Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT Madras) has launched a Data Platform of ‘Integrated Database on Infrastructure Projects’ (IDIP) aimed at enhancing the efficiency of infrastructure development in India and enable effective decision-making among different stakeholders involved in the infrastructure sector.

Launched on 29th May 2019 during the 15th World Conference on Transport Research (WCTR) conference, IDIP is offering combine geo-visual analytics, regional economic analysis and insights on impact of infrastructure projects ranging across – Roads, Ports, Airports, Water & Sanitation, Solid Waste Management and Power.

Founded by Dr. A. Thillai Rajan (Professor at IIT-Madras) and Sethuraman Ramabadran IDIP seeks to address the growing demand for data & research driven consultative solutions in the infrastructure sector. Dr. Rajan is also responsible for launching YNOS Venture Engine, an IIT-Madras incubated startup, launched last year to help startup founders by providing analytical information and intermediation services for early stage entrepreneurs.

Speaking about the importance of this Infrastructure Data platform, Prof. G. Raghuram, said, "Databases such as the IDIP highlight what the real issues in the sector are. Such data also help investors and developers to understand the performance of the existing projects and formulate their investment strategies for the sector."

[caption id="attachment_130808" align="aligncenter" width="711"] L to R - Mr Sethuraman, Director, Akara Research & Technologies, Prof Swapnil Garg, Professor, IIM Indore & Coordinator, PPPINDIANET, Prof Thillai Rajan, Principal Investigator of Project, Dept of Management Studies, IIT Madras, & Prof G Raghuram, Director, IIM Bangalore[/caption]

The initial focus of IDIP would be on the Road Sector, which has received the highest private investment among all infrastructure sectors. The PPP (Public Private Partnership) programme in the roads sector in India is the largest in the world.

To recall, last month it was reported that Indian School of Business (ISB) is setting up a data repository which will store all available public data in a single portal called as 'India Data Portal', which will be ready in a couple of months,

Highlighting the unique points of IDIP database, Principal Investigator of the Project, Prof A. Thillai Rajan, Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras, said, “Availability of high quality and reliable data has been biggest bugbear in the Indian Infrastructure Development. The objective of IDIP is to address this strong need. The comprehensiveness of data available in IDIP is unmatched. Availability of this facility would provide a big impetus for research in infrastructure and promote evidence-based decision making among policy makers, funding agencies, and developers.”

Salient features of the IDIP platform include:

  • Data coverage across the project lifecycle comprising development, construction and operation phases. Close to 50 different parameters are tracked for the projects,

  • Data curated and validated from multiple sources,

  • Covers almost all the PPP road projects awarded so far, including those awarded by the state governments. The database would be enriched with the NHAI EPC projects shortly,

  • Only source that provides the financial performance data of the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs),

  • Querying, visual analytics and search features of the platform facilitate ease of analysis and decision making

  • In addition to roads, other transportation sectors such as Railways, Ports, and Airports would also be included in the platform shortly. In the next phase, the coverage of IDIP would also encompass other sectors of infrastructure such as power, transmission, water supply, sanitation and solid waste management.

In this month, NITI Aayog, the think-tank of Indian government, had announced that it is considering a proposal to make consumer data accessible to all, subject to riders, instead of being the exclusive preserve of a few tech firms like Google, Amazon, Facebook or even Flipkart at local level.

For IDIP, the technical expertise for its development was contributed by faculty members from multiple institutions including Dr. Ashwin Mahalingam, Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras, Dr. Akash Deep, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University, Prof. Venkata Santosh Kumar Delhi, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Bombay, Prof Ganesh Devkar, CEPT University. The development partner for the project was Akara Research and Technologies.

Mr. Sethuraman, Director, Akara Research and Technologies, who is the development partner for this Data Platform, said, “IDIP currently has the data for all PPP projects and efforts are on to increase the coverage to other sectors, namely, seaports, airports, water & sanitation and power. The data for each project is updated regularly including the performance of the SPVs.”

Prof. Swapnil Garg, Associate Professor, IIM Indore and Co-ordinator of PPPINDIANET, said, “I found the IDIP to be quite comprehensive and also correct. I checked the validity of data for a small sample of projects that I have been tracking for a decade now. It will be very useful for researchers who work in to develop the nations PPP expertise."

Source - Indian Education Diary

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