Urban Engagements

City Data for India Initiative

The City Data for India initiative supports the Trusts’ portfolio in urban areas. The initiative identifies urban local bodies (ULBs) and supports them in breaking down data silos in individual departments by institutionalising a standardised data collection framework (ISO 37120). The City Data for India initiative was launched by the Trusts in 2016, in association with World Council on City Data (WCCD) and PwC, with an objective of inculcating a culture of data-driven decision-making in Indian cities. Pune, Jamshedpur and Surat were the pioneer cities that achieved the WCCD ISO 37120 certification under this initiative. Later, five more cities joined the initiative – Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Bhopal, Chennai and Vijayawada.

The ISO 37120 certification is an assurance that these cities have sufficient city-level data to enhance service deliveries to their residents. This is also an objective under the central government’s Smart Cities Initiative.

Key highlights of the programme
  • Creating a network of data reliant ISO certified Indian cities, enabling peer-to-peer benchmarking and best practices sharing between cities, nationally and globally.
  • Enabling the creation of a coherent data engagement and management strategy for the certified cities, through the city data officer at the ULB level in the Pune Municipal Corporation.
  • The Trusts are developing a comprehensive set of e-learning modules on data-driven governance (DDG) for municipal officials, delivered over a period of 15 hours. The modules covered include:
  • An introduction to data-driven governance for Urban Local Bodies (Module 1: 4 hours)
  • Departmental and cross departmental convergences with implications on departmental decision-making (Modules 2 and 3: 8 hours)
  • Practices of change management to bring about data and tech enablement in ULBs (Module 4: 3 hours)
  • In parallel, 10 case studies are being developed in the domains of grievance redressal, waste management, land use, open data, and data governance to capture best practices across projects implemented by cities and civil society organisations towards effective urban governance.

Policy convergences

  • The ISO 37120 exercise was the first formal competitive benchmarking exercise conducted in India in the urban context. Its relevance has been recognised by the Ministry, and has been built into the Ease of Living/Liveability Standards exercise rolled-out last year by the Smart Cities Mission, with a view to benchmark 100 smart cities. The second version for the 2019 cycle was launched in February.
  • Basis the demonstrated success of the City Data Officer initiative in Pune, the Smart Cities Mission (Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs) has incorporated the CDO as a recommended resource in the Smart City HR guidelines in 2018. Currently, 100 City Data Officers have been nominated or hired at city levels with support from the Trusts.
  • Development of India’s first e-learning course on urban data-driven governance (part course live on National Urban Learning Platform), and creation of open data guidelines for Indian cities to operationalise the open data mandate of the Government of India. The project is currently under development with MPS Interactive Systems and PwC India Ltd.

Plans for the future

  • Through dedicated capacity-building, the Trust intend to empower City Data Officers and provide an enabling environment to them for achieving the objectives set under the DataSmart Cities (DSC) mandate, discussed in this section.
  • As part of the ongoing engagement in eight cities, the Trusts will provide technical expertise and handholding to cities to implement specific components of the DSC strategy.
  • The capacity-building course will be offered to the Ministry to train CDOs and Data Champions at the department level to equip them to govern cities in a more informed manner. 
View other initiatives under Data-Driven Governance
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  • JK corridor
  • DEGC
  • DELTA
  • SPARC

Datasmart Cities

To create, nurture and further the spirit of data-driven empowerment, collaboration and governance in 100 smart cities, a ‘Datasmart Cities’ unit has been set up within the Ministry to develop strategies, frameworks and methodologies, and provide resources and strategic support to cities to imbibe a culture of data and data-driven decision-making.

Key highlights
  • The Trusts are part of the working group on the Datasmart Cities unit along with IDFC Institute, CSTEP, NIC, eGov Foundation, Amazon and ESRI.
    • The Trusts have also enabled the creation of a Datasmart Cities unit in the MoHUA in December 2018 to support the promotion and evolution of an intensive data culture within smart cities. The DSCU, through the deputation of two resources, has been instrumental in driving the following activities in a short span of 2 1/2 months:
    • The Datasmart Cities Strategy document was developed and disseminated for public consultation and feedback.
    • The Open Data Portal for Smart Cities has been developed in association with NIC, with ongoing UI/UX enhancements. The DSCU is coordinating the process of collation and sanitisation of 50 data sets per city, leading to a repository of 5,000 open datasets on the portal of which more than 2,500 are live on the portal.
    • 100 Smart City Data Officers (CDOs) have been appointed formally through a nomination process, and are being capacitated on aspects of open data, data exchange and the data marketplace.
    • Datasets have been sourced from other urban flagship government programmes such as the PMAY, SBM, HRIDAY, NULM and AMRUT for population on the Open Data Portal.
    • The Datasmart Cities Maturity Assessment Framework has been conceptualised with the aim of assessing data readiness of smart cities, and successively enabling enhancements through guidance and mentorship.
  • In conjunction with the DSC mandate, the Trusts are developing a set of open data guidelines for enabling ULBs to actualise implementation of the Open Data Portals. This covers the ‘good to have’ and ‘must have’ datasets to be collected at the departmental level, with data privacy and confidentiality aspects covered, and is structured as a ‘how to’ guide for departmental officials to get moving on their open data journey.

Policy convergences

  • The Trusts have been instrumental in developing the DataSmart Cities strategy document, the Data Maturity Assessment Framework, and the methodology documents, which were released officially by the Ministry at the Second Apex Conference for Smart City CEOs in February 2019.
  • The Working Group engagements are getting cemented through a formal MoU with the Ministry, and is expected to drive the implementation post launch.

Plans for the future

  • Along with the DSC implementation in the upcoming year, basis the strategy document, the Open Data guidelines are also being offered to the Ministry as recommended guidelines for all cities to implement their open data portals, basis the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy.

National Urban Innovation Stack & DIGIT

An ongoing grant to e-Governments Foundation, a programme partner of the Tata Trusts, has enabled the creation of DIGIT in February 2019. DIGIT is a digital infrastructure based on a societal platforms approach, which is being integrated with the Ministry’s efforts to develop a National Urban Innovation Stack.

Key Highlights

The eGovernments Foundation is taking the lead in the development of the National Urban Innovation Stack (NUIS), with traction already being built in the hilly and north eastern states. The programme has been implemented in Punjab and Andhra Pradesh, and a unit is being envisaged within the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) to drive the implementation on a pan India basis. Further, the foundation has anchored the development of the NUIS bluebook at the same time, to which the Trusts have actively contributed.

The Trusts are also part of the steering committee for the roll-out of the National Urban Innovation Stack, and have been a part of the design thinking workshops, leading up to the release of the blue book.

Policy convergences
The NUIS component was approved by the cabinet, and has been launched along with sub components such as the National Urban Learning Platform and the Indian Urban Data Exchange.

Plans for the future
The Trusts plan to actively engage with NIUA and the Ministry to take the implementation of the stack forward with capacity-building and dedicated support to the states for pan state roll-outs.

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