Developing a Management Information System for completed projects (1999-2003) sponsored by Science and Society Division of DST

The Science and Society Division of the Department of Science and Technology (Ministry of Science and Technology) has been a key facilitator in creating a strong interface between science and the country’s poor, particularly in rural areas. It has supported a large variety of ST-based development projects under its four key programmes: Science and Technology Application for Rural Development, Special Component Plan for SC Population, Tribal Sub-Plan and Science and Technology for Women.

This study developed a Management Information System for completed projects sponsored by Science and Society Division of DST during 1998-99 to 2002-03, and proposed a follow-up Action Plan for enhancing the long-term sustainability and replicability of the projects. The comprehensive MIS was developed as a tool to understand and analyse the funding pattern and outcome of projects under DST’s six schemes. The MIS system covered 491 completed projects sponsored to 306 organisations across the country.

The highest number of projects (21%) pertained to agriculture and related areas, followed by Forestry (14%), artisanal and crafts technologies (10%), animal husbandry (6%), health and hygiene (6%), integrated rural development (6%) and water resource management (5%). Of all the projects, 81% were operational in rural areas, 11% in urban areas and 8% in rural/urban areas. A fourth of the projects addressed the needs of SC/ST population (including scavengers/forest minor produce collectors) and 23% catered to farmers. For 12% of the projects, the target groups were artisans and crafts-persons and 30% of the interventions were designed to reach out to women and 7% to youth. About 2% of the projects focused on the handicapped, rickshaw-pullers, disaster management personnel, gharat owners and slum dwellers.

The information structure to present the projects in the database has the following six components:

  • File Number to easily trace the project
  • Information on the implementing organization, including type of organization and the expertise and infrastructure available with it
  • Project details, including type and size of target group(s), budget details, progress reports and ratings of group monitoring workshops
  • Project profile, including details about the technology use and linkages with other local institutions
  • Project achievements, including socio-economic and technological achievements
  • Project sustainability, including level of adoption of technology, skill development and demonstrative strength and replication potential

The MIS System has offered many benefits for science policy-making system of the country:

  • Immediate access to information on various science and society projects in specific S&T application fields.
  • Reduced possible duplication of projects in a given area
  • Assessment of critical gaps and benefits from projects to improve replication potential and better utilisation of funds
  • Availability of a database to help future S&T researchers across the country and abroad

This project was supervised by Ashok Raj and Rakesh Kapoor.