State Knowledge Center for Meghalaya. Concept Note. All men by nature desire knowledge : Aristotle ( BCE)

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1 Concept Note All men by nature desire knowledge : Aristotle ( BCE) The essence of knowledge is, having it, to apply it; not having it, to confess your ignorance : Confucius ( BCE)

2 Concept Note Contents Sl. No. Heading Page No. --- Executive Summary A-D 1 Introduction 1 2 The Knowledge Model 3 3 Implementing the Concept 11 4 Road Map for Project Implementation 14 5 Conclusion 15

3 Executive Summary Introduction The National Knowledge Commission, Government of India has stated in its Report to the Nation that Knowledge has been recognized as the key driving force in the 21st century and India s ability to emerge as a globally competitive player will substantially depend on its knowledge resources. The Government of Meghalaya proposes to establish and operate a State Knowledge Center in Shillong to act as its nodal body for the systematic production, storage and dissemination of knowledge to different user groups in order to benefit the state. This Concept Note outlines the Knowledge Model, Implementation Aspects and the Road Map for establishing and operating the State Knowledge Center in Meghalaya. The Knowledge Model At the outset, a conceptual framework has been developed for the State Knowledge Center by adapting the Knowledge Pentagon available in the National Knowledge Commission s Report to the Nation, The adapted Knowledge Pentagon details the five key areas related to State Knowledge Center; viz. Knowledge Concepts, Creation of Knowledge (including its Assimilation), Knowledge Applications (including for Needs Assessment), Access to Knowledge by the Stakeholders and Quality Standards. The proper delineation of these aspects is crucial for its successful conceptualization and implementation. The pertinent details are available at Section 2 (Page Nos. 3-9). The salient points include: Knowledge Applications The State Knowledge Centre can function as a knowledge repository of the State Government, focusing on the priority areas. Some suggested applications may include the following fields: Agriculture & Allied Sectors (Horticulture, Fishery, Livestock, Forest Produce etc.); Livelihoods & Skills Development; Education; Health (including Traditional Systems); A

4 Food & Civil Supplies; Water Resources & Water Supply; Decentralized and Alternate Energy Sources; Environment; and Governance & Public Services Delivery. Needs Assessment Needs assessment can form an important part of the planning process. It can be used for improvement in individuals, organizations, or communities. It is important to appreciate that the availability of data and information is an important dimension of carrying out such a needs assessment, which can be facilitated by the existence of a vibrant State Knowledge Center. Access to Knowledge by the Stakeholders The State Knowledge Center is planned to be established in Shillong in order to act as the nodal body of the Government of Meghalaya for the production, storage and dissemination of knowledge to different users. In the above context, it is planned to provide access to the contents of the above facility as follows: (a) The storage of knowledge (created by analysis and synthesis of available data and information) will be physically be done in a digital form in designated servers located in the State Knowledge Center, with back-up storage at the State Data Center established under the National e-governance Plan. (b) In addition, all data and information used to create the knowledge content needs to be also stored in a digital format. (c) The content stored in the State Knowledge Center will thus consist of both knowledge and the background data and information. Such content will be made accessible to registered users primarily through the Internet. A portal will be developed to enable such users to access the stored content as per the laid down guidelines for the same. (d) Special measures will be taken to provide access to the above repository for users at the district, sub-divisional and development block levels. Connectivity provided by the national e-governance Plan will be utilized in this regard. Other supplementary methods of access to the stored contents of the Center will be also developed, as found feasible. B

5 Implementing the Concept The details regarding the implementation process have been sketched briefly at Section 3 (Page Nos ). These include the following salient points: Project Components The project components will include the following categories: Physical infrastructure for State Knowledge Center like space, furniture, equipment etc.; Information Technology Infrastructure like hardware, software (including development of web portal), connectivity etc. Manpower including recruitment, redeployment, training etc. Process Management: The management of the knowledge creation, storage and dissemination process including the development of Standards, Guidelines, Manuals etc. in the above connection for the selected application areas. Other Areas like Awareness Creation, Consultancy Services, User Consultations, Monitoring of Project etc. Time Frame The time frame of implementing the project may be fixed while preparing the Project Report. The project can be implemented during the next Five Year Plan (i.e. the 12 th Five Year Plan), which commences from the Financial Year Budget The total project cost will be determined in the Project Report. It will include provision for all the project components. The project may be funded by the State Government with assistance from the Government of India and / or other sources. Road Map for Project Implementation The Road Map is depicted at Page No. 13 and may be referred to there. It gives the involved steps at the Planning and implementation Stages of the Project to establish and operate a State Knowledge Center in Meghalaya. C

