What is your corporator supposed to do?

What is your corporator supposed to do?

What’s supposed to happen in your ward?

Well, it’s the Independance day again. Everybody talks about being a responsible citizen and doing their duty and so on. But, isn’t it our duty to hold our elected representatives responsible? But thanks to the labyrinth of beaurocracy, we never know which elected representative is responsible for which work? It is very hard to find out.

The Open Governemnt Data Policy

Thanks to the internet and Indian government’s Open Government Data policy   all government bodies have to share their budgets and other data with public over the internet without the public making a demand. Though this is far from getting implemented with local bodies having horribly outdated and badly designed websites and most data available as scanned PDFs (an analyst’s nightmare), some forward thinking urban local bodies have made it their mission to openly sharing data on its planning and works.

And fortunately one of them is the city where ProNeta is based out of, good old Pune. Pune Municipal Corporation is probably THE most data rich and tech-friendly municipal corporation in India. Perhaps, it is due to the awesome IT people here, but  https://www.pmc.gov.in/ is the most updated and well designed government body website I have come across. What’s more, its Open Data portal is top of the line with detailed info on most aspects of urban governance.

The Annual Budget

One such interesting data set is the previous years budgets. PMC has made the budgets of last 7 years available for downloads. Whats more, at least last 3 years budgets are in excel. So we thought, lets analyse and visualize it a bit. 

Now, PMC’s annual budget is 53,97,00,00,000.00 Rupees only. Yes, you read it right, it is 5,397 crores. (That’s more than Meghalaya’s budget for the same year). Though, a large chunk of it is spent on salaries and Pensions, one part of the budget is of particular interest. That is the wardwise sanctioned works, Each ward is allotted some projects. These projects are supposedly suggested by public and followed through by corporators. Though it totals for only about 1.85% of the tota budget it is still worth 100 crores. (co-incidentally the budget allocation for the much talked about smart city project).

We found this very good link about the planning process used for wardwise allocation. This project was developed by the great guys at CEE (Center for Envioronmental Research) and is really a benchmark in data based planning. This year though, the data is not updated. And since it is now about 6 months since the budget has been presented, it is less like to be updated now.

ProNeta’s bit of work

So, we took it upon ourselves to bring in the visual flair and interactivity to the visual representation of the data. So here is our interactive dashboard of ward-wise works planned for 2018-19. Click on the map to see the works in that ward. Apply filters and slicers to see a particular kind of works. What’s more, selecting a ward also gives out the names and phone number of the corporator of the ward. May be you can follow up with your local corporators for how many of these projects actually were executed and how many were just on paper. That’s real participative democracy for you.

The dashboard is best seen on a desktop/laptop. Use the fullscreen button at bottom right to view a large full-screen. You can also choose multiple wards at once.

One interesting derived statistics that this data throws up is Per-Capita budget allocation. We divided the budget allocated by voter counts from these areas. So, though each ward get approximately the same allocation overall, there is quite a difference in per-capita money that Erandawane-Kothrud gets (355Rs.) as compared to money that Kalas-Dhanori (289Rs.) gets. Though this may be nitpicking, it’s a good question to check whether your corporator is aware of the basis of allocation.

Where do we go from here?

The Pune Municipal Corporation is definitely at the forefront of data transparency. Can we expect similar tech enabled data sharing from other municipal corporations? How can the corporate professionals help in making this data available? 

Can we set up a process to check to whom did all these contracts went to and to track the progress? We can associate location-wise latitude-longitude to each project and check if 2 months after a project completed, whether the objective was really fulfilled. Just like you review hotels on Google Maps, maybe we can review public works too! That way, the corporators would have a concrete thing to say when they come back in 5 years!

Share your thoughts and ideas about this little public service project of ours. If you want location intelligence, interactivity and accountability in your business analytics, give us a call. And remember, scrape public government data, it’s your civic duty!

Read our case study on project tracking for Bharuch DDO. Click Here
Read our efforts in better election results visualization. Click Here

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