Relevance of information in ‘collective decision-making’
Development strategies always have a collective ‘well-being’ rather than an individual ‘well-being’ at its core. So any planning process or strategies taken by any organisation (State or Corporate) need to have a strong sense of rationality. While decentralisation is a ‘process’, which enhances rationality, ‘information’ is the important ‘tool’ that makes this happen. Spatial or geographic information is a very important component of ‘information’ as a whole when it comes to development planning. In developing countries, the domain of ‘development’ and of ‘technology’ – more specifically geospatial information and communications technologies – are conceptually complimentary but practically yet to be fused. In India, a vast amount of geographic data and accurate maps exist. However, very few people have access to it as it remains locked in the hands of the experts or specialised departments. The cases of actual utilisation of this information in planning and development process have been only handful. What is the reason behind such a scenario? While one key reason for this is the lack of awareness about the available tools, perhaps a larger reason lies in the policy framework of the land. This paper attempts to delve into the Indian set-up and bring out an opinion of how possibly the present policy frameworks affected information flow and its tryst with development.
Spatial information and its tryst with Indian ‘Policy’
India has a rich history of mapping and generating geographic information. The Indian geodetic control network is perhaps one of the best in the world. The geodetic data, collected through centuries of dedicated efforts including the Great Trigonometrical (G.T.) Triangulation Network of India has resulted in a huge repository of data of the country, lying with a 230 old premier mapping agency