EU Funded Bangalore Municipal Spatial Data Repository (GIS) – Fact or Fiction?

Following a 2002 4 Million Euro assignment to a joint venture between SCE (France) and the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), Bangalore Citizens and outside observers have been looking forward to one of the key deliverables: the DUSR (Digital Urban Spatial Repository) – a publicly accessible internet portal into all of the map data representing the city’s infrastructure, property cadastre and planning classifications. Direct representations to the BDA are so far being ignored. This blog sets out some of the factual material surrounding the issue and then asks some fundamental questions. Firstly some facts/information sources:

Information on SCE:

Groupe SCE is a fully owned subsidiary of a French MNC (www.sce.fr) specialising in the field of GIS (Geographic Information Systems). Major areas of expertise are GIS, LiDAR processing, CAD, Urban Planning and Software Customisation for GIS applications. Groupe SCE India Pvt Ltd was Incorporated in 2002 and based in Bangalore, (coinciding with the financial allotment by the EU of EUR 4 million to the BDA/SCE joint venture) is an end-to-end geospatial services provider with a manpower of over 125 personnel specializing in the design and creation of Geographic Information Systems, 3D modeling, LiDAR data works, image processing and IT solutions. Their main Indian office is in Bangalore.

BDA Annual Accounts 2008-2009 Audit Excerpt:

V) Capital Work in progress – Rs. 180.16 crore

  • a) …
  • b) Non-capitalization of work on CDP Revision, MSDI project which was completed during the year resulted in overstatement of work-in-progress by Rs. 26.64 crore and understatement of fixed assets by Rs. 22.64 crore and understatement of expenditure (depreciation) to the extent of Rs. 4.00 crore.
And now my comments/observations:
  • The project is supposedly completed, but as part of MSDI there is no DUSR (which should afford all citizens of Bangalore a GIS based internet portal) – why has this not been delivered, when is it scheduled for? Is it fully paid for?
  • SCE is a French based MCN – 4 million Euros is a lot of money – what was the tendering process; how did SCE get the work?
  • Who at BDA was responsible for signing-off/approving the various pieces of work and where are these detailed?
  • What are the ongoing/recurring costs for managing the MSDI and how was funding for this defined in the original project initiation document?
  • Is MSDI now embedded inside BDA or will MSDI remain with SCE as a managed service?
  • Are the MSDI and BWSSB data being held on the same GIS system? Seems logical, if so did the BWSSB funding dovetail in with that of BDA? If not why not?
  • The BWSSB PDF document detailing the project: rather than detailing how the tendering process would work goes straight into detailing how every piece of GIS related technology is ESRI based…. why? ESRI products are notoriously expensive and would need full justification via detailed Business Requirements/Needs Analysis.

It strikes me that the project itself was open to minimal scrutiny and this combined with no evidence of a tendering process means its next to impossibel to establish whether value for money has been achieved. Here’s the biggest question: The EU paid for it… why? Isn’t Bangalore one of the wealthiest cities in India with companies like InfoTech who’s annual net income alone could pay for the MSDI 10 times over?

I intend asking my local MEP (Member of the European Parliament) about this project.

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3 Comments to “EU Funded Bangalore Municipal Spatial Data Repository (GIS) – Fact or Fiction?”

  1. The project was extended from the initial contract – completion was done by BDA in house planners.
    Hardware with software was part of delivery – servers, laptops, GPS, licenses etc – still nothing is handed over

    Town planning department has no clue – has the network or systems incharge has played a foul game in saying delivery done

  2. I made an inquiry to my local Member of the European Parliament about this grant and he was kind enough to reply as follows:

    Dear Mr Laver

    Thank you for getting in contact with me and I apologise for the delay in coming back to you.

    I am deeply concerned that €4million of taxpayer’s money has been spent on an ICT scheme in Bangalore and yet there seems to have been no progress made as of yet. I have posed a question to the European Commission on this very subject. The question (and answer when given) can be viewed at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+WQ+E-2011-009268+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN

    As soon as I do receive a response I will, of course, forward this on to you.

    Kind regards
    Ashley Fox

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