We were trying to understand the development works in each area in our state. All the works that are taken up go through a e-tendering process and the data is there in electronic form. The data is not published in raw format, but instead accessible only over a portal which is
- https based
- no useful search
- no notification support
- some of the data is removed after a certain period (tender documents are blocked once the tender is closed !)
This essentially makes data useless as it violates all the three basic principles of open data:
Three Laws of Open Government Data (by David Eaves)
- If it can’t be spidered or indexed, it doesn’t exist.
- If it isn’t available in open and machine-readable format, it can’t engage.
- If a legal framework doesn’t allow it to be repurposed, it doesn’t empower.
There is so much of government data that is hidden behind ill-designed portals. Most often, this is not due to any malicious intentions on the government part, it is just that the awareness of open data is not there.
Citizens can benefit tremendously if the data is available on which useful applications can be written. Think of this case of development works, if the data was openly available:
- We could intimate citizens of the development works in their area
- We could provide comparison of works in various localities and understand where the money is being spent
- Citizens can give feedback on their priorities for the development works
- and many more..
At CitizenSocial, our endeavour is to enable citizen participation in local development and this requires us to provide data to the citizens that they care about. Open data is a very critical component of this effort.