Technology

India adopts United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics

The ten Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics, as endorsed by the UN General Assembly, are set out below:

Principle 1. Official statistics provide an indispensable element in the information system of a democratic society, serving the Government, the economy and the public with data about the economic, demographic, social and environmental situation. To this end, official statistics that meet the test of practical utility are to be compiled and made available on an impartial basis by official statistical agencies to honor citizens’ entitlement to public information.

Principle 2. To retain trust in official statistics, the statistical agencies need to decide according to strictly professional considerations, including scientific principles and professional ethics, on the methods and procedures for the collection, processing, storage and presentation of statistical data.

 Principle 3. To facilitate a correct interpretation of the data, the statistical agencies are to present information according to scientific standards on the sources, methods and procedures of the statistics.

Principle 4. The statistical agencies are entitled to comment on erroneous interpretation and misuse of statistics.

Principle 5. Data for statistical purposes may be drawn from all types of sources, be they statistical surveys or administrative records. Statistical agencies are to choose the source with regard to quality, timeliness, costs and the burden on Respondents.

Principle 6. Individual data collected by statistical agencies for statistical compilation, whether they refer to natural or legal persons, are to be strictly confidential and used exclusively for statistical purposes.

 Principle 7. The laws, regulations and measures under which the statistical systems operate are to be made public.

 Principle 8. Coordination among statistical agencies within countries is essential to achieve consistency and efficiency in the statistical system.

 Principle 9. The use by statistical agencies in each country of international concepts, classifications and methods promotes the consistency and efficiency of statistical systems at all official levels.

Principle 10. Bilateral and multilateral cooperation in statistics contributes to the improvement of systems of official statistics in all countries.

Read more at http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=144847

Rail Radar HotSpots Allows You to Plan Your Journey without Disruption.

One of my post on Rail Radar at Govperneur blog crossed 6000 pageviews . It was an unexpected but pleasant milestone. So i went back and reviewed the article. To my utter dismay i found that the Rail Radar project which was covered in the article has been closed down and link now redirects to the National Train Enquiry Service (NTES)  website of the Indian Railways (CRIS).  On further digging i found that the project which was lauched in partnership with Rail Yatri has been shelved in favour of a new interface (supposedly user friendly) developed by CRIS  in this article.

In that article i had shared that this project marks a major milestone in the digital governance highway the Indian railways is cruising in. With the closing of this project in favour of the new inhouse interface by CRIS the project has moved backwards.  However not to be left behind, Rail Yatri (Stelling Technologies) has created Rail Radar Hotspots. This site provides train movements as per scheduled timings (since CRIS is maintaining its monopoly of train movement data) and also highlights the hotspots which are likely disrupt your travel.

Rail Radar by Rail Yatri

RailRadar™ HotSpots is a live tracker of spots of significant events and incidents called as ‘HotSpots’ occurring across the country which has or has the potential of impacting train travel in India. This live tracker is shown on an interactive map and allows users to locate these HotSpots across the country. It also helps determine if any of the scheduled train has the potential of getting impacted by it.

The effects of these HotSpots vary in terms of severity. Some of the known after-effects which we have tracked are as follows –

  • Widespread cancellation of services (partial or fully)
  • Changes in time schedule or route schedule
  • Delays
  • Rush in trains, unavailability of seats, etc.
  • Accidents/Mishaps
  • Increase in crime.
  • Increased cost of travel

It is difficult to predict a complete list of events or incidents which can impact train travel. However, one can take clues from past events/incidents over the years which have resulted in train travel getting affected in adverse manner. Some of them are –

  • Accidents, Mishaps, Breakdowns
  • Engineering & Construction work and maintenance
  • Significant public gatherings
  • Weather, Natural Calamity, etc.
  • Man-made disruptions
  • Events which cannot be explained or be attributed to – but typically are outcome of Chaos Theory or Domino Effect.

Every year thousands of such reported across the nation which has resulted in significant impact on travel.