6 Conclusion The vision of developing knowledge content on a continual basis from available data and information is one that can be achieved in Meghalaya. It is a vision that stands to revolutionize the way the State Government manages and uses information and knowledge. The State Knowledge Center is dedicated to creating and storing content needed to achieve this goal and making it available to the users who can use such content to deliver practical solutions to help the state and its inhabitants. D

7 1. Introduction The National Knowledge Commission, Government of India has stated in its Report to the Nation that Knowledge has been recognized as the key driving force in the 21st century and India s ability to emerge as a globally competitive player will substantially depend on its knowledge resources. The Government of Meghalaya proposes to establish and operate a State Knowledge Center in Shillong to act as its nodal body for the systematic production, storage and dissemination of knowledge to different user groups in order to benefit the state. This Concept Note outlines the Knowledge Model, Implementation Aspects and the Road Map for establishing and operating the State Knowledge Center in Meghalaya. 1.1 The Challenge Modern man is living in an era of unprecedented availability of data and information. The Internet has transformed the world through the rapid sharing of thoughts and ideas. New technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID) and sensor networks are poised to flood individuals and organizations with even greater amounts of data and information. In this new world; individuals, organizations, governments and societies have to deal with huge amounts of data and information that are often in a raw form without much analysis and synthesis to make it meaningful to the users. Thus, the challenge is not in the quantity or availability of data and information, but it lies in the process needed to convert these into knowledge that can be utilized fruitfully. This task lies at the heart of the mission of the State Knowledge Center to convert seemingly meaningless data and information into knowledge that can serve as the basis for informed planning, decision making and action in the state. 1.2 The Vision The State Knowledge Center envisages a facility that can store knowledge derived from a process of analysis and synthesis of available data and information, so that it can serve various user groups for planning, decision making, implementation of works and the evaluation of the impacts of developmental interventions. The available data and information can be 1

8 worked upon by tools and models that provide analysis, estimates, predictions and plans. Finally, it is envisioned that models themselves would combine with other models to form larger synthetic systems. The realization of this vision will have vast benefit to all stakeholders in the state that deal with data and information. Although broad in scope, this vision can be achieved in the medium term (say a decade or so). This can be done in an incremental manner by using today s technology to provide a foundation and creating a new infrastructure to build tomorrow s knowledge based society in Meghalaya. 2

9 2. The Knowledge Model At the outset, a conceptual framework has been developed for the State Knowledge Center by adapting the Knowledge Pentagon available in the National Knowledge Commission s Report to the Nation, The adapted Knowledge Pentagon details the five key areas related to State Knowledge Center; viz. Knowledge Concepts, Creation of Knowledge, Knowledge Applications, Access to Knowledge and Quality Standards. The proper delineation of these aspects is crucial for its successful conceptualization and implementation. Knowledge Concepts Creation of Knowledge Quality Standards Knowledge Applications The above key areas are described as follows. 2.1 Knowledge Concepts According to the late Russell L Ackoff, an American organizational theorist, consultant and Anheuser-Busch Professor Emeritus of Management Science at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; the content of the human mind can be classified into the following five categories: (a) (b) Data; Information; Access to Knowledge 3

10 (c) Knowledge; (d) Understanding; and (e) Wisdom. The above categories are conceptualized as follows. Data Information Data represents facts or statement of events without relation to other things. Data is raw and by itself has no meaning. It gives the quantitative or qualitative attributes of a set of variables. Information is data that has been processed to be useful and to provide answers to who, what, where and when type of questions. Information is data that has been contextualized. Knowledge Knowledge comes from the application of data and information and it enables answers to how type of questions. Knowledge is the appropriate collection of information and its intent is to be useful. The Greek philosopher Plato defined knowledge as justified true belief. Understanding Understanding is the process whereby new knowledge is synthesized from previously held knowledge. The difference between understanding and knowledge is the difference between learning and memorizing Wisdom Wisdom deals with the future because it incorporates vision and design. With wisdom, people can create the future rather than just grasp the present and past as with the above categories. But achieving wisdom isn't easy; people must move successively through the other categories. Henceforth in this Concept Note, the above categories of knowledge and understanding have been clubbed together under the same term, i.e. knowledge. Further, the categories of data and information are used together since a vast majority of web-sites do not differentiate between the above terms while making content available on the Internet. 4

