BhutanInfo website launched

Published on Dec 04 2009 // Media Monitor

All you ever wanted to know about development goals just a click away

4 December, 2009 – With the launch of BhutanInfo yesterday, the first comprehensive information centre for Bhutan’s socio economic development goals at various levels is now only a click away.

BhutanInfo, which is available in both desktop and online version at www.bhutanInfo.gov.bt, is a customised version of DevInfo (development information), a tool to monitor millennium development goals (MDGs) adopted by the UN systems. DevInfo organises, stores and presents data in a uniform way to facilitate data sharing among government agencies, international and other development partners.

“The system will give easy access to data and ensure that quality data is available in the public domain,” said the UN system focal person for BhutanInfo, Kinley Penjor.

He said that data today is fragmented and getting information for research can be time consuming and inconvenient as one needs to visit different sectors. “All information and data is to be collected in this single system,” he said. “And anyone, who wants to do a general analysis, will have access to all the information.”

BhutanInfo, previously called DrukInfo, has some 3000 data values at the national level and about 13,000 at the district levels. A data value is a numerical value against an indicator for a certain period. “For example, if the literacy rate is 50 percent in 2000 for Thimphu, that 50 percent is the data value,” explained Kinley Penjor. The name was changed to BhutanInfo because he said that the word Bhutan was easier to search for than Druk.

With MDGs at the core of the information system, the current database also has framework for the 10th Plan, the UN development assistance framework (UNDAF), SAARC development goals (SDGs) and Vision 2020. There are currently 620 indicators for the national development goals available, which are further disaggregated to 1626.

The project, which started in early 2000, will help in promoting evidence-based decision-making, said Kinley Penjor. “In short, it’ll promote evidence-based decision-making and monitoring to report against the intended results or targets,” he said.

BhutanInfo also increases the accessibility to data information, helping those who are in search of multisectoral data. The system will also help advocate and create awareness on MDGs and other actions that Bhutan has planned.

Another facility, the one-stop place for information has, is that it can export and import data from other information service centres maintained by various sectors. “But in BhutanInfo, we have an additional facility of generating tables and graphs, based on the individual’s preference, which may not be available in other systems,” said Kinley Penjor.

While the software can be used by referring the user’s guide, Kinley Penjor said trainings would be conducted for users and those responsible for maintaining the database.

The online version, however, may be slow and difficult to access in remote areas, because of limited IT infrastructure, said Kinley Penjor. They can instead use the desktop version by installing it in their computers. “Any updated data can either be sent to them in a CD or a thumbstick,” he said.

Implementing the system in other sectors for easy sharing of data, capacity of NSB to maintain the database and financial resources are some of the challenges the system may face, said Kinley Penjor.

“It’s going to be a dynamic system, which will be kept updated,” said Kinley Penjor. “One can use it at any level, global, national, organisation, and even at the household level. It’s all a matter of defining your indicators.”

By Sonam Pelden in Kuensel