Standardised data key to transformation of cities: Official
India lacks standardised and globally comparable data required for the transformation of its cities, a senior official of an international body said. The observation by the World Council on City Data (WCCD) comes at a time when the Central government is focusing on speedy implementation of its smart cities programme. “Data is fundamental to the development of any city. The focus needs to be on to collecting standardised, globally comparable city data. For a city to evolve and become smarter and more sustainable, it must understand its current level of service delivery and infrastructure,” WCCD President and CEO Patricia McCarney told PTI in an email interaction.
WCCD and Tata Trust have partnered to build high calibre data in Indian cities. They have also awarded WCCD ISO 37120 certification to three cities – Pune, Surat and Jamshedpur – for their data collection initiatives. McCarney said the value of high-quality city data is particularly important in India, where the urban population is projected to grow from 410 million in 2014 to 800 million by 2050. “A truly smart city is one that embraces a culture of data ? beyond just a focus on ICT (Information and Communications Technology). Ensuring that a mechanism is in place to collect data is a key challenge in this mission. Data is essential in the transformation of any city towards becoming more smart, sustainable, resilient, prosperous and inclusive,” she said.
McCarney said in over 80 countries, where WCCD has worked in the past eight years, it has been found that the relationships between local and regional authorities can vary from city to city, and country to country. “So collaboration with provincial or state governments (and regional where applicable) will be essential in this inter-governmental discussion. In many cases, cities must work with upper levels of government to both gather data, and to build informed investment of development funds. Therefore, I do believe that a robust partnership is essential.”
Tata Trusts Senior Manager-Programmes Poornima Dore said, “Budgeting and finance and planning is something which at times happens in an ad-hoc manner or in a projected manner. This aspect also needs to be studied carefully when it comes to budgeting for a transformation.” Tata Trusts effort has been to work closely with some of the key stakeholders in the public and private sectors and see how we can help them build systems, create models, and pilots to showcase that it works, she said. The WCCD is a global hub for learning partnerships across cities, global organisations, corporate partners, and academia to build better and more liveable cities.