IIT Madras develops integrated database on infrastructure projects for govts, funding agencies

The integrated database platform, launched by IIT Madras, will enable government agencies to track the progress of ongoing projects. The initial focus will be on the road sector, which has received the highest private investment among the rest.

By 2022, India needs investments worth $777.73 billion for infrastructure, which will help boost sustainable development in the country. And road infrastructure alone grew by around 20 percent during 2017-18. All this points to the fact that the Indian infrastructure sector is growing. While we need a system to track the development of the ongoing projects, there is also a need for a centralised data system, which can enable government institutes access project data and performance.

To fill in the gap, the Indian Institute of Management (IIT) Madras launched a data platform of ‘Integrated Database on Infrastructure Projects’ (IDIP) on Wednesday, during the 15th World Conference on Transport Research (WCTR).

Mr Sethuraman, Director, Akara Research and Technologies, Professor Swapnil Garg, Professor, IIM Indore, Professor Thilai Rajan, Principal Investigator of Project, and Professor G Raghuram, Director, IIM Bangalore

The conference was held at IIT Bombay in a special session on Public-Private Partnerships in the Indian transport sector.

The data platform was released by Prof. G Raghuram, Director, IIM-Bengaluru, in the presence of Prof. Thillai Rajan A, IIT Madras; and Prof. Swapnil Garg, Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Management Indore and Coordinator of PPPINDIANET.

Explaining about the data platform, Raghuram said,

“Databases such as the IDIP highlight what the real issues in the sector are. Such data will also help investors and developers to understand the performance of the existing projects and formulate their investment strategies for the sector.”

According to the institute, IDIP will focus on enhancing the efficiency of infrastructure development in India, and will initially focus on road infrastructure. Further, it will enable effective decision-making among different agencies and stakeholders involved in the sector.

Explaining the key features of the data platform, Prof Rajan said,

“Availability of high-quality and reliable data has been the 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.”

Some of the key features of the data platform include:

  • IDIP will store the data of project lifecycle comprising development, construction, and operation phases, and 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
  • The 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 infrastructure sectors such as power, transmission, water supply, sanitation, and solid waste management.

Speaking about the data, Sethuraman, Director, Akara Research and Technologies, and also a development partner, 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 and sanitation and power. The data for each project is updated regularly including the performance of the SPVs.”

Explaining further, Swapnil Garg 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.”


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