Decentralised Information Management Initiative (DIMI) is essentially an attempt to formalize the information management system at the block level so that disaggregated information regarding a number of indicators of social development can be collated at the block level and based on which the block administration as well as elected representatives in Panchayat Samitis can analyse and monitor the indicators on a regular basis to take convergent and immediate action to accelerate development in focused areas.
Presently information regarding different public service delivery institutions are being collated at different levels, such as information regarding Anganwadi Centers (under the Integrated Child Development Scheme) is being collated at the sector/supervisor, which is not co terminus with gram panchayats. The idea is to create an enabling information management system through which the Community Development Block Administration (which includes the Block Development Officer as well as the various line departments) can effectively delineate, analyse information and plan strategic intervention programmes along with the Panchayat Samitis (elected body co terminus with the block and having its own counterparts of block line departments in the form of Sthayee Samitis). Subsequently the information can move up to the district and the Panchayats and Rural Development Department, Government of West Bengal at the state level for further analysis, guidance and assistance.
Under the 73rd Amendment of the Indian Constitution, the Gram Panchayats were have been devolved with a number of functions, which includes many areas such as health, nutrition, education, livelihood etc. The gram panchayats being the most accessible institution of governance available at the grassroots, focused intervention strategies can be implemented through them. They can also be an effective medium for the voice of the community to emerge. The block administration has to work closely with the gram panchayats for implementation of schemes, and the Panchayat Samitis can guide them on community mobilisation for strategic intervention in focused areas. Thus error-free information emerging from the grassroots appears to be a crucial tool for effective planning and action.
Decentralised Information Management Initiative is destined to transform the C.D Block Office into an information hub with the Block Development Officer as the principal coordinator who will analyse information along with the Panchayat Samitis and can plan effective intervention programmes involving the gram panchayats. A monitoring and support structure will also be created for the entire initiative at the sub division level (where the Sub Divisional Officer can monitor the process at close quarters) and the District Level (where the Zilla Parishad Karmadhyakshyas along with the district administration can provide supportive supervision to the entire system)