Launch of the Integrated National Development Information System
In an effort to facilitate better monitoring of results of development programmes, the Department of Foreign Aid and Budget Monitoring, with the assistance of UNDP, launched a fully Integrated National Development Information System (INDIS) on June 3, 2011. The new web based system was launched in the presence of Dr. P. B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the Treasury and Mr. Douglas Keh, Country Director, UNDP.
With the government having rolled out comprehensive infrastructure programmes across the country, such as water resources, power and road development projects, there is an urgent need for the monitoring of the results in order to measure their effectiveness and impact. Designed over a period of three years, the new system will enable policymakers to view the progress of projects on real time basis. Policymakers will also have the ability to assess if the projects have produced the required results and address any shortcomings if needed.
This system has several unique features. While monitoring the financial and physical progress of all state development projects (government and foreign funded), the INDIS will also monitor ministerial performances based on Key Performance Indicators (KPI), which are linked to the budgetary process. It will also measure the progress towards “Aid Effectiveness” by monitoring all variables which measure effective use of foreign aid. The system consists of an in-built Evaluation Information System, which acts as a repository of summaries of evaluations of development projects with a component of lessons learned. This will be beneficial in future project formulations.
The system also provides an in-built accountability system, where the results of project can be presented in various ways, including as statistical tables, charts, dash boards, comment columns, maps using GIS facility and pictures. This information is augmented by field visits of the staff.
Dr. Fredrick Abeyratne, Senior Programme Analyst of UNDP emphasized the importance of accurate data entry and the importance of using the system by Departmental Heads for reporting purposes, since this is the only way policymakers can make informed decisions with regard to development activities.
Dr. Abeyratne also expressed his gratitude to Mr. Ajith Nivard Cabraal, who, as Secretary of the Ministry of Plan Implementation during the time the INDIS was materialized, provided the initial impetus towards the process. He also thanked Mrs. Dhara Wijayathilaka, Former Secretary and Mr. V. Sivagnanasoothy, Former Director General, Department of Foreign Aid and Budget Monitoring, who were the driving forces of this whole process. He added, “We have no doubt that under the able leadership of Mrs. Malini Gamage, the present Director General, the system will be fully operational from now onwards. We also want to thank Synergy International for doing a wonderful job of integrating systems developed by various companies and adding new features.”