Over the last decade, train network and traffic in India have grown tremendously. Indian Railways expects this trend to continue over the next few decades. Also increasingly Indian Railways passengers today want to know more – beyond just ‘an’ ETA of ‘a’ train at ‘a’ station. As the volume and complexity of information increases – we believe that new methods of information dissemination (associated with Trains) will be required. RailRadar™ is one such attempt on that line. We believe that value of information/directions can greatly be enhanced when presented graphically rather than just plain text.

RailRadar™ HotSpots is one such representation of information dissemination mechanism associated with events which can significantly impact train travel in India.

How this affects us?

The larger public interest is affected as CRIS is trying to maintain its monopoly of train data. They should release it as API and allow for innovation. Many innovations are possible like this Wake up call System called Pyka.

The Government has embarked on a mission to promote Open Data and to bring more information into the public domain. Much of the information published there are just statistics. It will be game changer if government takes a proactive approach in releasing such data that are relevant to large section of the population day in and day out.

This my friends represents the challenge and opportunity for Govpreneurs. What other data can be released by the Government that can have a major impact in citizen friendly government. Share your comments.

Credits – FAQs at Rail Radar Hotspots

After TRAI now RBI gets going on Mobile Banking

rbi  mobile banking committee

RBI appointed a technical committee on mobile banking to conduct an in-depth study of the challenges faced by banks in taking mobile banking forward to the desired level. The Commitee is headed by  B. Sambamurthy, Director, Institute for Development & Research in Banking Technology.

Mobile subscriber addition in india increased by 3.16 million in June 2013.  Total mobile subscriber base has increased to 873.36 million.  Mobile Subscribers in rural india is contributing to more 2.91 mn of the 3.16 mn. USSD Technology is seen as a viable solution to financial inclusion through mobile banking but has a lot of implementation challenges. TRAI has just released a consultation paper for comments from the public.

The committee will also study the challenges faced by banks in introducing the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) channel and suggest solutions. USSD can have the advantage of  having a single application across all handsets in an SMS encrypted environment.

With the Telecom regulator and Banking Regulator putting their joint efforts in making banking accessible to the excluded section may become a reality sooner.

c0c0n 2013 International Cyber Security and Policing Conference

c0c0n

c0c0n 2013
International Cyber Security and Policing Conference

27 – 28 Sept 2013,
Vivanta by Taj, Trivandrum, Kerala
Dear All
On behalf of Kerala Police, I am pleased to invite you to participate in the ‘International Cyber Security and Policing Conference’ entitled “(c0c0n 2013)” organized by the Kerala Police along with Information Security Research Association – a registered non-profit organization from Friday, September 20 – 21, 2013 at Vivanta Taj, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala State, India.
Cyberspace and the internet in particular, have become an integral part of our lives. It is difficult to imagine how we ever existed without it, and the value of an open and free Internet is enormous. With greater dependence on Cyber Space come greater responsibilities and, indeed, greater vulnerabilities. And the whole idea of cyber security is about taking the responsibility to maintain and evolve what we are so dependent upon while protecting it from dangers. Our challenge as a law enforcement agency is to remain on our toes always and watching out that while we reap all the growing advantages, the netizens do not open themselves up to great risks. Today there are more than 2 billion people online, who need to be protected.
This annual conference provides a premier international forum for highlighting the importance of empowering citizens, businesses and government to improve their cyber security preparedness. In this digital age, we are all connected and the actions of one can impact many. It is essential that each of us understand our role in securing cyberspace and to view cyber security as a public good and to adopt mechanisms inspired by those used for public safety especially women and children.
The conference will be limited to 200 participants including approximately 30 invited speakers. We have organized more than 25 sessions on 2 different tracks covering 4 security domains for which we are expecting participation from various speakers, industries and government organizations at different levels.
I am looking forward to your esteemed presence as a resource person/ Participant for the conference. Please free to contact me for any clarifications in this regard.

R.Nishanthini IPS

nishaasmail@gmail.com

For more information on the conference please visit the following links.

Web site – http://is-ra.org/c0c0n/
Twitter – http://twitter.com/#!/_c0c0n_
LinkedIn – http://linkd.in/yHfkX7
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/pages/c0c0n/137968402889465

Making Sense of Linked Data, Open Data and Visualization

Data becomes more meaningful when it is linked with a common meta data.

