covering 264 villages, 10 lakh people; Chandrapur district in Maharashtra covering 290 villages, 1.65 lakh people; Balasore district in Orissa covering 590 villages, 4 lakh people; and West Singhbhum district in Jharkhand covering 18 villages, 0.75 lakh people.
Mr. Ratan N Tata, Chairman, Tata Trusts, at an event earlier this year, said, “This is an important start and is the initiation of a movement. We are going beyond the age of looking at colored data , selected data and what we are doing now is bringing in technology to bear on data collection, with a view to making it non-discretionary, to make it subject to standards being met and becoming a part of a broader network globally. It will enable people in both public and private sector to set civic goals, to evaluate the outreach and the impact of policy and initiatives.”
Tata Trusts helped the government in developing a data dashboard that will aid bureaucrats and members of parliament to understand the need, gaps and progress of their area. This data dashboard was launched at an event in Balasore, Odisha, recently. Mr. Rabindra Kumar Jena, Member of Parliament, Balasore, Odisha, in his key note address said, “We are very grateful to Tata Trusts for their support and commitment in development planning of Balasore. There is a huge gap in our system in terms of data availability and provision of benefits at the grassroots level; that is when we realized the need for data based planning so that we can make informed decisions and improve our planning process. We approached Tata Trusts for their support and expertise in data driven governance. We started the microplanning activity a year back and now each GP and village has a data base which is useful for meaningful implementation of government schemes. Through this initiative and with support from Tata Trusts, we have managed to train and build capacity of over 800 volunteers who were a part of this exercise. We have collected data of 90,000 households covering 60 gram panchayats, 590 revenue villages and 4 lakh population.”
Speaking at the launch, Mr. R Venkataramanan, Managing Trustee, Tata Trusts, said, “As Tata Trusts commemorates its 125th year this year, we are grateful for having this opportunity to serve the people of Balasore. Such an initiative requires a collaborative effort between all stakeholders, district administrations, ministries and ultimately the people. Technology backed data intensive development planning is a very powerful and transparent tool to make informed decisions and better planning at the administration level. We will work closely with the state government to build capacities of the local youth in the fields of agriculture, health, development planning etc.”
“The true value of data lies in its ability to enable decision makers to make sound decisions on a real-time basis. The genesis of this effort coincided with the ‘Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana’, and this led to the birth of DELTA which enabled Tata Trusts to integrate data and technology into the bottom-up planning methodology to drive effective governance”, he added.
Earlier this year, data-dashboards were launched in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh; and Chandrapur, Maharashtra in partnerships with the respective state governments.
Shri Sudhir Mugantiwar, Cabinet Minister of Finance, Planning, and Forest Departments, Government of Maharashtra, said, “Tata Trusts has provided assistance for creating the dashboard of statistical data, which is helping us in implementing a micro-finance model in the district. Chandrapur will become a model village in the coming 2 years with support from Mr. Tata and an organization like Tata Trusts. We thank Tata Trusts in providing their expertise and technical & sectoral knowledge in making these projects successful”.
Shri. Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister, Government of Andhra Pradesh, said, “Tata Trusts and the Government of Andhra Pradesh is working towards developing 264 villages on the lines of Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana. This is the first time such a huge number of villages are being adopted. This will set an example in the country and I'm impressed with the background work and research Tata Trusts has done on these villages through their microplanning process.”
Shri Kesineni Srinivas (NANI), Member of Parliament, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, said, “We have redefined participative democracy and given our citizens a real say in development. In this unprecedented effort over 1 million people were mobilised for the creation of development plans which is a big step in our mission to make Vijayawada a model constituency. The signing of MoUs in the fields of Bamboo cultivation, fisheries and aquaculture will bring prosperity to our farmers, employment for our youth and establish Vijayawada as the hub of entrepreneurial activity in the state. With continuous support from Tata Trusts we will strive hard to improve our people’s lives”.
In October 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, which aims to create model villages – Adarsh Grams – whose progress will be monitored via a single national-level real-time web monitoring system. Advancing this effort, Tata Trusts has served as a catalyst to collect socio-economic data through data-driven governance programme. The objective is to create an open data platform that is driven by concrete data. The process involves technology-backed models of data collection and real-time updates. Tata Trusts uses advanced procedures of matching, triangulation, and analysis from district authorities to Central and State Ministries.
Tata Trusts is committed to provide technical assistance to state governments to enhance their capacities in data collection, data analytics and data-dashboard creation that can improve systems and decision making at grassroots level. Through Project DELTA, Tata Trusts will continue to support the state and administrative bodies in implementation of the multi-thematic development plans in these villages.
Subsequently, DELTA is developed and documented in two volumes – (1) a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) document drafted to guide the process of participatory planning through 5 phases - Initiation, Planning, Training, Implementation and Monitoring; and (2) Training Manual for the Trainers to train volunteers, coordinators and local experts. These two volumes would contribute to a range of micro-planning processes in various contexts, designed to make local area development planning more data driven.