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Data Science For Social Good [Ministry of Rural Development]

Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India , New Delhi · · Full-time employment · Programming

Interested in doing meaningful data science for social good?

Ministry of Rural Development is trying to scale its data science work and is looking for:

  1. Data Scientists (Python ML/DL ecosystem)
  2. Data Engineers (Hadoop, SQL, Dask etc)
  3. Product Manager (scoping, BI, mitigating harms)

These are full-time positions and not for volunteering etc.

More than 800 million people in India live in rural areas as of Census 2011. MoRD manages various government programs that directly/indirectly touch their lives. NREGA for social security net and employment, PMGSY for rural roads, PMAY-G for houses, NRLM for livelihoods and credit, DDUGKY for vocational training etc. Working at this scale generates a lot of data (tabular, geo-spatial, images etc).

Example projects (some we already do and some we may plan to pursue in the future):

  • Can you write an algorithm which is able to simulate rural traffic on India’s 45,00,000 km road network to identify a very small fraction of important rural roads and arteries which require upgradation?
  •  Millions of road pictures are uploaded as proof against road maintenance payments. Can you train a DL model to flag the ones where payments are being made but the road is still in bad condition?
  •  Can you set up a hadoop bench over NREGA data to allow administrators to identify panchayats which require closer scrutiny because of abysmal work take-up in spite of high poor population or seemingly synthetic works being registered on a real time basis?
  • Can you write a GIS algorithm to identify hamlets which are the furthest away from nearby banking infrastructure and help direct banking sakhis to those places to do door-to-door banking?
  •  Can you help create institutional knowledge within the Ministry of Rural Development and steer towards more responsible uses of algorithms and away from unfair, unaccountable and opaque uses?
  • Can you create and administer a Public Sector Data Science Course to help MIS professionals in centre, state and district be more efficient with spreadsheets, powerpoint, visualizations etc. (A simple mail-merge can save hours of a government employee’s time every week!)

While the work is exciting and impactful, it requires serious responsibility and working within a culture you may not be familiar with.  

If you have any doubts on how it is work in the government and the kind of work you’ll be doing – feel free to email ([email protected])

Tentative TORs for the job positions are here:

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