 

Some persistent questions that needs to be deliberated are:

Who creates a meta data that others include?

Will first movers have an advantage?

How Open Data and Linked Data will make a difference to Development.

Find educative presentations on open data, linked data, visualization and linked information.

Go here   http://linkedinfo.ikmemergent.net/

Which Country is closest to Your Utopia–in terms of MDGs

What if you could guide the destiny of our country. What if you could decide on the importance of various development choices we face as a country. Is infant mortality more important to you or health spending(as % of GDP) of the government. What will happen if you are given the choice of changing various policy options towards the achievement of the Millennium  Development Goals. What will you choose?

Well you see how your choices will workout and also find a list of countries which form the closest to your ideal priorities in achieving the MDGs. Go ahead and try this game at YourTopia – meaning Your UTOPIA. You will get a list of countries in descending order. Try this… it fun and enlightening.

yourtopia app

Yourtopia sums up human development according to your criteria. In a short quiz you choose how important different dimensions of development are to you, and the application calculates how countries do overall, according to your priorities.

Your personal measure of social progress calculated by Yourtopia makes tracking developments easy by combining large datasets into a single index.

With your anonymised quiz data you furthermore participate in constructing the world’s first multiple-dimension index of human development that overcomes the problem of arbitrary indicator-weighting and proxy choices through open public voting.

More at www.YourTopia.net/about

How about a Phone Service for the Hearing Impaired

Modernised National Relay Service (For hearing impaired) – Australian Example which India needs.

Around 6% population of India suffers from some hearing difficulty, making it one of the countries with the highest number of hearing impaired. Of these, one in 1,000 people are born with hearing defect, while one in 10,000 children have a structural anomaly, rendering their ears too small to be able to hear well. <source>

 

relay service australia

The NRS is an Australian Government initiative funded by a levy on eligible telecommunications carriers.

The NRS consists of:

  • a Relay Service Provider which runs the call centre where relay officers relay your calls to other people, and
  • an Outreach Service Provider which runs the outreach service to provide a Helpdesk, and education and information activities which support awareness, training and use of the NRS.

You can type and read your conversation entirely via a TTY or via internet relay on a computer or mobile phone. Depending on your particular requirements, the relay officer can become “your voice” and read out your conversation to the other person. The relay officer can also listen to the response and type it back for you to read.

The privacy of all parties is respected and all calls are treated confidentially.

Following a competitive tender process, the Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency (TUSMA) signed – in February 2013 – new contracts with Australian Communication Exchange and WestWood Spice to deliver the National Relay Service (NRS). The Government’s aim throughout this process was to ensure that a broad range of technologies was used to provide efficient services to those that need it most.

The improved NRS will enable hearing and speech impaired people to:

· For the first time, use SMS to contact emergency service organisations

· Make and receive phone calls through a new two-way internet relay service

· Access all NRS services through a new application available on smart-phone and other internet-enabled devices

· Access a video relay service, which will be available between 7am and 6pm on business days

· Use a web-based service that provides captioned telephony for the hearing impaired

Regulatory changes will be required for a number of these initiatives, they are expected to be in place by the time the new NRS contract begins on 1 July. This will allow new services to be progressively introduced as soon as possible in the second half of 2013.

The NRS will continue to provide its existing teletypewriter (TTY) and speech services 24-hours a day, every day of the year, as well as its extensive training and education services.

http://relayservice.com.au/

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is changing the way we learn

Massive Online Open Courses – anytime,anywhere, anyone

Massive Online Open Courses  are opening up education to those who till  now could only dream of it. It is breaking the distance barrier, time barrier and most importantly the cost barrier.

Wherever in the world you are….you can learn from a stanford professor, at the fraction of a cost. All you need is just an internet connection.

Ranging from Calculus to Computer science, web design to world history…you name it, you can take it.

Massive online open courses are offered by some the website listed below.

Udacity

Class2Go by Stanford

Coursera – the most popular interms of courses and students.

