The country is passing through rapid developments across all spheres of science and technology. These developments, which have a significant focus on the exploration, development and management of natural and human resources, have been contributing to-
- Generation of an enormous amount of disseminated data
- Imbalanced development in many sectors with very little concern for sustainability, societal involvement, relevance and economic growth.
India consists of over 6,40,867 villages, in which 68 per cent of the country’s population lives, making it a huge source of constantly changing and accumulating data (Census, 2011). Even though significantly large data sets have been generated on various aspects of spatial and non-spatial scales, many challenges still remain unanswered. One of the biggest challenges faced is lack of awareness among user communities, executives and policymakers on the potential use, scope and impact of such data in decision making.
There is a need of a strong structure which is an integral part of the system on all fronts, such as data collection, storage, analysis and its use in assisting officials to frame policies which provide solutions for micro level problems. Due to the long strides in development, information at village level has now become particularly crucial to propose and design new programmes while managing the resources in an efficient manner.
In this context, the NRDMS division of the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, has visualized and commenced an innovative national network programme for the development of a comprehensive ‘Village Information System’, which uses the services of energetic youth pursuing undergraduate and graduate programmes in science and social science disciples, pursuing the collection, collation and pre-processing of required data at village level while promoting the concept of ‘Earn while you learn’.
Fig: NRDMS meet to discuss the development of a comprehensive data system.
Village Information System
A village information system is made of both spatial and non-spatial data which combine to become a single database. Spatial data includes features which are directly or indirectly linked to a location on the surface of the earth, such as, climate, demography, natural resources and land use / land cover. On the contrary, non-spatial data involves numbers and logical features such as population, literacy rate, working population and cultivable area. Together, a collection of both spatial and non-spatial features form a Village Information System.
The main objectives of a village information system include:
- Identifying and designing a spatial data model.
- Assessment, collection and collation of available data and supplement data gaps vis-à-vis developmental activities.
- Validation of data model.
- Development of an integrated information system using geospatial technologies.
- Development of decision support information modules to empower planners and citizens.
Instead of operating on just data, the village information system also enables the student community to contribute to building a sophisticated data system. A Village Information System is the first step towards a governance model which can implement policies after careful analysis of various factors, maximizing the effectiveness of their decisions. VIS is useful for implementing policies for various facilities which include healthcare, education, drinking water and agriculture. It can also assist in disaster response as management as it enables officials to identify the worst and least safe zones in case of a disaster.
NRDMS, under Department of Science & Technology, Government of India is constantly working towards developing spatial data infrastructure in India for micro level planning across diverse terrain. To know more about NRDMS, visit www.NRDMS.gov.in