11 2.2 Creation of Knowledge (including its Assimilation) The State Knowledge Center will act as the nodal agency of Government of Meghalaya for the production of knowledge (which term hereinafter includes both knowledge and understanding as categorized earlier). Such creation of knowledge will flow from a process of conceptualization followed by analysis and synthesis of pertinent data and information based on their evaluation. Such data and information may be available in the state or elsewhere but must meet quality standards. Available Sources of Data & Information: The various sources of data and information are given below. The State Knowledge Center can use the information available from these sources as the starting block. (a) State Government Departments & Other Agencies: Data and information is periodically collected by the Government Departments and other agencies through censuses and sample surveys, and from administrative records. In addition to the Government of Meghalaya Departments and Agencies, the State Knowledge Center shall approach the Government of India as well as with various State Governments in this connection. (b) Other Organizations: Other organizations located in the state and elsewhere also similarly collect data and information, which could be used by the State Knowledge Center. (c) Educational Institutions: Educational Institutions by their very nature are creators of data and information, especially at the higher levels. Such bodies are being connected through the National Knowledge Network. The State Knowledge Center can tap into such resources by connecting itself with this network, which will cover all universities, libraries, laboratories, hospitals and agricultural institutions to share data and resources across the country (d) Research & Development Centers: The research and development activities carried out in the laboratories also generate a vast quantum of data and information. As stated at above, the National Knowledge Network plans to connect all laboratories. Hence, by tying up with this network, the State Knowledge Center will also be able to access the data and information flowing from the research and development work being undertaken by the various laboratories in the country. The data and information from the above sources will be used if they are found to be pertaining to the objectives of the State Knowledge Center. It may be 5

12 noted that all data and information shall have to meet quality standards for adequacy, relevance, reliability, accessibility and timeliness before being used as described at above. Data Triangulation: In addition, it may be necessary to triangulate the accessed data and information, which may be obtained from the different sources as given at above. Triangulation will involve cross-checking the data and information from (typically) three independent sources. If two or all of these sources give the same data and information, then the same is acceptable. Else, the data and information has to be sourced by other independent means or sources. Process of Knowledge Creation & Assimilation Further, the creation and assimilation of knowledge has to be a dynamic process. As soon as fresh data and information are available, the knowledge repository has to be updated by suitably analyzing the new data and information. Thus, knowledge creation and assimilation will be a cyclical process, which can follow the following framework developed by adapting Nonaka s Model for Knowledge Creation. Externalization Internalization Critical Thinking Combination Externalization is the process whereby tacit knowledge (i.e. knowledge that is difficult to transfer to another person by means of writing it down or verbalizing it) is required to be expressed into forms that are comprehensible by others. This involves a process of conceptualization. 6

13 Combination involves the conversion of explicit knowledge into more complex sets of explicit knowledge. In this stage, the key issues are communication and diffusion and the systemization of knowledge. This is where databases and computer-supported analysis come in. Data from different sectors needs to be analyzed and synthesized holistically, so that planning becomes more data-driven and reflects the ground situation. Internalization of newly created knowledge enables its assimilation by the conversion of explicit knowledge into organization s tacit knowledge (in this case the organization is the state itself). This type of knowledge is called operational knowledge and may be disseminated by training. Critical thinking is the disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. Such critical thinking enables the assimilation of knowledge by any organization. 2.3 Knowledge Applications Suggested Areas The State Knowledge Centre can function as the knowledge repository for the state of Meghalaya. This can be done by focusing on the priority areas. Some suggested applications may include the following fields: Agriculture & Allied Sectors (Horticulture, Fishery, Livestock, Forest Produce etc.); Livelihoods & Skills Development; Education; Health (including Traditional Systems); Food & Civil Supplies; Water Resources & Water Supply; Decentralized and Alternate Energy Sources; Environment; and Governance & Public Services Delivery. The facility may thus provide a platform for the exchange of ideas, knowledge, research and best practices amongst administrators, public sector managers, 7

