Draft Letter to ECI post ODC2014

To: \ Shri Alok Shukla Deputy Election Commissioner, \ Election Commission of India \ Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road, \ New Delhi 110001 \ \ Shri V.N. Shukla \ Director - IT, \ Election Commission of India \ Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road, \ New Delhi 110001 \

Dear Sirs:

I am contacting you on behalf of DataMeet, an online community of more than nine hundred members that has been active since 2011, as well as, a Public Trust in Bangalore. The goal of the group is to promote opening up public data and promote its access and use. Since 2012 we have held meetings in Bangalore, New Delhi and Hyderabad and have an annual Open Data Camp (ODC) with more than 150 participants from the education, business, technology and non-profit sectors in India.

In the third annual Open Data Camp on 22-23 March 2014, we explored election data and how citizens can use it to understand the electoral process and create tools that help people gain access to essential voting information. We had former Chief Election Commissioner Shri T.N. Krishnamurthy deliver the keynote address and discuss his time with the Election Commission.

We would like to firstly applaud the Election Commission for putting information on their site in a proactive manner. The amount of information at the Centre and State level is astounding and people have been using it to get information from where to vote, who is running, and various other candidate information.

However, during this event we made a list of data that if the Election Commission released in a more open format would provide more transparency and access so that more people can use it. For example MyNeta.info is a website trying to expand the use of this data.

We respectively request the following be considered:

  • Post 2009, Parliamentary and Assembly Constituency boundaries in GIS, ESRI SHAPEFILE, JSON and XML files [*],
  • candidate affidavits in non pdf format, preferably in CSV or XML
  • party expense reports in non pdf formats
  • list of assembly constituencies in each parliamentary constituency in one aggregated form
  • list of polling centers in an assembly constituency in one aggregated form
  • list of polling stations in each polling center in one aggregated form
  • name of ward/mandal/taluk for each polling center in one aggregated form
  • unique IDs for candidates

For further reference on formats please refer to the NDSAP implementation policy section 3.2 (http://data.gov.in/sites/default/files/NDSAP_Implementation_Guidelines_2.2.pdf)

Sirs, we understand you are very busy at this important time. We salute your work, and sincerely appreciate your website which is a valuable public resource for understanding Indian elections. We sincerely request the Commissioners to consider the change in formats for the next election. We have attached a summary of the event and recommendations for standards for the data.

[*] http://web.archive.org/web/20090619071516/http://eci.nic.in/GisLayers/gis_layers.asp