Kathmandu: The National Planning Commission (NPC), the apex body that formulates country’s development plans, has given a facelift to its website, making it one of the most modern anduser-friendly sites operated by the government.
One of the highlights of the stripped-down website is a section called ‘visualising development’, which provides interactive infographics on three different topics: human development indicators by district, nationwide distribution of hydro projects and population at the village level.
If you click on the tab called human development indicators by district, for instance, you’ll come across the map of Nepal divided into 75 districts.
Click on one of the districts and you will instantly get a wide range of information on the status of human development in that particular district, such as per capita income, life expectancy and adult literacy.
If you wish to compare these statistics with the national average, you can do so with the click of a mouse.
What’s more, you can even compare status of human development of up to 10 different districts and download that data in Excel format — all with the click of a mouse — even though it appears, the section called ‘visualising development’ is currently optimised for desktops and laptops and is unavailable for mobile devices.
Another sub-section on the site, called nationwide distribution of hydro projects, is equally interesting. This section provides a visual timeline on the development of the country’s hydropower sector along with the map of Nepal, which shows locations where hydro plants are located.
The timeline begins from 1970 when 2.4-megawatt hydropower plant was installed at Panauti. As you drag the timeline bar towards right, more and more ‘triangles’ representing hydro plants start dotting the country’s map.
If you click on the ‘triangles’, you can get complete information of the hydro project, including the project’s promoter, date of issuance of licence and commercial operation date. Besides, information on those who have applied for or received survey and construction licences is also available — all in user-friendly graphic mode.
The concept of this simple but powerful website and various incorporated functions are examples of what the government can do to make various statistics available to the public in convenient and modifiable form.
The problem with the government is that it discloses data but usually in a form which is not user-friendly. For instance, the Central Bureau of Statistics, which falls under the NPC, has a mine of data on its website. But all of them are in PDF format, which prevents users from downloading them in a modifiable format to conduct various comparisons and analyses, or simply play with them. This is the same with the data of the Financial Comptroller General Office.
It is time the government design similar interactive websites so that data is available in user-friendly format.
A version of this article appears in print on September 15, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.