14 governance experts, researchers, academicians, consultants and other stakeholders working in the above domains. Needs Assessment Needs assessment is a systematic process, whereby the gap between the current conditions (in any one of the application areas) and the desired conditions is determined, so that steps can be taken to address the same. In fact, needs assessment can be an important part of the planning process. It can be used for improvement in individuals, organizations, or communities. It is important to appreciate that the availability of data and information is an important dimension of carrying out such a needs assessment, which can be facilitated by the existence of a vibrant State Knowledge Center. 2.4 Access to Knowledge (by the Stakeholders) As stated earlier, the State Knowledge Center is planned to be established in Shillong in order to act as the nodal body of the Government of Meghalaya for the production, storage and dissemination of knowledge to different users. In the above context, it is planned to provide access to the contents of the above facility as follows: (e) The storage of knowledge (created by analysis and synthesis of available data and information) will be physically be done in a digital form in designated servers located in the State Knowledge Center, with back-up storage at the State Data Center (established under the National e- Governance Plan). Such back-up storage is necessary for data recovery in case of any failure in the State Knowledge Center. (f) In addition, all data and information used to create the knowledge content needs to be also stored in a digital format. Presently, the Government of India and various State Governments are major sources of extensive data and information on various sectors. All such available data and information needs to be collected as far as possible, so that what is traditionally collected and managed separately unrelated to each other, should now be available together. Clear guidelines need to be developed under which this data could be sourced in appropriate formats and regularly updated. (g) The content stored in the State Knowledge Center will thus consist of both knowledge and the background data and information. Such content will be made accessible to registered users (consisting of individuals and groups from amongst the stakeholderd) primarily through the Internet. A portal will 8

15 be developed to enable such users to access the stored content as per the laid down guidelines for the same. The portal can assist users to seek innovative solutions to the day-to-day challenges that they may be facing. It can serve as a platform for collaborative knowledge exchange for the application areas. It also offers a widespread and reputed lot of knowledge that user groups can utilize to benefit the people of the state. (h) Special measures will be taken to provide access to the above repository for users at the district, sub-divisional and development block levels. Connectivity provided by the national e-governance Plan will be utilized in this regard. (i) Other supplementary methods of access to the stored contents of the Center will be also developed, as found feasible, so that none of the stakeholders find it difficult to access the same. Further, the State Knowledge Center should be connected to the proposed National Knowledge Network (a high speed broadband network), which will enable it to share data, information and resources across the country. 2.5 Quality Standards There is no universally accepted definition of quality for data and information as well as knowledge derived thereof. However, one can choose a broad concept of quality based on fitness for use. Quality can be defined in terms of the following attributes of data and information, and the derived knowledge: (a) Adequacy; (b) Relevance; (c) Accuracy; (d) Timeliness; (e) Accessibility; (f) Interpretability; and (g) Coherence. Adequacy: This refers to the comprehensiveness in terms of (i) accepted definition of the parameter which is to be statistically investigated and estimated; and (ii) agreed and accepted methodology for estimation. Relevance: Relevance refers to the extent to which the knowledge produced responds to the needs of the user community that the State Government aims to service. While one can speak of the relevance of an individual statistic, relevance is more meaningfully assessed in terms of how well the full 9

16 repertoire of available knowledge satisfies user needs. Relevance is not a concept that lends itself to precise quantitative measurement. Rather, performance in this domain has to be assessed in terms of processes in place and broadly defined user satisfaction. Accuracy and Reliability: Accuracy refers to the degree to which the source data and information correctly estimate or describe the quantities or characteristics that the statistical activity was designed to measure. Accuracy has many dimensions. Typically, measures of accuracy reflect sources of error in survey processes and/or estimation procedures. Source data are obtained from comprehensive data collection programs that take into account organization-specific conditions. Accuracy and reliability warrants that the source data adhere to the definitions, scope, classifications, valuation, and time of recording required, and that source data are timely. Timeliness: This refers to speed of dissemination/release i.e. lapse of time between the end of the reference period and the dissemination of the data. For one-time or ad-hoc or new surveys it refers to the interval between the time when the need is made known and the appearance of data. Accessibility: Accessibility reflects the availability of data and information from the official system and other sources. It includes the existence of suitable modes of disseminating information to different users, the availability of list of publications or searching tools that allow users to know what is available and how to obtain it, and the provision of access that is affordable and convenient to different user groups. Interpretability: Interpretability refers to the ease with which users can understand and properly use and analyze data and information. It covers the availability of metadata (or information about the data), particularly descriptions of the underlying concepts and definitions used, of the methodology used in compiling the data, and of the accuracy of the data (as described above). Coherence: Coherence refers to the degree to which data or information from different programs is compatible and can be analyzed together. It is promoted by the use of common, or at least compatible, conceptual frameworks, definitions, classifications, and collection of processing methodologies across programs. 10

