Drawing up strategies for local level (district and below) development that is sustainable, area-specific and take into account the felt needs of the local people is a complex and information intensive task. Major upgradation of the existing data system at the local level is thus essential. Induction of scientific tools and techniques like Geographical Information System (GIS), Remote Sensing and Web Technologies is necessary to make the data system amenable to quick retrieval, flow and holistic analysis. The Government has therefore, encouraged programmes aimed at developing and inducting appropriate scientific and technological tools so as to upgrade the databases and improve data management procedures at the districts. Natural Resources Data Management System (NRDMS), is one such initiative of the Government, conceived and launched by the Department of Science & Technology in 1982 with a distinct focus on organizing local level resource databases and demonstrating their utility in local level planning.
Major objectives of the Programme include:
Development of district level resource databases on natural resources and other allied sectors based on the concepts of GIS to support local level planning.
- Provide software support for data management, modeling and operation research.
- Promote R&D in spatial data management technologies.
- Training of scientists & potential users.
- Forge linkages with the users at different levels, documentation and dissemination.
Under NRDMS Programme, experimental database centers have been set up in selected districts of the country to develop the local level GIS databases and demonstrate their utility in local level planning. Data sets are collated from different sources like national and state level survey agencies, line departments, and remote sensing (both aerial and satellite) and converted to digital mode for storage on to the databases for integration and analysis. Required R&D back-up of the task of developing databases and software tools, and putting them to use
are provided by leading academic/ research institutions and NGOs. Area-specific application studies are carried out to investigate resource related problems at the local level in sectors like watershed management, energy budgeting, infrastructure development, and landslides. Each district center of NRDMS is provided with a minimal set of hardware, software and technical manpower to support the development and maintenance of the databases and data processing. Manpower staffing the Center provide the required technical support to the line department officials in this task.
UNDP has assisted NRDMS in upgrading the NRDMS methodology by way of providing world class state-of-the-art techniques for developing local level GIS databases and the required tools for using those for decision support in different sectors of local level planning.
Various techniques and tools developed under the NRDMS include improved procedures for local level data management. GRAM++GIS package, Decision Support Modules, GIS databases, Resource Profiles and Almanacs, and Tutors on GRAM++ and GIS. The techniques and tools have been tested using data sets from two pilot districts i.e. Bankura in West Bengal and Kolar in Karnataka for demonstration of their use to the Line Department officials. The data flow characterizing the complete system is shown in the attached Figure.