The importance of good data -Varun B Krishnan
In a democracy, it is important for government agencies to disseminate data in a timely manner
After a delayed start, the Southwest Monsoon recently wreaked havoc in Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka and other parts of India. In such a situation, a data journalist would have ideally looked for weekly comparisons of rainfall data across the affected States to determine when the rains began to intensify; historical data to determine how the rainfall compared to the five- or 10-year average; and whether there was a ‘tipping point’ in the amount of rainfall.
However, getting such data is difficult in India as the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has only two options on its website: the current week’s rainfall numbers and the cumulative rainfall numbers of the season. To be fair, IMD also provides district-wise and State-wise data, but for the same two options. And while five-year district-wise data are available, each district has to be selected separately to access the data, a cumbersome and time-consuming process.
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