17 3. Implementing the Concept 3.1 Goals, Strategies & Approach Goals The project implementation strategy will be based on an achievement the following major goals: (a) Core Infrastructure: Developing the core infrastructure for storage of content and web based portal for access to the same. (b) Core Team: Finalizing a core team of analysts, other subject experts, IT personnel and managers. (c) Application Areas: Finalizing the application areas where content has to be developed with the participation of user groups and other stakeholders. (d) Knowledge Creation Approach: Developing the knowledge creation approach, including applicable standards for use of data and information. (e) Dissemination: Finalizing the guidelines and other parameters for the dissemination of content. Strategies Strategies have to be worked out to enable the achievement of all the major goals outlined at above. Such strategies will define the path to be taken to reach these goals. The strategies may be worked out while preparing the Project Report for the State Knowledge Center. Implementation Approach The following approach may be adopted for implementing the project: Use of Infrastructure developed under other Government initiatives like National e-governance Plan (NeGP), National Knowledge Commission follow up activities, other plans / programmes of the Government of India or the State Government like India Statistical Strengthening Project, TFC Award for Improving the Statistical Systems etc. Use of open source software and open non-proprietary standards in technology. Use of common standards developed as recommended by the 11

18 National Knowledge Commission. Else, such standards may be developed by teams of experts drawn from government, IT companies, academia, R&D institutions and users or stakeholders who understand latest trends, technology, software, user interfaces and interoperability requirements. Avoidance of vendor driven and non-scalable models of implementation. Avoidance of duplication of infrastructure in delivery of services. 3.2 Project Components The project components will include the following categories: Physical infrastructure for State Knowledge Center like space, furniture, equipment etc.; Information Technology Infrastructure like hardware, software (including development of web portal), connectivity etc. Manpower including recruitment, redeployment, training etc. Process Management: The management of the knowledge creation, storage and dissemination process including the development of Standards, Guidelines, Manuals etc. in the above connection for the selected application areas. Other Areas like Awareness Creation, Consultancy Services, User Consultations, Monitoring of Project etc. 3.3 Time Frame The time frame of implementing the project may be fixed while preparing the Project Report. The project can be implemented during the next Five Year Plan (i.e. the 12 th Five Year Plan), which commences from the Financial Year Budget The total project cost will be determined in the Project Report. It will include provision for all the project components. The project may be funded by the State Government with assistance from the Government of India and / or other sources. 12

19 3.5 Common Areas with Directorate of Economics and Statistics The Directorate of Economics and Statistics is taking up the implementation of projects for the Strengthening of the State Statistical System under the India Statistical Strengthening Project (ISSP) and for the Improvement of the Statistical System at the State and District levels under the Thirteenth Finance Commission (TFC) Award. The above mentioned projects have components for the development of infrastructure for the statistical system. Such infrastructure will be utilized while operating the State Knowledge Center as found feasible. 13

20 4. Road Map for Project Implementation The Road Map of the project for the State Knowledge Center is given in the following manner: Planning Stage Preparation of Concept Note Approval of Concept Note By the Competent Authority Preparation of Project Report Three Months after the Approval of the Concept Note Approval of Project Report Including Project Components, Budget & Time Frame Implementation Stage Project Team Including Project Managers and Technical Team Implementation of Components As given in Sub-Section 3.2 of this Concept Note Testing & Commissioning As per Time Frame Inauguration of Center -Do- 14

21 5. Conclusion The vision of developing knowledge content on a continual basis from available data and information is one that can be achieved in Meghalaya. It is a vision that stands to revolutionize the way the State Government manages and uses information and knowledge. The State Knowledge Center is dedicated to creating and storing content needed to achieve this goal and making it available to the users who can use such content to deliver practical solutions to help the state and its inhabitants. 15

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