 

   Want to learn something new…take a MOOC now.



Watch How Free Online Courses Are Changing Traditional Education on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

All you wanted to know about using Solar Energy in Homes

300px-Solar_panels_in_Ogiinuur

<image credit: Wikipedia>

Unlike Gujarat my home state Tamilnadu is suffering massive powercuts running into nearly 10 to 12 hours. So much so that even the inverters are not able to get recharged enough to sustain the daily powercuts. Slowly the households are moving towards installation of solar panels in houses as the situation not likely to change in the near future.

Here are some of the things one can know about using solar panels for home usage. The link are taken from One Block off the Grid website. Though its a US focussed website, its time we need a service like that for India too. Go ahead and explore the solar option……

  1. How Solar Panels Work
  2. The Different Types of Solar Panels
  3. Solar Panel Efficiency and the Factors that Affect it
  4. Solar Equipment: Inverters, Solar Panels, and Sunlight. What else do you need?
  5. The Nitty-Gritty on Solar Roofing
  6. The Truth about Solar Batteries and Battery Back-up Systems
  7. Solar Maintenance & Monitoring: A Five-Minute Guide
  8. 12 Ways to Increase Home Energy Efficiency Before Installing Solar Panels
  9. Solar Economics: How Much Solar Costs and Its Financial Benefits
  10. Solar Performance Guarantees and how they work
  11. Microinverters explained
  12. How net metering works
  13. Cleaning Solar Panels

 

More Resources:

 

Visit One Block off the Grid website

Follow them on Facebook or Twitter

Technology behind the Next Generation WebApps for Government

The next generation web applications for Governments are using frameworks like Ruby of app development. Server scalability using the Amazon Cloud and other services Amazon RDS and Amazon SES. Here is latest list published by the UK Government which is working on the Gov.Uk Portal as a one place for all data. Now the scope has also been expanded to include private data sources also and is made available in an API. Licensing is an factor to think about in this emerging area. The more open the better. Here is the technology stack for Gov.Uk portal reproduced from Cabinet Office Blog, UK.

gov.uk

Hosting and Infrastructure
  • DNS hosted by Dyn.com
  • Servers are Amazon EC2 instances running Ubuntu 10.04LTS
  • Email (internal alerts) sending via Amazon SES and Gmail
  • Miscellaneous file storage on Amazon S3
  • Jetty application server
  • Nginx, Apache and mod_passenger
  • Jenkins continuous integration server
  • Caching by Varnish
  • Configuration management using Puppet
Languages, Frameworks and Plugins
  • Most of the application code is written in Ruby, running on a mixture of Rails and Sinatra
    Rails and Sinatra gave us the right balance of productivity and clean code, and were well known to the team we’ve assembled. We’ve used a range of gems along with these, full details of which can be found in the Gemfiles at https://github.com/alphagov
  • The router is written in Scala and uses Scalatra for its internal API
    The router distributes requests to the appropriate backend apps, allowing us to keep individual apps very focussed on a particular problem without exposing that to visitors. We did a bake-off between a ruby implementation and a scala implementation and were convinced that the scala version was better able to handle the high level of concurrency this app will require.
Databases
  • MongoDB
    We started out building everything using MySQL but moved to MongoDB as we realised how much of our content fitted its document-centric approach. Over time we’ve been more and more impressed with it and expect to increase our usage of it in the future.
  • MySQL hosted using Amazon’s RDS platform
    Some of the data we need to store is still essentially relational and we use MySQL to store that. Amazon RDS takes away many of the scaling and resilience concerns we had with that without requiring changes to our application code.
  • MaPit geocoding and information service from mySociety
    MaPit not only does conventional geocoding (what’s the lon/lat for a postcode) but also gives us details of all the local government areas a postcode is in, which lets us point visitors to relevant local services
Frontend
  • HTML & CSS (naturally), with elements from HTML5 & CSS3 where appropriate
  • Javascript uses jQuery, jQuery UI, Chosen, and a variety of other plugins
  • Gill Sans provided by fonts.com
  • Google web font loader
Misc

 

Source:  http://digital.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/colophon-beta/