Improving Transparency and Delivering Quality Services with iBhuGoal

Santosh Kumar, State Informatics Officer National Informatics Centre (NIC), Bihar
Shailesh Kumar Shrivastava, Technical Director, NIC, Bihar.

iBhuGoal was started with the objective of creating a geo-spatial database for the state of Bihar. It provides a single window for detailed information on topography, geography, infrastructure and socio-economic indicators. Planners and decision-makers can use the portal to know the assets available, view their spatial distribution and also view the socio-economic accessibility of these assets. For instance, planners can view school buffer zones and know the number of habitations, which fall within a specific buffer zone. Demographics can be analyzed on the basis of age, income, caste and other categories available.

Major services offered by iBhuGoal

• Geographical Maps of State, District, Block, Panchayats
• Booth Details, ERO and BLO
• Bihar ATLAS containing various thematic maps.
• Road and Habitations details of selected areas
• Water Bodies, Rivers, Canals, Rivers and Jamindari Bandhs
• Electricity Transmission Networks
• Optical Fiber Networks of Bihar
• Urban Boundaries of major cities of Bihar
• Integration of GIS maps with on-line GIS Services such as Google, Bing, ESRI etc.
• Profile of Rural Roads pertaining to their Physical and Financial progress
• Assembly and Parliamentary booth distribution maps for Bihar

Topographic indicators such as parliamentary and assembly constituencies and district, block and village boundaries are also mapped in the iBhuGoal database. iBhuGoal is the first GIS based system in the country that provides data upto a scale of 1:4000. Such detail, used mainly for cadastral purposes, is a pioneering effort and is all the more laudable as it has been implemented in a state with no prior GIS coverage. It also provides geographic information on various indicators such as soils, forest cover and watersheds.
This information, accessible on a single portal ( http://gis.bih.nic.in/), enables datadriven decision-making. It eliminates chances of errors which may occur due to lack of information. It encourages a scientific approach to planning and management leading to transparent civil administration. The system is dynamically updated through backend re-engineering as and when the user departments update their information. Citizens are also permitted to update the spatial database.

Left to Right: Santosh Kumar,
SIO, NIC, Bihar; Shailesh Kumar Shrivastava, Technical Director,
NIC, Bihar

The Birth of iBhuGoal
There has been no concept of Spatial Data Inventory or Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) in the state of Bihar. Individually, some officers have been trying to map the existing MIS data pertaining to infrastructure using drawing tools etc. for their personal reference in a disintegrated manner. These data and maps, however, do not conform to any mapping standards as there was no such policy in Bihar state which defined the standard procedures of mapping and their maintenance. The main drawback of such practice was that, integration of these maps was not possible. Such practices also fail to reflect the current functional status of infrastructure and senior administrators do not get information support to make strategic and informed decisions. In turn, large investments are incurred to answer specific queries frequently made from various apex forums and internal planning. More so, results may also vary for similar queries raised at different points of time.
District administration is accountable to the public representatives who voice the demands and needs of the public. Due to lack of proper information, sometimes genuine demands may be neglected. On the other hand, some of the public representatives may get away with serving their political goals by getting more than due share of public resources for their constituency due to undue influence. Such practices create regional imbalances and lead to lack of transparency in the civil administration. In the past, in the absence of appropriate MIS and GIS tools, district administration had no choice but to accept undue demands of local representatives. It was with this background that the Bihar government decided to develop a Geographical Information System(GIS) based solution. The State Government as part of plan discussion at Planning Commission, New Delhi requested for sharing of digital maps available at NIC. Exhibit-1 shows major stakeholders of National GIS. As a continuation of this, a meeting was held under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, Bihar on 04/02/2010. Principal Secretaries of various departments and members of NIC team attended the meeting. In this meeting, a presentation was made by NIC, New Delhi on potential of Development and Implementation of a GIS based solution for Bihar State. And iBhuGoal was born.

iBhuGoal is aimed at

• Creation of Spatial Database Infrastructure for use among various departments of the State of Bihar.

• Integration of Geo-spatial data and MIS data from different departments namely Education, Rural Works, Social Welfare, Election Commission, Building/ Construction, Irrigation etc.

• Integration of SDI maps with online mapping services such as Google, Bing, ESRI, etc.

• Development of Query facilities for Planning and Decision Making by various departments.

• Development of efficient and effective tools for planning rural road connectivity to habitations.

• Depicting coverage of habitations through various levels of Schools.

• Providing help in better management of facilities such as Schools, Anganwadi Kendra, PHCs, etc. which deliver citizen centric services.

• Achieve transparency and ease in planning and real-time monitoring of work-sites.

• Smooth and Effective Management of Election process through proper use of GIS maps.

• Offer scientific approach for irrigation facilities planning, flood management and management of embankments.

• Analysis of Forest Reserve and forest inventory so that clearance of schemes can be linked through GIS maps.

iBhuGoal Impact
iBhuGoal is an information generating portal used by the Bihar government to map, organize and manage data spatially on infrastructural and policy related services up to the village level. It uses comprehensive GIS software which allows viewing, understanding, interpreting and visualizing data in ways that reveal relationships and patterns in the format of extensive maps, reports and charts.
In order to empower citizens and providing them visual tools for social audit, iBhuGoal can be very effective. Citizens can know about various schemes and their implementation status. Spatial analysis helps to understand distribution, coverage and access to these facilities. Introduction of GIS technologies bring in focus existing spatial reality which result in dynamism and transparency in the nature of working, in order to overcome problems related to planning, development, monitoring and decision-making.

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